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Lighting Guide to Hydroponics

A Lighting Guide to Hydroponics Gardeners Would Be Delighted to Get

Hydroponics is growing plants in the absence of soil. Here is a lighting guide to hydroponics that serves to give you a detailed spectrum of lighting options to choose from.
Azmin Taraporewala
Last Updated: Mar 5, 2018
You may have heard of what hydroponic plants are, but might have not paid much attention to the term, unless you are a thorough catalyst for innovation, or are a horticulturist. Well, that does not allow you to think that only the above mentioned groups have innate interests in this subject, you too are free to cultivate a hobby of sorts to deal with the various moods of plants and their species. We have often associated plants and plant growth with the right type of soil, maintaining its pH levels, administering organic fertilizers, watering regimens, the right amount of exposure to sunlight, using lawn mowers to keep weeds and insects off from hindering in their growth pattern. Well, it would be a pleasant deviation for you to know that hydroponics is a method of growing plants without the presence of soil.
When we dissect the term hydroponics, the first fallout word is 'hydro' which means water; this is what the theory and the practicality of hydroponics is based on. Hydroponics is growing plants and vegetables in water where their growth is stimulated by the ions present in water. Plants can grow making water as its base and may not disrupt their normal growth pattern. However, when we take plant nourishment into consideration, we may say that adequate lighting becomes very important.
Another fact about hydroponic gardening is that the plants can be grown indoors. However, even when the plants are indoors, one may have to concentrate on the lighting that can be provided.
Lighting Basics
There are certain important basics of lighting that one must follow while setting up hydroponic plans. You would find them here in this section of the article.
Intensity of Light
Light intensity is always measured by the unit called candle foot. A candle foot is how bright a candle is when it is at a distance of 1 foot from the plant. The unit is the same, the only difference is the name of the unit. It is now called lumen instead of candle foot. Thus, it can be said that an indoor garden would require 2000 lumen approximately.
Cycles of Light
During the vegetative state of plants, the light that is required by plants is approximately 18 to 20 hours, however, the timing may be fluctuated to 12 hours during their growth stage. Make sure that the fluctuations are not drastic and inconsistent in nature, else the plants may suffer from impaired growth.
Spectrum of Light
There are a few colors that are required for adequate plant growth. Blue, orange and green lighting are imperative for growth of plants and are also helpful for deriving a fuller, better bloom.
Placement of Light
Hydroponic lights could always be placed close to the top or anterior part of the plant, however one must ensure that the top portion of the plant should not get adversely affected by the intensity or the closeness of light. Strategic placement of light is what you must look out for.
Shades of Light
Light or lamp shades can be placed or hung from the ceiling or the roof so that they may be adjusted accordingly, as the plants grow by maneuvering the height of the lamp shade while maintaining a safe distance from the plant.
Hydroponic Lighting Systems
Fluorescent Light
Fluorescent light system could serve to be a good hydroponic lighting system as it has the potential to provide red and blue light essential for growth. It would always be preferred if the plants are grown with the white bulb that elicits blue light and to then replace the light with the bulb that elicits red light for a better bloom. Fluorescent lights requirement for a garden would be approximately 40 watts per sq/ft. Fluorescent lights is an inexpensive way to have a hydroponic system.
High Intensity Discharge
High Intensity Discharge or HID is a hydroponic source of lighting that uses gas at a high intensity to develop a source of light. The HID lights are considered one of the best systems as they provide light very similar in intensity to the sun. Two types of HID's that can be used for the systems are:
  • High Pressure Sodium - This source of light produces red light and is important for blooming purposes.
  • Metal Halide - This is a source of light that produces blue lighting and is used during plant growth.
Blended Lighting
Blended lights are also sought after lights that blend red and blue lights together. There are no separate sources of light that were found in HID lighting systems.
Light Emitting Diodes Lighting
This is comparatively a newer version of providing light to plants. They are preferred because they have more advantages that overpower the disadvantages. They do not get too hot when used for longer periods of time, and they also consume power that is not too high when compared to other light sources for hydroponics. They last longer as well; you do not need to change them frequently. You may count on years where their utility is considered. The only disadvantage, probably the hitch, is the expense that one incurs while buying the system. It is thus, marginally affordable.
Hydroponic lighting fixtures, as mentioned, are in the form of different sources or types of lighting that can be used for the purpose of plant growth. Considering these imports may help you choose the correct lighting arrangement.
Young tomato plant under LED grow light
Indoor growing potted Marijuana
Ripe tomato plant under LED grow light
Plant growing beneath the glow of an LED grow light
LED lighting used to grow lettuce inside a warehouse
Hydroponic system under grow lights
Cucumbers growing in a greenhouse