Do Grow Lights Really Work?

by Lee Wyatt
(last updated November 18, 2015)

Chances are if you have been doing any type of gardening at all, then you have probably heard about growing lights. But do growing lights work, really work that is? The short answer is that yes they do. The longer answer is that they will only work if you choose the right kind of light to use. All grow lights seek to reproduce the same kind of light that the sun makes, thus being able to help stimulate a plant into growing.

Traditionally speaking there are three kinds of lights that are used to grow plants, and they are fluorescent, metal halide, and high pressure sodium lights. While there have been some recent advances with LED, they haven't really been able to really make them as effective as the traditional methods yet. While you can always try the hit or miss method for determining which one will work in your particular situation, that isn't really that effective. Instead, here is a brief description of each and how each one works.

  • High pressure sodium lights. Of all the choices that you have among traditional growing lights, the high pressure sodium lights (also referred to as HPS's in some circles) are by far the most popular choices for growing flowers and fruit. The reason for this is that they will produce an extremely bright light that draws on most of the reds and oranges in the color spectrum. However there is a downside to this type of light, and that is the bright light also emits a large amount of heat. This means that if you utilize this type of lighting system you will also need to make sure that the area you use it in is well ventilated to help promote cooling, and keep the temperatures from getting too extreme.
  • Fluorescent grow lights. These kinds of grow lamps are perfect for starting out seedlings, and for use with plants that require low levels of light. They are typically very inexpensive, and can be found most anywhere and are perhaps the easiest of all the light types to use. However, while these types of lights are great for things like herbs, they don't have much use as a primary source of light. That beings said, they can provide some effective secondary light sources.
  • Metal halide grow lights. Metal halide grow lights provide a wonderful white light that is perhaps the closest to real sunlight of all the available lighting systems. Due to this they are perhaps the most popular of all lighting choices since they will work for all kinds of plants. Another great side benefit of using this kind of lighting system is that it also evenly distributes the light to the plants, again simulating the natural sun, and thus helping to promote a better growth in all types of plants.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...

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