If you are thinking of trading in cannabis, popularly known as marijuana, or are already into the same, you surely must be having a commercial garden. So, it can be taken for granted that you at least have a basic idea about how the plant, which yields a psychotropic/psychoactive drug, is cultivated. That in essence also implies you are fully acquainted with the environment in which cannabis grows, develops, and thrives.
Nevertheless, it is still debated whether cultivating cannabis outdoor or indoors is more suitable. Though a typical marijuana planter will invariably claim that his method is the best, it’ll be better to gravitate towards the indoor gardening system if want to ensure a steady, perennial supply. So, if you’ve mentally decided to cultivate marihuana commercially, why not grow the flowering plant indoors?
You can bet that you’ll sooner or later warm up to the hydroponic method of growing cannabis, chiefly because you’ll have full leeway in monitoring the growth environment. Simply put, you’ll be in a position to leverage the factors including soil, irrigation method, nutrients, and lighting basics.
Talking about indoor lighting for your cannabis saplings, LED grow lights are most suitable and for a good number of reasons. Most significantly, a LED grow light can simulate sunlight which helps in stimulating healthy and balanced growth of the plants right from the seedling/sapling to the flowering stage. However, even the most experienced of planters could have a trying time deciding the kind of LED hydroponics light that will be optimal for encouraging all round growth.
The availability of a wide and divergent variety of LED grow lights can make the grower spoilt for choice.
Basic Requirements for Facilitating Indoor Growth of Cannabis
If you have made up your mind on planting saplings of the cannabis plant in an indoor garden for supplying to the market, then you’ll indispensably need the following in order to get started as perfectly as possible:-
- A sizable growing space inside your home, which you can call a grow room, grow tent or a grow box
- The most fundamental factor required for encouraging growth-soil which is called the grow medium; sphagnum, coconut and peat-based mosses that replicate the original soil in texture and functioning have been found to be the most suitable
- Automated high output hydroponics lights or digital ballasts that can substitute daylight or sunlight
- Nutrient solutions containing the right mix of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium and with appropriate EC (electrical conductivity) and pH levels.
- Autoflowering or feminized cannabis seeds
The Modus Operandi of the Hydroponic Growth of Cannabis
You can choose from a variety of cannabis strains that are supremely ideal for growing indoors like autoflowering strains, feminized strains, and regular cannabis strains as per your preference and budget. Regardless of the type of strain you ultimately choose for germinating, the growth method is more or less similar, albeit with slight variations. Firstly, you should maintain a constant grow tent or grow room temperature varying between 80°
F and 85°F.
The aforementioned temperature range should be maintained all through the growth period. Then again, using non-chlorinated water for keeping the saplings and plants moistened and hydrated is strongly recommended. Also, the pH level of the water should range from 5.5-6.5. At the same time, you’d have to ensure that the cannabis plants have access to proper illumination.
Not only the LED grow lights should be installed overhead at the prescribed height but must be tilted or inclined at the appropriate angle so that the illumination is even throughout. Adhering to these lighting requirements is absolutely essential if you wish to see the saplings grow to their optimum.
Choosing Lights with the Appropriate Color Spectrum is Imperative
Trees and plants that grow in the wild or are harvested in plantations, farms, orchards, and horticultural gardens exploit the full spectrum of colored light rays ranging from violet to red light (ultraviolet and infrared wavelengths). The full VIBGYOR (violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange and red) range is used for promoting photosynthesis-the process by which plant cells synthesize chlorophyll (food) in the presence of sunlight and oxygen. So, it goes without saying that when you are harvesting cannabis in an indoor garden, you’ll need to provide lighting or lights that emit rays similar to sunrays.
In other words, you’d have to install LED hydroponics or grow lights that give off the entire light spectrum ranging from violet to indigo and from red to green and everything in between. After all, the cannabis plants grown indoors too need the full spectrum, comparable to natural light or sunlight for carrying out photosynthesis exactly in the manner they’d have, had they been cultivated outdoors. Towards this end, blue and red lights are more essential than other light color wavelengths but you’ll be better off selecting grow lights, having the full spectrum of LEDs.
Intensity of the Lights Too Plays a Significant Role
The intensity of luminosity of the grow lights too plays a significant role, as far as healthy, balanced growth of cannabis is concerned. The intensity of a LED grow light is indicated by its power rating or more specifically, its wattage. Additionally, the flexibility with which the lights can be inclined vertically or horizontally (rated by angle of inclination or declination) also has a considerable effect.
Marijuana plants’ requirement for intensity of lighting changes or varies, depending upon the growth stage. Even when nurtured indoors, marihuana requires hydroponic lights or LED grow lights of high intensity. However, when the plants are at the germination stage i.e. when the seeds have just been planted, they do not require light at all.
But once the seeds start sprouting, they’ll need light for the better part of the day and/or night. That means you’ll have to keep the lamps on for at least 18 hours in a 24-hour period. Nevertheless, when these plants start bearing flowers, they will be able to do fine with 12 hours of illumination. As the plants reach their full growth stage when the flowers have started blooming, it will be time for you to segregate the feminized ones from the males. Male flower buds come handy exclusively for pollination.
Selecting the Right LED Grow Lights for Indoor Marihuana Cultivation
With respect to growing cannabis indoors, it would be ideal to choose LED grow lights with a rating of 32W and using each such unit for every sq foot of grow room. So, if you have a grow tent with a 20 feet area, opting for a 650w LED lamp unit would be par for the course. Nevertheless, you may not need to switch on all the LEDs at least when the plants are germinating.
In the following paragraphs, a few brands of LED grow lights, supremely suitable for cannabis plants have been reviewed.
1. VINTAGE GROW | Best LED Grow Lights for Indoor Plants | Perfect for Seedling or Growing a Small Plant | Dual Spectrum for Veg and Flower | Efficient | More Light with Less Power and Heat | 24W Bulb
Give your indoor cannabis plants the full light spectrum they need for growing and developing healthily, courtesy the LED grow lights from Vintage Grow. Each of the 12 LED light bulbs have a 24w rating that fully illuminate every sq foot or sq inch of your grow room. The lights have been designed and created using components that enable them to give off beams of high intensity.
At the same time, the LEDs are extremely energy efficient which means you do not need to worry about running up a high utility bill even if you keep the lights on for an extended time period. Also, owing to the premium quality of components being used, the LEDs do not generate too much heat which renders them suitable for placing much nearer to the canopy of cannabis plants without risking damaging the plants.
Closer placement of the Vintage Grow LED lights goes a long way in speeding up photosynthesis which is so essential for integrated and balanced growth. The low rating (or wattage) of the LEDs coupled with the optical lens having a tilt angle of 60° makes it perfect for penetrating the plumule, radicle, and the cotyledons without giving off excessive heat. This light is appropriate for encouraging the germination of cannabis seeds as well as meeting the lighting needs of growing and small marijuana plants. Every single unit of the Vintage Grow LED light is moderately priced, so you can buy these lights in bulk for your grow tent.
The manufacturer-PlatinumLED Grow Lights- claims that their Advanced Platinum Series P300 300w 12-band full spectrum LED Grow Light have more PAR for every watt, higher than any comparable model of grow light. This in essence, implies that these LED lights multiple times more intense than other similar lights. The lights reflect the full 12-band spectrum-ranging from ultraviolet light to infra red light and every shade in between.
You have the option of choosing from dual light switches-one switch meant for cannabis plants that are in the germination stage while the other when the plants starts flowering. There are two high speed fans that prevent the lights from getting overheated and functions without creating fuss or noise. The lights are encased in heat sinks crafted from aluminum.
These Platinum LED grow lights can 400w HPS or HID lights and are ideal for installing in a grow space having dimensions of 4.5ft x 3.8ft with a height of 18”. The spectrum meant for vegetative stage emits more of purple/blue light wavelengths that are most suitable for development of leaves, tendrils, and stalks. On the other hand, when both the switches are turned on, the spectral output shifts to pink/red that is suitable for encouraging budding and blooming in cannabis plants. Signature, automatic LED drivers stimulate the bulbs to give off maximum intensity light without consuming too much electricity which make these Advanced Platinum Series P300 LED grow lights ideal for indoor gardens.
Kind LED Grow Light Ballasts are now being increasingly used for indoor and hydroponic cultivation of cannabis as growers are getting good yields. For instance the Kind LED Grow Lights Series K3 L450 will guarantee high yields and at the same time consume very less electricity and generate minimal heat. However, these LED grow lights from KIND are a tad too expensive which could discourage many cultivators from opting for these lights.
The best thing about the K3 L450 series is that the electric current running through the circuit is optimized that leads to an augmentation in the LEDs output and overall efficiency. For the cannabis planters it implies increased yields without of course running a huge utility bill. There are 90 LED lights each of 3W (3x 90) having a combined output of 270W.
The diodes reflect or emit light comprises the entire high intensity 12-band spectrum that also includes UV and infrared wavelengths which are essential for boosting growth during vegetative as well as flowering stage of the cannabis plant. The diodes have optical lens that can be tilted optimally for boosting light penetration through the canopy and for magnifying PAR. Other versatile features include fans that operate silently, oversized heat sinks, and innovative drivers. These Kind grow lights can replace HID lights with a 450W rating.
If you wish to ensure the best results, position the lights 36” above the plant canopy.
The Roleadro 200W Full Spectrum LED Grow Light exploits the groundbreaking COB (chip on board) technology together with the reflective cup in each panel for reflecting the full spectrum of light comprising UV, IR, red and blue wavelengths thereby simulating sunlight. There are a total of 66 pieces of premium EPILEDs, each of 3W that emit the entire light spectrum consistently thus relieving you from the worry of your cannabis plants not receiving sufficient light on cloudy or rainy days. The height or distance of the lights above the plants can be lowered or raised easily so as to facilitate growth during the germination, vegetative, budding, and blooming stages.
Cooling fans coupled with a sunflower radiator keep the lights from getting overheated thereby prolonging the life of the EPILEDs. The cultivator can install a series of these Roleadro lights in a Daisy chain format relieving him from the hassle of dealing with multiple cords that might get entangled. These COB grow lights from Roleadro can light up an area ten times larger than that of conventional LED hydroponics light.
The reflective cups help in an increased lumen output as well as lead to better radiation of built-up heat. The indoor gardener or the hydroponic cultivator can look forward to lighting up a larger grow area with these Roleadro 200W COB full spectrum grow lights that are extremely energy efficient as well.
Considerations for Selecting LED Grow Lights for Growing Cannabis Indoors
Though the use of LED grow lights for indoor gardening of cannabis is somewhat recent, their popularity is growing by leaps and bounds with every passing day. Grow lights, owing to some inherent and distinct advantages they’ve over HID, HPS or CFL lights, are fast replacing such conventional lighting systems. For instance, grow lights tend to be as luminous as the traditional lights but consume much less electricity which makes them more energy efficient.
Additionally, they can stay relatively cool, compared to HID or HPS lights and therefore have a longer active lifespan.
If you go for grow lights of superior quality and install the same in a daisy chain mode, you can look forward to getting approximately 0.5gm of yield from autoflowering or feminized cannabis strains, per watt. LED light models available nowadays are more performance oriented than they were a decade back and hence more adapted for hydroponic as well as indoor cultivation of marijuana. There are many LED grow light brands which are capable of reflecting the 12-band light spectrum that is ideal for consistent and healthy growth of marihuana plants at all stages.
The LEDs are encased in a toughened glass cell that doubles as a specialized optical lens for boosting light penetration through the seed case and flower buds that eventually results in higher yields of good quality.
Why are LED Grow Lights Best for Indoor Gardening/Cultivation
LED light bulbs are fast becoming the best option, as far as the use of grow lights for indoor cultivation, gardening is concerned and for good reasons. On one hand, the lumens output of LEDs is more than HID or compact fluorescent lights. In other words, they generate more light for every watt.
They also radiate less heat and tend to remain cooler which in effect brings down overall electricity consumption. Premium models of LED grow lights are equipped with cooling fans, radiators, and heat sinks, sparing cultivators from the need to make arrangements for ventilation. Finally, installing LEDs is also quite convenient as they can do without ballasts, unlike HIDs and CFLs.