HPS AND LED: THE PROS AND CONS FOR CANNABIS GROWERS

As a cannabis grower, you have many options when it comes to glow lights but the two that stand out, and are most argued, are HPS and LED. However, what most people don’t understand is that the debate shouldn’t be ‘hps vs led’. 

When it comes to deciding on what grow light is best for you, you need to take a wide range of factors into consideration. Among other things, the primary factors to consider are the types of plants you are looking to grow, the temperature you are growing your crop in, and even the stage of growth of the plant. 

Today we’ll be looking at these three main factors and decide which light works for different situations. Hopefully, by the end of the article you’ll have a better idea on how to set up your entire cannabis growing setup to give you the best yield and quality of plant.

TYPES OF PLANTS

A plant’s characteristics help in judging what light would be best for your grow room. If you’re looking to grow a plant that usually gets very tall at full growth, like a cannabis sativa strain, then you don’t need a very big lumen footprint and you’ll be cramped for space considering the height of the plant. As such, a flat LED lighting system will work brilliantly for your grow room.

Alternatively, if you’re considering growing a plant that is very dense and rotund, like a cannabis indica strain, then you’ll need something with intense luminosity so you can leave a stronger lumen footprint. You’d be better off with an HPS light in such a case.

Therefore, research the plant you are looking to grow and note down the physical characteristics. If it’s tall and skinny, then a flat LED lighting system will do. If it’s small and bushy, go with HPS lights. If it’s a combination of both, then you might need to get creative and consider a HPS/LED combination setup. 

TEMPERATURE

If you’re growing in a hot room, then using an HPS is not a good idea as the intense heat will damage your plant. You need something that will have enough luminosity without affecting the temperature too much and an LED lighting system is perfect for that. 

Alternatively, if you’re growing in cold temperatures, then you can use an LED lighting system and pay an incredible amount of money for heating separately, or just use an HPS light for the heat. The cold will have just as much of an effect on the plant as the heat will, so be smart with your lighting and install a system that will help the situation rather than put a burden on you and the plant.

STAGES OF GROWTH

When it comes to lighting, there are three main stages of growth for cannabis plants; the seedling stage, the vegetative stage, and the flowering stage. During the seedling stage, the plant is at its most vulnerable and any intense lighting will have a negative impact. Seedlings do not have the necessary foundation, or size, to be able to accommodate bright light.

As such, HPS is not a viable option for seedlings as the high-wattage and intense luminosity will be damaging. If you’re going to use them, you need to place them at a considerable distance (sometimes 8 to 10 feet away). Alternatively, you can consider LED lights as the low heat emission will allow you to place them close to the seedlings. The dimmer option also helps in adjusting the luminosity, if you feel the light intensity is too much for the seedlings.

The vegetative stage is where light plays the most important role as this is when the leaves grow and the root system expands. Photosynthesis is key at this stage and you need to provide your plant with almost 18 hours of light.

As far as the efficiency of growth of the plant is concerned, there is no denying that HPS lighting would be ideal. The high wattage really helps the plant grow during the vegetative stage and you’ll be looking at a healthy plant. However, with having to provide almost 18 hours of light per day, an HPS lighting system would raise the electricity bill significantly.

LEDs can give you the same amount of light and duration of light, while taking it easy on your pocket in the process. The results won’t be as great as they would be with an HPS lamp, but you need to weigh the pros and cons. If you don’t have a big system to begin with and don’t grow a lot, then an HPS could work for you.

HPS lights enjoy the same status in the flowering stage as it does in the vegetative stage. The light intensity, combined with the red and orange wavelength of the light, is the best source of light for growing cannabis plants during the flowering stage. You will have to keep an eye on the amount of heat going on to the plants though, as too much heat could be harmful for the buds.

Digital LEDs can offer the same wavelength of light as HPS lights, but there is a difference in the light intensity. However, again the consideration of electricity costs might force you to consider an LED setup instead of HPS. However, many growers optimally use LED and manage to grow bountiful yields. 

CONCLUSION

As you can see from the above, the debate goes beyond just HPS v LED. You need to look at this argument from the angle of the plant you’re growing and decide which light you will use depending on the factors that have been discussed above. 

At the end of the day, you need to look at what your intention of growing cannabis is (personal or commercial), what setup you can afford (both in terms of capital and running costs like electricity), and the yield of the plant. Keeping all of this in mind, along with the information above, you’ll be able to find a lighting setup that is ideal for your growing needs.



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