Once you have decided the style of growing you will pursue, you must purchase proper lighting. If growing outside, the sun will handle the light aspect. If growing indoors, there are a few options available to home growers.
The first is High Intensity Discharge Lighting (HID). There are two types of HID lights, High Pressure Sodium and Metal Halide. These lights are generally easy to assemble and relatively cheap compared to the alternatives.
Metal Halide bulbs are powerful in the blue light spectrum, making them the best option for your plants during the vegetative phase. The average Metal Halide bulb will provide about 10,000 hours of light.
High Pressure Sodium light bulbs are mostly composed of sodium, which results in an orange-red colour light. This colour spectrum is well suited for the flowering phase of cannabis plants. An HPS light can last up to 18,000 hours but consumes more energy and generates more heat than Metal Halide lights.
Many growers recommend using a combination of both Metal Halide and High Pressure Sodium lights to ensure the healthiest and strongest plants possible.
It is important to note that High Intensity Discharge Lighting cannot be directly plugged into a standard light socket. To connect these lights to power, it is necessary to use an electrical ballast, a device that helps to limit the intensity of the electrical current.
LED lights are another option. LED technology has improved significantly over the past few years. LED lights can perform just as well as HID options and are usually a bit cheaper.
There are three main types of LEDs that you can use to grow cannabis. These include standard LED, COB LED and spread-style LED.
Standard LEDs consist of a mix of red and blue lights, which results in a purple hue. These are the cheapest form of LED lights but are also typically the lowest quality, potentially resulting in lower yields and suboptimal bud quality.
COB LED lights are made of hundreds of tiny LEDs on one small chip. COB stands for “chip on board”. COBs are considered to be the most efficient LED lights for cultivating cannabis. They produce a white light that mimics the natural light spectrum of the sun. These lights are energy-efficient and high quality but are also considerably more expensive than standard LED lights.
Spread-style LEDs are made up of a large number of small LEDs spread out on a panel or board. These types of lights are the most energy-efficient options but can be extremely expensive
Certain types of fluorescent lights will work for the vegetative period of growing, T5 grow lights are commonly used for mother plants and/or in cannabis nurseries.