By Addison Herron-Wheeler

Cannabis cultivation for indoor growers is a precise art, and many growers are now relying on LED lights for their indoor grows, taking advantage of all the technological advancements in supplemental lighting. 

Because of the strain cannabis growing can put on electric bills, it makes sense that LED lights are both the economical and environmental choice for growers who still want to see results without paying the price. LEDs also have the capacity to generate greater light intensity. Most HPS grow lights used for indoor grows generate between 900 and 1,200 PPFD (Photosynthetic Photon Flux Density), and full setups can reach an intensity of over 1,500. In lay terms, this means the lights can help boost yields and create faster plant growth. The right LED setup can allow a plant to reach maturation in eight weeks versus the usual nine, and when it does reach maturity, it should also have greater cannabinoid and metabolite content, despite the fast growth rate.

With LED lights on the forefront of cannabis cultivation, lighting companies are doubling down on dialing in the absolute best settings to give growers the optimal amount of information on how lights can impact their grow. 

“We’re doing trials to find out how much light is needed and what the benefits are of using different types of lights,” explains SANlight LED CEO Martin Anker. “For every trial, we make the information public, and you can read more from our blog or watch videos with advice not just about our product, but other types of LED lights that are available.”

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Find the Best Temperature for Maximum Yields 

Growers who are switching from HPS lights to LEDs will need to compensate for the lack of radiant heat, as HPS lights do generate more heat than LED. However, that also means the lights can be closer to the plants if you’re using LEDs. A good way to make sure you’re getting the most from your LEDs is to measure plant tissue and confirm that the optimum temperature conditions are actually reaching your plants. If you’re switching to LEDs, increase the temperature by 3 to 5 degrees above your HPS growing temperature. The ideal ambient temperature for LEDs is between 78 and 82 degrees. 

Measure Your DLI

Another benefit of LED lighting is the dimming control of light intensity. Grow lights mimic and replace sunlight and display the same spectrum of light as the sun. Precise control of this will help dial in plant growth and maximize yield. The DLI measures the photosynthetically active radiation received as a function of light intensity and duration, which means the overall impact from the grow light, and this must stay at the same level as crops move from vegetation to flowering. LED dimming technology helps with this, as you can increase or decrease the intensity based on your calculations. Be sure to monitor your DLI carefully, which should be easy to do with LED lights.

Choosing the Right Light 

When choosing the right light for your grow, check available data and do your research. According to Anker, if data isn’t available, it isn’t a good light. 

“You need to have a really detailed view of the technology to check out if it’s a good light or not, and you need to have a manufacturer you trust, so that you know what is written in the data sheet is the truth,” Anker explains. “You should also look at what LED chips are used to build the light, and you need to trust that the manufacturer isn’t cutting corners and is using quality chips.” Even a cheap LED chip can survive 20,000 hours, but resin and other material sticks to the lights which leads to decreased efficiency or light output, and they’re very difficult to clean. So, Anker says, also look at how the LED is covered and whether the system is waterproof.

Maximize Your Greenhouse Outputs 

Using LEDs in a greenhouse can make your greenhouses more energy-efficient and sustainable. If you run a hybrid greenhouse in an area with variable sunshine, LEDs can supplement solar lighting and help sustain consistent yields. Just like indoor growers, you should be able to get the most bang for your buck if you use LEDs. Once again, calculate what you’re making up for when it comes to standing in for sunlight and replacing the supplemental lighting. 

If you have any other questions or concerns about your grow or how to get the most out of your lights, SANlight has data and answers to your grow questions. In addition to making quality lights, they’re happy to provide you with all the information you need to make the most informed decision. Happy growing!