Light is essential for plants to grow well. The amount of light that your plants receive depends on the location of your hydroponic system and the exact place that you decide to grow each set of plants. In addition, the prevailing climate can also reduce the number of hours that your plants are exposed to sunlight. Therefore, it is prudent to supplement the short spell of natural light with artificial grow lights powered by electricity. This will help the plants sustain their natural processes such as photosynthesis and production of flowers and fruits. The following are some artificial lighting alternatives that you use to supplement inadequate sunlight for your plants:
Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs
Compact fluorescent lights are a good option if your hydroponic system is in a small space. The bulb does not produce much heat, meaning that it will not change the temperature of the small space quite significantly and eventually affect plant growth processes. Therefore, the compact fluorescent bulbs are ideal for plants that do well in cold climate. If the plants are very short, you can set the bulbs on the sides to maximise their exposure to light.
Metal Halide Bulbs
Metal halide bulbs have a good spectral distribution because of the bright summer light that they produce. This means that the light they produce stimulates plant processes such as photosynthesis better than the light from compact fluorescent light bulbs. In addition, these lights can maintain their lumen for a long time. You can use them for many years before there is a decline in the intensity of the light they produce. On the downside, the metal halide bulbs could significantly raise the temperature in small spaces and affect the growth of some plants that don't thrive in hot conditions. Preferably, you should use them in large hydroponic systems. They are also good for multi-crop systems where plants compete intensely for light.
High-Pressure Sodium Bulbs
The high-pressure sodium bulbs are comparable to the metal halide bulbs. Their spectral distribution is good, and they produce high-intensity light and a lot of heat. At the same time, their lumen is also durable, meaning that it will be long before the intensity of the light starts to diminish. However, the type of light produced by high-pressure sodium bulbs differs with light for metal halide bulbs. Their spectral distribution is rich with red and yellow wavelengths that stimulate the plants to produce flowers and fruits. You can use these bulbs alongside the metal halide bulbs to maximise the productivity of the plants.
For more information about your lighting options, visit a local hydroponic store.