Choosing the right lighting for your indoor hydroponics system not only ensures maximum yield, but also can make savings on power that can be ploughed back into your profits.  Here are some top tips on choosing lighting for your indoor hydroponic garden.

Use the right bulbs

LED grow lights are perfect for hydroponic growing systems, but for good growth you will need to use different types of bulbs. 

When plants are growing, they need around 18 hours of light each day and grow best under cool or blue light, which boosts leafy growth. When the plants are flowering, you need to switch to warm or red bulbs, giving plants approximately 12 hours of light each day, which boosts the production of flowers and fruit. 

It's important to choose the right PAR (photosynthetically active radiation) watts of the bulb.  This is what determines the amount of energy your plants will be able to derive from the bulb.  For more advice on this point, ask a good supplier of hydroponics-specific lighting.

PAR watts drop quite quickly over time.  Remember to replace the bulbs at least annually to keep your plants growing.

Getting the most from your lighting

There are a few good tricks to getting the most from your lighting investment:

  1. Use light movers to spread out the available light.  Light movers are available with bulbs fixed to a rail and work by moving back and forth or in the form of a spinning lamp.  
  2. Reflectors are also important.  Individual reflectors can be used around the plants to reflect the light given out by your LED bulbs back to your plants, rather than allowing it to spill out into the room where it would be wasted.  
  3. You can use reflective material to line your grow-room, keeping light in during growing hours and excluding it during the hours of darkness when your plants are 'resting'.  Mirrored black and white reflective plastic is a good choice, as it prevents hotspots and is efficient at excluding light during the dark hours.  
  4. Be careful to position your lights properly; too close to the plants and they can be scorched, too far away and they won't grow well.  LED lights can be placed closer to the plants as they are relatively cool, but HID lights are far hotter and should therefore be placed further away.  Installing air-cooled reflectors is helpful as the bulbs' heat is removed by the fans.

In conclusion

Getting the lighting right is very important if you are to grow plants successfully in an indoor hydroponics system.  Use the tips given above to maximise growth and ask for more information on the right choice of LED grow lights at your local hydroponics supplier.