The Proper Lighting for Your Hydroponic System: What You Need to Know

Growing plants and vegetables indoors is a pleasure and a privilege, but it does require some knowledge of how a plant works, what the plant needs, and which lights are perfect for your hydroponic system. Outdoors, the plant receives all its energy from the sun, but when you are growing indoors, you need to provide artificial light for those plants. Following is a quick and simple rundown of the different lighting options you have for your hydroponic system:

  • Metal Halide bulbs

Metal halide bulbs are often preferred by most growers, and most gardeners recommend them above all others because these bulbs have excellent spectral distribution. There are bulbs of different luminosity available from Olympia Lighting and similar companies. Luminosity is important to foster growth and photosynthesis in plants. Light may appear white to us, but it is, in fact, composed of various frequency ranges – a combination of the many different colours of the rainbow. The plant needs all of those colours, and some colours more than others during their different stages of growth. It is worth keeping in mind that these light bulbs best mimic the natural light of the sun.


  • High Pressure Sodium bulbs

High pressure sodium bulbs are often used for fruit-producing plants because they are high in light waves of the red and orange spectrum, which induces flowering. Similar bulbs are often used for highway street lights – we are all familiar with their pinkish or orange glow. Like metal halide bulbs, they are very energy efficient and have a long life as well.

  • LED growing lights

LED (Light-emitting diodes) are possibly the wave of the future because they can be programmed to emit different kinds of light frequencies (more towards the blue or red end of the spectrum) and do not emit any heat. Furthermore, they consume little energy and last a long time.

  • Fluorescent bulbs

You probably have some in your house right now – the long-lasting, energy-saving bulbs that come in various sizes and emit a bright, white light. However, not just any fluorescent bulb will do; the kind of bulbs your plants need are of the high output variety, emitting at least 5000 lumens. Look for T5 – or even better, T8 – on the label to be sure that the bulb has a high enough output.

Warm or cool?

On the packaging of fluorescent lights will be mentioned whether they are warm white or cool white – also often referred to as soft white or daylight white. Cool lights ensure growth, whilst warm lights induce blooming.

Proper lighting is of the utmost importance when growing indoors, and it requires some investment as well. But although a setup need not be expensive, it is important to understand that light bulbs must emit the proper amount of lumens, need to contain the right spectrum of colours, and may need a ballast for higher wattage consumption, and your hydroponic system needs to be prepared to remove excessive heat caused by the lights. Make sure that you have the right system – and the right HYDROPONIC SUPPLIES such as lights – and you will get the yield that you deserve in the end.

Image attributed to punsayaporn/

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