Growing marijuana is something that has to be done very carefully. There are multiple ways to grow weed and while some people prefer to grow it outdoors, the natural way – there are others who choose to do it indoors. Growing weed indoors requires many elements, most important of which are the grow lights because they provide heat and light to the marijuana plants, both of which are essential for its healthy growth. However, while ‘grow lights’ are the specialized lights which are used for growing plants, many people wonder if they can use regular LED light bulbs to grow plants!
Let us take a closer look at this question and try and understand if regular LED light bulbs can be used to grow plants. We also take a look at what is the role that a grow light plays when it comes to the growth and the development of a plant, as well as try and understand the different types of grow lights that there are. Finally, we also answer the question if you can use regular LED light bulbs to grow your cannabis plants. Let us first start by understanding what the different forms of growing marijuana are – and then proceed to grow lights.
Indoor vs Outdoor Growing
When it comes to growing marijuana (cannabis or weed, however you prefer to call it), there are two broad ways in which these plants can be grown – you can either grow them outdoors, in the nature – under the open skies and the sun, or you can choose to grow them indoors, in a controlled environment using artificial sources of light and heat.
Outdoor growing is the classic, old-fashioned way of growing weed. When it comes to this type of growth, you are depending way too much on the natural factors being just perfect and you have little control over your plant. Your cannabis plant might get damaged because the sunlight might not be enough, or because of bad weather, or excess amounts of rain or snow! However, none of these problems persist if you choose to grow your weed indoors.
There are several benefits to growing your weed indoors as compared to growing it outdoors. First off, while marijuana has been legalized in most states in the US, it continues to be a social taboo. Hence, most people would rather prefer to grow their weed indoors. Furthermore, growing your marijuana plants indoors allows you to exert a greater level of control over the amount of light, heat, water and air it gets. You can simulate the warmth and the light of the sun using grow lights, you can provide for air with the help of a proper ventilation system along with fans, you can also ensure that the water you provide is just enough.
Furthermore, you can even tweak these simulated natural factors to create what is known as ‘optimal growth conditions’ where the light, heat, air and water are just perfect to grow the best kind of weed that you can! You can also tweak some of these elements to actually modify the taste and the potency of the weed! Hence, growing indoors has numerous benefits compared to growing marijuana outdoors and is preferred by most modern-day growers.
Understanding the Role of Grow Lights
Grow lights are the most important part of the indoor growth of any plant, particularly marijuana. You need to understand the most basic thing first – plants need the sun to grow well. It is in the direction of the sunlight that the plants tend to grow and the light and the warmth of the sun also helps the plants generate energy via the process of photosynthesis, where they convert sunlight into energy.
Furthermore, the warmth and the light also help the cannabis plant generate various pigments and chemicals, including THC, which is the primary element that gives you the effect of being ‘high’. Altering the light and heat can also alter these effects and some more enterprising growers actually try and play around with the chemical composition of their plant in order to get the best high from the bud.
Grow lights basically replace the sun in an indoor setup. Various phases of the plant’s growth requires different amounts of sunlight (and even different wavelengths of the light) and this is where grow lights tend to play a major role.
Can You use Regular LED Light Bulbs to Grow Plants?
Now that you know why grow lights are important, let us try and answer the biggest question that we have at hand – can you use regular LED light bulbs to grow plants. By regular LED light bulbs we mean the bulbs that you use to light your home!
There are two answers to this – while technically speaking, the light from these regular LED light bulbs can be used to grow your plants, most people actually prefer using grow lights. This is because the lights that come from a regular LED light bulb and a grow light are fundamentally quite different. A regular light bulb also emits ‘light’ and that can grow your plant but the efficiency would be far too less and the plant won’t be getting the right kind of light that it should be getting.
You need to understand that when it comes to providing light, you are not just providing any type of light to your plant. You are providing something which can actually replace the natural light of the sun, which composes of different wavelengths, all of which are needed by the plant during different stages of its growth. A full-spectrum LED grow light is the ideal candidate when it comes to growing your marijuana plant indoors and growing your plants using LED light bulbs is possible, but it is neither optimal nor recommended as it might even end up damaging the plants in the long-run. Plants need lights of various colors and spectrums in order to trigger photosynthesis and a regular LED light bulb just cannot provide that!
Grow Lights vs Regular Light Bulbs
Different Types of Grow Lights
While there are a number of different kinds of grow lights out there, broadly speaking, you can categorize all of them under the following three categories. Here are the different types of grow lights:
High-Intensity Discharge (HID) Grow Lights
There are two types of HID lights:
- Metal Halides
Metal Halides (MH) are lights which are on the cooler (blue) spectrum of light and provide a cool white light to the plants. These are grow lights which are good when it comes to the vegetative stage of the plant’s growth cycle.
- High-Pressure Sodium Grow Lights
High Pressure Sodium (HPS) grow lights are the exact opposite of metal halides. They are on the warmer (red) side of the spectrum and emit a yellow-orange light which is good for the plants when they reach the bloom phase of their growth cycle.
Fluorescent Grow Lights
Fluorescent grow lights are one of the most inexpensive options when it comes to growing marijuana indoors. These light-tubes produce light of a much lesser intensity compared to other forms of light and are mostly used as a supplement to the grow lights rather than replacing the light of the sun. They come in cool, warm as well as full-spectrum options. CFL lights are the most common forms of fluorescent grow lights.
Last but not the least, they are the most popular forms of grow lights. LED grow lights are basically made up of multiple Light Emitting Diodes which are fixed to a panel. The biggest advantage of these lights is that they provide the most light per wattage and are really great when it comes to reducing electricity costs. Let us take a closer look at why LED lights are the best choice for growing weed indoors: