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Do grow lights really work? How to make sure you’re not wasting your money

It’s never been easier to garden indoors. Today, you can use grow lights to help cultivate many kinds of plants all year long, no matter where you happen to live. But, do grow lights work? Yes! Grow lights are designed to be a sunlight substitute that stimulates the photosynthesis process within plants by providing them with the right color spectrum.

You can grow all your favorite herbs, fruits, and vegetables year-round by using the correct bulb or fixture. Several kinds of grow lights are available on the market, with each having its own strengths and weaknesses. If you’ve been wondering whether grow lights would be an excellent investment for your greenhouse, we’ve got the answers.

What are grow lights anyway?

Greenhouse grow lights are obviously artificial lights. Some are designed to shine with a light spectrum, which is like that of the sun. Others provide a light spectrum that’s customized to the specific plants in your greenhouse. With grow lights, you’re able to copy specific spectral outputs, colors, and temperatures of light. Plus, you can vary the overall intensity of the light these bulbs and fixtures put out.

Do grow lights actually work?

In short, yes. However, many feel that they work only when you choose the right kind of light. While all grow lights promise to mimic the sun and to provide the color spectrum and temperature necessary for proper photosynthesis, there are some who don’t completely buy into the marketing hype surrounding them.

Metal halide lights

Of all the lights we mention here, metal halide lights provide the light that is closest to that of the sun. They work with all types of plants and are rated with a lumen output of about 100 lm per watt. They last for up to 20,000 hours. That means you could run them almost continuously for around three years straight before having to replace them!

However, a particular downside is that these lights also become incredibly hot. Touching one after it’s been turned on for a while can result in significant burns.

Greenhouse LED grow lights

There are some substantial benefits to using LED grow lights, even though some people, as mentioned above, don’t feel the technology is quite up to the standards of traditional lighting. However, LED lights have the following going for them:

  1. They’re environmentally friendly in that the lights are mercury-free and don’t shatter like glass.

  2. They last five times longer than fluorescent bulbs and use half the electricity.

  3. They produce a full spectrum of light, just like fluorescent lights on this list.

The problem here is that any energy and cost savings you might realize by using LED lights are negated by their initial cost, which can be rather expensive. Another downside is that LED light is more direct and less diffuse than more traditional lighting systems.

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