If you are an indoor gardener, then you know that one of the major environmental factors that can make or break your garden is lighting. Grow lights are used in the home or in a greenhouse setting in order to replicate, as closely as artificial lights can, natural sunlight. Appropriate lighting varies depending on the room you are using, any ambient light available, and the kinds of plants you are growing. You might choose hps grow lights, or high-pressure sodium lights, LED grow lights, metal halide lights or others for their brilliant light in the right color spectrums that works well for growing plants indoors. You will want to find the most cost-effective solution for providing your indoor plants with the light they need.
Hydroponic lights usually consist of the grow light itself, a digital ballast, and a reflector. The prices on these items vary, depending on the specifics. The price of the grow lights depends on the variety and wattage. Metal halide lights can range from thirty to forty dollars. HPS grow lights are available in the twenty to forty-five dollars bracket. LED grow lights’ cost can run about $16 per bulb.
All of the aforementioned lights require the use of digital ballasts in order for them to function properly. The ballast’s job is to regulate the flow of electrical current through the bulb. If a ballast was not used, the pure power would surge through the bulb and destroy it. Digital ballasts keep current flowing in just the right amount so that the lighting unit functions properly. Digital ballasts provide very precise amounts of current, saving you money because there are few fluctuations in power and as a result they are very efficient. Digital ballasts are also preferred over older kinds because they run quietly and coolly, and they don’t weigh very much, a consideration when you are hanging lights over plants. Costs for these items can range from $80 to $400 per ballast.
Reflectors are used in conjunction with lights and digital ballast to control where the light goes and to intensify the light your bulb produces. You will find reflectors ranging in price from $25 and up to $250.
Power costs vary from area to area in this country, but that is also another consideration you will want to consider when you put together your indoor garden. If you are gardening in a greenhouse with access to ambient light in sunny Arizona, for example, you will likely need to light your plants for fewer hours than you would if you were gardening in Minnesota in the winter. No matter where you garden indoors, you need to take into account that your plants will require anywhere from twelve to sixteen hours of bright light per day, whether supplied by sunlight or grow lights.
About the Author : Susan Slobac has been an avid hydroponics gardening for years. Over this time, she has experimented with numerous types of hydroponic lights and digital ballasts in an effort to identify what combination yields the best results for her indoor gardening projects.