Even greenhouse growers need grow lights. The sun is a powerful source of energy for plants, but it’s also inconsistent. Between fickle weather, seasonal growing conditions and the limits of your own local climate, it’s always a good idea to give your crops an extra boost with supplemental lighting. In fact, greenhouse growers have begun to see higher yields and potency with the use of LED grow lights. Even major players like Harborside choose high quality LEDs to keep their product top-tier and competitive.
The right greenhouse grow lighting makes all the difference between mediocrity and excellence. But only if you know how to make the most of your lights.
To increase yields and potency with your greenhouse supplemental lighting, follow these essential tips.
Choose Variable Spectrum Greenhouse Lighting for Higher Yields & Potency
As a greenhouse grower, you already recognize and respect the sun’s ability to give your plants the exact light spectrum they need. You may also know that the best type of greenhouse grow lighting is LED supplemental lights. Unlike HPS and fluorescent lamps, energy-efficient LEDs provide full-spectrum lighting.
But if you really want to boost the quality of your product, go one step further and choose variable spectrum LEDs. Variable spectrum lighting allows you to adjust the light spectrum as your crop transitions through the grow cycle.
You can pump up the blue light in the vegetative stage to encourage strong, stocky growth. You can blast red light in the flowering stage to increase bud production. But it doesn’t have to be an either/or situation like it does with HPS lighting. Even as you crank up the red spectrum to promote flowering, you can maintain a high level of blue to promote potency.
In other words, you can design your own light recipe to create the product you want.
Use Supplemental Greenhouse Lighting to Extend the Day
Nature will not always provide the same hours of daylight that your plants need to thrive. While the number of required daylight hours varies depending on your specific crop and growth stage, 12 hours is typically the minimum.
If nature won’t provide the amount of sunlight you need, you can create it yourself. Pre-program your greenhouse grow lighting for the day length most appropriate for your crop’s current needs.
Most plants need the adequate light in the vegetative stage—usually 18-24 hours of light a day. This allows your crop to create energy through photosynthesis. In turn, your plants grow strong and wide, prepared to support higher yields and potency in the flowering stage in your greenhouse.
Use the Sunrise/Sunset Setting to Support Healthy Development
Choose greenhouse grow lighting that includes a sunrise/sunset setting.
When the sun goes down, plants don’t just stop photosynthesis. They transition into a different biological process: metabolism. The gradual light change of the setting sun signals that it’s time to switch processes. Same deal with the rising sun.
If you’re using your greenhouse grow lighting to lengthen the days, you should also use a sunrise/sunset setting. This is a feature on advanced LED grow lights allowing you to make a gradual change from light to dark. And believe it or not, that gentle transition helps you get quality results. An abrupt shift between “on” and “off” can shock the plant’s system and stunt growth.
Keep Light Intensity Consistent with Photosensors
The entire point of greenhouse grow lighting is to keep light quality and intensity consistent. Even on cloudy days and in dark seasons, your supplemental lights keep your plants fed in photons.
But to truly be consistent, you need to be able to balance your artificial lights with natural light from moment to moment.
High quality LED grow lights do this with photosensors. All you have to do is program your desired light spectrum. As the sun brightens, the greenhouse grow lighting dims. You don’t have to worry about overwhelming your crop or depriving them. And when you control the light recipe, you control the seasons. At least as far as your plants’ perception is concerned.
This brings us to our next point.
Use Greenhouse Grow Lighting to Speed the Harvest Cycle
We mentioned how your crop responds differently to different light spectrums. Ever wonder why that happens?
The sun’s position in the sky changes with the changing seasons. As a result, plants perceive the light they receive from the sun differently. In autumn, when the sun hangs lower, plants get higher levels of red light. This has become their signal that winter is coming, and they need to reproduce quickly. Hence flowers.
The beauty of variable spectrum LED lights is that you get to tell your plants what season it is. You can tell them it’s already fall when it’s actually spring. This means you don’t have to wait for the natural progression of the season. You have the power to speed things up. And the faster you get through one grow cycle, the sooner you can start the next.
Finding Greenhouse Lighting to Increase Yields and Potency
Now, all this advice means nothing if your supplemental greenhouse lighting is sub-par. Take the time to select the right lights for your facility. To get high yields and greater potency in greenhouse, we recommend looking for:
- Technologically advanced LED grow lights. (Remember, not all LED lights are high quality.)
- Programmable spectrum control
- Photosensors and automatic dimming
- Sunrise/sunset setting
Your best bet is to find LED grow lights that are designed specifically for greenhouse growing. We suggest checking out the GH Pro 340 from California Lightworks. This greenhouse grow lighting features a slim profile to minimize shadow and make sure your entire crop gets the light it needs.
If there’s anything we can do to help you find the right lighting solution for your greenhouse, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We know there’s so much to consider and so many questions to ask. We’re here for anything you need.