Hell yeah, the light you use does matter. In fact, light will be one of the main factors in how much cannabis your plants produce and ultimately how much bud you will get to trim, cure and smoke.
In this article we will cover the best lighting for growing dank buds as most growers aim to get 0.5g up to 1g per watt of light (so a 1000 watt grow light can yield up to 1kg (or two pounds) with the correct genetics, medium, nutrients and technique) and alot of hobbysts set ups use this metric to determine how much bud they might yield.
The first thing we need to understand before realizing this is not the best metric is to understand that not at light produces the same "light".
Let's start with sunlight at sea level. There is currently, and most likely never will be a commercial way to replicate the entire spectrum of wavelengths and intensity the sun naturally provides us with every single day. The suns light at sea level is about 93 lumens per watt.
Compact Fluorescent's, on the other hand, are mand made tubes of glass with a gas and some mercury inside and do some weird stuff with photons and electrons that excite the molecules and produce light through tiny explosions. only 17 lumens per watt. oh and some nasty radiation, wonderful right?
LED's seem to be not only the most effective and efficient lights at not only replicating sunlight but providing a whopping 130 - 200 Lumens per watt making them even "brighter" than the sun! Be sure to put your shades on when they on as they most certainly can fry your retina after long exposure. Unlike CFLs, LEDs are optimized to produce certain light spectrums. This works really well because cannabis needs certain light spectrums at different times throughout its life cycle.
If you’re into old-school technology, you can try an HID lighting system to grow your cannabis. This artificial light works on the same basic principles of growing weed just like stoners did back in the day before LEDs became popular. HPS dual-spectrum lamps use MH mode for veg and HPS for flowering and provide between 60 - 100 Lumens per watt, but these lights will run the meter, and they tend to be on the expensive side.
Image from Comsol
Sunlight makes for happy and healthy plants.
Photo from CannabisCulture
The best light for growing cannabis is the sunlight. Anyone that tells you otherwise is kidding themselves. Sunlight produces an average of 93 lumens per watt at sea level. It also produces the widest wavelength of light possible, which is incredibly difficult to replicate commercially.
Sunlight has its restrictions though, as in most parts of the world planning and planting is done during spring and harvesting during autumn making for a once a year harvest. Most outdoor growers use the winter to trim, cure and prepare products for market while prepping genetics and clones indoor for the next season.
Various techniques such as creating a greenhouse or vegging indoors can create for a perpetual harvesting cycle or grow in colder climates that do not have full sun during summer.
Tips for sunlight
Make sure your plant is getting at least 8 hours of direct sunlight and more than 12 hours of total light during the vegging stage for maximum results.
A simple plastic or light shade netted greenhouse with fans / heaters can help maintain temperatures in extreme climates.
Make sure you plan for watering as the sun can dry out the medium much faster than indoor light.
Compact Fluorescents might seem good at first...
Photo by GrowWeedEasy
However, you just won't get what you looking for. If you’re on a budget, you can start out with Compact Fluorescent ( CFLs ); however, the plant will not grow to be much taller than 2 or 3 feet and might stretch.
If you only use CFLs throughout the whole cycle expect to get upset, cos you’ll be pissed off with the amount of buds you will end up with. CFLs just do not have the right light intensity and spectrum as seen in this study. Though some growers manage to get decent yields using CFLs.. here is the TLDR:
Tips for CFL Grow Lights
You will want to build a homemade light that has at least 4 to 6 100W CFLs installed and wired together on a wooden board to grow one or two plants.
If you start your veg cycle with CFLs, do not switch the light to LEDs during the flowering stage. This will stress the plant out, and in some cases, it may not flower at all. You can however put small plants outside after they have vegged under CFLs.
Keep your plants under CFLs for both the veg and flower cycle, and adjust the timer from an 18/6 to 12/12 lighting schedule when the veg cycle ends.
Keep the plants as close the CFLs as possible to avoid stretching.
Why are LEDs Better for Growing Weed?
Photo by plantozoid
Modern technology for LEDs are now available with switchable-technology from veg to flower, and some even utilize UV technology to get the most cannabinoids out of your cannabis plant during the last couple weeks of its life. Most LED grow lights on the market are more efficient than HID lights, have a longer lifespan, consume less energy, and are very durable.
Tips for LED Grow Lights
It’s a good idea to get a set of adjustable rope hangers because you will need to keep raising the LED light as the plant grows.
Because LEDs run cool, you can keep your LED light really close to the plant without burning the leaves; however, a distance of 12 to 24-inches is recommended by most growers.
If you’re using LED lights inside of a reflective grow tent, you will need an exhaust fan and another small clamp fan blowing on your cannabis plants because LED light will produce a small amount of heat out of its built-in exhaust fans. If you don’t have fresh air circulation and keep the humidity levels down, condensation can form on the tent’s interior walls.
Which lights do you use to grow your plants and why?