Growing cannabis is an elegant art with solid scientific backing. The math of growing fruitful and healthy cannabis buds are as crucial as the tender, love, and care growers put into their efforts and harvest. An essential cornerstone of maintaining a vigorous and bountiful plant and yield is lighting. Growers from novice to OG veterans (pun intended) understand the importance of lighting for their cannabis plants. This article will assist you in understanding the fundamentals of the lighting spectrum and how it affects your cannabis plants from germination to harvest.
What is the Lighting Spectrum?
During the 1980s, U.S. government agencies like NASA have been experimenting with LEDs or Light-Emitting Diodes’ effects on cannabis plants. We have learned that different arrays of light have many other products on plants, especially cannabis. To the untrained eye, light only appears white. However, the reality is that light comes in a range of recognizable colors. If you have ever laid your sights on a rainbow after a heavy storm, then you already have an understanding of the spectrum. The complete spectrum of light is an electromagnetic spectrum that ranges from infrared rays to ultraviolet (UV) light. The light spectrum is measured in nanometers (nm). A light that is visible with the naked human eye that can be seen can range from 380 nanometers to roughly 750 NMS. Every single organic being on this planet is reliant on light to thrive and survive. Although sunlight allows a total spectrum in the form of waves to organic life, it can be very inefficient for indoor growers. Fret not, green reader! We have composed a fundamental guide to better understand which wavelength of light is most effective based on the vegetative stage and flowering period when growing cannabis indoors.
Lighting and the Vegetative Stage
When considering light levels during the vegetative stage of growing cannabis, most studies have shown that light levels in the UV range to be quite beneficial for the overall body of the cannabis plant. Ultraviolet light, sometimes called ‘blue light,’ is essential in harnessing and maintaining hearty and healthy leaves. This feat is accomplished indoors by using lights such as CFLs or compact fluorescent lamps, or metal halide light bulbs. These lights are capable of producing roughly 400 to 500 nms of light. This is the latter end of the UV light spectrum. CFLs and metal halide bulbs have the feat of mimicking the Sun’s ability to grant the appropriate amount of blue light during the Summer and Spring seasons. About 460 NMS are often considered to be the ideal number of nanometers of light for cannabis during the vegetative stage. Greenlight, which ranges from 495 to 570 nanometers, has been proven to be the benefactor in the levels of yield with plants such as lettuce and celery. However, this is not the case with cannabis. Stick to using blue light during the vegetative stage.
Lighting and the Flowering Period
Ah! The time has come! Your cannabis plants have become ready to enter the flowering period. Here, the most effective light is infrared. Infrared is also simply known as red light. Red light falls in the range of approximately 620 nm to about 780 nm. The objective during the flowering period is to yield the most amount of buds your cannabis plants can physiologically handle. Recent studies have shown that infrared lighting increases the rate of photosynthesis to its climax in comparison to any other light on the spectrum. A handful of studies note that 660 is an ideal amount of NMS to yield those big buds on our cannabis plants. Just like in the vegetative stage, the red light imitates the red wavelengths showcased by our Sun during the hottest days of the Summer and Fall. There is also slim evidence that yellow light, which is about 570 to 590 nanometers, has been useful for cannabis in its flowering period. During this period, the red light wins.