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A Beginner’s Guide to Grow Light Setup

grow lights

When you’re new to an industry, everything seems a bit daunting. It’s even more daunting if there are strict legal requirements surrounding your new venture, as there is with the marijuana industry. One aspect of the cannabis industry that is particularly challenging is setting up the grow light for your indoor grow operation. While this topic is vast, here are some beginner tips to get you started on the right foot. Here are some recommendations from Home grown cannabis business.

Basic Light Setup

Before getting too involved in install grow lights, it is important to understand how marijuana plants grow best. They love intense overhead light which gives them adequate nourishment and promotes rapid growth and abundant bud production. However, if you only use overhead lighting, your plants will likely be tall and thin, which means you won’t get much production from the lower parts of your plants.

To combat this, you want to have a secondary light source located about a third down from the ceiling of your grow tent. This light will be directed towards the sides of the plants, giving the lower sections enough light to grow thick and full of buds. The canopy and supplemental light should emit blue light to promote leaf growth, bud quality, and a stronger plant overall. The ceiling light must be a full spectrum LED or high pressure sodium light, while side light should have lower light output.

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Lighting for small grow spaces

Many novice marijuana growers start in small spaces, either because they are restricted by law to a limited number of plants or because they only grow them for themselves. A closet is a place of popular culture, as are small spare parts. However, in these confined spaces, the heat generated by your light fixtures can be a major issue. Also, the goal in tight spaces like a closet is to grow short, bushy plants rather than tall, skinny ones. This maximizes your bud yield without the need for a large number of plants.

For shorter, bushier plants, use a full-spectrum LED panel that produces between 300 and 600 watts. Your additional side lights should be blue spectrum fluorescent bulbs or LED bars that have a color temperature between 5500K and 6500K and a power of 45 watts. LEDs are a better option for closet setups because they don’t generate heat. Fluorescent bulbs generate heat, but if you only use them for your 45-watt supplemental lighting, the temperature will be manageable.

marijuana grow lights
Courtesy: Shutterstock

Switch from blue light to red light in the final stages

For best results, use blue light for the majority of the growth time before switching to HPS (red light) during the later stages of growth. You’ll know when to turn off your lights when your plants stop growing vertically and are just beginning their peak bud stage. Red light is ideal for bud and flower production and decreases maturity time. In other words, you will be able to enjoy a better quality product more quickly.


Setting up an indoor growing area isn’t difficult, even if you don’t have a lot of space. Using an intense overhead light (blue first, then red) combined with adequate low level blue side lighting will give your plants the best opportunity to thrive.

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