Lighting is a crucial factor in the success of a microgreens production. The necessity of using the best grow lights for microgreens available cannot be overstated, as microgreens will appear pale and feeble without adequate light. Microgreens can be grown in either natural or artificial light, so which is preferable? This article will investigate the many forms of lighting and highlight the best lights to use for microgreens.
You'll find that there are benefits and drawbacks to every type of illumination, even though they all get the job done to some extent. Below, we'll discuss these factors in depth and offer product recommendations.
The best grow lights for microgreens are summarized in the table below. The article provides more information on the grow lights.
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There are no more of these lights left. Because of the worldwide shift to LED technology, incandescent light bulbs will likely no longer be sold in stores for some time. They are inefficient due to their high energy consumption, high heat production, short lifespan, and poor spectral wavelength for plant growth.
Toss them out of your mind.
Metal Vapor Lights
These lamps generate light by ionizing a gas mixture in an electric arc. The hues and tones you see are the result of a combination of elements like mercury and sodium. Growers in the commercial sector like metal vapor lamps due to their high intensity and beneficial spectrum for plant development.
The initial investment and ongoing maintenance costs of metal vapor lighting are high. In addition, they generate considerable heat when they ignite. As a result of these issues, vapor lights are not suggested for the domestic microgreen grower.
Gardeners and microgreen growers frequently utilize fluorescent lights. Even if most people have already made the switch to LED bulbs. To this day, there are farmers who insist fluorescent illumination provides the best results.
Despite its lower cost compared to incandescent and metal halide bulbs, fluorescent lighting has some downsides. The glass bulbs are delicate and break easily. They should be disposed of appropriately because of the heavy metals they contain.
The loss of brightness and potential interference to electrical devices from the ballast that supplies the light are two major downsides, though.
LED Replacement Bulbs For Fluorescent Lights
With few tweaks, you can convert an old fluorescent store light to use with LED bulbs. Active Grow provides a video that demonstrates how to easily rewire a light fixture and remove the ballast for use with their horticulture replacement bulbs.
The microgreen's growth stage, as well as the light's color or spectrum, will determine how well it grows under the conditions. We advise going with one that can produce a whole spectrum for optimal outcomes. Your microgreens will flourish in an environment that includes elements of various colors.
The wattage is an important technical feature since it indicates the quantity of electricity the light will use at a given time. Generally speaking, the higher the wattage, the more intense the illumination. In the meanwhile, the lower the wattage, the less energy it will need. Each bulb needs to be at least 20 watts for optimal performance.
Microgreens grow lights can be left on over long periods of time or run continuously. Selecting one with high energy efficiency is crucial for this reason, as it will help you save money on your monthly electricity bill. LEDs are fantastic because of their low power consumption and high efficiency.
The amount of light produced by a bulb is measured in lumens. In other words, it's what decides how "bright" a bulb is. Light intensity is measured in lumens.
Kelvin (color temperature)
What you see when you turn on a light bulb is essentially described by its color temperature. Temperature is expressed on a scale from one thousand to ten thousand degrees Kelvin (K). To the extent that a color's temperature is higher, the more cyan it appears to be. Lower-temperature light sources are typically redder. The color temperature of daylight is 6500K, therefore we need to get as close to it as feasible.
How many hours of light do microgreens need?
For optimal growth, most plants (including microgreens) require at least six hours of high-quality light every day.
When sunlight is your primary light source, you have little to no say over how bright or dim the room becomes. However, you may make the most of the light you have by planning your setup with an eye on existing shade patterns and the direction of natural light.
Indoors, you may grow microgreens easily and efficiently by experimenting with different light sources until you find the one that best suits your needs. Growing microgreens can be done in either a constant light cycle or a modified daylight cycle, with some growers opting for a 12 hour on, 12 hour off schedule.
The 18-hour-on, 6-hour-off schedule strikes a good compromise between stimulating development and giving the plants a "rest" period. Growers have found that this method results in the most vibrant colors and flavorful microgreens by experimenting with various light exposure intervals.
What do light spectrums have to do with growing microgreens?
Unlike other plants, microgreens may thrive with a lower light spectrum. Other plants, such as tomatoes and peppers, have longer growing cycles, and the light spectrum becomes more important when you're trying to force the plants into flowering (chamomile, zinnias, cross-breeding experiments).
However, a wider range of light is required for the growth of some varieties of microgreens. Lighting with a color temperature above 4500k is recommended when cultivating herbs or other plants for micros with a longer growing cycle than 20 days.
The standard range for light temperatures is between 2000K and 6500K. Light with a color temperature between 2000 and 3000 Kelvin is considered "warm white," and its hues range from orange to yellow-white.
"Cool white" colors have temperatures between 3100K and 4500K. The light from this spectrum is completely white.
For plants with a longer than 20-day growth cycle, such as microgreen herbs, a light spectrum above 4500K is recommended.
Another common expression in light comparisons is "lumens to Watts." Quantity of illumination gained per unit of input electrical energy. Lighting effects diodes (LEDs) are the most productive for this purpose.
Why do microgreens need lights?
Microgreens, much like any other plant, require light for photosynthesis. Furthermore, improper lighting can cause wilting, leaf yellowing, and poor development. It can delay development and reduce harvests.
How many hours of lighting do microgreens need?
Microgreens have varying lighting needs that are dependent on the type and strength of lights you plan to employ. A minimum of 12 hours of artificial light per day is recommended for microgreens. When darkness falls naturally, however, only four to six hours of sleep is required.
Our research suggests that LED lighting is the optimal choice for growing microgreens. T5 lights are the best artificial lighting option for plant growth.
Before we wrap up, I'd like to share with you the results of an intriguing study I conducted utilizing kale microgreens and a variety of lighting conditions. This study found that while microgreens grown under fluorescent/incandescent light had a greater fresh and dry mass than those grown in LED light, the latter produced a higher concentration of pigments.
What kinds of bulbs do you think are best?