Light is one of the “nutrients” your marijuana plants need the most.
If you’re growing outdoors under optimum conditions, your cannabis plants get max light intensity and ideal wavelengths during late spring and summer.
But when you grow marijuana indoors, you substitute electricity and hydroponics lighting for the sun.
And the type of lighting equipment you use makes a huge difference in the success of your marijuana growing.
The best lighting for marijuana continues to be High Intensity Discharge (HID) lighting.
Compared to the sun, HID lighting isn’t perfect. No indoor grow room lighting is perfect.
But the best HID lighting equipment delivers ample light intensity and adequate wavelengths to give you two or more pounds per 1000-watt light, as long as the rest of your indoor grow is dialed in properly.
If you decide not to use HID lighting, your choices are fluorescent, LED, CFL, plasma, and induction lighting.
These types of lighting are fine for young seedlings and clones.
They can be adequate for small Sea of Green, SCROG, autoflowering, grow chamber, grow tent, closet, or other marijuana garden types where your cannabis plants are less than 3-4 feet tall and grow very close together.
In small marijuana gardens, HID lights run too hot and the grow area lacks vertical space to keep HID lights from burning your marijuana plant canopy.
You hear hype claims from the hydroponics lighting industry, especially the LED sector, about the latest hydroponics lighting technology that’s allegedly “just as good as HID all the way from start to finish.”
In most cases, the hype is false, and many growers purchase expensive, supposedly awesome new lighting tech… only to find it was defective, and/or lacked the firepower to grow massive, sticky buds in full-size indoor ops.
Growers are frustrated by the hydroponics lighting industry.
We’re looking for alternative grow room lighting that lowers costs and grow room heat.
More than that, we want grow lights that generate more intensity and more “photosynthetically active radiation” (PAR) specific to marijuana plants.
Consider HID HPS, the most common light used during hydroponics bloom cycles. It generates reddish-orange light, and a huge amount of heat.
The intensity and light wavelengths sent out by HID HPS are clearly good for generating fat buds… but cannabis wants more intensity and more PAR than what HPS can give!
And cannabis plants don’t need or like HID bulb heat.
By the way, you pay for HID bulb and ballast heat twice– once when you pay for electricity to power your HID ballast and bulb, and again when you pay for electricity to remove HID heat from your room.
With “wavelength-tuning” LED units, you might get the right wavelengths that perfectly match what cannabis wants from light, but you don’t get enough light intensity or penetration.
At least not with the LED units we’ve tested, which include some that cost $2000 or more per unit!
We’re still waiting on a legit LED hydroponics lighting company to step up and provide us an LED unit that truly can replace metal halide and high pressure sodium 1000-watt bulbs in a full-size grow op.
Anyone out there?
Fortunately, thanks to research by LUXIM (the premier international plasma lighting pioneer), along with Holland-based Gavita and American lighting company Chameleon, you now have an alternative to HID and other hydroponics lighting.
It’s called “hydroponics light emitting plasma.”
Chameleon is the only hydroponics lighting company in the world that specifically acknowledges marijuana growers and tests its lighting products on marijuana plants.
You go to their website and see marijuana-specific research data and active testing from real marijuana growers using their plasma lighting technology and it’s obvious that Chameleon plasma provides specific light wavelengths that trigger rapid vegetative growth in grow phase and increased production of THC, other cannabinoids, and bigger buds during bloom phase.
In test data Chameleon provided me, including photographic documentation, it’s easy to see Chameleon plasma lights give you shorter internodes, and fatter, bushier hydroponics plants producing larger harvests of tighter buds.
Another benefit is that hydroponics plasma lighting produces less heat compared to HID, is more efficient at converting electricity to light, and Chameleon’s light-generating diodes and other lighting components last way longer than HID ballasts and bulbs.
I’ve spoken many times with Chameleon founder Chris Pieser and grilled him about his product claims because I’ve seen so many bogus, exaggerated claims for hydroponics lighting (such as LED lighting manufacturers’ claims).
Instead of being defensive, dismissive, hostile, or vague as other hydroponics lighting manufacturers have been, Pieser fields my questions with candor and facts.
He put me in touch with independent marijuana growers who enthusiastically affirmed that Chameleon hydroponics plasma lighting produces spikes in THC and other cannabinoids.
Chameleon hydroponics lights are independently tested by university plant scientist Dr. Chiwon Lee, and Denver’s Kindness Collective.
Aerospace industry engineers and manufacturers produce Chameleon’s lights, and Pieser is constantly pushing the envelope to squeeze more ideal light wavelengths out of every watt you pay for.
For example, Pieser’s engineers spent two years designing high-brilliance reflector materials and anti-reflective borosilicate glass that send an additional 10% of THC-boosting plasma light directly to your crop.
He points out how his new-generation plasma units have scalable reflectors that deliver precise coverage, as well as auxiliary lighting modules that boost wavelengths that make buds bigger and more potent.
Pieser says his units last several times as long as HID units, and are better able to handle moisture and other grow room realities.
Hydroponics plasma grow lights don’t put out as many lumens as HID bulbs, and may not be applicable in gardens with wide spacing between individual plants or where you have plants taller than 3-4 feet, Pieser candidly acknowledges.
He suggests you use Chameleon plasma grow lights in Sea of Green and Screen of Green (SCROG) gardens, or any garden where your plant density is high so you get enough light coverage and penetration with your plant tops 16 or so inches from your hydroponics plasma light.
In full-size cannabis gardens with plants taller than 3-4 feet, he recommends HID as your main lighting with Chameleon plasma as auxiliary lighting that adds the right wavelengths and extra light to create higher yields in a cost-effective manner.
According to Pieser, if you start rooted, established clones and seedlings under Chameleon lights, your hydroponics starts will be “programmed” by plasma’s specific wavelengths, creating super-plants that do well in all phases of growth.
I’m convinced that Chameleon hydroponics plasma grow lights gives you more THC per watt with less heat generated. It boosts potency of your marijuana and offers lower electricity/operating costs, and with less heat.
One other thing…
My grow team and I tested some of the original Chameleon grow lights that Pieser first put on the market many years ago.
My Chameleon plasma grow lights have traveled across the country a few times, hung in many grows for many years, and yet its plasma light-emitting diodes were putting out about 85% the same intensity and PAR as when I first bought it years before.
When finally a part failed and it needed repair, it had about 18,000 hours of reliable. flawless operation, mostly in grow phase but about 40% of the time as an auxiliary light in bloom phase, and only just had a diode failure.
Many marijuana growers are going to find that a light like Chameleon is good in non-HID and HID gardens to provide space age modern lighting tuned to the plant you grow.