There are a few things plants must have in order to grow, water, oxygen and light are three of those must-have essentials. Growing vegetables indoors presents a challenge on how to deliver the optimum amount of light to growing plants without causing the utility bill to skyrocket, thus under-mining all the saving gained by growing vegetables at home. HPS lighting (high pressure sodium lighting) is a great light source that will help indoor-growing vegetable plants develop rapidly and produce abundantly, things that all gardeners want from their plants.
The major alternative to HPS lighting is Metal Halide lighting. Each light produces a different spectrum of light. HPS lights stay on the red side of the spectrum while MH lights are on the blue end. In the earliest stages of a plant’s life, adequate lighting from the blue end of the spectrum is needed to provide the tiny plant with the energy it needs to grow into a mature plant. MH lighting has been the lighting choice for indoor gardeners for years because the bulbs can provide the right light the tender young seedlings need. With plenty of energy stored, the tender seedling can grow strong to produce high food yields and fend off diseases.
As plants mature and are ready to start producing fruit is the correct time to start giving you plants the stronger HPS lighting. When reaching maturity and your plants begin to develop produce, yellow and red spectrum lighting is needed to help the plant get the produce to the perfect stage of ripeness. HPS lighting has the needed yellow and red spectrum light at a higher output than most LED lighting or Metal Halide bulbs. This means HPS lighting will stimulate flower and fruit production more effectively.
Many indoor gardeners like to swap the light bulbs they use in accordance with the development stage of their plants. Every indoor gardener will tell you what their opinion is regarding light bulb swapping, but only trial and error can determine that for your own indoor garden. The top reason stated for swapping bulbs is to prevent garden plants from becoming leggy, however, plants only become leggy when they are not receiving enough light. HPS bulbs will provide enough light for healthy plant growth from the seed sowing stage all the way until harvest time.
Cheaper to Use
We recommend you replace your HPS bulbs about once every other grow or once every 6 months. HPS bulbs like the Interlux 1000 watt are very affordable making bulb replacement costs reasonable. One HPS light bulb can last up to two years but many growers will tell you that they start to lose their strength significantly after 6 months – 9 months.