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Grow Light Coverage

Greenhouse Grow LightsSupplying adequate light coverage for strong, healthy growth is critical to the indoor gardener. Using a light that is too small can result in uneven growth and weakened plants. Using too large a lamp can result in burn or other damage as well as wasted electricity. Deciding which High Intensity Discharge Light to use doesn’t have to be difficult. The size of your indoor garden will determine what wattage system you should purchase.

The chart below gives general guidelines for the area coverage a particular lamp will provide. Plants such as tomatoes or basil that need strong, direct light will do best in the primary areas shown in blue. Most salad greens and other leafy plants including kale and spinach will find all the light they require in supplementary areas shown in white.

Now you can grow indoors all year long! At Planet Natural, we’ve carefully selected only the best grow room supplies — from lighting and hydroponics to climate control and air purification — to make your indoor growing experiences blossom.

A number of variables including the type of reflector used, the reflective qualities of the grow room walls and distance of plants from the light source will affect the amount of light that reaches your plants. The intensity of the light is greatest near the bulb and diminishes relatively quickly as the distance between source and plant increases.

To avoid burning plants — HID lamps are also a source of heat as well as light — follow the chart to keep your lamp a safe distance from tender plant tops. You can generally determine if your plants are a safe distance from the lamp by putting the back of your hand level with the plants to test for a comfortable temperature. If your hand begins to feel uncomfortably warm (use caution) the lamp is too close. Lamps must be adjusted up as plants grow taller.

Area Coverage Recommendations Recommended Mounting Height Above Plants

Growing areas can be expanded by adding additional lights and by using a light mover. Depending on the size of your grow space, it’s often more efficient — both in lighting and in electricity use — to use multiple, smaller wattage lamps than a single large lamp. Using three 400 watt lamps rather than one 1,000 watt lamp will increase a grow area by 30 to 40% and allow more plants to be closer to the point of light. Smaller lamps, which generate less heat, can also be hung closer to the tops of plants.

5 Responses to “Grow Light Coverage”

  1. Henry Crespo on December 9th, 2015 at 6:58 pm #

    I found your site searching for coverage areas of various HID reflectors. I’m leaving a comment because I really like the little chart you have showing recommendations for coverage area and hanging height. I prefer visual info and thought that was a nice way to present the information.

  2. Vincent Ajello on May 13th, 2016 at 2:36 am #

    I have a thousand watt ballast that can work with either the Halide or sodium bulb. I need to light an area for blueberry cuttings that have just been cloned. I’m told the wattage of the bulb must match the wattage of the ballast.. Does that limit me to the exact wattage? Can , I ideally, cheat going upwards – IE two 600 watt bulbs for a total of 1200 or does going downward work – IE two 400 W bulbs for a total of 800 Watts.

    • E. Vinje on May 13th, 2016 at 6:31 am #

      Vincent –

      You’ll need to purchase a 1000w bulb for the job.

  3. Gary on December 11th, 2018 at 6:17 am #

    I have a small house plant that doesn’t get enough sun light. I purchased a LED bulb from Feit Electric model a19/grow/ledg2. Is this adequate for a small indoor house plant?

  4. BK on December 14th, 2018 at 12:32 pm #

    Hi, I live in a NYC apt. My apt doesn’t get much sunlight, maybe 1-3 hours in the morning. In the winter even less. I would like to grow some veggies or flowers by my window. What type of light do I need? Thank you.