Everyone is talking about hydroponic lighting with metal halide, but you have no clue as to what that is? Don't worry, this article will explain the concept and the mechanics it works by, and will help you decide if it is the right choice for you.
Metal halide is the talk of the town in the gardening industry, when it comes to ways of providing the right kind of light for your plants. Obviously, the best light is natural light, since plants are used to it and they can work with it best in their photosynthesis process.
Others argue that lighting, like many other fields involved with the growth of a plant, can be improved, since nature is not so perfect after all.
Hydroponic lighting with metal halide lamps is somewhere in between these theories, because it simulates natural light, but it also adds some improvements to it. You can check out our Hydroponic Lighting Guide to get better acquainted with all of the different options you have when it comes to lighting for growing hydroponically.
I recommend you buy your metal halide lamps a trusted hydroponics store that offers a large variety of lightning products, cheap to expensive.
Advantages of Hydroponic Lighting with Metal Halide -Light Color
Light can take a plethora of colors as a coat, but natural light is, for the most part, white. During sunrises and sunsets, the color that we (and the plants) perceive shifts to orange.
It's hard to determine the color of natural sunlight directly, but an easy way to do so is by checking its reflection in a pool of water. In any case, most plants will prefer color the way it is handed to them for millions of years: white.
Metal halide hydroponic lighting lamps have an advantage over many other types of other lamps here, since they can produce the best white that is closest to the sun's light color. If you've just fired up a metal halide lamp and you noticed that it spits out all sorts of colors and you're wondering what the heck I was writing about above, don't despair.
Initially, the lamp will need to focus on the white and it can't do so before it gets warmed up. However, it shouldn't take more than 4-5 minutes for the lamp to get its grip and give your plants the light color they love.
It's also worth mentioning that, in order to simulate natural light conditions even further, a metal halide lamp can be used in combination with a high pressure sodium one. The latter has an orange texture, so it can simulate sunrises and sunsets.
Some advanced lamps let you pre-program your entire hydroponic lighting system, automatically switching between metal halide and sodium lamps at given times.
Advantages of Hydroponic Lighting with Metal Halide - Refection
It's a bit weird wanting to reflect a metal halide lamp, because this is a high intensity hydroponic lighting source and reflection would require us to break the light apart, thus reducing intensity.
But in a greenhouse, you rarely need point light sources that target only a cluster or two plants. You need to cover the largest area possible with the smallest light source available and here's where hydroponic lighting with metal halide lamps really shine.
Because you have such an intense ray of light coming from the lamp, you can be very creative with distributing and reflecting it around so you can cover a wide area.
Advantages of Hydroponic Lighting with Metal Halide - Environmental Toughness
The greenhouse is a tough place for a lamp to finds itself in, because you have artificially created levels of temperature and humidity that might not be to the liking of the light sources.
Metal halide is reasonably tough as it can withstand quite varied high/low temperature levels. The only real danger will be in the form of power outages, which can cause the metal halide lamp to hibernate for around 15 minutes, during which the gazes in the lamp settle down.
There you have it, 3 advantages that could make hydroponic lighting with metal halide your choice. Speaking of choices, if you're still having trouble finding the right grow light system for your greenhouse, here are a couple of recommended hydroponic light products.