Choosing Your Bulb
- T5 (5/8” Fluorescent Tubes)
These are the tube style lighting that you will immediately recognise. They are available from hardware stores and garden centres and can be used to grow just about any type of crop.
These are easy to fit and due to their length can be used for larger propagators.
They run cool and can therefore be hung fairly close to the plants.
- CFL (Compact Fluorescent Tubes)
Still fluorescent, but because they are wound into coils these lights are ideal for small growing spaces, such as propagators. They are also useful as supplementary lighting for larger growing spaces, but more of that another time.
Like T5 systems, CFLs are easy to fit and can be hung quite close to the plants without damaging them.
CFLs can be found in red and blue spectrum and you can also get dual spectrum bulbs. However, for propagation all you really need are the white/blue spectrum bulbs.
- LED (Light Emitting Diodes)
These really are the new kid on the block. LED technology has come a long way in the last ten years and with modern systems it is possible to slash the power output and increase growth. These lights run extremely cool and will reduce the need for secondary cooling systems, reducing your power out put event further.
LEDs also provide greater penetration into the plants so that you will get smaller distances between the nodes and greater quantity and quality of foliage. They are easier to adapt for different lighting conditions (Red to blue) and will give superb results.
There is more and more research being put into LED technology because it is easier to run of renewables, and because it is the way forward for many industries, not just growers.
The downside is that these systems can be expensive to set up. However, for propagation, you should be able to create something affordable and then you can get to grips with the benefits of LED.