In the past ten years, more cultivators have been shifting towards the indoor production of cannabis. As a result, more innovations have come up to ensure that the yields are superior and of high-quality. One of these technological advancements is the vertical LED grow lights that increase yields over a short period.
Vertical farming LED lighting initiates earlier flower development, increases the plant’s density, and intensifies trichomes’ concentration.
If your grow space has conducive temperatures, you are lucky. If not, make sure you have enough vents and fans to maintain an optimum temperature of about 22°C-28°C and a 30-50 humidity level.
A cannabis plant goes through three stages of growth, and below is a break-down of how you can properly use vertical grow lights to increase the potency and quality of the cannabis plant.
Stage one: germination
This first phase takes three (3) to seven (7) days, and it’s when the seed sprouts. The taproot comes first, followed by the first set of leaves for your cannabis plant. To increase the germination rate, subject your seeds to sufficient moisture, warmth, rest, and gentleness (do not touch as it could break the fragile taproot).
This stage doesn’t require any lighting as germination needs darkness. When the seedling reaches 2cms, it is ready to be planted.
Stage two: vegetative phase
Vertical grow lights give you the power to decide how long or short you would like your vegetative stage to be. This determines the size and shape the cannabis plant will take. The longer it takes, the bigger it becomes.
Cannabis plants are extremely sensitive. A slight change in lighting will trigger the next stage; therefore, if you want a longer vegetative stage, let the light exposure time remain the same until you are satisfied with the growth.
Always have a PH meter to ensure that the cannabis maintains a PH of about 5.6 to 6.5 depending on the growth stage.
To move to the flowering stage, use a timer to reduce the amount of time the plants are exposed to light.
Lighting schedule explained
A lighting schedule is the amount of time the cannabis plant is exposed to light by the LED grow lights versus the darkness it gets. For example, some cultivators give plants an 18hour light exposure and 6-hour darkness exposure, while others prefer a 24-0 or 12-12 lighting schedule.
Stage 3: Flowering stage
When the lighting schedule changes, flowering begins immediately. When using feminized or auto flower seeds, the transition goes smoothly. When dealing with both male and female plants, ensure you remove all non-flowering plants (male plants) at this stage to prevent yields characterized by buds filled with seeds.
Increasing yields using LED grow lights during the flowering stage.
Expose the buds in the bushy areas of your cannabis by tucking away the leaves for sufficient penetration of light. This ensures maximum growth.
Increase the amount of light reaching your plant by moving your vertical grow lights closer to the plants. You can start by slowly moving an inch every couple of days. Be on the look-out for signs of burning, like leaves falling off or changing their color to brown.
The vertical grow light’s ideal distance to the cannabis should be between 8 inches to 16 inches, depending on the LED’s strength (150W to 1000W).
The next step is harvesting your cannabis. The trichomes turn from clear to cloudy to indicate ripening.
Why are vertical LED grow lights perfect for cannabis growth?
- They contain ultraviolet light, which eradicates mold, pests, and fungus.
- Farmers can manipulate the vertical grow lights to display various colors and wavelengths essential for the cannabis plants throughout their growth, resulting in high yields.
- They are energy efficient and produce much better results compared to other sources like fluorescent lights.
- An average LED grow light has a lifespan of about 50,000 hours, making it durable and long-lasting.
- It produces moderate heat and does not damage the cannabis plants.