Propagation Lighting

Propagation lighting in hydroponics is specialised lighting designed to give seedlings, cuttings and younger plants the light they need to grow and develop properly.

Metal halide (MH) bulbs are probably the most popular propagation lights because they produce light from the blue spectrum, which promotes green foliage growth. To encourage budding and flowering, you should use high-pressure sodium (HPS) lights that create a red-orange light.

Lighting helps plants to get the nutrients they need for healthy and sustained growth. This process is called photosynthesis. Light is a source of energy to help plants separate carbohydrates (sugars) from carbon dioxide. Any moisture will mix with this and make it into glucose to feed the plant. Therefore, the light a young plant receives will undoubtedly affect its growth.

When plants do not receive sufficient light, they become weak and spindly, with lots of space between their leaves. Any new leaves will be noticeably smaller and begin to turn a yellowish colour and fall off, while new shoots on the plants will try to grow taller to reach up towards what little light there is.

A plant’s development cycle forms during the early vegetative phase of its growth, and this early stage will influence the rest of the plant’s life cycle. Using suitable lighting throughout this critical phase will help build a strong foundation for your plants.

Using supplemental lights during the plants’ propagation phase means more predictable and faster-growing cycles while improving the overall quality and plant root structure.

There’s little doubt that future developments in propagation lighting in hydroponics and climate-managed horticulture will rely more and more on LEDs. Because of their advantageous low heat emissions, home hydroponic systems and micro-systems used to grow herbs will use LEDs. What is certain is that the better quality LEDs use quite sophisticated diffuser technology to help them better emulate the sun. And this emulation of nature is what hydroponics is all about.

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