T5 bulbs

Learning how to grow plants indoors with lights is one of the most foreign concepts to those who have been raising and germinating plants in the great outdoors. When gardening indoors with artificial light, you are allowed much more control as opposed to outdoor gardening. The ability to raise, lower or even dim your lights enables you the ultimate amount control with lighting. The more light you can provide your plants the faster they can photosynthesize and turn that light into energy. But, too much light can lead to negative consequences. Light stress, excessive heat and foliage burning can easily occur when too much light is dedicated. Acknowledging the correct threshold for your plants and room size can be a tricky equation. Luckily, during the propagation stage, we have the lighting dialed in.

When growing indoors with indoor grow light systems, you must take into consideration what you are trying to produce. Is it leaf, flowers or roots? Throughout the vegetative stage of growth, you are encouraging your plants to increase their overall size and to produce as much leaf as possible. Image your lighting like the gas pedal of your car. The more you press down – increase light – the faster you and your plants will go and grow. By letting off the gas, you decrease the growth and can encourage internodal spacing. Same applies during the flowering cycle: the more intense your lights are the more dense and compact your flowers. However, during the cloning or propagation cycle, this does not apply.

When propagating plants, your number one concern should be root production and how best to induce the growth of those roots to decrease the overall amount of time it takes to clone. More cycles equal more clones and more clones is never a bad thing! Unlike the later stages of plant growth, excess light does not translate into more roots. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Since most cuttings are taken during the vegetative stage of growth, super charging your cuttings with an abundance of light only confuses them into thinking that they should be continuing their production vegetation.

Reducing the amount of light during your cloning cycle will allow your freshly cut cuttings to concentrate and dedicate themselves to propagating roots. I have found that minimal light produces the best and fastest cuttings with minimal stress and yellowing due to nitrogen deficiencies. Excess light continues the photosynthesis process which will deplete your cuttings of nutrients, with nitrogen being the first to go. When the focus is on leaf production you are delaying your cuttings. Therefore, reduce the amount of light and only increase it once your cuttings are fully rooted and ready to venture on into the next stages of growth.

In my current grow room, I have dual bulb T12 lighting fixtures that are at least 18” away from the tops of my cuttings (preferably closer to the 2’ distance). If you are using T5 lights, only 1 bulb is required. Attempt to match your system length with bulb length. EZ-CLONE Classic 16, 32 and 64 systems do well with 2’ bulbs while the larger 128 system does best with 4’ bulbs.

Also, just in case you were wondering, yes, your cuttings will root in total darkness, but that’s not recommended! So, raise your lights and let your cuttings do what they need to do…pop roots!

HID HPS bulb