Light cycles tend to differ based on what plants are being grown under artificial lighting. For example, there are 12/12-hour cycles, 18/6-hour cycles and even 24/0-hour cycles of light/dark periods. To find the right cycle for your plants, I suggest either researching the needs of the variety of plant you’re growing, or basing your cycle on what the approximate light cycle would be if the plants would be growing outdoors during their season. Typically, more light means faster growth, which results in bigger plants and bigger yields no matter what you are growing.
The most common T5 grow lights are 2- or 4-ft. long and have 1, 2, 4, 6, 8 or 12 bulbs per fixture. If you are thinking of growing only a few small plants, you might get away with having a 1- or 2-bulb set-up that is 2- or 4-ft. long, but if you want to grow a whole bunch of plants, you will have to invest in an 8- or 12-bulb set-up that is 4-ft. long. This larger size will cover a lot of plant mass without using too much electricity.
Bulbs: When it comes to choosing bulbs, there are even more options to choose from. Bulbs not only come in different energy varieties, but also in different color temperatures. When choosing between normal output (NO), high output (HO) and very high output (VHO) bulbs, I recommend going for the middle ones. HO bulbs are the best of both worlds—they are efficient, yet long-lasting, and will provide super-bright light for your plants.
Plants tend to drink more water in different stages of growth, but just like humans, they need more water the hotter your growroom gets. This is why you need to install a ventilation system if your grow lights make the room too hot, and why you need to closely monitor how much water the plants need by checking their soil humidity level every couple of days.
These lights are mainly used as additional or full-on artificial lighting for plants to re-create the natural light spectrum. They can be used in many different environments and conditions, from greenhouses to indoor gardens. Here are some tips on how to use them to your full advantage.
You are finally all set to turn on the lights and start growing, but there are a few words of caution before you begin, though. Since you are growing plants indoors and your growroom might be small, you need to watch not only how much water your plants need, but the temperature of the room the plants are in as well.
T5 grow lights are one of the best types of lights you can use to grow any kind of plant, from vegetables to the most delicate flowers. This is because T5s are extremely efficient, allowing you to save money on electricity while still providing bright, powerful light. They also have features you can customize to build the perfect set-up for any size and type of indoor garden.
Choosing the Right T5 Grow Lights
Many indoor growers are already familiar with the virtues of T5s, but even if you know your T5 fixtures and more or less know how they work, you might need help with some things, because specifics like color temperature, hanging height and light cycles might not be as easy to figure out.
The best height for a T5 grow light is about 6-8 in. above the plants, but you should increase that gap to 12 in. if your plants don’t like heat or they are in the seedling growth stage. If the T5 fixtures are at this height, the light from the bulbs will be intense enough and bright enough for plants, but the heat won’t be able to damage your plants. Some plants need less-intense light, so just monitor your plants and see what works for your indoor garden set-up.
In general, I recommend changing to stronger grow lights like LEDs or HIDs for the flowering stage because they will usually give you double or more yields/watt of electricity. Unless you keep your plants very small, they will need more light to produce buds than a fluorescent light can usually produce. If you're in a dire situation where your plants have grown too big and you can't afford to get a different type of light, you can supplement your fluorescent tubes with additional light, for example you could supplement their light with a few CFL(compact fluorescent light) bulbs wherever you notice any "shadowy" areas. This is only a minor fix – the real fix is to grow very short plants or upgrade to a bigger light for the flowering stage.
Some growers even use fluroescent grow lights such as the T5 successfully to flower their plants (if the plants are kept short/small enough through growth control methods).
If the temperature is under control they can be kept as close as an inch or two away.