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The Light - Horticultural Lighting

In Nature, the light emitted by the Sun not only allows plants to grow through Photosynthesis, but also triggers fructification or blooming thanks to the lighting time, the Photoperiod . Deprived of light, plants would decline rapidly (yellowing) and die.

Several types of bulbs recreate the conditions of natural light:

Light is essential to the success of your hydroponics or soil. 
To enhance the intensity of the horticultural light, the  reflectors are perfect. Some bulbs will need a ballast like HPS and MH bulbs. 
Perhaps you would rather go to the basics, in this case Culture Indoor offers you pre-designed interior lighting kits suited to all surfaces. Find our  CFL kits or our HPS / MH kits .

indoor lighting


It is a biochemical process essential to the plant that allows it to evolve. Combined with a supply of water and nutrients, the luminous activity will allow plants to assimilate carbon dioxide (CO² = fuel of photosynthesis) and to release oxygen. Thus, the greater the luminous intensity, the more the growth of the plant is perennial and the flowering abundant.

The photoperiod

Photoperiod comes down to the cycle of light and darkness. In spring, daytime elongates, which causes plant growth. In summer (from June 21st), the times of light become shorter, the plants then begin their flowering cycle. Indoors, the photoperiod of a growing plant is concretized by alternating 18 hours of lighting and 6 hours of darkness; that of flowering is reduced to 12 hours of day and 12 hours of uninterrupted night. It is essential to respect these photoperiods in order to avoid any unnecessary stress to plants with a risk of reviving it in growth. This "flashing" could reduce their vivacity or their floral production. These are the cycles of light and darkness. Using a timeris essential to manage these alternations automatically. Only the moonlight or the light of a green lamp allows you to observe your plants without disturbing them in their sleep.

Only the moonlight outside or the light of a green lamp indoors will not disturb the night time in the plant. 
Indoors, the color emitted by the light source and expressed in degrees Kelvin (K) will have an influence on the crop plants.

Programmers timers

The use of a timer is indispensable in the culture chamber, automating the alternations of photoperiods.


  • growing: 18 hours of lighting / 6 hours of darkness.
  • in bloom: 12 hours of lighting, 12 hours of darkness.

It is essential to respect these photoperiods in order to avoid stressing the plants, or to relaunch them in growth.


The Colour

Exposed by the light source, expressed in degrees Kelvin (K), the color has an influence on plants grown in closet. For growth, it is preferable to use cold colors with a dominant blue-white (bulbs MH, CFL or neons above 3000 ° K) and for the blooming of the warm colors with red-orange dominance (ampoules HPS, CFL or neon lights below 3000 ° K). The PAR (or photosynthetic Activ Radiation) unit measures the active efficacy of a light source on photosynthesis of the plant. In fact, the closer the PAR unit is to 100% (as with neon 55w, neon T5, CFL bulbs or LEDS), the more light the light emits from the lamp is useful for photosynthesis of the plant, and consequently the latter will be perennial and productive.

Light intensity

Expressed in lumens (lm) , the luminous intensity emitted by a lamp will determine the optimum area illuminated and the production of a plant. In fact, the larger the light source, the larger the illuminated surface area and the more productive the plant. In this field, high pressure sodium (HPS) lamps are the most efficient. However, a safe distance between the light source and the top of the plants must be observed to avoid any risk of leaf burning. There are on the market glazed reflectors ( Cool Tube , Xtra Cool...) to be connected directly to an extractor, allowing a considerable reduction of the heat emitted by the bulb (- 4 to 5 ° C), a division of the safety distances by two, and thus an optimization of the light. In order to obtain a homogeneous floral production and a better distribution of heat, it is preferable to use the same luminous intensities throughout the culture space. Example: to cover a space of 120 x 160 cm, it is advisable to use two HPS 250W rather than one of 600W.

Lamp TypeIntensity (lm)Optimal illuminated areaSafety distance
Neon 2 x 55W or T5 48Wabout 10,000100 x 50 cm5 to 10 cm
Neon 4 x 55W or T5 96Wabout 20,000100 x 100 cm5 to 10 cm
CFL 125W9,37550 x 50 cm5 to 10 cm
CFL 150W1125060 x 60 cm5 to 10 cm
CFL 200W1500070 x 70 cm5 to 10 cm
CFL 250W18,750100 x 50 cm10 to 15 cm
MH / HPS 150W15,000 - 17,00050 x 50 cm15 to 20 cm
MH / HPS 250W24,000 - 33,00060 x 60 cmfrom 20 to 30 cm
MH / HPS 400W32,000 - 58,00090 x 90 cm30 to 40 cm
MH / HPS 600W88,000 - 105,000120 x 120 cmfrom 50 to 60 cm
MH / HPS 1000W110,000 - 158,000140 x 140 cm100 cm

On the market there are glazed reflectors (such as the Cool Tube or the Xtracool) which are suitable for enclosing the MH or HPS bulbs, which are directly connected to an extractor, which are very efficient in that they allow a significant gain in heat from 4 to 5 ° C on average) to divide the safety distances by two (heat aspirated at its origin) and thus to illuminate the canopy (the vegetable mass) in greater depth.

In order to obtain a homogeneous floral production and a better distribution of the heat, it is preferable to use the same luminous intensities and distributed well over the whole culture space. 
Example: to cover a space of 120X60cm, it is advisable to distribute two HPS 250W rather than a HPS 600W ...

Requirements for lumens of cuttings

375 lm. 4000 lux - growth; 2500 lm. 27000 lux - flowering: 10 000lm. 107500 lux

Bulbs HPS, MH and MHC

* HPS: High pressure sodium vapor bulb (High Pressure Sodium). An HPS lamp does not function as a conventional incandescent lamp. 
Requiring a particular current, the sodium bulb can not operate without a suitable wattage stage (ballast). Its spectrum is ideal for flowering. 

* MH: Halide Metal Bulb. Its spectrum is ideal for vegetative growth.

For a bulb that is more efficient than MH, consider  the CMH bulb (An Indoor Culture Exclusive). 

Where can I find the HPS and MH bulbs at the best price?



Light bulbs CFL

CFL * represents a significant advance in horticultural lighting. Unlike MH and HPS, the product spectrum corresponds to 100% of that of photosynthesis. The bulbs do not heat up, all the electricity used is transformed into light, not into heat. They are ideal for a garden, in addition to daylight or a traditional HPS or MH lamp. These bulbs do not require ballast. Energy saving bulbs are at the best price on Indoor Culture. 
* CFL:Compact fluorescent lamps provide exceptional brightness, saving up to 75% of electricity. They are energy saving bulbs, they last longer and require much less energy than conventional light bulbs (or incandescent bulbs) to produce the same level of light intensity as light bulbs. They also produce little heat.

Neon lights, Fluocompacts

These small neon lights concentrate light up to 220W. They are ideal for cuttings and plants that require small amounts of light during the day. Economical, they allow to cultivate in small spaces at a short distance from the plant thanks to their low emission of heat. Culture Indoor offers different ranges of neon lights , all effective to carry out your cultures.

Discover the high-quality neon T5

T5 Superplant

The T5 lighting system has proven to be a true discovery, both for plants and for aquariums. It is the most efficient horticultural lighting with low calorific power and high intensity. 
Fluorescent tubes now exist for all phases of plant growth as well as for fish and reptiles. 
Reconcile super-production and aesthetics with the T5 SUPERPLANT lighting ramps!

Operation T5

The T5 is a special high-flux fluorescent tube. It is much brighter than basic fluorescents and diffuses a balance of colors suitable for plant growth and care of fish. Fluorescent tubes are always defined as "colder" light sources than HID systems. The T5 includes a reflector specially designed for wide-angle scattering and thus covers a wider area of ​​culture than conventional fluorescent fixtures.
T5s produce more light than basic tubes and give off a certain amount of heat. They are, however, unquestionably colder than HID's and can be placed much closer to the plants or aquarium. A huge advantage in terms of effective lighting production - Closer = Brightest. The inverse square laws prove that the light projected on a surface is inversely proportional to the square of the distance separating it from the source. This means that the closer your lamps are to your plants, the better they are. The distance is halved and the lighting is multiplied by four. Technically speaking, the inverse square law applies only to point sources of light. Since fluorescent lamps are long thin tubes, they can be seen more as linear sources, which behave slightly differently. The fact is that fluorescent lamps - including powerful T5 tubes - can be placed close to plants. The gross power of the T5 is considered capable of exceeding the penetration of HID lamps. The T5 tubes are mounted inside shallow reflectors including the ballasts, for a considerable space saving.You can now grow plants with limited height.

Use T5

The use of the T5 system during the propagation of your plants allows them a harmonious growth and a stuffing with short internodes and thick stems. Unlike other fluorescent systems, it can be used throughout the life cycle of your crops to produce high quality adult plants, both growing and flowering.Two types of tubes are available: T5 Growth Tubes (6500 kelvins), supplied as standard, produce the bright white light needed for lush growth. This light is perfect for growing young plants and plants in general. These tubes are highly recommended for all types of plants and offer the advantage of highlighting the most spectacular plants such as orchids by highlighting the bright green of their foliage and their very colorful flowers. The T5 flowering tubes (2700 kelvins), sold separately , are designed to provide the exact color spectrum needed by plants to produce abundant fruit and flowers.

T5HO Superplant

T5HO Superplan t is the new economic Superplant indoor lighting. Design, thin, these lighting ramps have the peculiarity of being able to be connected between them. The T5HO is the ideal tool for all phases of germination, growth and flowering. Plug an Play, these T5 are suspended vertically or horizontally, in main or complementary lighting. Find your  ideal T5HO kit on Indoor Culture.


T5HO neon ramps

LED lighting

Energy consumption reduced to one-third, without the use of auxiliary equipment related to MH / HPS bulbs (fan, reflector, air conditioner ...). LEDs provide the ideal wavelengths for your plants, unlike MH / HPS which provide superfluous light to plants. They can support plants throughout all stages of growth and flowering. Lifetime 10 times longer than MH / HPS bulbs - They do not heat up and are very resistant to shocks and temperature variations. They are environmentally friendly and do not contain the harmful substances of MH and HPS, such as mercury.

To find out more, go to our dedicated page for tips on using LEDs .

Plasma Light Bulbs

The plasma lamp is very often presented as the future of horticultural lighting , it emits little heat, is not greedy in electricity and generates an impressive amount of light. What is a Plasma Bulb ?

Find all our advice for your interior culture:

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