A couple of months ago one of my digital grow lamp ballasts decided to implode and take a fairly new 1000w MH bulb done with it. The manufacturer quickly replaced the ballast but not the bulb since I could not prove it was the fault of the ballast. Exactly one month later, a second ballast blew also taking another 1000w bulb with it. Obviously these ballasts were not the quality they claimed to be so I requested an upgrade at no cost and they granted it. The issue at hand was replacing the bulbs with so many choices and claims to be that best.
I did a bunch of research on the internet but of course the convincing evidence could only come from my own experience with my own plants. I decided to diversify the light sources and at the end of the season I would have a clear view of which bulbs perform and what they have to offer my hoyas over the span of an indoor growing season.
In Fixture #1 I installed an AgroMax 1000w MH 4100K with an output of 100,500 lumens. In Fixture #2 I installed an AgroMax 1000w MH 6500k with an output of 90,000 lumens. In Fixture #3 I installed an Eye Hortilux Blue MH undisclosed lumens.
The cost of Bulb #1 and #2 was identically expensive and #3 was over double the cost of the others. I decided to set aside the budget in order to gain a good result from my experiment. Since I had been forced to purchase two new bulbs…what better time to initiate a learning experience!
The results were very different for each bulb and depending on the goal of the grower…each bulb has different advantages for sure.
The plants under Fixture #1 endured the most issues such as yellowing and dropping leaves but bloomed the most throughout the season. This bulb is for flowering but also is a warm color which I do not care to look at. The plants also did not appreciate the amount of heat this bulb put off and thus the leaf drop. When I touched the leaves I could feel the heat they were absorbing even 30 minutes after the bulb was lit for the day.
The plants under Fixture #2 had little or now stress issues and put out some new growth but not an abundance. This bulb was a bit cooler than #1 but still provided a great deal of warmth.
The plants under Fixture #3 showed no signs of stress or any slow-down during the cooler months. They took off growing like I had just put them back outside and hoyas like H. megalaster and H. subcalva have not yet stopped blooming! This is the space that I moved all of my ‘much coveted’ hoyas to bask in the wide spectrum of light with a minimum amount of heat stress. This bulb gives off very little heat which results in less stress to the leaves. The color is very natural and pleasing to look at.
My finding are very helpful to me in such that as the bulbs I use throughout the winter months lessen in strength or become damaged I have decided to replace them with the bulb I have now in Fixture #3. Yes, I love to see blooms and yes, the space is heated by the bulbs alone…I need much growth so that I am able to share these lovely plants with my customers throughout the year and not only during the summer months. The only drawback of course is the hefty price tag on this bulb is $239. Buy, I actually got what I paid for! The manufacturer suggests replacing this bulb every 24 months of use (as I use it) so it is not a bad investment if I can use it’s light for only 6 months out of the year?