While Cannabis plants typically receive most lighting from directly above, many growers may already be familiar with the feeling of disappointment of having an uneven yield come harvest time. Whereas in an outdoor setting, plants are given the most sunlight from the side during those long spells where the sun sets and rises and treated to ample natural overhead light through the middle hours of the day. So, when comparing an indoor setting where artificial light is typically limited to overhead canopy lighting, plants will tend to offer larger, denser buds on the upper areas of the plant, and smaller budding further down where less light reaches.
Types of Lighting
There are three main types of lighting growers can implement in order to enhance gains:
Side Lights – These are usually positioned vertically around the perimeter of the plants.
Sub-canopy lights –lights can be placed at the base of the plant to increase light availability to the lower parts of the plant.
Supplemental lights – these can be extra lights that can be added to manipulate day length but can also be included to simply just add more photons to the growing area. This can be used for the purpose of yield enhancement.
Yields from sub-canopy lighting
The use of sub-canopy lights has been tested in controlled experiments which resulted in a claimed yield enhancement of between 19% and 24%. The study showed that this was the result of increased light reaching middle and lower canopies, which are shaded by the top part of the plant. While this study did not mention the quality of the flowers produced on the lower half of the canopy, it was observed that they flowered at a surprisingly low temperature.
How home growers can incorporate side lighting in their setups
Stealth Buckets or “Space Buckets”
Growers can use Stealth buckets for growing a single plant within small space. Often growers will have side lighting such as LED Light strips inside of the bucket which will provide the benefits that we discussed regarding side lighting.
Grow Tent Method
Ideally, you could also use side lighting within a grow tent which will offer more room compared to a stealth bucket. There are many great lighting options you may use for side lighting, such as LED’s.