For hydroponic horticulture are Metal Halide (MH) and High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) lights still the staple/better choice for growing indoors or do Compact Fluoresent lights (CFL) offer enough light output/spectrum to give the HID lights a run for their money? Can CFLs provide enough power to support indoor plants alone (specifically concerning a setup where there is very little sunlight available)?

Also: Perhaps this would be better suited as its own question but, where do LED lights fit in to the plant lighting world?

1 Answer 1


I found a great resource here.

It looks like you can accomplish similar results with either. You won't need as many HID bulbs as fluorescent and CFL, but that doesn't necessarily translate to less power or cost. HPS and MH bulbs are very expensive and they get very hot.

As far as LED goes, it isn't on the chart but a friend of mine tried to grow some herbs on his desk at work with an LED light. It didn't work well at all over the long term. His blog about it is here. Also, there is a section under the first link that discusses LED lighting and finds it unsuitable for most applications.

If it were me, I'd use fluorescent based on price, practicality, and performance.

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