P. L. Light Systems Expert Articles: Lighting Strategies for Cannabis Cultivation. How to Start?

P.L. Light Systems

Cultivation Guide, Lighting Strategies, Medicinal crops | August 24, 2020

Choosing a lighting system for your application is a large investment and it can be hard to know where to begin.  Cannabis is a crop that requires high light intensities for proper development and growth, as well as critical photoperiods to initiate specific growth stages.  Having a reliable and efficient lighting system is important not only for plant growth, but for increasing yields and maximizing profits. Since P.L. Light Systems manufactures and sells both HID and LED technologies, we aren’t biased towards one technology and can help find the right solution for your application.


For more information on cannabis and its lighting requirements download our Cannabis Guide

– Explore the basic concepts of how the light environment affects plant growth

– Learn about lighting requirements for different stages of growth

– Discover what lighting system works best for your application

Download the Guide




For greenhouse applications, where sunlight provides much of the light and growers are using supplemental lighting to increase their DLI and/or photoperiod we recommend our NXT-LP luminaires with CMH lamps for vegetative growth stages and NXT2 with HPS lamps for flowering growth stages. CMH lamps provide a broad spectrum, with peaks in blue wavelengths to limit the flowering response and to encourage bushy, vegetative growth.  HPS lamps are a tried and true spectrum, with peaks in red wavelengths, used to optimize photosynthesis and initiate the flowering response in plants.

For LED technology, we recommend the HortiLED Top 2.0 RW(MB) Spectrum with peaks in red and blue for optimizing photosynthesis.  Photoperiod should be monitored to move through vegetative to flowering growth stages.

To get the best of the both technologies a hybrid LED-HID (CMH & HPS) can be used.  It allows the flexibility to take advantage of the radiant heating from the HPS lighting, but also to extend the supplemental lighting period longer into the spring by using the LED lights only when outside temperatures and daylight hours increase. A hybrid system also reduces the initial capex and can allow a grower to further manage costs by maintaining their existing infrastructure.

Greenhouse application with MH and HPS NXT2 luminaires


For indoor sole source lighting applications, where artificial light is the only light available for plant growth, we recommend the NXT-LP / NXT-LP (CMH) for low ceiling, or NXT2 for higher ceiling applications. Using luminaires that are compatible with CMH lamps for vegetative growth stages will help limit the flowering response and encourage bushy growth habits.  HPS lamps are the tried and true spectrum for initiating the flowering response and optimizing photosynthesis during the flowering stage.

For LED luminaires, we recommend the HortiLED Top 2.0 with daylight “broad spectrum” white light, so plants can use the wavelengths they need throughout their lifecycle, and to make plant assessment easier for workers. Photoperiod needs to be monitored for plants to move through vegetative and flowering growth stages when using a single spectrum for growth.

For close to ceiling applications, or multi-tiered vertical applications the Vertimax LED line is recommended.

Indoor application with HortiLED Top luminaires

Ready to see what P.L. Light Systems can do for your grow? Get started with your own custom light plan or contact your local sales manager.