The Type of light you choose to provide for your clones is as important as any other step in the process. The most common Light chosen is the standard florescent light tubes, These do work well and come in a variety of forms from your standard house or shop light to the higher end horticulture version.
A few things that are important to remember with this form of lighting is that fluorescent light tubes have a definite life span when it comes to cloning. The standard shop light will only produce “plant light” for approximately 30 days, after this the light is still bright to the naked eye but its lumen production has dropped to low to effectively grow plants. on the upside these tubes generally cost around $2 to $4 each, and after they are no longer useful in the garden they can be put into the kitchen or shop.
The higher end “horticulture” fluorescent tubes do produce more lumens initially but again they drop off after approximately 60 days which far exceeds the 30 days your likely to get off a standard shop light, but still falls short of the new LED varieties.
**My Favorite product**In my mind the best method is the newest addition to fluorescent lighting its called a T5 fluorescent. These sweet little units are compact, produce low heat, and have a lumen output that rivals the sun. Another nice feature about these bulbs is that they hold 95% of there spectrum for the life of the bulb approximately a year.
The newest lights in this category are the LED version of the T5 and T8 lights the T designation equates to the diameter of the tube itself the T5 being one of the smallest then the T8 is about half the size of a standard house/shop fluorescent light. This designation has carried over to the LED versions as well but it does not have quite the same meaning because the tube size has little to do with the number or quality of the LEDs themselves.
The newest T5 LED lights have the spectrum you expect from quality horticultural LED lights in a standardized size and format and come with an astounding 50,000 hours of usable plant light. Which is apposed to the regular and horticultural fluorescent tube lights which as I’ve said have about 30 to 60 days of usable plant light after which the light is still very bright to the human eye but your plants begin to starve stems elongate success rates drop etc. The question of which to go with is easy
On top of the superior spectrum and longevity another unbeatable feature of the T5 fixtures is that they can be connected together in several different ways and this makes them very adaptable to almost any situation. They also come in a few sizes 2ft, 3ft,4ft so a person with a 6ft space and use a 2ft and a 4ft and make use of all the space in their area as where before they would loose 2ft using only the available 4ft fixture.
If that was not enough they are also self ballasted no need to have a remote ballast taking up space on a wall or outside the growing environment this makes connecting to a timer or other controller very easy as you need only one power cord for up to 10 fixtures.
The slim profile of these units is great because with some minor modifications they can be inserted through a humidity dome thus making more of the bulbs light available to the clones, instead of having the bulbs above the dome and loosing light by having to push it through plastic.
These units also use low wattage so along with getting better light for longer you also reduce your power bill. The T5 fixtures are not limited to only a cloning or mother application by any means and can be utilized in just about any gardening application from stand alone to supplemental in shaded areas to boost output.