LEDs Vs. T5 Fluorescents

The Best Grow Lights for Cannabis Clones

Cannabis growers have traditionally used fluorescent lights to propagate their clones. But how do modern full-spectrum LED grow lights compare when cloning cannabis?

Stimulating hearty root growth is the most important part of successfully growing a cannabis clone from a cutting into a healthy plant. When you take a cutting from the branch of a healthy cannabis plant, hormonal signals get sent to the wound site, causing it to grow roots. 

With proper care—and lighting—this clone can become a plant.

Humidity Levels in Cultivation Rooms

On the operational side, clone propagation rooms are the most humid of all cannabis cultivation environments, with ideal humidity levels hovering around 80 percent. Cultivation rooms need to be this humid because when a cutting is taken from a plant, the branch is deprived of the root zone that would naturally provide it with water. By keeping humidity levels high, the cuttings can absorb a significant amount of water from the ambient air during the early phases of clone propagation. 


Best Lights for Cannabis Clones

With a few notable exceptions, the grow lights for cannabis cloning are similar to the lights cannabis needs for general vegetative growing. The best lights for growing cannabis clones are heavy in the blue light spectra. That’s because blue light gives plants vital energy that is transferred into root growth.

But clone propagation lights and vegetative growth lights have different demands with respect to light intensity, or lumens. Unlike cannabis plants in vegetative growth—where high-powered metal halide lights are often used—clones will easily wilt and burn under intense light. 

For clone propagation, cannabis growers shouldn’t use more than 1500 lumens per square foot of grow space.

LED Vs. Fluorescent Grow Lights

Growing Medium

These days, LED technology offers all the perks for cannabis cloning traditionally supplied by T5 fluorescent lighting:

  • Both T5 fluorescent lights and full-spectrum LEDs run extremely cool, so they can be placed close to cuttings without making them wilt.
  • Both T5s and full-spectrum LEDs are heavy in the blue spectrum.
  • Both lights draw very little power compared to high pressure sodium and metal halide lights, making them very economical for either commercial growing or personal use. 

But for lighting clones, full-spectrum LEDs edge out T5 fluorescents in two crucial aspects: versatility and durability.


For starters, full-spectrum LEDs are the only grow lights that can be used in all phases of cannabis growth. With a low-heat output, and well-mixed emission spectrum between blues and reds, these lights give cannabis plants what they need from seedling to flower.


Finally, conformal coating makes Emerald Hammer’s full-spectrum LEDs essential in cloning, as these lights can handle the consistent high-humidity demands of clone propagation environments. T5 fixtures can rust and malfunction in humid conditions, leading to potential devastation with a batch of fragile clones. 


A Grow Light Engineered With Cloning in Mind

Looking specifically to clone propagation, Arden Lighting Tech’s full-spectrum fixtures are designed to offer a spectrum that’s heavy in the blues within a compact 2-foot by 2-foot fixture. The light was designed with cloning applications in mind, where it can be dimmed down to meet the 1500 lumens per square foot demands of clone propagation. After that, when cannabis plants reach their standard vegetative growth and flowering phase, the Emerald Hammer can be turned up to its maximum emission of 4,830 lumens.  

The use of full-spectrum LEDs in lighting for cannabis cloning is a relatively new practice. Yet, as operational costs in cannabis cultivation continue to rise, buying multipurpose equipment is an economically wise choice. 

Many experts believe that the most important element of a cannabis cultivation operation is a successful cloning program. Cloning lets cultivators develop a genetic library they can depend on, and this reliability directly translates into profit for businesses.

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