Hello, please note that the Pro-Gro 550 light has been retired
Introduction by Nebula Haze
Many of our readers at GrowWeedEasy.com have been writing in with questions about using LED grow lights for marijuana. Today, we'll cover the latest in LED grow light technology.
As you may know, we covered growing marijuana with LED grow lights about a year ago with Endive, today's guest writer.
Endive has been serving the medical marijuana community for years by meticulously documenting his progress with different models of quality LED grow lights. You can see all of Endive's LED grow journals on his website growmedical420.com.
In the last year, there have been big changes in the LED grow light field. WIth bigger wattage bulbs and new types of lens, the LED grow lights on the market today are producing better results and bigger yields than ever before.
Endive has graciously allowed us to republish one of his recent grows with the Pro-Grow 550 LED light.
I added a few notes of my own in green, to help growers follow along if they're not as familiar with LED grow lights. Feel free to skip over these notes if they don't apply to you.
And without further ado, enjoy….
Or jump straight to…
Pro Grow 550 LED Grow Light Journal and Review
Published with permission, view original grow journal:
Enclosed 47" x 53" area
1 – Critical x Sensi Star (4 gallon fabric pot)
1 – Landrace Afghani (3 gallon fabric pot)
1 x Pro-Grow 550 LED Grow Light (retired now)
Power Consumption: 470w (in full illumination mode)
Light Schedule: 18/6 veg & 12/12 flower
At the start of this journal, both seedlings are currently about 5 weeks from seed and were sprouted under the Pro-Grow 400.
Note by Nebula:
Endive started his plants under the Pro-Grow 400, a smaller LED grow light by the same company; this saved him energy (electricity) while the young plants gained some size.
I have a Critical Sensi Star hybrid and a landrace Afghani which looks to be as close to pure indica as they come
In this video, they have been under the Pro-Grow 550 for a week now. I've begun LST (low stress training) to get these tight node strains to produce more vertical branch growth. I will switch to dual spectra any day now and will continue vegetation until they fill the space (reasonably).
The last major grow I did with a conventional-lensed LEDs was the Round #2 Pro-Grow 400 garden. Many of my recent grows have used LED grow lights with an "X-lens."
Go big or go home… The Pro-Grow 550 – 470 watts of LED grow power
We’ve seen what the Pro-Grow X5 can do in a similar space. The Pro-Grow X5 uses an X-lens.
The Pro-Grow 550 LED light (PG-550) uses a conventional lens and draws 470 watts of power. This is the more powerful version of the PG-400 LED grow light offered by the same company.
I’ve stated before that the PG-400 will surely replace a 400 watt HPS and even give a 600 watter a run for its money.
It should prove very interesting to see what Hydroponics Hut’s Pro-Grow 550 can produce.
Veg growth has been excellent beneath the Pro-Grow 550. The Afghan Kush has now surpassed the Critical+Sensi Star in terms of size and has declared female (the Critical+ Sensi is feminized).
I'm not sure how much additional growth/stretch the Critical+Sensi will give when she blooms. I know with the Kush, the bigger you veg the better! We may drop into 12/12 within the next week, though I was planning on a 10 week veg.
If you’ve read any history on my journals, you’ll see my distracted mindset whilst plants are in veg. I have a hard time continually documenting what seems unchanging, whereas in bloom every day is fun to follow. The Pro-Grow 550 has changed my views on veg, as I’ve been really having to stay on top of things.
I’ve been working the LST (Low Stress Training) to produce several vertical tops for each plant. The Afghan Kush has responded well, producing long limbs with tight node spacing that should produce some magnificent colas.
My plan was to veg 10 weeks then drop into bloom, and things are looking right on target.
The plants have been under a 12/12 (flowering) light schedule for a few days.
Both plants are exploding & filling the space with mad fervor.
I will likely have to do a final LSTing to keep height in check, as I want my plants to grow wide and flat to take full advantage of the LED lights.
When I decided on running the Pro-Grow 550, I was asked… “How big of a space are you going to run this in?”
I figured the roughly 4.5′ x 4′ chamber would suffice for two Indica strains (a landrace Afghan Kush and a Critical + Sensi Star), but after only a few days into 12/12, I think I may need a larger space for them.
Though the Pro-Grow 550 doesn’t have the same focused intensity of its X-Lensed sibling the Pro-Grow X5, it has a nice even spread that seems to cover and saturate light from corner to corner and that made for an excellent & explosive veg (18/6).
No matter how many branches or tops are tied down, it’s only a matter of hours before the bent tips race back upward.
Over the next week both plants should be set into bloom. The coming weeks should bring on budding at an exponential pace.
Interestingly, as I was trimming the Afghan Kush I noticed an instance or two of Polyploid traits.
At the branch points, where you normally have two opposing fan-leaves on a stem, there were three.
A little trifecta of fan leaves & future branches, sadly I hadn’t noticed until after clipping & trimming, when the branch was in the pruned pile.
Week 1 Bloom!
I really hope the vertical growth slows somewhat, as things have really bushed out and filled in. Shortly after the vid, I did some undergrowth thinning.
I'm not entirely sure of the genetics of my Afghan Kush. It is looking to be more of the wild-hybridized Indica/Sativa strains from the lowlands of the Amu Darya valley, versus the old school fat leaf Indica phenotypes of native to the the higher elevations of the Hindu Kush mountains.
The Critical + Sensi Star looks like it will be a serious bloomer, time will tell!
Both plants were eager growers during veg, but in the early part of bloom it is obvious this is where they will shine.
Both the Afghan Kush and the Critical + Sensi Star are throwing up new bud sites at an exponential rate.
The Pro-Grow 550 has performed flawlessly so far. The spectra is dialed in, coverage and light penetration all in check. 7 to 8 weeks at veg would have been the better point to have started bloom as any lateral growth in late 9 to 10 weeks had been thinned or pruned and the plants have filled the grow area.
In just the few days after the above pics were taken, the Critical + Sensi Star has exploded with new bud sites.
Week 1.5 Bloom!
The Critical + Sensi Star is a madwoman! Early on the Afghan Kush really impressed with its aggressive vegetative growth.
In early bloom, the Critical+Sensi Star is exploding with bud sites. Not to say the Afghan isn't earning her keep 😉 but wow!
Into week 2 of bloom and things begin to get interesting…
The Critical Sensi Star is a madwoman!
Early on the Afghan Kush really impressed us with its aggressive vegetative growth. In early bloom, the Critical+Sensi Star is exploding with bud sites. Not to say the Afghan isn’t earning her keep but wow!
As the Critical Sensi Star sets into bloom, you can clearly see well above average budding being within 14 days of beginning 12/12.
Our Afghan Kush is also doing exceptionally well. Budding is fast & furious but not to the level of the Critical Senei Star. For a “Kush” she is exceptionally tall, but that should give way to some really nice colas.
At day 23 of bloom it is suffice to say I am impressed with the vigor of both plants.
The Afghan Kush has multiple tall, upright colas and is much taller in stature than I expected from a “kush”.
The Critical Sensi Star continues to aggressively bloom with thick bud sites & multi-angular branches.
Trichomes are emerging on both plants as the Critical Sensi Star is really pulling ahead in terms of bud size & development, but both are beautiful specimen.
No issues with lighting or nutrients, as the General Organics line is doing very well for us.
My video camera was dying at this point, so sorry about the poor video quality.
Hydroponics Hut’s Pro-Grow 550 is really pushing these plants in bloom, and is without a doubt a “big-gun” grow light LED or otherwise.
Area coverage is solid in the near 5′ x 4′ space and with the power/spectra combo, the lower branches & under growth are looking solid as well.
There is still a long way to go, at least another 4 to 5 weeks till potential harvest. The goal now is one day at a time, to keep them healthy as I can.
They are being fed diluted General Organics nutrients about 3 times a week and are consuming an additional a 1.5 quarts of plain water (pH 6.5) every other day.
Day 37 of bloom…
Hydroponics Hut's Pro-Grow 550 LED is continuing to impress, end to end light coverage that is producing some tall colas.
Both the Afghan Kush and the Critical Sensi Star are impressive as well. Bud growth is dense & plentiful, as they begin to fill in & thicken.
We've bumped up nutrients to the maximum amount in the directions.
After a recent inspecting & trimming, I decided to swap the position of the plants.
- Critical Sensi Star is on the left side
- Afghani Kush on the right.
I try to move or rotate my plants as size & space allow, usually on a daily basis. But with these two being too large to handle daily, I move or rotate once a week or so, when I remove them for inspecting & trimming.
A methodical weekly inspection of your plants is essential. Issues from bug infestation to nutrient deficiency can be caught before they get out of hand and treated appropriately.
As buds begin to gain mass, branches will often sag.
I used to go crazy trying to stake them up to their former positions, but I noticed that the “sag” often times will open up the plant’s inner buds & branches to more light.
Wow, almost as if it were designed to do that naturally! I do still do some staking to position branches more efficiently, but utilize the natural sagging of the budded branches to open things up.
With anywhere from 3 – 4 weeks remaining in the bloom cycle, the main goal is still to keep the plants healthy to the near end. Thus far we’ve been blessed with ass-kicking lighting & stellar genetics, now it’s up to time to see how it all turns out!
We're past the halfway point in bloom and though harvest seems a mere few weeks away there is still lots to do to keep my plants at their best till the very end. Lower fan leaves are showing signs of P deficiency, the plants are still consuming water & nutrients eagerly. A big fear at this point is hermaphroditism (development of male stamen that produce pollen) producing seed, I try to inspect the plants 3 – 4 times a week now.
I am going to start trimming back fan leaves, and bump up the P and K one last time, then it's plain water till harvest.
Most likely too, I may lower the Pro-Grow 550, closer to the budding canopy for the final weeks.
The Afghan Kush is simply a beautiful plant. Being of wild or possibly ferral seed origin, it is easy to contrast against more hybrid strains like the Critical Sensi Star. Lankier, with more slender colas, a higher leaf to bud ratio and a slightly less and a efficient indoor growth pattern would seem to be a disappointment in most cases, but her extreme trichome production, ever changing aromas combined with the reputation of her Afghan heritage, should make for excellent meds when grow to perfection.
I know less about the Critical Sensi Star, but her copious buds are rock hard solid and still continuing to gain mass. I am detecting light citrus aromas.
Most likely too, I may lower the Pro-Grow 550 closer to the budding canopy for the final weeks. From start the lamp was at least 24″ from the canopy. The colas were allowed to grow upward towards the light, but bent down or repositioned if they appeared too close to the lamp.
The Afghan Kush is simply a beautiful plant. Being of wild or possibly ferral seed origin, it is easy to contrast it’s traits against more hybridized strains like the Critical Sensi Star. Lankier, with more slender colas, a higher leaf to bud ratio and a slightly less and a efficient indoor growth pattern would seem to be a disappointment in most cases, but her extreme trichome production, ever changing aromas and reputation of her Afghan heritage, should make for excellent meds when grown to perfection.
I know less about the Critical Sensi Star, but her copious buds are rock hard solid and still continuing to gain mass. I am detecting light citrus aromas, but it’s hard to pinpoint. I do know I LOVE Sensi Star, so I hope this Critical Sensi Star lives up to her parentage.
Day 49 of bloom…
The video quality is still not great, BUT it's with new hardware and overall quality should be an improvement. You'll see that I've taken a little more time to put in more detail on the next set of videos.
The main fan leaves begin to wither & branches sag (by design), this allows more light to penetrate inner branches & down lower.
The colas and buds are set, now over the next few weeks we'll wait till the buds max-out & swell, trichomes peak & begin to cloud or amber.
The pics were taken about 2 days before the video, but as week 7 settles in, everything seems to be getting ready for one last push of bloom growth before the end of their life cycle. Fan leaves are withering, colors changing and colas and buds swelling.
The Critical+ Sensi Star’s hybridized heritage shows through. THough not as trichome encrusted as our landrace Afghan Kush, the calyx to leaf ratio is very high and should make for a quick manicuring after harvest..
I am looking to harvesting the Afghan Kush. It isn’t a large producer by any means, but shows great potential for cross breeding. If the sedative effects are on par with the “Afghan” reputation, I should be plenty happy.
The Afghan Kush is pushing new white hairs & floral growth along her slender colas, as the loser buds explode with trichomes galore!
I just flushed both plants, and am looking at a two week window (give or take) till harvest.
Harvest day for the first plant. One last video look at our Critical+ Sensi Star before we chop.
The Critical Sensi's trichomes are 60% cloudy with some going amber and few still clear. There were virtually no white hairs on the upper colas and buds. I did find a few male stamen (pollen sacks, boy bananas) emerging in the lowest buds near the main stem, which were promptly clipped & carefully removed from the room.
I started harvesting from the bottom up this time, I find it makes me much more detail oriented in the overall harvest.
Once the stakes were pulled & support wires were cut, tentacles of buds & colas fell to the sides.
The ample lighting from the Pro-Grow 550 penetrated well enough to catch the lower, outer cola tips. Inner buds that did not get the direct lighting were thankfully few, but very small.
I left the small inner buds on the branches till the last cola was removed & manicured.
From there the small buds were trimmed and thrown into the hash box to dry.
Afghan Kush Gets A Little More Time…
After harvesting only the lower limbs, I’m letting the Afghan Kush go another week or so as the tops were showing a multitude of new bud growth.
Since the lower buds weren’t looking as though they’d gain any more mass, I thought I’d remove those and let the remaining main colas max-out. Trichomes are a mix of mostly clear to cloudy.
The Afghan will live another week. Her top colas are looking amazing and I hope to finish fattening them up with an extra week under the Pro-Grow 550.
I just cut the last branch of the Afghan Kush. The plant was harvested in two cuttings, the first was mostly the lowest branches of which only the tips & tops were kept.
The colas closer to the light were noticeably thicker with rounded tops as opposed to lower ones which formed narrow “spear-tipped” colas & buds.
The lower buds and colas are still beautiful, but the tops are far more impressive as far as weight / yield than I first thought they would be.
Examples of the lower colas:
The tops were harvested today off this landrace strain bringing the Pro-Grow 550 LED grow light garden to an end… For now.
The buds have been trimmed and the tops are now hanging to dry. I need to wait until the buds have fully dried before I weigh in on the final yield.
The Afghan Kush is taking a bit longer to dry than anticipated (all the dense, sticky goodness). I'll be posting her final weight once she's done drying so I have an accurate weight of her final yield.
The Critical Sensi Star has already dried perfectly. After the buds were cleaned up a bit today, I weighed the buds and placed them into curing jars.
At the weighing, I was the pleasantly surprised with the total – 167 grams of trimmed bud total, or 5.8oz!
Prime Critical+ Sensi Star buds & colas: 167 grams, or 5.8 ounces.
The Critical Sensi Star phenotype we got is a pleasure to grow. Despite some issues I had during the bloom portion of the grow with both plants, this plant produced nearly 6 ounces of prime buds in an approximately a 2.5″x 4″ space (shared, .
During the veg stages the Critical Sensi just needed space & regular feedings. The intricate branching pattern allows this plant to do well in a confined space as well as an open area.
Both the horizontal & vertical branching growth is impressive during veg & early bloom.
This particular Critical Sensi Star seemed to double in size from once the lights went 12/12 to bloom, probably a 30-40% size increase during the bloom transition.
The Pro-Grow 550 and Critical Sensi Star were obviously a good combination.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE PRO-GROW 550 HAS BEEN RETIRED.
This comes really close to the finest Sensi Star with a sweet-citrusy aroma and taste on the palate, there is a bit of a diesel or oily under tone to it too, Critical I assume?.
The effects are no less wonderful, an uplifting sense of well-being, makes some people very chatty & talkative. It does affect the head somewhat with bursts of creativity, deep thinking and more…
After taking her sweet, dank time drying, the Afghan Kush is now weighed and in jars for curing.
The final weights were taken prior to the buds going into curing jars. I was very curious to see how the Afghan would stack up against the Critical Sensi Star that finished at 167 grams of prime, manicured buds.
This strain is a true “light lover”. The Pro-Grow 550 did an amazing job covering nearly 20 sq ft of garden area (almost 5′ x 4′).
I was worried that I’d pushed the coverage area too much thus sacrificing light penetration for the lower buds, but where the wattage waned the more efficient spectra of the Pro-Grow allowed the lower canopy enough light energy to make for smaller, but very solid buds.
If take into account the “75 watts per square foot” of light needed recommendation, it dictates you’d need 1500 watts of HID to cover the same area, and that’s something to think about.
Visually the Afghan looked to have smaller colas & buds in contrast to the Critical Sensi Star, but the density of the inner bud and trichome coating make for heavy, rock solid buds.
From looking at her, I figured on the Afghan hitting just over the 4 ounce mark, maybe… I was very pleased with the final weight!
Prime Afghan Kush buds & colas: 156 grams, or 5.5 ounces
There isn’t much aroma until you break a bud open, the taste is very neutral, slightly oily. But the best part is, they are all covered in trichomes like below:
Critical Sensi Star: 167 grams (harvest pic)
Afghan Kush: 156 grams (harvest pic)
Total: 323 grams of primo medical buds
That’s roughly .68 grams per watt, in soil, without supplements, no CO2, and at 23 watts per sq ft.! i.e. hardly a blip on my electric bill!
With a little effort, the elusive 1 gram-per-watt mark is quite tangible!
The more we grow the more we learn? 😉
The Pro-Grow 550 Has Been RETIRED
About The Author: Endive
I am a legal, medical cannabis patient and grower in the state of Oregon.
Long story short… After many trial and errors with pain treatment for a degenerative cervical condition, I came to trying cannabis as a therapy for control of pain and nerve/muscle spasms at the suggestion of a relative. After much research, I was truly amazed at the medical and healing properties of marijuana.
Free Yourself – Get Educated!
Don’t give in to the notion that pharmaceuticals are safer. And if you find medical marijuana is right for you, remember that you need not be held ransom to pay dealers and dispensaries for quality meds. Honestly, if I can do this, anyone can.
View more grow journals on my website: http://growmedical420.com
Final Thoughts by Nebula:
LEDs are getting better and better every year. A few short years ago, they were a brand new technology in grow lights, and it's continuing to look like they are set to become the grow lights of the future.
If you’re willing to invest in a quality brand LED light like a Pro Grow, you're buying from a company who specifically serves the medical marijuana community, and actually tests their lights on marijuana plants.
As you can see from the results Endive is getting (and this is just one of his grows, he has dozens of grow journals on his website growmedical420.com) the Pro Grow LED grow lights are giving many HPS growers a run for their money.
At this point in the game, I still recommend getting an MH/HPS grow light combo if the initial price tag of quality LED grow lights is too much for you. MH/HPS grow lights will give you consistently great yields and cost considerably less than LEDs. I don't recommend trying to save money with cheaper LEDs as many cheap LED grow lights out there just aren't built to work for a high-yield flowering plant like marijuana.
If initial cost is not a concern, and you want to experiment with the power of LEDs (which will give you potent buds with a unique aroma) or if heat and electricity usage are big concerns, than you will not be disappointed with the Pro Grow lights.
Learn more about Pro Grow LED light systems on their website (retired)
FAQs About Pro Grow 550 LED Grow Light
Question: Was? this done with just 1 Pro Grow 550 LED light?
Answer: Yes, 1 PG-550 was used. There were few days shy of a week, I needed space & ran a smaller light on the side (PG-180), covering a small plant I'd harvested the top portion of and? wanted to keep blooming until another tent opened up.
The 550 performed a bit better than I had expected… Which isn't a bad thing at all.
For example, the light pictured to the right is the Pro-Grow X5, which uses X-Lens technology.
For small-medium area grows they work great; the X-lenses focus the light energy, concentrating it within the area.
That means that these X-Lens models are perfect for closely grouped plants (think SOG). Yet for larger plants or mixed sizes in larger pots, things are a bit different. There is often more space between the plants. In these cases, coverage is more important than vertical intensity.
For example, the Pro-Grow 400 runs about 250 watts actual draw in full spectra, that’s similar the actual output of the Pro-Grow 260X. So as I said, they are nearly the same tool, but built for two different jobs.
Question: How many plants could you flower under the 550?
Answer: With the Pro-Grow 550, it isn't so much the number of? plants you can grow or flower, as that is all based on the size of the plants & your grow space.
You can grow as many plants as you could fit into a 5' x 4' area. As you can see from the grow journal above, I have 2 plants, both are about 3.5' by 2.5 wide and about 30+" tall.
Question: What's the difference between buds grown under the Pro Grow compared to buds grown under an HPS grow light? Do the buds look/taste/smell different?
Answer: Let me tell you my experience…
I recently harvested an Eldorado that was bloomed under two light sources, a 600w HPS on one side and a PG-260 LED on the other. Nothing scientific, no partitions, so there was light overlap. At harvest the color difference was surprising (see below) and after curing 2 select pieces from each side of the plant, the aromas are slightly different as well.
View video of Eldorado plant:
Question: How did you think veg under blue LED went compared to veg under dual? spectrum?
Answer: When testing blue for veg against a dual spectrum during veg, I found that the plants under the dual spectrums vegged a bit better with tighter inter-nodal length! (less space between nodes)
We undertook a load of tests and also found that a CFL bulb put in with the LED when vegging provided outstanding results.
I've found the Blue spectra the first week or two seems to give a little? more height & node spacing. By weeks 2 and beyond the dual spectra really kicks things into high gear.
And yes, it is amazing what literally a few CFLs in addition to the LED can do to "boost" development, in both veg & bloom.
Also… when running veg mode, or all blues, I also lower the lamp? by several inches.
Question: Did you use any growth control techniques??
Answer: I used a "rotating" LST method. After the top was bent, the tallest of the lower branches became the dominant tops, they in turn got bent back or tied down allowing the other remaining branches to develop into a top… and so on.
I've been maintaining good node spacing on both plants by maintaining a maximum distance from the canopy.
Question: The Pro Grow lights seem to be specifically designed for growing weed, and plants under these lights seem to be getting better yields/results compared to other LED grow lights on the market. But, do they beat HID grow lights like MH / HPS?
Answer: LED grow lights in? general have come quite far in a few short years, the Pro-Grow series LEDs from Hydroponics Hut are no exception. I've used other vendor's LEDs but chose to stick with Pro Grow for their overall value in price and performance and solid reliability.
Do LEDs (Pro-Grow or otherwise) beat HID? Yes and No, it depends of several factors such as garden size, grow methods, strain, and the grower's experience. (A bullsh*t answer, I know, LoL!)
Watt for watt, LED is hands down more efficient. A proper spectra'd 400 watt (actual draw) LED panel would destroy a 400 watt MH/HPS. The PG-550 I'm currently running is 470 watts actual? draw and I'd put it up against my 600 watt HPS any day.
HID (1000 watt) has the upper hand compared to high watt single panel LEDs (400 watts actual draw +). I find with higher wattage & larger garden size, HID tends to be? more efficient against a single high wattage LED lamp, based on light intensity & coverage.
While the quality of the LED light is better, the sheer amount of light/coverage of the 1000 watt HID more than makes up for missing? PAR of the LED. Standard high watt LED panels just don't have the same coverage & penetration as HID, though newer big wattage LED panels with X-lens & 5 watt chip-sets are closing this gap.
My way around this for larger gardens is running multiple (two or more) small to mid sized panels, that are near wattage equivalent of the single panel (i.e., I'd take two 400 watt LED panels over a single 800 or even 1000 watt). The control you have over light coverage with two lamps makes up for any decrease in overall wattage. The catch to this, of course is that LED lamps aren't cheap, so doing multiple small to medium wattage lamp set-ups can be? costly.
As to strains, I had a White Widow that would not? produce to its potential under LED. It did very well, however when put under HPS, it was like a different plant. I have a few Jack Herer phenotypes that do better under LED than HPS.
Question: I want to try a Pro Grow LED light, but they’re so expensive! I can’t wait until the prices drop even more…
Answer: On paper, every unit I've had, paid for itself and then some in 120 days or less, but I hope for that price drop too.
I don't think we'll see it for another year or two, the LED grow light industry is still rapidly changing.? 10 watt chip-sets and larger are coming out, new lenses, spectra… Once this stabilizes, prices will subside… We can hope.
Question: Can you grow all strains under these LED lights? For example, have you ever grown Super Lemon Haze?
Answer: I've not grown Lemon Haze (yet), but have done a? few Haze variant strains with success. Many "lanky" or "stretchy" sativa phenotypes can be successfully grown under LEDs, but do require either LST (Low Stress Training), or cropping of some type to control their height. I am a fan of the LST method.
I want to…