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Getting a decent grow light for your house plants is one of the easiest things you can do to improve the growth of your house plants.
They grow faster and bigger and all you have to do is flick on a switch.
I wish I’d gotten a ‘proper’ one ages ago. Oh well, I know now.
I was extremely excited when Mars Hydro reached out to me on Instagram and offered to send me a light to review.
I told them that if they were happy to let me try out the light for three months and receive an honest review, I’d love to try it out. They said they were after authentic reviews, which suited me fine.
(Luckily, it’s a really good product, because otherwise, it would have been pretty awkward)
So here we are, three months later.
My plants have THRIVED under the grow light. THRIVED. Having it has really lit a fire in me, plant care-wise, so they’ve all been watered, fertilised and cleaned far more often than ever before.
How do you use the MarsHydro TS1000?
The Mars Hydro TS1000 is more of a professional style grow light, in that you suspend it above your plants rather than clip it or attach it onto a shelf.
They’re in that not-quite-professional-not-exactly-amateur vicinity which is the sweet spot for me – I’m not looking to produce farmer-worthy yields of tomatoes, but I want a grow light that actually does something.
This is not your $40 gooseneck Amazon grow light intended to stop your plants from dying. You can get serious growth from these lights.
I’m currently renting, so didn’t really want to drill holes in my ceiling. Instead, I repurposed an old Ikea bathroom cabinet to suspend the light from:
If you look to the right, you can see I have a shelving unit with mesh shelves – I have another light suspended from that, which is a great option because you can get a tonne of plants on the shelves.
There’s only a few plants under there in the above picture, but I was rearranging them for a video. You can fit loads under there, and more in the surrounding vicinity.
It’s just hanging from the top shelf:
I got this greenhouse from Amazon. It’s fine for the price, but sturdy is not a word I’d use to describe it.
The plastic pots are fine on them, but heavy ceramic ones bend the shelves.
Indoor greenhouses are great for retaining humidity. I don’t have the walls on (you know what I mean) because my humidity is fine, but you definitely can.
One of the great things about these grow lights is that they fit together (called daisy-chaining). Rather than having a bunch of grow lights plugged into a bunch of sockets, you can connect the lights to each other (it comes with the wires to do this) and just use one plug socket. Perfect.
Mars Hydro TS1000W Specifications
I am NOT a scientist, and don’t really know what I’m looking for when it comes to grow light specs.
If you feel similarly, then this is all you need to know:
The Mars Hydro grow lights are VERY BRIGHT. Way brighter than a regular LED light. A normal light has a brightest of around 150ish lumens (it varies a tonne, but the brightest I found was 450).
The Mars Hydro kicks out 22,000 lumens. See? Bright.
Here are the actual specifications for those more sciency people:
|Spectrum||660-665nm 730-740nm 3000-3200K 6000-6500K|
|Amps||1.235A@AC120V 0.6223A@AC240V 0.5498A@AC277V|
Pros of the MarsHydro TS1000
It makes my house plants grow very quickly & bigger
I was really struggling with my Pilea peperomioides. It just wasn’t happy wherever I put it. The only place I could get it to grow was on my west-facing windowsill, which was too bright, and caused it to get red leaves from stress.
It is thriving under the MarsHydro grow light.
The annoying thing is, I don’t have a very bad ‘before’ picture, because I used to photograph it from its best angles.
This is it before:
It’s taken close up to hide the fact that the main stem is practically leafless. You can see a dead leaf to the right, and there’s a very distinct red hue.
She’s probably doubled in size over the past three months. I’m not exaggerating. She’s not even directly under the grow light – probably a couple of feet away.
Here she is today:
There’s still a bit of a red hue to the petioles, but there’s so much growth! Two new leaves growing (plus more on the pups) and I’m not losing old ones as often.
As well as faster growth, I’ve noticed bigger growth. I recently did a video on my new moss poles which I got because a combination of the grow light and the pole should encourage mature leaves. I want fenestrations on my Marble queen pothos, dammit.
Look at the size difference before and after grow lights (obvs the bigger ones grew after the light was added):
There’s no trickery with angles here – if you look closely, you can see that the leaves are actually touching. I’m also up to about a new leaf every two weeks on the Rhapidophora tetrasperma.
It’s cheap to run
This is difficult to quantify because there’s a tonne of variation in the rates we pay for power. All I can give you is my personal experience. We’re with EDF in the UK and can use their app to track our usage. My boyfriend checked it regularly (for the purposes of writing this review) from when we first switched the grow light on, and it’s hardly made a difference at all.
LEDs are cheap and efficient to run – they tend to be more expensive to buy in the first place, but are cheap to run.
It creates a great microclimate
A tonne of LEDs create a nice amount of warmth. As we know, the holy trinity for house plants is warmth, light, and humidity – there are two of them covered already. A humidifier is ideal, but I’ve found that keeping a couple of jars of water under the lights (with cuttings in, of course) gives a little boost to the humidity (it is a small room though).
My plants are healthier overall
Light is a big deal to plants. Once they have enough light, they’re a lot happier. You can give them water, humidity, and fertiliser to your heart’s content, but that won’t compensate for lack of light.
Plenty of light, however, can compensate better for lack of humidity than vice versa. Both is better, but getting the right light is probably 90% of the battle when it comes to house plants.
If plants have enough light, they grow faster, so they use more water (as well as the lights causing the water to evaporate quickly). Serial overwaterers may find that adding a decent grow light like the MarsHydro helps their plants, because water is used up quicker.
Plants grow faster and stronger under grow lights, which can help them fend off pests. I do currently have a little thrips, er, visitation, but the plants are looking fine. There’s a bit of damage, but they’re all still growing well. A plant with less light won’t have the excess energy to both grow and fend off an attack.
You may notice in the first picture of my set up the plants aren’t looking…great. It’s because I’ve been using the light to rehab some of my sadder-looking specimens. It’s working really well, and I think I’ve saved my Verrucosum from the compost heap.
It promotes/preserves variegation
It’s known that increasing the light can help to preserve variegation – I have a whole article on it.
But the MarsHydro grow light seems to have actually caused variegation. Check out this Philodendron Squamiferum!
You can’t really see because it’s fuzzy, but the dormant Alocasia amazonica to the right has about six growth points. It was variegated before, so fingers crossed it still is. Hang on, I’ll get a picture:
There’s a leaf in the top left, a sprout in the top right and about six growth points on the original corm. I wish I’d gotten this grow light on my stingray and zebrina before they succumbed – I’m sure it could have saved them!
You can get loads of plants underneath
The plants directly underneath the light will get the most light, but the light claims to cover an area of 2 feet squared but I have plants that are farther away than that that are still benefiting.
I have about 15 under mine, but could probably fit easily twice that (it’s up against a wall, but if I hung it somewhere more centrally I could double the space). Pretty impressive.
I like to switch the plants around when I’m watering because I’ve found that some plants find the intense light a bit too strong – my Alocasia dragonscale leaves fade a little bit. I imagine plants like Calathea will also fade if directly under it, but would do well a couple of feet away.
You get a better growth pattern
I’ve found that since putting my plants under the MarsHydro light, they grow in a nicer way.
For a start, they’re not as leggy. I expected that because plants grow leggily (not a word) when they’re searching for light. They don’t need to search for light. It’s immediately above them and extremely bright!
But I also found that they can sustain more grow points so they grow more bushily (also not a word).
I’ve already shown you all the pups on the Alocasia and Pilea, but look at these two:
My Monstera adansonii is loving life under the grow light and has three to four leaves growing at anyone time. My Philodendron narrow is also growing about four.
Plants having multiple growth points is fairly common, but usually one will grow slower, or they’ll take turns pushing out a leaf. Not so here. All the growth points are shooting out leaves every couple of weeks. It’s amazing.
Cons of the MarsHydro TS1000
None of the cons I’m going to list here are dealbreakers for me – I wholeheartedly recommend the MarsHydro TS1000, but if you’re new to grow lights, there may be things here that you hadn’t considered.
Also, none of these are cons of the Mars Hydro grow light – just this style of grow light in general.
It can be a pain to set up
These grow lights have to be suspended. You can’t just plug them in and stick them on a shelf somewhere. That can make them more difficult to set up.
To house plant growers this can seem like a big deal, but remember that this type of grow light is designed more for growing crops on a small scale – it’s not intended to be interior decor.
I actually prefer Mars Hydro over other brands when it comes to set-up, because the little wires they provide to suspend the light are shorter than usual, so there’s less wasted space between the light and whatever you’re hanging it from.
The MarsHydro suspension wires (I’m sure they have a proper name, but I don’t know what it is) are as long as my finger. On other brands, they’re as long as my forearm. As you can see, I don’t use them and have to buy four separate rope rachet clip hangers s I can McGyver another suspension system.
Not particularly aesthetically pleasing
This is part of the same issue, and it basically stems from the fact that this isn’t designed with house plants in mind. It’s a product developed to yield a result (fast growth) and aesthetics won’t be enough of an issue to be worth pursuing.
I’m going to make it my mission to make an aesthetically pleasing set-up with these lights. I’ll post it on my Instagram when I figure it out.
Some plants may burn
Grow lights don’t tend to burn unless you’ve got them too close to the plants BUT I have found that when propagating cuttings once the plant has rooted, move it further away from the light so that existing and new growth isn’t burnt.
It seems to be specifically that situation that causes burning (excluding, of course, my Rhapidphora tetrasperma that INSISTS on growing into the light and getting burned), so watch out for that.
Apart from that, I’ve had no burning and I did very little (i.e. no) acclimating.
Is the MarsHydro TS1000 expensive?
I haven’t put the price as either a pro or a con, because it’s neither super cheap nor prohibitively expensive.
It’s about $130 (the price varies depending on discounts), which is expensive for amateur grow lights but extremely cheap for professional ones. Considering the results I’ve gotten, I think it’s very good value for money.
Sure, you could get a $30 grow light, but you wouldn’t that much of a difference compared to just buying a $10 Ikea lamp. With a proper grow light like this one, you can see a difference in your plants in days. No exaggeration.
MarsHydro is a Chinese company and has warehouses in China, America, Australia, Canada, EU, United Kingdom, and Russia – you can select which one is closest to you on the website.
They reached out to me on March 16th, and I got the order on the 22nd. Pretty impressive.
You can also buy MarsHydro products on Amazon. I’ve just seen that they do a product similar to an Aerogarden. Hmm, might have to give that a go.
Would I recommend the MarsHydro TS1000?
Definitely. It can be difficult to ascertain how you feel about a product when it’s been sent to you, especially when it comes to assessing whether or not it was worth the money.
I used to do makeup reviews back in the day and trying to work out whether you’d repurchase an incredible face powder that you’d got for free but retailed at £50 is HARD.
Especially when you’re tight like me and would realistically never spend £50 on a face powder, however good it was.
The MarsHydro grow light definitely IS worth the money. It could even pay for itself if you used it to grow your plants and then took cuttings. One of the many great things about grow lights!
I’m quite biased towards this light because it really helped me reignite my interest in house plants.
That sounds super cheesy but it’s true! I’ve had a really busy, stressful year and was struggling to find time to tend to my plants. The grow light has helped them to grow so quickly that I actually look forward to spending time with them every few days – I can practically guarantee that at least one plant will have a new leaf to show me.