Let us accept that even if we want, certain seasons are not suitable for growing certain plants. However, what if we told you that it is now feasible to cultivate plants inside, regardless of the weather? Yes, a grow light is the answer that any enthusiast of indoor gardening may use.
The type of light your crops require to promote healthy development and generate amazing results can be provided by these grow lights. That said, numerous grow light options are on the market, including plasma, LED, fluorescent, and HID (High-Intensity Discharge). But in this article, we’ll discuss LED grow lights by highlighting their advantages.
What are LED Grow Lights?
So, what are LED grow lights?
A grow light is a light that offers the heat and light a plant needs to flourish. A luminaire that uses LED chips for lighting is called an LED grow light. LED chips are an innovative and effective approach to creating light for growing plants.
Although these grow lights come in a variety of sizes and designs, LED chips are the most important component of these luminaires. Both the photon flux (“brightness”) and spectrum (“colors”) of these chips vary in quality. And it is on these two things that the efficacy of an LED grow light depends.
This raises the question of how precisely LED grow lights impact plant growth. We should concentrate on the color variety of the LED luminaires to get this. Most frequently, we observe that these lights produce the anticipated blue and red light spectra. This is true since research has revealed that these lights impact plant growth, altering the creation of the roots and flowers/ fruits.
Are LED Grow Lights Good?
Indoor gardening can be a tad tricky. From providing the right temperature, light, and heat to timely watering of the plants, one needs to invest better understanding in this case. But thanks to LED grow lights, things might be simpler—at least in terms of giving the plants the correct kind of light.
Grow lights are a substitute for natural sunlight and provide the ideal environment for photosynthesis indoors. So, you can definitely harvest tasty tomatoes in the dead of winter if you have the correct LED grow light.
Yes, LED lights are indeed functional. However, whether they are good or appropriate for you will rely on the needs of your plants and the kind of light you select. The newest LED grow light technology is energy-efficient and offers an optimal light spectrum. But choosing the proper kind of light spectrum is the catch.
Having said that, you have the option of red or violet-blue light. But which color serves what purpose?
- Violet-blue light: It has a wavelength range of 400–520 nanometers and is perfect for fostering the uptake of chlorophyll, photosynthesis, and plant development.
- Red light: Its 610–720 spectrum range makes it perfect for promoting budding and flowering.
The most effective LED grow lights would have the proper spectrum. Therefore, consider this when buying a light. Meanwhile, broad-spectrum lights are the best option for most indoor plants.
The effectiveness of LED grow lights would also depend on the following variables.
- The setting/ placement of the lights– Hanging them over the plants is the best option.
- The number of lights you need
- The duration of keeping the light on– An average of 12-16 hours of light would be needed for indoor plants to thrive.
Advantages of an LED Grow Light
Compared to conventional grow lights, the innovative technology of LED grow lights unquestionably offers several benefits. However, many of us might not be fully aware of these benefits. As a purpose, this section has been devoted to identifying the main benefits of installing an LED grow light for your indoor plants.
1. Less Power Usage
One of the main benefits of LED grow lights is their energy efficiency. In other words, LED lighting is incredibly effective while consuming less power or wattage. Therefore, you may utilize LEDs as a gardener to give your plants greater PAR per watt of electricity.
Here is an example to help put things into perspective.
While an HID fixture uses roughly 62 watts per square foot to cover one square foot of growing space for flowering plants, an LED grow light uses only 32 watts.
In a nutshell, we can state that a highly efficient LED grow light can save 48% of energy than an HID grow light. The winner in this situation is therefore very obvious: LED grow lights.
2. Cost Effective
You will spend less on your electricity bill because LED grow lights consume less power. Second, compared to HID lights, LED grow lights generate less heat. Therefore, additional costs for AC units, inline fans, and ducts are unnecessary. Thirdly, the installation cost is also considerably lower than that of HID lights.
3. Offer the Right Spectrum
Growing vibrant and healthy indoor plants requires giving them the proper light spectrum. In fact, the spectrum is what determines how a plant develops and produces blooms or buds. As we mentioned, a red or warm spectrum is essential for flowering, while a blue or cooler spectrum is necessary for greater plant growth.
LED grow lights offer both spectrums, making them broad spectrum white-light fixtures that may be used for both tasks. Depending on the results they are after, different growers employ various spectrums.
With LED grow lights, growers can alter a plant’s responses, such as seed germination and the development of new leaves or flowers. And they can do this all year long.
4. Spectrum, Dimming, Schedules (SDS)
These days, LED grow lights have an adjustable SDS. Full spectrum lights do, in fact, resemble natural sunlight and are the greatest choice for growing plants. And LED grow lights claim to offer full or broad spectrum light. But what makes LED grow lights special is their adjustable SDS features that enable growers to alter each panel’s spectrum in accordance with the plant’s stage of development or the expected result.
One may also control the LED grow light’s intensity thanks to this feature. For instance, during the plant growth phase, a grower can reduce the red light by 50% while maintaining the blue light at 100%.
Scheduling is the last thing to look for in grow lights with adjustable SDS. The in-built scheduling tool helps growers set up their spectrum and dimming regimens per their needs. It also does away with the requirement for an extra timer.
More precisely, energy-saving LED grow lights with adjustable SDS allow growers to utilize a single fixture to grow plants, sprout seeds, promote flowering, etc.
5. Less Heat Emission
Compared to conventional grow lights, LEDs operate cooler. Additionally, you can manage how much heat and light LED grow lights emit, so you can predict how much heat your plant will receive. In other words, you don’t need to be concerned about your plants being exposed to excessive heat, which might result in burning and wilted foliage.
It is common knowledge that indoor plants need ideal circumstances to grow and thrive. And the newer versions of LED grow lights emit the optimal lighting conditions for each plant. As a result, plants can absorb the appropriate light without worrying about getting scorched.
6. Good Proximity
LED grow lights produce less heat, allowing them to be retained near plants. In fact, you can put these lights just a few inches away from plants. Because of this, plant owners with little indoor space can use these lights without being concerned about taking up too much room. Based on the light’s photosynthetic photon flux, you can choose the distance between the LED to grow light and your plant. However, adhere to the manufacturer’s recommendations for the grow light’s ideal positioning to achieve the best results.
In this regard, here is a tip-position LED grow lights with broad beams closer to the plants. However, pick one with a shorter beam angle if you want to keep the light farther away.
Caution: Although LED grow lights produce less heat, keeping plants too close to the light source can cause light burns. Hence, keeping a distance of 12 to 18 inches between the light and the plant is recommended.
7. Not Bulky
LED grow lights come in a very compact size. They also tend to be handy and mobile. As a result, even if the grower has a smaller space, an LED grows light will fit in easily. Also, there are different shapes and sizes of grow lights available in the market. So, depending on your gardening space and plant type, you can choose the right one.
8. A Better Lifespan
Let’s start with the facts: LED lights have a lifespan of around 50,000 hours (approx.). An HID bulb, on the other hand, often lasts up to 10,000 hours. Therefore, investing in LED grow lights will result in long-term financial savings. Furthermore, HID bulbs employ mercury, which must be properly disposed of because failure to do so can negatively affect human health and the environment.
9. Promotes Fast Harvest
Let’s get one thing clear- plants need sunlight to grow. Unfortunately, plants do not receive sunlight continuously in a natural environment. They would have grown more quickly if they had been exposed to sunshine all day and night. But this is feasible if you grow your plants under a grow light.
LED grow lights’ wide spectrum serves as the “never-setting sun” for plants, allowing them to continue growing even when it is completely dark outside. Additionally, you can modify the light output and duration of these lights to give the plants the proper quantity of light for the appropriate amount of time.
Faster harvesting and faster growth are what you are going to get as a result.
If you don’t want to worsen the high rate of emission that our planet already experiences, consider using an LED grow light. These luminaires utilize less energy and produce less heat than conventional grow lights, as we’ve already indicated.
Therefore, if the entire world switched from HID bulbs to LED grow lights, we could save 40% or more on our daily electrical demands. LED lights also have a longer lifespan. As a result, they will operate for longer periods and hinder landfills.
Additionally, conventional grow bulbs include dangerous substances like mercury and sodium that, when dumped in landfills, can have a terrible impact on the environment. If we switch to employing LED grow lights of the modern era, we can solve all these problems.
Are There Any Potential Drawback(s) of LED Grow Lights?
Although LED grow lights are fantastic and have many advantages, they also have some drawbacks. Therefore, you must be aware of these lights’ benefits and drawbacks to determine whether they are appropriate for your needs. So here are some typical drawbacks that LED grow lights have.
- Greater area coverage is not achieved by LED grow lights. The majority of them just emit directional light and operate like flashlights.
- While less heat is appreciated in LED grow light, this feature makes them less powerful.
- Purple or blue light is not good for human eyes. Long-term exposure to this light could cause retinal cell damage.
- Plants will experience light burns if positioned too close to these lights.
- Compared to HID bulbs, LED grow lights are substantially more expensive.
- Although LED lights have a longer lifespan, they may stop producing the desired brightness as they age. Their diodes might start to mutate.
- Heat and high temperatures might have an impact on these lights.
Some Good Options for LED Grow Lights
If you are certain that you want to buy LED grow lights after learning about all their advantages and disadvantages, here are some viable choices for you. These are reasonably priced and have useful functions.
Yes, since plants get light exposure for a prolonged time, they grow and produce yield faster.
You can grow various indoor plants under LED grow lights, including tomatoes, orchids, lettuce, spinach, and so on. However, keep in mind that different plants would need different light exposure. So, adjusting the spectrum of grow lights is crucial.
To replicate the natural sunshine that plants are exposed to in their natural environment, grow lights should be remained on for at least 8 to 10 hours each day. However, depending on the conditions indoors, the time can vary by up to 16 hours.
Yes, LED lighting consumes less power to operate than conventional HID bulbs and is a very energy-efficient lighting solution. These lights are between 35 and 40 percent more efficient than typical grow lights.
It is advised to keep plants and LED grow lights at a distance of 12 to 18 inches. The precise amount will, however, vary depending on the plant, indoor environment, the growing light’s intensity, and the goal you’re trying to achieve.
So, this was all about the benefits of LED grow lights. You will learn the main reasons why these lights are the best, even though we were unable to discuss all of their advantages owing to the limitations of virtual space. And if you’ve already made up your mind to get an LED grow light for your indoor garden, it’s time to determine your precise illumination requirements so that you can pick the best light. Remember that complete popularity for LED grow lights is still a ways off. However, gardeners are adopting these lights and recognizing their possibilities.