If you enjoy indoor gardening, it’s crucial to provide your plants with everything they need to thrive, including proper lighting. In addition to water and nutrients, plants require sufficient light to grow.
If you’re growing plants indoors, you’ll need to select the best lighting option. While there are several choices available, LED grows lights are the most commonly used type of lighting for indoor cultivation.
We will go into more detail below about the benefits of using LED grow lights and what else you need to know before buying one, but first, let’s cover why they are so popular.
If you are interested in LED Grow Lights you can also be interested in home hydroponic systems to help you easily start to grow plants. Our top articles: Our Picks for the 5 Grow Tent Kits, Picks for the 5 Aeroponics Systems, Our Picks for the 5 Hydroponic Bucket Systems with Buyer’s Guides, and Our Picks for the 5 best indoor vertical Garden, and Led Grow Lights for an indoor plant.
Let’s start with a quick definition.
What Are LED Grow Lights?
An LED is an electrical light that emits light through a semiconductor material that produces visible reds, greens, and blues. LEDs use up less power than traditional lights and can last up to 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs or fluorescent tubes. They also emit very little heat so they are safe to use around food crops and animals.
All plants require illumination in order to grow healthy. When growing your plants indoors, you will need artificial growth illumination to provide your plants with a reliable source of luminosity.
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Types of LED Lights
Generally, there are two types of artificial lighting that you can use.
- High Intensity Discharge (HID) lights, which are set up to provide more light than is necessary for plant growth.
- Low-intensity LED lights, which provide the right amount of light for plant growth.
LED grow illumination is just electric illumination that provides a luminosity spectrum to your plants instead of sunlight. However, you need to understand that there is a difference between LED grow lights and LED lights.
Since red and blue LEDs produce most of their light in the blue spectrum, they are ideal for promoting plant growth. Green LEDs also produce a significant amount of red and blue illumination making them ideal for use by plants that need less red or blue to survive.
What Makes This Type of Illumination So Great?
LED illumination seems to be the best option for plant growth because they provide a wider spectrum of blue and red colors. These colors enhance the flowering and vegetative growth. However, you should take into account that LED illumination is good to go for illumination and is not the best for plants since they do not provide the warmth needed by plants.
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What Makes the Best LED Grow Light?
From my experience, it follows below are the features you should expect to find in high-quality LED illumination for growing plants.
1. Color Spectrum for Plants
Why do plants grown outdoors do well? That’s because the sunlight contains full-spectrum colors the plants need for growth and development. This means that you should look for a model with such capabilities. Full-spectrum LEDs provide all the important hues and colors for different stages of plant growth. The most important colors are:
- Blue light. This enables the plants to thrive during their early stages. They are able to absorb it during their vegetative stage.
- Purple light. The purple color is also necessary for the vegetative stage. However, it is not very effective for photosynthesis like blue illumination.
- Red light. Plants need this color in their later stages of development. It also helps buds to flower.
- White light. You can use the white color alone since it has all the color spectrums required by plants in all their development stages.
2. Light Intensity
The light intensity of LED grow lights is determined by Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR). The PAR is usually the type or amount of illumination that LED grow lights produce. In this way you can regulate the photosynthetic features of sunlight that plants need.
The ordinary bulbs produce less PAR. It explains why they are not commonly used in indoor gardens.
Light intensity is the measure of the amount of illumination that can produce photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is a series of chemical reactions that are responsible for producing glucose and oxygen from water and carbon dioxide. The reaction requires illumination energy in order to work.
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Understand the Intensity and Its Impact
You can determine intensity in 2 ways:
- Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR).
The wavelength, measured in nanometers, determines what part of the spectrum a plant uses for photosynthesis. The PAR determines how much energy there is in those wavelengths.
3 Types of PAR
There are three main types of PAR: blue light, red light, and infrared (IR).
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Grow illumination with a high PAR rating fits better for growing plants. These ones are the brightest and they are very good for plants since they greatly enhance the development of leaves. They also have the required amount of photons that plants need for flowering and growth.
Lack of enough luminosity may cause the leaves to turn yellowish. You should check the recommended footprint by the manufacturer. This is the easiest way to know the best grow illumination that will be suitable for your plants. Some manufacturers list it as PPF (Photosynthetic Photon Flux).
3. Grow Light Power Consumption
The good news is that these types of lights are very cost-effective. You need little power to run them. However, their power consumption differs from one model to the other which means that some consume a lot of electricity. A model that produces bright light without consuming a lot of electricity can be a great choice.
The amount of power the unit consumes is determined in watts. In other words, models with high wattage are likely to consume more power. However, models with low wattage may not provide the required level of brightness. A model with at least 1000W will be a great option.
- Lighting Footprint
Even if brighter illumination may help your plants to produce better yields, sometimes it may be very dangerous and may cause your plants to dry due to too much heat. Therefore, you need to determine the best amount of illumination that is suitable for your plants.
To do this, measure the size of the area you would want the light to project. This area is known as the footprint. LED lights can only cover a limited area or footprint.
Therefore, you need to ensure that the model you have chosen matches the area you would like the light to cover.
In short, the illumination footprint provided by the LED luminosity should not be more than the growing space because this might cause the leaves to bleach or curl. It will also be a waste of electricity. You can check this information from the details provided by the manufacturer.
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5. Plant Photoperiods
This simply refers to the amount of light you give the plants within 24 hours. When growing plants outdoors, they have a limited photoperiod since they use sunlight. In most cases, the plants will be subjected to sun for 24 hours during the day or less depending on the season.
Growing plants indoors allows you to extend the photoperiods of plants according to your requirement since you can leave the LED grow illumination even for 24-hours.
As a result, plants grown indoors may grow faster than those grown outdoors especially during the winter.
The Advantages of Using LED Grow Lights
From my experience, it follows some of the benefits of buying the most decent models include:
- Power efficiency- One of the major benefits of LED grow luminescence devices is that they do not consume a lot of electricity as compared to other luminescence devices. Thus, your power bills remain the same. This also means that you can leave them on for long hours without any problem.
- Durable- Most of them have a lifespan of 50,000 to 100,000 hours unlike other types of luminescence devices which last for 20,000 hours or less. Again, they do not affect the temperatures of the room since they do not make the room too hot.
- Space-saving design – In terms of design, these luminescence devices do not require a lot of space since they do not require extra equipment. They have a compact and portable design. So you can move them easily if you want.
- Full-spectrum -The other reason why you need to consider LED grow luminescence devices is that most of them are tailored to suit the specific demands of your plants. This means that when using these lights, you don’t have to use different lights as your plants mature since they offer a huge spectrum of colors.
- When it comes to lighting for plants, it’s important to consider the potential harm from UV rays and excessive heat emitted by some light sources. With these LED grow lights, you don’t have to worry about either of those issues. They provide a safe and effective light source that promotes the growth of healthy plants.
What Are the Different Types of LED Grow Lights?
Before you pick any LED luminescence devices, you need to understand the different types available so that you can pick the best. The 3 most common types are;
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1. LED Grow Light Panels
The good thing about them is that they provide full-color spectrums. As a result, they are suitable for both vegetative and flowering stages of plants. They are very powerful. It’s possible to split these luminescence devices into 3 main categories: spread-style, traditional, and Chip On Board LED grow luminosity.
The most notable thing about these luminescence devices is that they feature many individual lights which are spread out on the entire surface. Due to their design, spread style models such as MELONFARM 2000W LED Grow Lights, compatible with Samsung LM301B Diodes are the best if you are searching for a reliable illumination source for many plants.
There are 2 main categories of Spread-style illumination:
- Spider-style. These ones contain many LED luminescence devices that you can find on their narrow arms. They have an open bar design instead of a solid board. In terms of price, they are very expensive but they provide unmatched value.
- Quantum board. The quantum board LED illumination is equipped with many small LED luminescence devices which are spread over a large surface area. They normally feature full-spectrum white LED diodes. They are also cheaper than spider-style models.
Chip on Board (COB)
The COB lights contain many tiny LED luminescence devices. You can see thme close to one another on a single chip. This design enables them to provide a powerful single source of luminosity.
Due to their unique design, they emit more heat. COBs also use a full spectrum of white LED diodes with a deeper canopy penetration as compared to the spread-style models.
Due to this, you may need a cooling fan to protect your plants from the effects of extreme heat.
For those with limited indoor spaces, the traditional LED grow illumination such as the KingLED luminescence devices are the best. Unlike the other types, these ones contain multicolored LEDs which provide a wide range of full-spectrum colors. As a result, they give your indoor garden a nice look.
2. LED Grow Light Bulbs
LED grow illumination consists of a single LED bulb. A compact design enables them to fit in standard luminosity sockets. They also come in different colors. Thus, you can mix different colors to achieve a full-color spectrum.
However, you will need multiple bulbs since they do not produce too much illumination. You may also need to use a reactive material to maximize luminescence absorption by herbs.
3. LED Grow Light Bars
These ones enable you to expand the luminescence footprint. They normally feature single rows of diodes which come with different spectrums. They are not very effective which means that you cannot use them to germinate plants from the seed stage until they mature. In most cases, people use them to supplement the main illumination source.
BONUS: How to Choose the Best LED Grow Light for Your Indoor Garden
Choosing the best illumination from the many options on the market is not easy. To make your work easier when choosing the best, you should consider these features.
- Brightness. You will need a powerful LED illumination that can emit enough luminosity for your plants. The brightness of these luminescence devices is measured in lumens. When buying, you should check the amount of power the unit consumes which is normally displayed in watts.
- Uniform spectrum. You should look for a model that provides an equal spectrum of light to your plants. With full-spectrum lights, you can take care of your herbs from seed to harvest using the same illumination. You may need to replace your illumination in various stages if they do not provide a full spectrum.
- Durability. Luminescence devices, especially the LED grow illumination panels are very durable. When buying, you need to confirm their durability by checking the number of hours they are expected to last. You should consider a model with the maximum number of hours.
- Heat output. Another thing you need to be careful about is the amount of heat produced by the LED grow illumination. Some are very powerful. It means that they emit too much heat which may damage your plants.
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How to Set up LED Lights for Hydroponic Growth?
Hydroponic is a type of indoor farming where herbs or vegetables use a nutrient solution as their growing medium. Just like other plants, hydroponic plants require luminescence for them to grow.
The most common types of luminescence devices used in hydroponic systems are, T5 Fluorescent luminescence devices, HID Hydroponic illumination, and illumination panels.
As compared to other illumination systems, LED luminosity are the best for hydroponic systems.
They are also easy to set up due to their compact design. They have different methods of installation.
Therefore, you need to look for a model that comes with a user manual that guides you through the installation process. PARFACTWORKS RA1000W illumination is among the top-rated models that will give you the best value for your money.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Do Plants like LED Lights?
Just like the illumination that comes from the sun, LED luminescence devices produce enough illumination that is required by herbs during the different stages of growth. However, a model that provides full-spectrum colors seems to be the best. Most plants require illumination with a wavelength of blue, red, purple, and white colors.
How far Should LED Grow Lights be from Plants?
There are no specific guidelines on how close you should place the illumination from plants. However, you should place them about 12-18 inches away from the plants. If they are too close, they may cause the leaves to curl or even burn. On the other hand, when they are placed far away from vegetables, they may not provide them with enough illumination.
How Many Hours Should I Use My Grow Lights?
Plants require illumination for 12-16 hours within a day. Therefore, the illumination should be on for at least 8-10 hours per day depending on the conditions. Since luminescence devices do not consume a lot of electricity, you can leave them even for up to 18 hours. However, plants also require some darkness to enlarge. It means that you should not expose them to luminescence for 24 hours.
Can LED Grow Lights Burn Plants?
They emit too much heat which can damage your plants. To avoid this, you should ensure that the ones you have chosen match with the surface area where you are growing plants. Those with high wattage are the most powerful.
How Many Plants Can I Grow Under 1000W LED Light?
Most luminescence devices with 1000-watts are so powerful which means that you should not place them near the herbs. Make sure that they are suspended about 15-inches from the plants depending on the amount of heat the unit emits. This illumination can cover a maximum area of up to 20 square feet which means that they can support more than 20 plants.
How Do You Tell If a Plant Is Stressed?
Stress on plants can be caused by various factors such as lack of water, less luminosity, temperature changes among others. Moreover, living organisms such as insects, weeds, arachnids, nematodes, bacteria, fungi, and viruses can cause this. The most common signs displayed by herbs when they are stressed are yellowing, burning around the edges, and dropping of flowers or leaves.
What is the Difference Between Grow Lights and Regular Lights?
Different designs of illumination match the requirements of your plants. They are also designed to provide a wide range of color spectrums required by vegetables or herbs for growth. Again, they do not emit too much heat like the regular models which means that they have no effects on the plants.
Can You Use LED Lights to Start Seeds?
You can use this luminescence for home illumination featuring neutral white colors which may be suitable for starting seeds. In order to get the best results when starting seeds, you should use fluorescent illumination. You can customize them by combining a warm-cool tube and a warm white tube on the same fixture. Thus, you can get the same results as you would get from special grow illumination.
Can You Leave Grow Lights On 24 Hours a Day?
Leaving illumination on even at night may not have serious effects on the plants but they may lead to long-term effects. Exposing the herbs to luminosity throughout may lead to stunted growth and may also prevent flowering. Apart from that, it may lead to wilting or cause burn damages. This is very dangerous and may kill the plants.
Should I Run My Grow Lights at Night?
Some people may opt to leave the illumination on at night. You should switch them off at night. Give a break of 6 hours. For example, 2000 Watts luminescence is very powerful and should not be left on at night.
In my opinion, the LED luminescence comes with many advantages for indoor gardens as compared to other types of illumination. They are highly effective since they produce a wide range of colors required by plants. In case you have been considering purchasing a suitable model for your indoor garden, we hope that you have learned something from this guide.
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