by johnah on November 21, 2020
LED Grow Light Info: Should You Use LED Lights For Your Plants?
The question of whether or not you should use LED grow lights for your plants depends on several factors. These include:
What type of plants are you growing?
Are they fast growers like tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, etc.? If so then using a regular fluorescent bulb would probably work better than an incandescent one.
Do you want to save money?
A cheap CFL might be cheaper than an expensive LED.
Do you have access to a commercial lighting supplier who sells these types of bulbs?
Many home growers don’t have such access.
LED Grow Light Info: Which Led Lights Are Best For Growing Cannabis?
There are many different kinds of LEDs available today. They come in various wattages and colors. There are also different sizes of LED tubes, which determine how much light each tube will give off per Wattage. The most popular type of LED is called a compact fluorescent lamp (CFL). They’re very energy efficient and last a long time. Most CFLs run for at least 10 years before needing replacement.
CFLs have been used in people’s homes for several years now. These types of lights come in either warm white or cool white. Warm white is more of an yellowish color, which gives off a cozy feeling in a room. Cool white is more of a blueish color and tends to be brighter than the warm white.
Most growers prefer cool white since it gives off the most light per bulb. With the invention of CFLs, the price of these lights has dropped substantially.
Another new invention is the light emitting diode (LED). These types of bulbs are extremely energy efficient and can last for several years. The average life span of an LED is around 50,000 hours. This means if you used it for 12 hours per day, it would last over 5 years.
LEDs also come in different colors such as red, blue, green and white. By combining different colors of LEDs, it is possible to create just about any color imaginable.
One of the newest inventions in lighting is the LEP lamp (Light Emitting Polymer). These types of bulbs contain a special polymer molecule that emits light when an electric current passes through it. They are said to be extremely long lasting and give off very little heat. They are somewhat costly compared to other types of lights, but their energy efficiency makes them well worth the price.
There are many different types of led grow lights available. Here is a short list of some of the most popular ones:
5) HID (High-Intensity Discharge)
Which Led Grow Lights Offer The Best Value?
The cheapest type of light you can use for your plants is a CFL. They’re usually available at any home improvement store or department store. You can also get them from online sources such as eBay or Amazon. The average price for these types of bulbs is between $5 and $20, depending on the size of the bulb and the quality.
Next up are the LEDs. These types of lights are somewhat more expensive than the CFLs. They usually cost between $20 and $60 each, again depending on the size and quality of the bulb. LEDs have a very long life span and use less electricity, so they tend to save you money in the long run.
The most expensive lights to purchase are the LEPs. They can run anywhere from $100 to several hundred dollars for larger models. Like the LEDs, these also have a very long life span and use very little electricity, so they will save you money in the long run as well.
The HIDs are somewhat less expensive than the LEPs. You are probably most familiar with these types of lights, as they are used in commercial businesses such as grocery stores and hospitals. The bulbs themselves can cost anywhere from $10 to several hundred dollars, again depending on the size and quality. The metal housing for these types of lights can also be costly and must be mounted high off the ground to prevent the heat from damaging anything below it.
Lighting Tips & Tricks
Tip #1: You don’t need as much light as you think you do. Most plants grow just fine in the natural sunlight from your window. You only need to provide supplemental lighting if you are trying to grow exotic plants or something that needs a longer period of darkness each day, such as some types of orchids.
Tip #2: Use the right color light at the right time. Different types of plants need different types of lights to help them grow. Most common houseplants need what’s called “Cool White Fluorescent” light, which has a strong blue color tint. This helps the plant grow more stems and leaves and become healthier looking.
Some other types of plants such as orchids need “Warm White Fluorescent” lights which have more of a yellowish tint. These help promote flowering in the plants. It is a good idea to provide the correct type and color of light at the right time to your plants, otherwise you might find they grow oddly or don’t grow at all.
Tip #3: Use the right intensity of light at the right distance from the plant. The bigger your light source is compared to the distance away it is from the plant, the brighter and stronger the light will be. Putting your plant too close to the light could harm its health, but putting it too far away will not provide enough light for it to thrive. You have to find that “sweet spot” where the light is strong enough to help the plant grow, but not so strong that it will damage it in any way.
Tip #4: Watch your temperatures! It is important to make sure that none of your lights get too hot. Most lights will have a plastic covering over the top of them to help reflect the light downwards onto your plants and keep the heat from the bulb from burning them. All lights emit some amount of heat, so make sure you don’t put them too close to any plant if you’re worried about the temperature.
Lighting & You
Now that you know everything there is to know about lighting for your indoor garden, it’s time to put your new knowledge to good use! Don’t try to grow something your first time that is going to require a LOT of light, such as tomatoes. Instead, try low-light plants such as the popular avocado plant. With a little patience and luck, you can soon have an endless supply of guacamole right at your fingertips!
Sources & references used in this article:
Plant productivity in response to LED lighting by GD Massa, HH Kim, RM Wheeler, CA Mitchell – HortScience, 2008 – journals.ashs.org
LED lighting in horticulture by RC Morrow – HortScience, 2008 – journals.ashs.org
High-brightness LEDs—Energy efficient lighting sources and their potential in indoor plant cultivation by N Yeh, JP Chung – Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 2009 – Elsevier
Artificial lighting apparatus for young plants using light emitting diodes as light source by W Fang, R Jao, DH Lee – US Patent 6,554,450, 2003 – Google Patents
Efficient LED lamp for enhancing commercial and home plant growth by WG Anderson Jr, LS Capen – US Patent 6,921,182, 2005 – Google Patents
An adaptive control approach for light-emitting diode lights can reduce the energy costs of supplemental lighting in greenhouses by MW van Iersel, D Gianino – HortScience, 2017 – journals.ashs.org
Improving spinach, radish, and lettuce growth under red light-emitting diodes (LEDs) with blue light supplementation by NC Yorio, GD Goins, HR Kagie, RM Wheeler… – …, 2001 – journals.ashs.org
Photomorphogenesis, photosynthesis, and seed yield of wheat plants grown under red light-emitting diodes (LEDs) with and without supplemental blue lighting by GD Goins, NC Yorio, MM Sanwo… – Journal of experimental …, 1997 – academic.oup.com
Green-light supplementation for enhanced lettuce growth under red-and blue-light-emitting diodes by HH Kim, GD Goins, RM Wheeler, JC Sager – HortScience, 2004 – journals.ashs.org