What Is A Grow Light?
Grow lights imitate natural sunlight for indoor plants. The grow lights ensure better photosynthesis initiation in plants to grow flowers, fruits, and vegetables.
LED grow light is not only panel grow light. It includes strip grow light, panel grow light, adjustable-spectrum led grow lights.
Here are the different types of grow lights:
- Fluorescent or compact fluorescent lamp (CFL);
These lights are considered ideal for use in started gardens. The starting seedlings and young plants’ growth ideally require a blue and white spectrum of fluorescent grow lights. The best part about these lights is that they are very cheap to buy.
You can use CFL fluorescent bulbs to grow vegetable plants garden. These bulbs don’t emit intense heat even if they touch the plants, they will not burn.
- Light-emitting diode (LED) Grow Lights
LED panel grow lights are currently considered as gold standard grow lights. However, they are a little bit expensive due to their less heat production and high heat consumption.
During the early stages of LED panel grow lights, different farmers were hesitant to use them. It was due to their unproven nature. However, in recent years, LED grow lights have made remarkable progress. Today, LED grow lights can effectively produce high-efficiency lights just like MH or HPS grow lights systems. It is important to note that they don’t produce a lot of electricity bills hence these are a very cost-effective solution for your plants.
- High-intensitydischarge (HID);
High intensity discharge grow lights are known for their impressive brightness and output. These grow lights are mounted versions of gas lamps and are widely used for different commercial purposes on large scale. These grow lights work through electrodes and are divided into two further types :
- Metal Halide grow lights
- High-pressure sodium grow lights.
Metal Halide (MH grow lights)
Meta Halide growth lighting is considered most ideal for plants in the vegetative phase. It can provide high intensity as well as the power to help your plants grow. However, due to their high consumption of electricity, they are less preferred by farmers. It is important to note that they are suitable for running at 2000 watts and produce blue light for plant growth.
High-pressure sodium grow lights (HPS Grow lights)
These lights produce red lights to help your plants grow. The wavelength range of their red light is between 600nm and 700nm. The major disadvantage of this grow light is the high consumption of heat energy. You have to make use of a heat protection system to reduce the temperature. Moreover, these lightings cost higher compared to LED panel growth lights. This is why many farmers shifted to LED grow lights from HPS grow lights.
- Full-spectrum Grow lights
Full-spectrum grows lights can give off artificial sunlight almost similar to natural sunlight. According to many grow lights suppliers, full spectrum grow lights are best since they mimic the best form of natural sunlight. According to them, plants have been growing under natural sunlight for millions of years. Why would someone change it?
Full-spectrum grow lights consist of all rays from the UV portion to the IR portion in an electromagnetic spectrum. However, there are some problems about full spectrum grow lights like:
- Not dynamic like sunlight
- Doesn’t include the full solar spectrum
- Aren’t optimized for plants
- Broad-spectrum grow lights
Broad-spectrum grow lights are almost similar to full spectrum grow lights but the major difference is the lack of UV rays. These grow lights have a CRI of 82 and a temperature of about 4200 Kelvin. On the other hand, full spectrum grow lights have a CRI of above 90 while a temperature of about 5000 Kelvin.
The best part about them is that there exists no danger of UV lights.
Table of Contents
✓Why Choose Grow Lights?
✓What Are Basics Of Grow Lights?
✓The Best Time To Use Grow Lights.
✓When To Stop Using LED Grow Lights
✓Advantages Of LED Grow Lights
✓Applications Of LED Panel Grow Lights
✓What Factors To Consider While Purchasing Grow Lights
✓Tips For Growing Plants Under LED Grow Lights
✓Frequently Asked Questions
Why Choose Grow Lights?
Some plants on the earth need a specific amount of sunlight. Continuous exposure to the sun can damage their structure as well as roots. However, these indoor plants can grow well when grown with the best LED grow lights.
On the other hand, even if your plant can grow well with sunlight but you don’t have it. Then the only option left is LED grow light. Some examples of these plants are the snake plant, ZZ plant, and pothos. At this point, you can make use of LED lights to aid your plant’s inefficient and healthy growth. Moreover, LED grow light is eco-friendly, cost-effective, and energy-efficient option as compared to other artificial lighting options.
What Are Basics Of Grow Lights?
Grow lights have some important basics that define how plants grow through them. The major part that plays an important role in the growth of lights is the light spectrum.
- Light Spectrum
The light spectrum might consist of red light, green light, and blue light. It is to be noted that sunlight also consists of different wavelengths and colors and the grow lights are designed according to them. Blue and red light spectrums are quite helpful in the growth of your plants. These lights are considered essential for plant growth.
The red light spectrum aids in fruit production, blossoming of flowers, and germination of seeds. On the other hand, chlorophyll production is ensured through the blue light spectrum. This can in turn produces strong stems as well as strong leaves.
Plants reflect back green light and hence, are green in color. Other lights such as violent lights are also helpful in enhancing the aroma and taste of your plants. While there is a yellow light that also promotes plant growth but is lesser efficient as compared to blue light and red light.
- Color Temperature
Color temperature also plays a vital role in plants’ growth through grow lights. According to general recommendations by experts, you should choose a color temperature in the range of 5000-7000K if you want to promote the growth of vegetation. On the other hand, if you want to promote the growth of flowers and fruits then you should go for the color temperature of 3500K to 4500K. The first one is known as the blue range while the latter is known as the red range of color temperature.
- LED Grow Lights Intensity
When talking about LED grow lights intensity, it is important to consider a few metrics such as watts, coverage, photosynthetic photon flux density, CRI, and LUX. The link between these terms with LED grow lights is explained below :
Light intensity and wattage of grow lights are highly linked and play a huge role in better plant growth. The higher the wattage of grow lights, the higher will be the light intensity.
When we talk about the light intensity of grow lights, we are referring to the strength that a grow light can give. However, there is also a simple miss conception when people equal watts to the intensity of grow lights. The fact is that the watts tell you the total energy required to operate your grow lights.
- Coverage Area
The coverage area is defined as the area covered by the LED grow lights when you keep them at a certain distance from your plants. The greater the distance, the lower will be the light intensity. Hence, you should choose LED to grow lights with a better coverage area and light intensity.
- PPFD (photosynthetic photon flux density)
The number of photons reaching your plant’s canopy each second defined the photosynthetic photon flux density. This term is written as micromoles per second or square meter. The requirement of PPFD depends upon the requirements of your plants. Different plants have different requirements for PPFD.
- Color Rendering Index
CRI (Color Rendering Index) shows the comparison between the LED grow lights and the natural sunlight. Sunlight has a CRI of 100. Now if you are looking for LED grow lights with good CRI then you should prefer the one having a CRI of more than 85.
- LUX & PAR
Light intensity is measured in LUX for LED grow lights. Most people misunderstand this term and relate it to PAR. But PAR is something that defines the quality of your light-emitting from LED grow lights.
- LED Grow Lights Or Fluorescent Grow Lights?
Now that you have learned a lot about all the terms linked with LED grow lights, it is now important to decide whether you want LED to grow lights or fluorescent grow lights.
The fluorescent grow lights have a lifespan ten times that of LED grow lights but these are less efficient. On the other hand, LED grow lights are expensive but more efficient than fluorescent grow lights. Now it’s you who need to decide whether you want to go for a cheap and less effective option or an expensive and highly efficient option.
The Best Time To Use Grow Lights
According to a plant expert, stylist, and landscape designer, you should use the plant grow lights if you are living in a very congested place. In congested places, there is almost difficult to give your plants regular sunlight so grow lights are the best option to choose.
✓The more ideal situation to use plant grow light for your plants is during winters. The sunlight cannot stream in the best possible way especially during winters when the days are shorter.
✓According to experts, another ideal situation to grow your plants with LED grow lights is after the germination of your plants. It is the most ideal time since plants need continuous exposure to sunlight. Since they cannot get extended hours of sunlight, therefore the LED panel grow lights are considered the best.
✓Some rare succulents are rich in color. To enrich them with more beautiful colors, LED grow lights can be utilized. The succulents come in a large variety of colors and you can achieve all those beautiful colors through your LED grow lights.
✓You can also use the LED grow lights for plants that are placed in a window. It is because they are exposed to the sun only from the front side. While the backside still needs some exposure to sunlight. You can use LED grow lights towards the back of the plant.
When To Stop Using LED Grow Lights
The time to use and not to use grow lights vary differently with different plants. It is because some plants require very low sunlight while others may need a complete 24 hours exposure to sunlight. To solve this issue, you need to conduct meaningful research and consult some experts. It will help you know the appropriate amount of sunlight that your plant needs. Some manufacturers of LED grow lights suggest that when your plants start turning brown and yellow, you should immediately turn off grow lights.
Another example is that the cactus and succulents need only 12 hours of grow lights. Any further exposure can affect their color. To avoid this problem, you may also place your plant at a distance so that they don’t receive intense LED grow lights.
On the other hand, some plants require dark time for their growth. Some plants need at least 8 hours of darkness that they use to break down the sunlight energy. Therefore, it is necessary to give them the necessary dark time and help them grow effectively.
Advantages Of LED Grow Lights
In the beginning years, the LED panel grow lights weren’t given that importance because they seemed impractical. According to recent experiences and reports, it has been found that LED grow lights are the most cost-effective solution. When comparing it with others plant growing technologies, it has been observed that LED grow lights are most eco-friendly, cost-effective, and possess high quality. Previous light-growing technologies have issues like high electricity bills, high purchase costs, higher maintenance, and higher temperatures. Now that LED grows lights have all of these features in an improved way. Some most common benefits of your LED grow lights are listed below:
✓LED grow lights are more economical and consume 50% less energy as compared to HPS grow lights. It has also been predicted that they will be more energy efficient in the coming future.
✓ LED grow lights have a longer lifespan of up to 8 years as compared to other systems that last one year hardly.
✓LED grow lights are more concentrated when placed in small and congested places.
✓LED panel grow lights have an Optimized spectrum that ensures energy efficiency and less heat production.
✓LED grow lights are safe since they are less prone to catching fire.
✓They can produce faster and better crops when compared to other growing systems. It is observed that these lights can have enhanced rooting as well as flowering inhibition.
✓LED grow lights have fewer chances to produce bacteria that ensure a clean and pesticide-free environment. Moreover, it also reduces mold formation.
Applications Of LED Panel Grow Lights
The basic purpose of your LED grow light is to emit an electromagnetic spectrum to aid in photosynthesis. This stimulates the plant’s growth in a much more effective way. LED grow lights are more specifically used at spots where there is less sunlight.
An LED growth light is applied where there is more supplement of sunlight is required. For example, you may have observed during winters there is not sufficient light for the proper growth of plants. At that time, farmers or growers need sunlight for the nourishment of their plants. Due to the unavailability of natural sunlight, they make use of LED panel grow lights.
It is interesting to note that grow lights are used to provide light quite similar to the spectrum of sunlight. It can also be used to provide the lights based on plants’ needs to grow properly. It indicates that LED growth lights have wide applications where the plants may need varying light amounts based on their vegetation, flowering, germination, or cultivation. It can customize different intensities of light as well as different ranges of the spectrum according to the requirements of your plant.
What Factors To Consider While Purchasing best LED Grow Lights?
When purchasing LED panel grow lights for your plants, you need some guidance. It is because these lights are manufactured by different companies in different styles, sizes, power consumption, light per square foot, and prices. Some guidelines related to your LED grow lights purchase are listed below:
- You need to conduct thorough research before buying your LED grow lights. The first thing you can do is to research through the internet. You will find a lot of manufacturers. Make a list of reputable manufacturers.
- The next step is to check their reviews and feedback. At this point, you can also ask your friends or colleagues if they bought grow lights. Their reviews can be a real help for you. You can make a list of good manufacturers based on those feedbacks and friends’ reviews.
- The next step is to contact your manufacturer through his website or email. Consult with him about your requirements, prices, and style required. A good manufacturer will guide you better about buying the right LED grow lights.
- You should confirm factors like heat quality, space available between grow lights, LED quality, Budget, and safety features of your LED grow lights. Based on all these factors, you can decide to buy LED grow lights that will meet your requirements.
- You need to keep in mind the types of plants that you will be growing through your LED grow lights. Different plants have different requirements and so you have to select grow lights accordingly. You have to consider the time of growth as well as the targeted height of your plants.
- You need to consider factors like the placement of your grow lights and the structure of grow lights. For example, you want mobile lighting of grow lights.
Tips To Growing Plants Under Grow lights
To make your full spectrum LED grow lights last longer, it is important to maintain them regularly. In most cases, you only need to clean them regularly. However, there are some tips can help you to use the grow lights in a much better way.
- You should regularly check if your LED bulbs are producing light at the same efficiency or not. If it got degraded, you need to replace them. The bulb degradation rate is different in different types of grow lights.
- To replace your LED grow lights bulbs, you need to be an expert. If you aren’t an expert, you should take it to a nearby manufacturer to help you replace the bulbs.
- It is to be noted that fluorescent bulbs have a lower bulbs degradation rate as compared to LED bulbs.
- You should maintain the proper distance between the lights and the plants as it can contribute to better growth.
Frequently Asked Questions :
1. What Is The Best Light Spectrum For Plant Growth?
The red light spectrum is considered the most efficient light spectrum to initiate photosynthesis in plants. Plants’ chlorophyll responds more positively to the red light spectrum. The highest absorption of chlorophyll pigments is observed in the red light spectrum.
2. Full-spectrum LED Grow Lights VS. Other Grow Light Options?
The full light spectrum gives off light almost similar to natural sunlight. When comparing it with other options, the following facts are recorded :
- The broad light spectrum mimics sunlight but it has no UV radiations.
- A narrow light spectrum works well for certain plants but these aren’t suitable for every application. It works well especially when your focus is only on the top leaves of the plant.
- An adjustable light spectrum can adjust itself according to the type of requirements of plants.
3. How Can I Tell If My Plants Need More Lights?
If your plants start showing these signs, it means they require more lights
- Dying or yellowing leaves
- Smaller than normal leaves
- New pests and leggy growth
- Variegated plants losing variegation
4. What Type Of Light Is Best For Growing Plants Indoors?
According to experts, the best light to grow indoor plants is the one having a temperature range of 4000-7000 Kelvin. This range can mimic perfect sunlight for the proper growth of your indoor plants.
5. Can Any LED Light be Used As A Grow Light?
You may not use the regular LED lights for growing plants. These LED lights may contain some wavelengths that are necessary for plants growth but there is no enough light power in regular LEDs. For efficient plants growth, you need red and blue light that is maximized by LED grow lights.
6. Do Grow Lights Work For All Plants?
Yes. Grow lights work well for all plants but you need to choose different grow lights for different plants. Since every plant has different requirements, therefore, not every grows light can be suitable for it.
7. What Color LED Is best For Plants?
Red and Blue LEDs are considered best for plants. Red LED light can encourage effective photosynthesis in plants. While blue LED light ensures strong and healthy leaves and stems.