By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist
We all know plants need light to grow and be healthy. Indoorplants often suffer from too little sun and can benefit from artificial light.Most lighting options today feature LEDs due to their long life and low energyuse. But should you use LED lights to grow plants? The traditional growlights were fluorescent or incandescent. Let’s see what the differencebetween LED lights and grow lights stacks up to and which is better. Keepreading for LED grow light info that will help you make an informed decisionbefore you purchase plant lights.
What are LED Grow Lights For?
LED grow lights are a relatively new horticulturalintroduction, although NASA has been studying them for decades. Are LED lightsbetter than traditional grow lights? That depends upon the crop on which theyare used, as well as economic and energy expenditure factors.
Just like fluorescentand incandescent bulbs, LED bulbs produce light that is needed by plants.Most plants need light waves of redand blue. The chemicals that control plant growth respond to both colorsdifferently. Phytochromes drive leafy growth and are responsive to red light,while cryptochromes, which control plant light response, are sensitive to bluelights.
You can get good growth with just one or the other of thecolor waves, but utilizing both will result in bigger yields and healthier plantswith quicker growth. LED lights can be customized to emit long or short lightwaves as well as certain levels of color to improve plant performance.
Are LED Lights Better?
There is not just one difference between LED lights and growlights. While LED lights require more of a cash layout, they will last morethan twice as long as other lights. Additionally, they require less energy,which saves money over time.
Additionally, there is no gas, mercury, lead, breakablefilament and the bulbs are tougher and harder to break. As opposed to many othergrow lights, LEDs are also cooler and can be situated closer to plants withouta chance of burning leaves.
Should you use LED lights? The initial cost of your grow lightset up and the duration of use can help answer that question.
Specific LED Grow Light Info
If you balk at the cost of using an LED system, considerthat the bulbs are 80% efficient. That means they convert 80% of the energythey use into light. With good LED lights, they draw fewer watts (electricenergy) while producing brighter light as compared to regular grow bulbs.
Modern LED lights are engineered to reduce the amount ofheat given off, either by use of a heat sink or by diverting heat away from thediodes. All this points to a winning argument for LED lights, but if you are anew gardener or simply don’t want to sink a lot of money into your indoorgrowing system, traditional grow lights will work just fine. Just remember thatthe cost of replacement and energy will overall be fractionally higher as timegoes by.
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Read more about General Houseplant Care
Sunlight generally provides a better quality of light for plants. Plants primarily use light from the red and blue spectra, which is readily available from sunlight. Plants use the red spectrum of light for budding, while the blue spectrum is used for foliage growth, advises the University of Minnesota Extension.
Full-spectrum grow lights are specially made to provide this spectrum, but standard fluorescent bulbs often only provide light in the blue spectrum while incandescent lights primarily provide red spectrum light. You can almost equal the quality of sunlight with grow lights if you only use full-spectrum bulbs.
Plants that aren't getting enough light will suffer ill effects. Plants may pale or turn yellow or white. Leaves may drop and the plant will grow less foliage and fail to flower.
What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of LED Grow Light vs. HPS?
LED Grow Light is a special kind of lamps that use lights instead of sunlight to provide growth and development environment for plants.
For most growers, plant sodium lamps and metal halide lamps are their light sources to replace sunlight. Metal halide lamps are rich in blue light suitable for the growth of early plant branches and leaves, and agricultural sodium lamps are rich in red and orange light, which have a positive effect on promoting the flowering and fruiting of plants.
Compared with HPS, what are the advantages and disadvantages of LED grow light fixture?
There’s a lot of debate among growers about whether HID lights (HPS and Metal Halide) are better or worse than LED grow light. The truth is, one isn’t holistically better than the other, it just depends on your needs and priorities for your grow. Take a look at the comparison table below to help you understand what type of lighting is best for your grow.
Are you more clearer about the the advantages and disadvantages of LED grow light vs. HPS now?
Scientific selection of light sources can better control the speed and quality of plant growth.
When using artificial light sources, we must choose the natural light closest to satisfying the conditions of plant photosynthesis.
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LED Grow Lights
LED grow lights are energy-efficient lights used by indoor and greenhouse farmers and Cannabis growers too. Used as either a sole light source (indoor) or supplementary (greenhouses), LEDs help plants grow using full-spectrum lighting at a lower cost than traditional HPS lamps ( 1 ).
Many growers take advantage of LED lights to help scale plant production due to their full light spectrum capabilities, low heat waste and maintenance, and extended lifespan. And given a plant’s physiology and morphology are strongly affected by specific spectrums, LED grow lights can efficiently promote growth in crops ( 2 ) at specific times in the growth cycle. With the ability to closely monitor quality, energy output can be easily evaluated for scaling crop production.
HID vs LED Grow Lights: Deciding on the Best Grow Light Setup to Use
It’s not easy to pick a winner in our discussion about HID vs LED Grow Lights.
No doubt, LED grow lights have come a long way, and now there are significant benefits to using both types of grow lights in a commercial or personal indoor grow room or cultivation.
That’s why it’s more difficult than ever before to choose whether you want to use LED grow lights or HID grow lights.
I’ll leave you with a few points of consideration down below to simplify the decision-making process for you a bit more.