Can you use regular LED lights for grow lights? A typical LED light can help you grow them at a minimal rate if you have indoor plants.
Although horticultural lights are better for plants’ development, LED lights are still beneficial. Keep reading to learn more about their pros and cons!
Photosynthesis and light
As we know, light contributes to the process called photosynthesis. The plants convert carbon dioxide and water to glucose and oxygen. Without enough light, it would be impossible for plants to survive.
If your indoor plants don’t get enough light from the window, artificial light can help. But are all artificial lights helpful for plants?
Unfortunately, not all artificial lights can help grow indoor plants. Photosynthesis requires the optimal proportion and intensity of the necessary light.
Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR) refers to the amount of light the plants need. It includes lights that are within the 400 to 700-nanometer wavelength range.
Chlorophyll absorbs red and blue colors the best. It is the green pigment responsible for absorbing red and blue light.
Without chlorophyll, no unit can provide the energy needed for photosynthesis. Since chlorophyll absorbs green light poorly, it reflects this color. That’s why the foliage is green to our eyes.
Sunlight provides all the color spectrum needed for the development of plants. Blue light contributes to the development of the plants, such as their leaves and stems.
On the other hand, red light is helpful for fruit-bearing plants. Green light, although partially absorbed, is also valuable for plants’ architecture.
White light contributes to the general growth of plants. Violet enhances their flavor and aroma. However, not all regular lights can give the right amount of lights needed by the plants. Some don’t emit red and blue lights in proportion that plants require.
Incandescents are poor light sources because they generate too much red light. But they don’t emit enough blue light. Aside from that, they emit much heat that may be harmful to your indoor plants.
One of the lights that have the potential as grow light is LED. The light that comes from it can be customized, which may be beneficial to the growth of plant.
High-Quality Lighting of LEDs
As discussed earlier, sunlight provides the full spectrum of light needed by plants.
Amazingly, LEDs can also offer the quality of light required by indoor plants to grow, such as red and blue light. Also, these lights can be adjusted, depending on the plants’ stages of development.
For plants to grow faster in a short span, using 100% red light is helpful. However, 50% red light and 50% blue light can also improve the plant’s growth.
Increasing the red light will make the temperature warmer. On the other hand, increasing the blue light will make it cooler. Fortunately, the color temperature of LEDs can be adjusted.
You get the right color temperature by adjusting the internal output for warm and cold light. The conventional method is by changing the ratio of the driving current of the two LEDs. The disadvantage of this method is that you cannot achieve linear dimming.
The new method of changing the color temperature is by adding a color adjustment circuit. It is placed to the back-end circuit of the power supply. The brightness and the color from the two internal outputs don’t disturb each other. Also, there you cannot see any interference.
Although you can adjust the light of regular LED, it is not guaranteed to provide the best amount of light. You will need to know how much red and blue light they precisely require. A small error in ratio may lead to the plants’ death.
LED as energy-efficient source of light
By only using 11 to 12 watts, LEDs’ light is as bright as 50-watt incandescent bulbs. This is one of the reasons why many prefer LEDs. They are energy-efficient that helps in cutting the electric bills.
If you are growing several indoor plants, the light source must be turned on for a longer duration of time. It means an increase in your electricity usage.
No one wants to spend much on the lighting on indoor plants. LED lights can help you prevent high electric bills. They use 75% less energy than incandescent lights since they produce less waste light. Also, they emit more valuable lumens to lit up the room.
Aside from being energy-efficient, LEDs also have a longer lifespan. A regular LED light can last up to 50,000 to 100,000 hours.
Although LEDs may seem costly with their upfront cost, you can save in the long run. It is because replacement and maintenance costs can be eliminated.
LEDs emit less heat than traditional lights
Exposure to too much heat can lead to plants’ heat stress. A high-temperature damages plants’ structures, functions, and development. For growth, the temperature must be between 15 C to 29 C.
Once the heat reaches 29 C, the heat rapidly increases. Thermal death is experienced by plants when the heat turns 46 C.
LEDs emit heat that is up to 51.92 Celsius. Although it is not ideal for plants, it is lower than other traditional bulbs.
You can adjust by putting a distance between the light and the plants. You can ensure that the indoor plants won’t experience thermal death by placing a distance.
If you want the best temperature for plants, investing in LED grow lights would be better. They are cold to touch, and the heat they emit cannot harm your plants. Regular LEDs are better than traditional lights but LED grow lights are the best option.
How to use regular LEDs as grow lights
Choose indoor plants that can survive even in low-light
Regular LEDs are not as effective as glow lights. It is better to choose plants that can survive and thrive despite the low supply of light. Some plants can grow even if they cannot get full sunlight. Here are some indoor plants that you can choose from:
- Peace lilies
- ZZ plants
- Snake plants
- Pothos or devil’s ivy
Align the plants 4 to 8 inches apart
Whether you are putting your indoor plants on a shelf, a room, or a basement, each pot must be 4 to 8 inches apart. There must be enough distance for the plants to grow. This will also give you enough space when you need to prune and tend your plants.
Make sure that all plants receive enough amount of light
One LED lamp can suffice if you have only a few indoor plants. But if you have many of them, you may want to add some LEDs to make sure that all the plants receive enough light. You can also invest in LED panels since they have more extensive coverage than lamps and bulbs.
Place the LED light over the indoor plants
For the light to have a wider overage, it would be better to hang it and place it over the indoor plants. Through this position, it can mimic the sun. There must also be a proper distance between the LED lights and the plants.
The seedlings must be 4 to 6 inches apart from the LED while 6 to 12 inches for hydroponic lettuce and herbs. For foliage houseplants, it must be 12 to 24 inches and 6 to 12 inches for flowering plants.
As the plants grow taller, don’t forget to move up the LED light. Also, your indoor plants need at least 12 to 16 hours of light and 8 hours of darkness per day.
LED Grow Lights
You should not hesitate to invest in LED grow lights for plants’ optimal development. Unlike your regular LEDs, these lights are designed to ensure the growth of plants at every stage.
One of the benefits of using LED grow lights is that you don’t have to adjust the color. The light that the grow lights emit is perfect for what your indoor plants need.
Aside from that, the visible light doesn’t hurt the eyes of humans. Adjusting the brightness and color temperature for regular LEDs may harm one’s sight.
You can also choose the perfect LED for your plants. A balanced red blue light spectrum is ideal if they are still in the seedlings or budding stage. A red light spectrum can promote their faster development for fruit-producing plants.
Since LEDs cannot provide the light plants need, only low-light plants can survive. But with LED glow lights, you can tend household plants that require high light.
These are croton plant, ponytail palm tree, yucca plants, and ming aralia plant. Watch this video to see the differences between using regular LED lights and LED grow lights.
Can you use regular LED lights for grow lights? Yes, but it cannot provide the optimal growth for your plants. Compared to traditional lights, standard LEDs are better.
However, it cannot provide the required amount of light needed by the plants. The best option is to use LED grow lights.