Do LED Grow Lights Work?
Last updated on March 5th, 2019 at 09:29 pm
When it comes to leading a healthy life, what you eat is very important. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there are about 48 million cases of foodborne illnesses annually which equates to 1in 6 Americans. Out of these illnesses, 3,000 are fatal.
It is therefore imperative for people to be mindful of the food they eat. Gardening is a good way for people to control the quality of food they eat. By using LED grow lights, even people living in cities without yards can partake in some indoor gardening and produce food all year round.
- 1 What are LED Grow Lights?
- 2 How do They Work?
- 3 Why are They Good for Plants?
- 4 Factors to Consider When Choosing an LED Grow Light
- 5 Advantages of Using LED Grow lights
- 6 Make the Right Choice
What are LED Grow Lights?
Light Emitting Diodes (LED) grow lights are electrical devices that emit a spectrum of energy efficient light that can stimulate plant growth. The spectrum of light they emit may be similar to the sun’s or have certain light spectrums that may stimulate plants at different stages of growth. LED grow lights can be used as the sole source of light for plants or as a supplement. This is the feature that makes it possible for people to have indoor vegetable gardens.
How do They Work?
LED grow lights use two different types of semiconductor materials to create their own spectrum of light. The first semiconductor has negative charges –electrons-, whereas the second one has positive charges called holes.
They pass light energy through the semiconductors to emit their spectrum of light unlike other grow lights which use filaments, gas, mercury or lead to produce light. In comparison, LED grow lights are energy efficient, versatile and more durable than incandescent lights. In addition, they also better for the environment.
Why are They Good for Plants?
When people say light, they usually refer to the part of the electromagnetic radiation spectrum that is visible to their eyes. However, there are certain wavelengths the human eye cannot detect that are very important for plants.
Such wavelengths that play a role in photosynthesis are known as photosynthetically active radiation (PAR). Different wavelengths within PAR stimulate plant growth or flowering at different stages and for different plants too. LED grow lights can emit and focus photosynthetically active radiation on plants to facilitate plant growth.
Factors to Consider When Choosing an LED Grow Light
If you are planning to buy this kind of grow light, there are a few things that you should put in mind. The following are some of them.
LED grow lights emit different wavelengths which stimulate plants at different stages for various reasons. Therefore, one should consider the sort of stimulation they want for their plants before choosing a set.
Different wavelengths facilitate various aspects of plant growth such as vegetation, flowering or growth of roots. As an example, LEDs that are perfect for growing tomatoes may not be as effective with flowers.
If the LEDs required are needed to cater for the plant at various stages, there is an option of purchasing a full spectrum LED grow light or an adjustable one. A full spectrum LED grow light emits a range of wavelengths similar to the sun.
This makes them useful for all sorts of plants at all stages. Adjustable LED grow lights can tuned to emit different wavelengths to stimulate plants at different stages. The ability to vary the light output enables people to choose the wavelength necessary at any given stage.
Size of the Planting Area
The size of the planting area dictates the size and number of lamps needed. After determining the size of the garden, one should consider the area each lamp can light to be able to calculate the number of lamps that will be needed.
Normally, 32 watts of actual power are needed for every square foot when planting high-light dependent plants such as tomatoes. Plants such as lettuce that do not require as much light can thrive with 11-18 watts of actual power per square foot.
The heat output of a grow light is important as it can directly affect the plant and it also plays a role in the lamps’ durability.
Grow lights are normally mounted in close proximity with plants. Therefore, a high heat output will be counterproductive as it will damage the plant. Low heat output mechanims are the best as they have no negative effects of the plant and allow even closer mounting. This can be very important for a vertical garden as it will enable farmers to have more layers for planting.
A low heat output lamp will also last longer as it will take more time to burn out and hence won’t need to be replaced within a short period.
Advantages of Using LED Grow lights
These lights come with the following perks.
LED grow lights can consume up to 60% less energy than other lighting systems to emit the same amount of light. In addition to their energy efficient nature, they also emit less heat. This is because they do not burn anything to produce light.
Alternative light sources emit more UV rays, IR rays and more heat which is cause plants to burn and dry up. With LED grow lights, these components that are counteractive to plant growth are significantly reduced. Therefore, plants grown will thrive rather than just survive.
In addition, some LED grow lamps allow people to adjust the wavelength of light emitted to ensure plants receive more of the needed spectrum of light. This will boost the all-around health of the plants.
Hastened Harvesting Cycles
Plants that are grown indoors without the exposure to environmental cues do not follow regular planting seasons. With LED lights, one can provide different wavelengths of light to facilitate different plant processes for 24hrs a day. This allows the farmer to influence the behavior and season of the plants. When using LED light on auto-flowering plants, growers can influence flowering times in plants to increase production. This creates the possibility of having multiple harvests in one season.
Traditional lighting systems burn filaments, gas or other elements to produce light. The amount of heat they produce greatly reduces their durability. The low heat output of LED lamps significantly increases their lifespan. In fact, they can last up to 50,000 hours. They are more convenient for growers as it will take years before an LED lamp will need to be replaced.
Make the Right Choice
Though LED lamps are more expensive than ordinary lamps, their durability makes them cheaper in the long run. In addition, the ability to produce quality produce all year round from within your home is worth the spend.