Indoor plants using LED lights
ECO gardener

Sunlight is critical for growing different plants. Through photosynthesis, plants convert sunlight into energy, which helps crops thrive and reproduce. The absence of light can cause plants to wilt and die. Different plants have different light requirements – some prefer the full sun, while others thrive in partially shady environments.

Indoor gardening is possible by using grow lights. Grow lights make a terrific alternative to natural sunlight. That said, there are certain factors to consider when using grow lights, such as the garden’s location, the position of the grow lights, and the kinds of grow lights certain plants need. In this guide, let’s dig deeper into LED grow lights and how these can help plants be healthy indoors.

What are LED Grow Lights?

Plants using LED lights indoor

LED grow lights are electric lights designed specifically to grow plants. LED, which stands for light emitting diode, produces light in a similar light spectrum as sunlight. Essentially, these lighting solutions mimic natural sunlight to stimulate photosynthesis. Different LED grow lights have different intensities, color temperatures, and spectral outputs, so choosing the right kind for specific crops and time periods is vital.

How to Choose the Right Grow Light for Your Garden

There are three different types of grow lights you can buy. These are:

  • LED Grow light
  • HID (High-Intensity Discharge)
  • CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lamp)

LED Grow light: This type of grow light is best for extensive gardens. It can support full cycle growth and is the most energy-efficient of all grow light varieties. The LED bulbs produce bright to intense light but are less likely to heat up. It has a lifespan of 5 to 10 years and requires little energy, so they’re cost-efficient too!

Among the LED grow lights, the UFO-style looks great with its unique shape. Just like the UFO LED lights that are commonly used in commercial and industrial indoor projects, the UFO LED grow lights for indoor gardening are efficient, offering high brightness, low heat, and long lifespan.

HID: High-intensity discharge light supports a complete plant growth cycle and is one of the industry’s most reliable grow light types. It’s affordable but less energy efficient than LED grow lights. In fact, HID will require replacement each year because it tends to overheat. Because it produces excessive heat, you must install a cooling system to avoid trapping heat within an indoor garden. This will increase your electric bill even more.

CFL: Widely available and easy to set up, CFL grow lights are perfect for beginners. These do not require a lot of energy to work and produce little heat. However, CFLs are best for small to medium spaces because they produce less light. This grow light type cannot support a full cycle growth, and the bulbs require more frequent replacement than HID and LED grow lights.

As you can see from the guide above, LEDs are the most efficient of all types of grow lights you can buy in the market right now. It’s an excellent choice for building a medium to large indoor garden. Let’s move on to the essential factors you should consider when choosing the Best LED grow lights for gardening:

What are the Benefits of Using an LED Grow Light?

Plants using LED lights indoor

With different grow light options, why choose an LED grow light? Below are the benefits of using LED grow lights:

Long life span: A single LED light bulb lasts for 5 to 10 years. While LED lights are pricier than HID and CFL, they’re affordable in the long run. You don’t have to buy replacement bulbs for years!

Easy to install: You don’t need a professional to install LED grow lights in your garden. As long as you buy enough grow lights for your garden, you can do the installation on your own. Some LED grow lights can be attached overhead in a frame with screws; others are similar to regular lamps with adjustable holders. What’s important is the even distribution of light in every direction so plants can be exposed to bright light.

Energy-efficient: LED grow lights are the most energy-efficient of all grow light types. It’s an excellent choice for big gardens requiring more grow lights. You will save a lot on electricity because LED lights are not power-hungry at all. Moreover, the bulbs do not require frequent changing, so you’ll save more money on maintenance.

Low heat: As you know, too much heat can kill plants. This goes especially for a terrarium or greenhouse. Cooling systems are often installed in big gardens to regulate the temperature. LED grow lights do not produce heat despite their ability to produce bright to intense light. It won’t affect the indoor temperature and cause plants to wilt. LEDs are perfectly safe for temperature-sensitive crops.

Best for small to large gardens: Some grow lights can only cover a small spot. LED grow lights can cover a big area with even, bright illumination. You will save more if you choose LED lights because you’ll only need a few to cover a vast expanse of space!

Full spectrum light: To grow plants using grow lights successfully, the bulb must mimic natural sunlight. This will require full spectrum light and specific color quality. HID grow lights produce less light and poor color quality than full spectrum LED grow lights. Some LED grow lights are also available to achieve different plant reactions, such as growing more leaves or bearing more fruits.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Grow Light

When it comes to choosing grow lights, you need to ask yourself these questions to make the best choice:

  • How big is the garden?
  • Will you use grow lights to start seeds or for a year-round growth cycle?
  • How tall will mature plants be?
  • How complicated is the setup?
  • How often should you change the light bulb?
  • Should the light bulbs be fixed or mobile?
  • How energy efficient are the grow lights?

Enough grow lights should be installed to cover the space for even light exposure. You must measure the space and consult an expert to determine how many grow lights to use.

It’s also essential to determine how you’ll use the grow lights – will you use it for seed starting or an entire growing season? Use low-maintenance grow lights with a long lifespan if you’re planning to use the grow lights for entire growing seasons. You will save more on electricity and maintenance if you choose LED grow lights because the bulbs do not require frequent changing and high electricity to work. A single bulb will last for almost a decade.

The setup is just as important – would you like to fix the position of the grow light, or would you like to attach casters so you can wheel the grow lights in various areas of the garden?

Energy efficiency is crucial because some grow light types consume more electricity than others. And usually, those that consume more energy produce more heat. In a greenhouse, heat is trapped. If the temperature is left unregulated, the intense heat can kill plants. That’s why choosing grow lights that produce very little heat is crucial.

Growing Plants with LED Grow Lights

  • Consult an expert to determine the exact specifications and directions of the grow lights in a space.
  • Adjust the grow light placement as crops grow and mature to maintain proper distance.
  • For hanging plants, set these over plant beds or pots so all sides and leaves are exposed to artificial light.
  • If you’re using CFL, the plants should be at least 24 inches away from the plants because the bulb produces intense heat. For LEDs, you can set the grow lights 6 to 12 inches away from plants.
  • Different plant heights require different sets of lights. Turn off the grow lights occasionally to avoid damaging the bulbs.
  • Generally, grow lights should be turned on for 12 to 16 hours if you’re growing flowering plants and vegetables.
  • Darkness is vital to a plant’s growth cycle too. Give plants at least 8 hours of darkness per day.

Plants require plenty of bright sunlight to grow healthy. And if the growing environment is not ideal, you can always use LED grow lights! By using grow lights, your plants can grow healthy indoors or in places that do receive enough sunlight.

Alternatively, check out our blog to learn more about eco-friendly and quality gardening tools and supplies.

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