Can You Use Regular LED Lights To Grow Plants?

So you’re planning an indoor garden, but can you use regular LED lights to grow plants? 

Absolutely yes! Nothing stops you from using regular LED lights to grow your plant in an indoor setting. 

However, regular LED lights won’t offer the effectiveness that comes with specialized grow lights. 

Surprisingly, grow lights produce blue and red light wavelength spectrum that supports plant growth. 

And while some regular LED lights still produce these wavelength spectra, they lack the balance and intensity required for plant growth optimization.

 Moreover, all plants will require different light spectrums for every growth phase, something regular LED lights might struggle to offer. 

Today’s article answers all your questions regarding the role of regular LED lights in plant growth. Let’s get rolling!

Will Plants Grow Under Regular LED Lights?

Absolutely yes! You can grow your plant in any indoor environment under regular LED lights

However, the result won’t be as good as using grow lights and, in most cases, varies based on the type of plant and LED light characteristics. 

Generally, regular LEDs produce a broad light spectrum with specific wavelengths that supports plant growth. 

But in most cases, regular LED lights don’t provide the required balance and optimal light intensity for proper plant growth. 

For example, plants grown under regular LEDs usually experience reduced yields and slower or leggy growth. 

Therefore, we recommend using specialized LED grow lights designed with specific wavelengths that support photosynthesis, flowering, and fruiting. 

Advantages of Using LED Lights for Plant Growth

LED grow lights with plants under them

(LED grow lights with plants under them)

Below are reasons why you should consider LED lights for your plant growth.

High-Quality Light

We measure the light quality by the available light colors.

 Most LED lights are available in different colors similar to the sun’s light. 

Moreover, LEDs can have extra features to help you adjust the light color to fit specific growth stages. 

According to research, we have LED grow lights that produce healthier plants than the other options. 

High Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency represents the amount of useful energy the LED produces as a percentage of the input energy.

 We rank LED lights among the most efficient since they produce less electricity and more light than the other artificial options. 

Moreover, you don’t need to replace them like other lighting options.

Less Heat

LED lights produce less heat, and this is beneficial for several reasons. 

First, emitting less heat means less or no damage to your plants. 

Also, it means that you won’t have to use too much energy to adjust and regulate the grow room temperature.

 Lastly, less heat means limited evaporation, which translates into less watering. 

How Are LED Lights Different from Other Grow Lights?

We can confirm that LED light is the benchmark of the grow light industry producing high-quality and more efficient light with less heat. 

But besides LED lights, we have three other notable options: high-intensity discharge (HID), incandescent, and fluorescent light.

 Each option has its benefits and drawbacks, but still, LED lights tower above them all. 

This section breaks down what each lighting option involves. 

Fluorescent Lighting

A photo of fluorescent lamps

(A photo of fluorescent lamps)

This lighting option is more efficient than incandescent lights but less efficient than LED lights (moderately efficiently). 

Although their upfront cost is lower than LED lights, they are expensive in the long term.

 Also, they emit some heat which might destroy your indoor plants. 

And while LED lights produce all plant growth-related colors, this option is limited to blue and red lights. 

Incandescent Lighting

Seedlings under a light lamp

(Seedlings under a light lamp)

This is the traditional lighting form and the cheapest on the market.

 These lights emit a lot of heat and are the most inefficient option.

 Another downside is that these lights emit only red lights, thus not supporting efficient growth. 

Usually, a plant requires red and blue lights at the very least to thrive. 

HID Lighting

These lights are common in commercial settings and modern greenhouses. 

Although they last longer than incandescent lights, they produce more heat than LED lights. 

Therefore, we don’t recommend them highly for indoor use.

 Moreover, you’ll have to mount them with expensive and heavy fixtures so as not to burn your plants. 

Disadvantages of LED Lights for Growing Plants

A smart indoor farm

(A smart indoor farm)

We’ll be lying to say that LED lights don’t have any disadvantages regarding plant growth. 

Check the downsides to these lighting options below:

More upfront cost: We realized that LED lights have become cheaper than they were a few years ago. 

Nevertheless, their upfront cost remains higher compared to other lighting options. 

But since they last longer than all the alternatives, their long-term cost remains lower. 

Some LEDs are heavy: Some LED lights are designed to be heavy than others, thus making it difficult to carry and mount on fixtures. 

These limited mounting options limit the coverage area and might deny some plants the required light. 

Understanding LED Light Color Spectrum for Plants

The LED light color spectrum plays a critical role in plant growth and development and involves the following light colors:

Blue: This light is responsible for vegetative and leafy growth and has a 400-500nm wavelength. 

Red is another critical light color responsible for fruiting and flowering and has a 600-700nm wavelength. Also, it enhances yields and stimulates blooming. 

Far-red: lastly, this is a supplemental wavelength that supports specific physiological responses. 


Will LED Grow light harm your eyes? 

Any light type, including LED grow light, will harm your eyes if you stare at them at close range for a long time. 

Surprisingly, LED lights are high-intensity; specifically, their blue lights could cumulatively harm your eyes. 

Signs of prolonged exposure to light include discomfort, eye strain, and a headache. 

To limit the effects of long-term light exposure, we recommend wearing protective eyewear. 

Additionally, abiding by the safety precautions while handling LED lights would be best. 

Where should you hang your grow lights? 

The most important thing here is to consider the light type and your plant’s requirements. 

But generally, any height that provides sufficient light intensity without causing damage to your plants is ok. 

And if you’re unsure about the right height, start by placing the lights higher and lowering them as you observe how your plants react. 

Generally, we recommend a distance of 12-24 inches above your plants.

 However, the best approach would be to check the manufacturer’s guidelines and abide by the recommendation, which might vary depending on the type of fixture. 

Final Remarks

Nothing stops you from adopting regular LED lights to support your growing plants. 

However, regular LEDs aren’t optimized for plant growth and might lack the required balance and intensity to support the different growth phases.

 Instead of regular LEDs, you could use optimized grow LEDs that provide the relevant red and blue light for plant growth. 

Alternatives to LED grow lights include fluorescent, incandescent, and high-intensity discharge lights.

 Regardless of the grow light you use, observe the safety guidelines to protect plants and your health.