Understanding Full Spectrum LED Grow Lights

Full spectrum LED grow lights involve advanced lighting systems offering plants the required light spectrum for optimum growth and development through all growth phases. 

These lights completely mimic natural lights, providing almost all light wavelengths, including green, blue, red, infrared, and ultraviolet. 

Some benefits of these lights include a long lifespan, adjustable settings, and improved energy efficiency. 

Therefore, full-spectrum lights have become common in commercial greenhouses and indoor gardening, especially since they guarantee maximum yields. 

Today’s article focus on full-spectrum LED lights highlighting more on how you can create them and how they differ from LED grow lights. Let’s get rolling!

What Are Full Spectrum LED Grow Lights

Full spectrum LED grow lights are advanced lighting systems that offer a full light wavelength range to support indoor gardening. 

Unlike the traditional options that offer only specific wavelength like red or green, full-spectrum LED lights mimics natural lights. 

These lights will emit a combination of red, blue, white, green, ultraviolet, and infrared light, which support photosynthesis and optimal growth. 

A major benefit of full spectrum LED grow light is the high energy efficiency which involves converting a larger percentage of incoming energy into useful light. 

Experts say it converts over 90% of input energy into light with limited heat emitted. 

The lower heat emission contributes to their improved lifespan and less damage to plants. 

Moreover, these lights are highly versatile and come with adjustable settings that allow you to regulate different aspects like color ratio, intensity, and wavelength. 

This makes it easy to set specific light conditions to support unique growth phases. 

Critical Things You Should Understand About Full Spectrum LED Grow Lights

Plants growing under full spectrum LED grow light

(Plants growing under full spectrum LED grow light)

Below are some critical things every indoor gardener should understand about full-spectrum LED lights.

Grow Light Spectrum

Simply put, this is a specific wavelength from a light source meant to support plant growth. 

The light wavelength you should be interested in includes the visible spectrum (photosynthetic active radiation), far-red radiation, and UV radiation. 

In most cases, plants use photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), which contains the red and blue light wavelength that supports photosynthesis. 

Generally, the full spectrum LED grow lights mimic the characteristics and features of natural sunlight. 

Daily Light Intervals

This means the time the grow lights are on or off or, in simple terms, when the grow plants are awake and asleep. 

Surprisingly, the amount of light and period of exposure a plant needs increases as it ages.

 Young plants will require more grow lights for extended periods to grow than mature plants. However, mature plants will require more light intensity than young plants. 

Fortunately, full-spectrum lights mimic the features of natural lights and will supply the required light intensity and amount to support your plants through all growth phases. 

Ways of Creating Full Spectrum LED Grow Lights 

You can combine different LEDs to create full-spectrum LED lights by following the approaches below. 

Employ Multiple LED Colors

Surprisingly, a full spectrum LED grow light comprises white, red, and blue LEDs. The red LED with a 660-680 nm wavelength encourages fruiting and flowering. 

On the other hand, the blue LEDs with 440-480 nm wavelength are responsible for foliage development and vegetative growth. 

And then, we have white LEDs that help balance the light output by providing a broad spectrum. 

Include Green LEDs 

Plants under artificial lights

(Plants under artificial lights)

Although plants can achieve optimum growth by utilizing blue and red LED wavelengths, supplying green wavelengths (500-550 nm) helps improve photosynthetic penetration and efficiency. 

Therefore, a green wavelength creates a wholesome spectrum to support optimum plant growth. 

Include UV-A and UV-B LEDs

Research shows that sunlight has some ultraviolet light that supports pest resistance, flavonoid production, and plant morphology.

 Therefore, you should include UV-B (280-315 nm) and UV-A (315-400 nm) in your LED lights to promote optimum plant growth. 

Incorporate Infrared LEDs 

The infrared (IR) wavelength (700-1,000 nm) helps plants by speeding up cell division and elongation. 

Therefore, include IR LEDs in your grow lights to speed up plant growth. 

Select High-quality LEDs

Nothing beats the accuracy and consistency of an LED grow light. Therefore, ensure you buy high-quality LEDs from a reputable manufacturer with high ratings.

 Moreover, consider LEDs with a high color rendering index and specific light wavelength range. 

Use Phosphor-Converted LEDs 

Plants in a greenhouse growing under LED grow lights

(Plants in a greenhouse growing under LED grow lights)

These LEDs have a phosphor coating for converting blue light into a full spectrum with red and green wavelengths. 

Therefore, you can employ this technology to improve your grow light’s color rendering abilities and spectral coverage. 

Employ Tunable LED Systems 

Most advanced full-spectrum lights contain tunable systems that allow you to regulate the wavelength ratio and intensity.

 Therefore, it becomes easy to customize your LED lights to fit your expected outcome, the plant species, and the growth phase. 

Optimize Light Distribution

Here, you need to pay special attention to the system’s distribution/arrangement of LEDs. 

Generally, a uniform light distribution guarantees a balanced and consistent exposure to several light wavelengths, thus supporting optimum plant growth. 

What is the difference between full-spectrum and LED grow lights?

First, we need to understand that LED grows lights emit specific light spectrums to support plant growth. 

While LED grow lights emit specific light wavelengths to support particular growth stages like flowering and fruiting, full-spectrum lights offer all wavelengths to support the growth process. 

Simply put, LED grow light offers targetted spectrums while the full spectrum covers the whole wavelength range. 

Therefore, the full spectrum is similar to natural light and will offer a combination of red, green, UV, and blue wavelengths. 

How do I know if my LED light is full-spectrum? 

A gardener inspecting plants under LED light

(A gardener inspecting plants under LED light)

First, check the manufacturer’s specifications under the categorization section to determine if your LED light is full spectrum. 

Secondly, if your LED light color temperature falls between 5000k-6000k, it’s full spectrum. 

Thirdly, all LED lights with a color rendering index over 90 are full-spectrum options.

Moreover, a full spectrum of light combines all light wavelengths (UV, infrared, red, green, and blue). 

And lastly, any LED light that provides a healthy plant response through all growth phases is likely a full-spectrum light.


Are full-spectrum grow lights good for plant growth? 

Absolutely yes! To achieve optimum growth for your indoor plants, you should provide lighting conditions similar to natural light. 

This is the only sure approach to providing all the required wavelengths that support plant growth (green, red, and blue). 

And the only light solution similar to natural light is full-spectrum light, which is energy efficient and highly durable. 

How should you use full-spectrum grow lights? 

  1. First, research and determine the plant’s specific light requirements (photoperiod, color requirements, and optimal light intensity).
  2. Check the manufacturer guidelines and position the light appropriately, maintaining the correct distance between the plant and the LED. 
  3. Next, set the correct light cycle to mimic natural light. We recommend about 12-16 hours for most plants and growth phases. 

Which light spectrum is best for plant growth?

The best light spectrum should include a good balance of green (500-600 nm), blue (400-500 nm), and red (600-700 nm) light wavelengths.

 And to complete the equation and ensure optimum plant growth, it should also have UV light (280-400 nm). 

Simply put, the light should mimic natural light; far as we know, only full-spectrum LED light fits best. 

Final Remarks

As mentioned, plant growth can only be optimum if you supply all the possible light spectrums that support growth (red, green, blue, infrared, and ultraviolet).

 Such a spectrum fully mimics natural light; a good example is a full-spectrum LED light. 

Besides full-spectrum being energy efficient, the light is highly durable and has adjustable settings to help you change intensity and color.