Every serious indoor gardener should know the different types of LED grow lights.
Such knowledge will help them choose the best LED grow lights to guarantee optimum plant growth.
Unknown to many, grow lights provide the relevant light spectrum required for photosynthesis.
One common grow light type is the full-spectrum LED light which produces a comprehensive wavelength similar to natural light.
We also have red and blue lights supporting flowering/fruiting and vegetative growth stages.
Moreover, we have multi-band grow lights that utilize several wavelengths to promote plant growth.
But that’s not all!
This article outlines all the LED grow light types and relevant tips for the best outcomes. Let’s get rolling!
Understanding LED Grow Lights
We all know that plants need light for photosynthesis and growth.
However, if you were to grow plants in an indoor environment, there won’t be enough natural light to support growth.
And this is where artificial lights, we refer to as LED grow lights, come in.
Grow lights are specialized lighting systems that use LEDs as the primary light source to provide the relevant light spectrum to support indoor plant growth.
Therefore, they emit specific wavelengths that support photosynthesis, and we know them for having a high energy efficiency.
Interestingly, grow light gives the power to control light aspects like duration, color, and intensity.
- First, these lights offer high efficiency converting a more significant part of their energy into light.
- Secondly, they emit less heat, thus less damage to your plants.
- Thirdly, you can customize them to your preferred spectrum and wavelength for optimum growth.
- Moreover, since they contain harmful elements like mercury, they’re environmentally friendly.
- Finally, since they’re lightweight and compact, installation is easy.
Despite the above advantages, you’ll find grow lights to have a high initial cost.
However, there is no need to worry as the high lifespan and energy efficiency balance this high initial cost.
Surprisingly, grow lights produce directional emissions, which might deny some plants the necessary light.
Lastly, some plants don’t use artificial grow lights, forcing you to provide supplemental sources.
Types of LED Grow Lights
(An indoor grow light)
We have several LED grow light types on the market, each with unique characteristics and application scenarios.
Full-Spectrum Grow Lights
These grow lights have wavelength spectrums similar to those of natural light.
As their name suggests, they emit light across the spectrum, including green, blue, and red.
Full-spectrum light is very helpful in hydroponics and indoor gardening, especially when it comes to enhancing vegetative growth, promoting fruiting, and supporting photosynthesis.
Therefore, full-spectrum LED growth lights are the perfect replacement for natural light.
Red LED Lights
These LED grow lights emit wavelengths of about 620-660 nm in the red spectrum.
Generally, we use these lights during the fruiting and flowering phases.
Therefore, whenever your indoor plants reach the blooming stage, look for the red grow lights for maximum yields.
Blue LED Lights
This light is blue and emits wavelengths of about 400-500 nm.
You can use them on plants, clones, and seedlings during the leaf development or vegetative stage.
Generally, they promote photosynthesis and leafy growth.
Multi-band LED Light
(Plant growing under colorful LED lights)
You might be tempted to confuse multi-band LED lights with full-spectrum lights, but there are significant differences.
Generally, multi-band LED lights combine many LEDs that provide specific wavelengths to target different growth phases.
For example, combining different bands like blue, red, and far-red’ll form a multi-band spectrum that supports photosynthesis, vegetative growth, and flowering/fruiting.
Multi-band LED lights allow gardeners to customize lights to fit specific plants.
UV LED Lights
Ultraviolet growth lights are also common with the 280-400 nm wavelength.
And although these lights might be invisible to humans, plants always use them to improve their defense mechanism.
Moreover, they are helpful for the production of essential oils.
Infrared LED Lights
Like the UV grow lights, infrared is invisible to the human eye and falls under the 700-1000 nm wavelength range.
Surprisingly, this light can penetrate the plant canopy to support root growth and improve plant metabolism.
COB LED Light
The Chip-on-board (COB) grow light involves mounting multiple LED chips in a single module.
These lights have higher coverage, improved efficiency, and excellent power output.
LED Grow Light Color Types
(An hydroponic LED light garden)
Not all light spectrum colors support plant growth.
Below are the primary colors and their specific contribution to plant growth.
Red: This light color has a wavelength of 600-700 nm and supports overall plant growth with a keen focus on promoting fruiting and flowering.
Moreover, this color regulates plant hormones and stimulates chlorophyll production for photosynthesis.
Blue: This light presents a 400-500 nm wavelength and supports root development, leaf formation, and general vegetation growth.
Green: Although the green color isn’t as important in plant growth as the above two, it still plays a role in growth.
This light color has a wavelength of 500-600 nm and helps promote the plant’s health.
Far-red: This light color is closely related to red and has a 700-800 nm wavelength.
Together with red light, they influence photomorphogenesis and support overall growth.
The Best LED Grow Light Tips
(vegetable growing under LED light)
Check out the following tips to maximize the effectiveness of your grow lights:
- First, understand that every plant and growth phase requires a specific light spectrum. Therefore, using the right light spectrum or, better still, a full-spectrum LED light can work well for the entire growth period.
- Secondly, hang your LED lights appropriately to ensure plants receive optimal light intensity.
- Thirdly, be conscious of the coverage area and use an LED light that supports the whole area.
- Fourthly, follow the natural light schedule to meet the plant’s needs. We recommend 12-18 hours and 8-12 hours during the vegetative and flowering phases.
- Although LEDs don’t emit much heat, you should still monitor the heat levels and use cooling systems and proper ventilation to limit plant heat stress.
- Adjust the grow light height as your plant grows to ensure proper access to light.
- Lastly, employ smart controls and timers where possible to automate light schedules.
Which is the best grow light type for indoor gardening?
While determining the best grow light type, we consider various factors, including the cost, growth phase, type of plant, and available space.
Therefore, we recommend the full-spectrum LED lights as it offers a balanced spectrum closest to natural light.
Surprisingly, it covers all the growth phases and has an efficiency you’ll never find in other options.
Which is the best grow light color?
Generally, we can’t say one grow light color is better than the other since each option is essential at a specific growth phase.
For example, red promotes flowering/fruiting, and blue facilitates leaf development.
However, combining these colors, such as in full-spectrum, is the way to go.
How far should grow lights be from your plants?
How far you position the grow lights from your plants should purely rely on the plant’s needs, growth phase, and the light type/intensity.
For example, position the LED about 12-24 inches from your plant during the vegetative phase.
And 8-16 inches will do just fine during the flowering stage.
For how long should lead grow lights be on?
Again, the time your grow light should be on depends on the growth stage.
For example, we recommend 12-18 hours of LED light daily during the vegetative phase.
And during the flowering phase, you can reduce the time to 8-12 hours daily.
Natural light from the sun provides the best lighting for photosynthesis and plant growth.
But this should not mean that plants can not grow without natural light.
Surprisingly, different LED grow lights provide the perfect light spectrum to support plant growth.
The main options include full-spectrum, multi-band, red, blue, and COB grow lights.
Your choice of grow light should depend on the growth stage and the type of plant.