What Kind of LED Lights Grow Plants: 101 on LED Grow Lights

What kind of LED lights grow plants? This is a common question among many indoor gardeners on this new type of artificial lighting with a lot of hype surrounding it.

 If you’re an indoor gardener, you might wonder how LED lighting compares to conventional lighting. 

This article looks at the different types of LED lights for growing plants, tips for using LED grow lights, the advantages of using these lights, and what plants you can grow using LED lights.  

Can LED Lights Grow Plants?

Because LED lighting is relatively new, many are unsure about it in reaction to studying, sleep, or whether it can grow plants. 

But scientists and biologists agree that LED lights are a good artificial lighting option capable of growing all kinds of plants. 

No matter the scale, you can use grow lights from seedling to maturity. 

LED lights can improve the efficiency of indoor cultivating flowers, vegetables, and herbs as they all respond well. 

Types of LED Lights for Growing Plants

Individual Single Bulbs

If you’re a gardener interested in a basic DIY project or have space constraints, individual bulbs and fixtures are an ideal low-cost option.

 What’s great about these LEDs is that they will also allow you to retrofit existing fixtures or, if you want, install grow lights where you require them most.

Single LED bulb grow lights

(Caption: Single LED bulb grow lights)

Grow Light Fixtures

While these tend to be more expensive, they offer a more comprehensive and holistic solution.

 After all, a single fixture can provide the necessary illumination for several plants throughout the space. 

And that’s because grow light fixture manufacturers designed them specifically for growing purposes. 

Also, they provide a fuller light spectrum range than other cheaper light bulbs.   

Why Use LED Grow Lights?

Generally, the kind of light they provide is superior to that of other types of artificial lights. 

For one, it’s very similar to that of sunlight in the sense that it provides the spectrum that plants need. 

See, technically; it’s not necessarily sunlight that plants need. What they require is the appropriate spectrum of light it provides for photosynthesis to occur. 

Secondly, LED grow lights emit less heat than other light sources. For this reason, they’re less likely to scorch your plants. 

Also, as far as artificial lights go, studies have proven that different light wave colors play different roles in plant growth. 

For example, red light waves are especially good for plant growth because they spur plants to flower. 

And LED grow light manufacturers employ this concept, designing the flights to produce a lot of red light waves. 

Also, blue light waves enhance plant quality by aiding the absorption of chlorophyll pigment. 

Red light

(Caption: Red light)

Further, for plants that thrive in sunny, dry climates, you can use ultra-bright grow lights known as high-output LEDs. 

These emit light that’s twice as bright as that of the grow lights. 

Tips on How to Grow Plants With LED Lights

The following are some tips for growing your plants under LED lights:

  • First, group together plants with identical lighting needs for them to benefit from the same amount of light. For instance, desk lamps often work well for houseplants. Whereas tube lights are ideal for a groping of plants and seedlings. 
  • Also, be careful how you mount your LED lights. Because if you place them too high, you reduce the light’s intensity. On the other hand, if you position them too low, it will ruin the plants. 
  • Further, select lights that have adjustable spectrums, intensities, or both. Alternatively, you could choose a slightly warmer spectrum to get a cozy, ambient light in your space. 
  • In addition, if your ceilings are standard size (2.4 to 2.7 meters), opt for LED lights with a wider beam divergence angle. That way, the plants receive maximum spectrum and ideal temperatures. 
  • Lastly, you can cut costs using grow lights that fit your normal light fixtures. 

How Long Should You Leave LED Grow Lights On?

Undoubtedly, plant needs differ from one plant to another, including the length of exposure to LED lights. But in general, keep in mind the following:

  • One, flowering plants require longer exposure to light, followed by vegetables. This period can range anywhere between 12 to 16 hours. 
  • Two, while the period of exposure may be general, the amount of light strictly differs. That’s because different plants require different light levels. 
  • Thirdly, plants need some time in the darkness just as much as they need the light. Interestingly, like humans, most plants need at least eight hours of “rest” daily. It’s during this time that they break down the energy produced by photosynthesis and utilize it for growth and flowering. 

How Should You Place Your Grow Lights?

Now the best way to place grow lights is in a way that mimics sunlight. That means you should position them overhead just like the sun is. 

That way, all the sides of the plants can receive the light, meaning all the leaves can take in sufficient light. 

Grow lights positioned overhead

(Caption: Grow lights positioned overhead)

As far as the distance, because LED lights emit less heat, you need not place them as far as you would incandescent and fluorescent lights. You can position them six inches away. 

However, their needs change as plants grow, even as far as this distance. So you must keep adjusting the placement. 

LED Light Grow Plants

The following cool-season plants are easy to grow under LED grow lights, primarily because they don’t need to pollinate. 

Also, much as they need moderate to plenty of sunlight, the light need not be of high intensity. 

  • Leafy greens like kale, lettuce, and spinach. 
  • Herbs like mint, parsley, thyme, and turmeric. 
  • Root crops like radishes and carrots. 

Eggplant, tomatoes, pepper, and legumes like peas and beans, though a little bit harder to grow on LED grow lights, also do well with these lights. These plants self-pollinate.

 Also, the intensity of light they require is lower, but that’s easy to adjust with LED grow lights. 

Advantages of Using LED Lights to Grow Plants

Below are the advantages of using LED lights to grow plants:

  • Controllable: This capability allows you to adjust the temperature and color spectrum. 
  • Energy-efficient: LED lights consume less energy, making them more environmentally friendly. 
  • Quality light: As far as artificial light goes, the light that LEDs emit mimics that of the sun more accurately as it has the spectrum plants need. 
  • Less heat: Undoubtedly, LED grow lights emit less heat. That means you water the plants less frequently and need not worry about constantly adjusting the temperature.   

FAQs

Can Normal LED Lights Grow Plants?

Yes, normal LED lights can grow plants. Only they produce white light. 

And while this light will grow plants, as mentioned earlier, red and blue color wavelengths of light are what plants need to thrive. 

What Are the Disadvantages of LED Grow Lights? 

Like virtually all things, even with impressive features highly beneficial to plants, LED grow lights also have disadvantages. 

But nothing harmful. Only that they cost more and weigh more. 

What Color LED Light Is Best for Plant Growth?

Plants must produce chlorophyll, which they need to grow. 

And interestingly, blue LED light waves increases help plants produce this green pigment, increasing the rate of photosynthesis. 

Conclusion

Now you know what kind of LED  lights grow plants. 

As we’ve seen, you can grow plants using both regular and LED grow lights. 

Also, you know what makes LED grow lights popular and how they benefit plants, how to use them effectively, and some of the vegetables that you can easily grow with them. 

We hope this information helps you make a more informed decision on whether or not to use LED lights to grow your plants.