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Can I Use Normal LED Lights To Grow Plants?

To ensure that all of your plants get the same amount of light, you would need to invest in some indoor lighting once you have started your indoor garden.

Is it possible to grow plants with a normal LED light? Certainly, as long as it delivers enough PAR light. Energy-efficient, with little heat emission, and long-lasting, LED lights are great for any environment. Nevertheless, it’s probably best to get a horticultural light for plants with high light requirements.

Photosynthesis is a process by which plants convert food into energy. In-plant leaves, special cells convert light energy into sugars, releasing oxygen as a by-product. There’s no wonder it’s so refreshing to sit in a room full of green plants.

Plants require different amounts of light to thrive. Plants like dracaenas thrive in low-light conditions. Fruiting edibles, such as tomatoes, require much brighter light to grow properly.

This article comprises all the dos and don’ts. 

How LED Lights Beat Other Sources Of Lights?

LED lights shine for their low heat emission, energy efficiency, and long-term cost-effectiveness when compared to incandescent, fluorescent, and LED lights. 

While being cool to the touch, a 16.5 Watt LED bulb produces as much light as a 20-watt CFL or 75-watt incandescent bulb. 

You should place incandescent bulbs with high power integrity at least 24 inches (61 centimetres) above your plants since they run so hot. In general, fluorescent bulbs can be safely placed 12 inches (30.48 centimetres) away, and LED bulbs can be placed six inches (15.24 centimetres) away.

LED light bulbs last 2 to 4 times longer than CFL bulbs and 25 to 35 times longer than incandescent bulbs, despite being more expensive upfront. LED bulbs do not contain mercury, unlike CFL bulbs.

Let’s introduce you to the advantages of using LED bulbs for the purpose of growing plants indoors.

Advantages of Using LED Bulbs 

When planning to install artificial lights in your indoor garden, LED bulbs are definitely the safest and most affordable choice. The following reasons explain why:

  1. Since LED lights are much more efficient in their consumption of energy, regardless of the shape, the energy used is not affected. Consequently, it is quite cost-effective in the long run.
  2. LEDs can emit light based on the color needed thanks to the development of customization. By choosing a specific color, we can also lower costs by targeting your plant’s specific needs.
  3. LEDs are quite small and can be attached to lamps and other fixtures that can be positioned overhead. LED bulbs can also be used in ordinary stand lamps and desk lamps.
  4. It’s cool that you wouldn’t have to add ventilation whenever you use these instead of halogens and incandescents. LED bulbs do not cause heat stress to your plants.
  5. LEDs have a longer lifespan than most other types of light sources. Based on usage, environment, and other factors, they can last anywhere from 15,000 to 50,000 hours. At the end of the day, this makes them cost-effective.

Light Spectrum 101.

All colours of the spectrum are emitted by sunlight, which is why plants thrive in direct sunlight. Some plants, however, do better in shady areas or indoors than in direct sunlight. The following is a guide to the wavelengths and their functions in relation to plant growth and development.

Ultraviolet (380nm to 390nm)

In large doses, UV light can be harmful to living things. Plants require UV light in horticulture, however, in order to protect themselves from harmful light components. In the absence of UV light, this defence mechanism would not be activated. There is some evidence that UV light can prevent pest infestation and pathogenic mold growth in some cases.

Blue Violet (400nm to 410nm)

By emitting this wavelength, the leaves will grow greener and the flesh will appear deeper in colour.

Blue (440nm to 460nm)

This wavelength is ideal for the development of roots and leaves in plants. Among the best colours for indoor plants. It contributes to the production of chlorophyll in the early stages of a plant’s life.

Green (515nm to 535nm)

The wavelength on the light spectrum that makes green plants green is due to this particular wavelength. During the day, chlorophyll absorbs more red and blue light and reflects more green light back. The rate of photosynthesis would be greatly reduced if plants were only exposed to green light.

Yellow (585nm to 595nm)

Yellow light is also not absorbed by plants and does not contribute much to photosynthesis. To completely deprive a plant of any source of light would be the same as exposing it only to yellow light.

Orange (600nm to 610nm)

Despite a low chlorophyll absorption rate, it has a good effect on the plant during photosynthesis.

Red (660nm to 670nm)

Especially during expected blooms, this wavelength is ideal for flower-bearing plants. In addition to absorbing the red wavelength well, chlorophyll also converts the light into energy needed for metabolism, which aids the whole process of photosynthesis.

The Ultimate Plants Preference- PPFD

Plants can calculate their PPFD (Photosynthetic Photon Flux Density) by measuring how much PAR (Photosynthetic Active Radiation) they receive each second. It is the most useful metric for gardeners since it measures light quality and intensity from a plant’s perspective.

PAR is the portion of the light spectrum (400 to 700 nm) that is important for photosynthesis. PAR does not measure light intensity, nor is it even a unit of measurement. It measures the wavelengths of light plants can absorb.

Summary

In the case of starting an indoor garden with a few plants, ordinary LED light bulbs should suffice for aesthetic purposes. In order to grow plants from seedlings to maturity, however, ordinary bulbs may not be enough to cover their needs, and instead, you would need growth lights with red and blue wavelengths. Here are a few points you have to always keep in mind while growing plants indoors: 

  • Flowering is helped by red light.
  • Foliage grows faster when exposed to blue light.
  • For determining a light’s color quality, PAR is better than color temperature.
  • A plant’s PPFD measures the quality and intensity of light.

We hope this article was of maximum help to you!

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