The Ultimate Guide to Growing Plants with LED Lights

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The kitchen garden is no longer just an outdoor hobby. Thanks to technological innovation in lighting, indoor gardens have emerged as an option for many. And among various lighting techniques, LED grow lights have clearly emerged as a frontrunner. How does it work? Let's dive into it.

Why choose LED grow lights for your plants?

The advantages of LED lighting

LED (light-emitting diode) lights have become increasingly popular in recent years, not least for their energy efficiency and durability. Compared to traditional light sources, such as fluorescent lights, LEDs deliver LED grow light more light per watts, which means they use less power to provide the same amount of light.

That's not all. LED lights also generate less heat than traditional light sources.
This is a great benefit for indoor gardeners, as too much heat can damage plants or cause humidity issues in your growing environment.

Customized light to maximize your plant's growth

Another unique feature of LED lights is that they can be customised to produce specific wavelengths of light. Every plant has different lighting needs and different stages of growth require different types of light. By customising your LED lighting, you can ensure that your plants get exactly the type of light they need, when they need it.

How to use LED grow lights to grow plants

Now that we've discussed why LED lights are a great choice for indoor gardening, let's dive into how you actually use them to grow plants.

Choose the right type of LED grow light

There are different types of LED lights available, including full-spectrum LED lights, white LED lights, and specialized plant lights. Full spectrum LED lights are ideal for most plants as they provide a balance of all the different light wavelengths a plant needs.

The Ultimate Guide to Growing Plants with LED Grow Lights

LED lighting may seem complicated, but once you get the hang of it, you'll find it's a playground for any plant lover. To make it easy for you, we've put together this ultimate guide to growing plants with LED lights.

  1. Choose your LED light: As we have discussed, LED Grolys come in different types. Start by choosing the type that best suits your plants and their growth stage. If in doubt, choose white full-spectrum grow light, it suits all plants and is the most efficient light version.
  2. Set your lights correctly: Place your LED light as close to your plants as possible without damaging them. In general, LED lights should be 15-60 cm from your plants, depending on the brightness of the lamp.
  3. Customize the light plan: Your plants need both light and darkness to grow well. A general rule is 16 hours of light and 8 hours of darkness, but this can vary depending on the plant and the brightness of the lamp (the lower the power, the more hours of light - see also our article on DLI for plants).
  4. Monitor your plants closely: Although LED lights are cooler than other light sources, they can still cause heat stress if they are too close to the plants. Watch for signs of heat stress, such as yellowing or curling of leaves.
  • SunLight Quantum board - LED grow light 400Watt dimmerSunLight Quantum board - LED grow light 400Watt dimmer
  • Grow light LED round pendant full-spectrum white lightGrow light LED round pendant full-spectrum white light

The technical terms you need to know

When working with LED grow lights, you will come across a number of technical terms. Understanding these will help you make better use of your LED grow light. Here are some keywords you need to know:

  • Light intensity: This refers to how much light is emitted from a source. It is usually measured in lumens (this term is for humans only).
  • Wavelength: This is the distance between two wave peaks in a light and determines the color of the light. Different wavelengths affect plants differently.
  • Full spectrum: This refers to a light that covers the entire visible spectrum of light. Full-spectrum LED lights mimic natural sunlight and are ideal for plants, covering the light spectrum from 400 to 700nm.

Let's dive deeper into some more technical aspects of growing plants with LED Grow Lights by discussing two important terms: PAR and PPFD.

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Understanding PAR and PPFD in LED lights

PAR (Photosynthetically Active Radiation) and PPFD (Photosynthetic Photon Flux Density) are two very important concepts when we talk about plant lighting. To understand why they are important, let's first define what they are.

What is PAR?

PAR stands for Photosynthetically Active Radiation. This refers to the spectrum of light (wavelengths from 400 to 700 nanometers) that plants are able to use in photosynthesis to produce glucose, which is their food source. In practice, this is the light in the visible spectrum, which extends from blue light (around 400 nm) to red light (around 700 nm).

What is PPFD?

PPFD, on the other hand, stands for Photosynthetic Photon Flux Density. It measures the amount of PAR that actually reaches the plants' leaves in a given period. It is measured in micromoles per second per square meter (μmol/s/m²). A high PPFD value indicates that more light reaches the plant's leaves, which in theory should promote photosynthesis and plant growth.

Use of PAR and PPFD in your indoor garden

When choosing an LED light for your indoor garden, it is important to look for both PAR and PPFD values. Remember that a light with a high PAR value covers the full spectrum of light that plants can use for photosynthesis. However, this does not necessarily mean that all this light reaches your plants. This is where PPFD comes into the picture.

A light with a high PPFD value ensures that a large amount of the usable light actually reaches your plants. But be careful – too much light can also damage your plants, just as too little light can limit their growth. It's all about finding the right balance for your specific plants and their specific needs.

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FAQs about Growing Plants with LED Light

How long should I leave my LED lights on?

In general, your LED lights must be on for approx. 16 hours a day, but this can vary depending on the type of plant and its growth phase.

Can I use LED grow lights for all types of plants?

Yes, you can use LED lights to grow almost any type of plant, including vegetables, flowers and herbs.

Are LED lights better than sunlight for plants?

LED lights cannot completely replace sunlight, but they can compensate for the lack of natural light, especially in indoor growing scenarios or in areas with limited sunlight.

How close should LED lights be to the plants?

LED lights should generally be placed between 15-60 cm from the plants, but this can vary depending on the brightness and plant type.

How often should I change my LED lights?

LED lights have a very long life compared to other light sources. They can typically last 50,000 hours or more, meaning they only need to be replaced every five years or so, even if they are on 24 hours a day.

Are LED lights energy efficient?

Yes, LED lights are very energy efficient compared to other light sources. They use less power to provide the same amount of light, and they also generate less heat, which can help reduce your overall energy costs.

Conclusion

It's clear that LED grow lights can play a vital role in helping your plants thrive, especially if you're growing them indoors. By understanding the basic principles of how LED lights work and how you can adapt them to your specific needs, you can take your green hobby to the next level. So turn on your LED lights and let your indoor garden bloom!

With this, we bring "The ultimate guide to growing plants with LED lights" to an end. Remember, no master has become skilled without first trying. So turn on your LED lights, roll up your sleeves and let the magic begin. Happy growing!

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