A high-quality LED grow light will help your plants thrive, while your electricity bill won't go up, and it’s better for the environment than other kinds of grow lights. However, it could be challenging to choose the right light for your needs if you want to grow plants indoors but are unfamiliar with the fantastic world of LED grow lights.
It could be overwhelming when you try to figure out cool vs. warm, color-spectrum, CFL, LED, or HID. In this article, we will give you the information you need to know about indoor grow lights for houseplants, indoor gardening, and seed starting.
Understanding Grow Lights
Watts or wattage (W):
Watts refers to the amount of power used by a piece of electrical equipment, which is measured in watts (W) or wattage (W). We can determine the energy input needed by light in watts. Watts were a useful unit of measurement when most illumination was provided by incandescent bulbs, since the amount of electricity used directly correlated with the amount of light produced, which is measured in lumens.
With a lower wattage, LED bulbs are more energy-efficient and will last longer than incandescent bulbs with higher wattages.
Lux, Lumens (LX):
Lux is a measure of the amount of light over a surface area. It’s a helpful technique to gauge how successful your grow light setup is.
Lumens are a unit of measurement used to describe the total amount of visible light output from a source of light in all directions.
Since the amount of light that really reaches your plants is more essential than how much a grow lamp can produce. Lumens per square metre, or lux, is a unit of measurement for the amount of light that reaches a surface.
Indoor plant lighting levels:
Direct sunlight: 100,000 lux
Indirect sunlight: 10,000 - 25,000 lux
Low light plants: for example, Sansevieria, 500 - 3000 lux
Medium-light plants:for example, Ficus and Peperomia 3,000 - 8,000 lux
High light plants: for example, cacti and succulents 10,000 lux and over
Light bulbs are frequently given a K rating, which is a measure of the color of light. Higher K numbers are cooler and more blue-colored lights, whereas lower K numbers are warmer and more red-colored lights. A cooler color light with a kelvin rate of about 6500K is ideal for healthy leaf and root growth.
You'll notice grow lights are labelled with figures like 2700K or 4000K when you purchase them. The greater the number, the cooler the light; this refers to their relative warmth or coolness on the color spectrum. Although many plants require a period of warmer light, at about 3000K, in order to produce blooms and fruit, foliage growth is often optimal at around 6500K.
In general, LED grow lights should be placed around 12 inches away from plants, although the exact distance may vary depending on the bulb's wattage, the type of plant and how much light it needs, as well as the ambient light in the space. Using the lux measurement as a guide, a light meter will be helpful in this situation.
Understanding the types of grow lights
Fluorescent Grow Lights (CFLs)
Compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) serve as suitable grow lights for indoor plants, seeding, enhancing window light, and other low-lighting requirements. Fluorescent lights are weak in light intensity; therefore, in order to have much of an impact, they must be placed just a few inches away from the foliage. Fluorescent bulbs may screw into an ordinary incandescent light fixture, making them a choice for tiny spaces or if you don’t like the appearance of long, rectangular fluorescent light fixtures.
CFL works best for modest grows, it often does not scale well from a cost or yield perspective.
Ideal for small plants
Accessible at many stores
It offers a wide range of colour temperatures
Low light outputs than other types of bulbs.
Require to install near plants
Not ideal for larger growth.
LED Grow Lights (LED)
LED grow lights are usually more expensive than compact fluorescent bulbs, but LED grow lights use 50% less electricity and have a lifespan of five times longer. However, a standard LED bulb from the hardware store is not made to serve the purpose of plant development; instead, you need a specific LED grow light that uses a relatively new technology that horticulture providers are increasingly offering. Full-spectrum LED grow lights are substantially more powerful than fluorescent bulbs in terms of light output. An easy rule of thumb is that LEDs are ideal for growing larger quantities of plants because they can produce more light per square foot than fluorescent bulbs can. An added benefit to LEDs is that they don't emit much heat compared to other kinds of grow lights.
Higher-quality LEDs will be your best option if you're interested in scalability and are prepared to invest money in the long-term expansion of your grow light system. LEDs provide a number of scaling benefits than CFL and HID.
The most energy efficiency
Produces excellent outcomes
Low heat emission
A long lifespan
Expensive start-up fees
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High-Intensity Discharge (HID)
HID was the primary choice for large indoor plantings before the introduction of LED grow lights. Although HID are really powerful grow lights, they are expensive, inefficient in using electricity, require specialized lighting, and produce a lot of heat. Despite this, they are still frequently used and quite effective in indoor planting. HIDs are a fantastic choice if you want to grow huge plants like tomatoes or lemon bushes since the light reaches the foliage more deeply than other types of bulbs.
Although the benefits of HID over LEDs at scale are waning rapidly due to the rapid advancement of LED grow lamp technology, HID is still the best at scale for the majority of commercial applications.
More affordable than other high-quality lights
Produces great results
Simple to set up and use
Produces a lot of heat, exhaust and ventilation required.
Does not fit into a standard outlet
Requires special hood and ballast
Inefficient use of electricity
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