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Lights are a vital part of life for plants. Whether that be sunlight or artificial light from a bulb, plants need light photons to perform photosynthesis and produce more plant matter. To some, you may not realize how important the bulb you use is to the overall health of your plant. Sticking your favorite potted plant under a regular light fixture may seem like you are giving it a sufficient amount of light, but you could actually be depriving your plant of what it needs to thrive. You need to ensure that you are giving it the right type of light along with the correct amount. This begs the question, are LED lights able to be used as grow lights? Let’s take a deeper look.
What As An LED Light?
LED lights are a fantastic innovation that are both more efficient and environmentally friendly. Sourced via wikimedia commons
LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. In simple terms, this just means that when electric current flows through it, it emits light. They are better to use than incandescent lights as LED lights are more energy efficient and emit less heat. This makes them more environmentally friendly. Along with this, they also light up immediately and can be turned on and off without decreasing the lifespan of the bulb. The pros keep on coming, with lower power consumption, longer lifetime, smaller size and faster switching. In these modern times, it makes a lot of sense to have every bulb in your home be a LED bulb. So surely putting a plant under a regular LED light will be sufficient, right? Well to answer that question we need to know what type of light plants need.
What Type Of Light Do Plants Need?
The visible light spectrum is what plants prefer to use for photosynthesis, especially blue and red light. Sourced via Trees.com.
Plants can utilize all colors of light, but they excel with red and blue light.
The only metrics that you should be focusing on are PPFD and PAR. PPFD (Photosynthetic Photon Flux Density) measures how much PAR (Photosynthetic Active Radiation) your plant gets per second, and is an important number as it measures the light quality and intensity. PAR refers to the portion of the light spectrum that plants utilize. This range, 400nm to 700nm, is all of the visible light. From violet down to red, ROY G. BIV has your plants covered.
Another factor to consider is daily light integral (DLI). DLI is the amount of PAR your plant receives over a period of time (usually a 24 hour period). Check out the following linked article from Soltech Solutions: "How Much Light Do Your Plants Need?", to learn how DLI effects your plants and how can you utilize it in your favor. Certain plants need more DLI than others, so be sure to do your research to figure out how much you should be providing your plant. This article (HERE) from PlantMaid dives deeper into the necessities a plant needs and descriptions of the types of light you can provide your plant.
Can I Use LED Lights As Grow Lights?
An Aspect LED Grow Light from Soltech Solutions will provide 90,000 hours of light for your plants.
Normal LED lights, such as the ones you may find on Amazon or a college dorm ceiling, do not emit enough of the light spectrum that plants need. Plants primarily need red and blue light to grow. Red light helps plants flower and blue helps foliage growth. Most of the LED lights that are used in everyday rooms and fixtures use different colors that are added to red and blue to create the white light we humans see. These change depending on the manufacturer. If you know what colors create your LED light, you may be able to use it as a grow light if the right colors are present. But in most cases, normal white light LED lights we see will not be sufficient enough for your plants.
You will have to do research for your LED lights to see if they emit enough of the correct spectrum. Instead of using normal LED lights and hoping they are effective enough, go out and purchase a LED grow light. These are specifically designed without all of those other colors to produce the white light we see. Two great LED growlights on the market are the Aspect LED Plant Light and Vita Grow Light from Soltech Solutions. The Aspect provides enough far-red light (680+) to enhance the photosynthetic efficiency of other wavelengths using a process called the Emerson effect. The Vita provides a similar spectrum while also being easier to install than most LED lights due to its E26 base, allowing it to fit in most light fixtures.