ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What are LED Grow Lights?

Updated on October 17, 2012

Grow Lights that Replicate an Outdoor Setting

Indoor Grow Light
Indoor Grow Light | Source

What are Grow Lights?

Grow light is a technique in which lights are used to provide light similar to that produced by the sun. Grow lights are most commonly used in indoor settings or in places where light is scarce for plants to grow. Grow lights are used to provide enough amounts of light energy to plants to promote the process of photosynthesis. The outdoor conditions are replicated in an indoor setting by varying the luminosity of lights and their light spectrum.

The light of the Sun is used by plants to produce chemical energy through the process of photosynthesis. Different lights of varied intensities are usually utilized to replicate the same light spectrum as that produced by the Sun. The frequencies and wavelengths of some lights are thus used to suit the light energy needs of plants under cultivation.

Different ranges of the light spectrum, often chosen for plant cultivation, are based on the type of plant under cultivation and the stage of growth of that plant. In order for plants to grow, gardeners use a variety of lights, including fluorescent, incandescent, high luminosity lamps and LEDs.

The Growth Stage of a Plant Determines the Kind of Light Used

Plant Growth
Plant Growth | Source

Different Tpes of light for Different Stages of Growth

The different stages of plant growth require a different type of light spectra. At the beginning of their growing stage, or the vegetative stage, a plant requires light in the blue spectrum, as blue light promotes a greater vegetative response, whereas at the flowering or reproductive stage, a plant requires light in the red and orange spectrum. Metal halide lights are usually used in the vegetative stage, while high pressure sodium lights are used in the reproductive stage.

Different plant varieties have specific light requirements. The specific needs of a plant determine the type of light which is most appropriate for its growth. The lights to be used in an artificial setting must mimic the natural light to which a plant has adapted. Bigger plants need more light than small plants, and if there is not sufficient light provided, in an artificial setting, a plant will not grow.

Lights that Replicate the Sun Light

Lights that Replicate the Sun Light
Lights that Replicate the Sun Light | Source

Different LIght Spectrums for Plant Growth

Some plants, such as vegetables grow in an outdoor setting when there is enough sunlight; however, they will not grow in an indoor setting unless high quality levels of light, similar to that provided by the Sun, is provided. Such light is usually provided from metal halide and fluorescent lamps. Plants that grow under the shade, such as foliage plants don´t need great amounts of sunlight and will grow well with low light levels, such as those provided by incandescent lamps.

Led Grow Lights

Led Grow Lights
Led Grow Lights | Source

Red Orange and Blue LEDs to Promote Plant Growth

LEDs offer various advantages over other types of lights. LEDs are very efficient at producing great amounts of light without producing too much heat as compared to other lights, and the light in a led can be dimmed easily. In addition, LEDs are inexpensive, which is an advantage for those people who produce their own plant at home.

Compared to other sources of grow lights, LEDs can be more attractive for indoor plant growers, since they turn almost all electricity consumed into radiation energy with minimums amounts of heat. This allows Led grow lights to be placed at shorter distances from plants than other types of grow lights. In addition, using Led grow lights reduces plant transpiration, decreasing the plant´s watering cycle.

Plants use the spectral range of 400-700 nanometers, which corresponds to the visible spectrum, for the process of photosynthesis. Light of shorter wavelengths could be so energetic, damaging the plant’s cells and tissues, and light of longer wavelengths is not energetic enough to allow the process of photosynthesis.

Chlorophylls and carotenoids capture light at different absorption peaks. LED grow lights make use of more than one LED color to replicate these peaks. To stimulate plant growth effectively various types of LEDs of distinct colors, such as red, orange and blue are used.

High-tech LED Grow Lights

High-tech LED Grow Lights
High-tech LED Grow Lights | Source

Advantages of Using Led Grow Lights

Blue LEDs with a wavelength of 400 nanometers are most commonly used where vegetative growth is required. For growing flowers and fruits a number of red LEDs with a wavelength of 660 nanometers are used.

In the early stages of Led grow lights, hundreds of fractional watt LEDs, which were not as bright or efficient as high-intensity discharge (HID) lights, were used. Recent advancements in Led grow light technology makes use of high-brightness multiple watt LEDs with more efficient results than HID.

The technology of Led grow light is increasing in power consumption, leading to more effective results when using the technology. LEDS used in previous designs were designed with 1 watt in consumption power; however, recently LEDs with 3 watts and even 5 watts are usually used in led grow lights.

Unlike other grow lights which produce too much heat, damaging the plant´s leaves, LED grow lights can be placed near the plants without risking burning the leaves. Since LED temperature is maintained to minimum levels, the need fro water is reduced and the room temperature where the plants are being grown is maintained at confortable temperatures, reducing the need for air conditioning.

The high energy eficiency of Led grow lights can save between 50 to 90% in energy consumption compared to other types of grow lights, such as incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs.

LED Grow Lights
LED Grow Lights | Source


Submit a Comment

  • greatstuff profile image

    Mazlan 3 years ago from Malaysia

    Will ordinary warm and daylight LED bulbs that are used for living and dining rooms work just as well?

  • unvrso profile image

    Jose Juan Gutierrez 4 years ago from Mexico City

    LEDs are effective at helping plants grow and they can also be cost effective as they turn more energy into light as opposed to incandescent bulbs.

    You can find al sorts of LED grow lights , such as panels and bulbs with a variety of light colors for your plant´s needs.

    Thanks for reading and commenting on this hub.

  • Natashalh profile image

    Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

    On Monday I was wondering if LEDs could be used as grow lights. I wasn't sure, so I decided to go with something I knew would work. Thanks for the information! I have some plants that need to be brought indoors now that the weather has turned cool.