LED lights have found another medium for usefulness in the indoor gardening and commercial food production markets. The commercial industrial production field includes well-trusted methods for growing soil-less plants, such as hyroponics and aquatic plant production.
In areas where natural light is extremely limited in winter months, having the ability to produce adequate amounts of light for continued plant growth presents a real challenge. However grow lights, of which LED light sourcing is now an option, can solve this dilemma by augmenting the amount of time that plants receive precious light.
Why is Natural Daylight so Important for Plant Growth?
Natural daylight has a specially configured colour temperature spectrum that encourages plant growth from the budding stage straight through to maturity. The beginning vegetative phase needs the blue light spectrum, whereas the later flowering stage requires lighting from the red-orange spectra.
With artificial grow lights these different levels of light distribution can be artificially reproduced at levels similar to that of natural daylight.
Are LED Grow Lights Better than Traditional Lights?
LED lights have some distinct advantages when compared to the more traditional grow lights. Here are just a few:
Power consumption when compared to metal halide lights is relatively small.
LED lights give off a minute amount of heat but retain a high level of brightness.
LED lighting units are usually constructed in a modular format, which allows for faster and more efficient reconfiguration and changes to the grow light system.
This same modular set-up allows for the system to accommodate, side by side, a variety of plants all requiring different light spectra.
LED lighting is more suitable to being adjusted to the different light spectra required for successful plant growth
LED bulbs have a multiple-year shelf life.
In the past the cost of LED light production proved to be a prohibitive brick wall to their use in grow lighting systems. However recent developments in scientific research has substantially reduced the manufacturing costs of LED lights.
Other LED Grow Light Advantages
In addition to the levelling of the costs between the LED grow lights and the more traditional metal halide and fluorescent light, there are other positive virtues to LED grow light systems.
When compared with metal halide (MH) lighting, LED lights use a small fraction of the power that MH lights use and there’s no need for ballasts. LED’s produce the same spectrum of lights as MH lights using 75% less electric power. At that rate a 50-watt LED light can do the same job that a 200-watt MH light can – producing the exact same level of lighting intensity.
Conventional metal halide and fluorescent grow lights usually need to be a few inches from the plant to produce the desired levels of lighting intensity. However LED lighting can provide the required light levels at up to a foot away from the targeted plant subject.
As researchers are finding more ways to increase the power consumption of LED lights, the resulting effect will be more powerful LED grow lights. In today’s market LED grow lights are being made in designs capable of exceeding 600 watts of power – and they can only get more powerful and more efficient.