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Growing Plants With LED Lights

Growing Plants With LED Lights

Turning on a light may seem like an easy task when growing plants but what if it can be made even easier? Well, low-energy lighting can. Gardening enthusiasts from all over have been switching to LED lights as part of their gardening routine for obvious reasons — energy efficiency, longevity and a great deal more versatility.

So, can plants grow under normal LED lights? The simplest answer is yes. But the better question to ask is what kind of plant growth will you get from using LEDs?

Plants are a lot like people. They need different amounts of food, water, and sunlight depending on their age and stage of growth. For example, a 3-year-old tomato plant in its flowering stage needs more light than a 3-month-old seedling just starting out. Luckily for us, as technology advances, we can use energy efficient lights to help our plants grow no matter what life stage they're in.

The majority of indoor gardening setups try to mimic natural sunlight with lamps that have a broad spectrum of light. This includes red and blue light, which are essential for photosynthesis and the production of chlorophyll. Many LED lighting companies have taken advantage of this by creating fullspectrum bulbs that are specially designed for growing plants.

If you are not using full-spectrum bulbs you could run into one main problem: traditional bulbs give off a lot of heat which isn't ideal for some plants. LEDs are able to produce white light (similar to what comes from the sun), but with much less heat output than other types of bulbs. This means that you can place your plant closer to the LED without it getting burned by the heat from the bulb. LED lights are also energy efficient: 90% of energy from LED lights is turned into light, whereas only 10% of energy from incandescent or fluorescent bulbs is turned into light. And they do not contain toxic substances like mercury, so they won't pollute the environment if they're disposed of improperly.

When it comes to artificial lights for growing plants, the color temperature of the light is almost as important as having a full-spectrum bulb. Color temperature is measured in kelvins (K). The lower kelvin numbers have more of a red glow and the higher number have more of a blue glow. The sun's rays are a mix of warm and cool light spectrum, so that's what we need to mimic. There's two different types of growth—the vegetative stage (where the plant is growing leaves and stems) and the flowering stage (where the plant produces flowers and fruit). For optimal growth during both stages, use LED grow lights with a color temperature ranging from 5500K to 6500K. That kelvin range will provide a good balance of light for all stages of plant growth.

The bottom line is that LED lights can be used to grow plants. If you would like to start growing some plants, but don't have the room, or even the time, to go through all of the upfront labor involved in seed starting: LEDs are a great way to get started. There is no doubt that LED lighting will improve the development of plants. It's a phenomenal tool to have if you want to grow greener and more nutritious fruits, vegetables and herbs.