LED Grow Lights – The Right Grow Lights for Your Indoor Plants

Those who live in the northern part of the US have often been challenged to find a suitable spot indoors to overwinter plants that are not cold-hardy and a place to start vegetables and flowering plants.  Many of them can’t grow plants like habaneros that require a long growing season unless they start them indoors in January.

A revolution in plant lighting has taken place over the past few years, with LED grow lights now being marketed to replace high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps and natural light T5 fluorescent tubes.  LED grow lights have been touted as the solution for many indoor plant lighting problems.  But are they ready for prime time? And are they right for your indoor plants?

HID (HPS  and metal halide) lights are bright but bulky and inefficient at using electrical energy, generating lots of heat.  That makes them expensive to use and unsuitable for the living areas of a house or apartment.

Cooler and 80% more efficient

So it’s good news that LED plant lights are 80% more efficient than the heat-generating HPS and metal halide lamps.  That means LEDs run cool, about room temperature, and they are also effective at promoting plant growth.

Because LED grow-light arrays are available with lamps that output different wavelengths of the light spectrum, they can be made with just the right light for your plants’ needs at various stages in their life cycles. Some arrays include lamps that emit light at three, four or five different wavelengths, and one manufacturer offers an array of 11 wavelengths.

There is a trend toward using higher wattage LED lamps, which produce more light in a compact space. These larger LED lamps, though brighter, may or may not be more efficient than using a larger array or a series of arrays of smaller lamps. Time will tell.

LED arrays are convenient

Arrays are available in various shapes, including spotlights that can be screwed into incandescent or CFL light fixtures such as floor lamps; large and small flat panels of hundreds of LED s that can be hung over your trays; or relatively high-wattage round disks of LEDs that can cover a larger area. This makes them suitable for use in a wide variety of places in your home – for plants on the floor, on a table or on a shelf.  There are also large, commercial versions suitable for use in greenhouses. Flat panel arrays can be hung adjacent to one another, and some are made to be electrically daisy-chained.

The lowest effective wattage for home use is around 28 watts for a light-weight panel that will light a 2’x2’ area, suitable for growing seedlings. The array is hung 1 to 2 feet over the tray. Users say it also works fine for larger plants though ideally it would be supplemented with a second array, or with natural or fluorescent light. 90-watt arrays have become popular as their prices have dropped and now cost under $300. LED arrays of 120, 300 and 600 watts are also currently available.  The larger ones are hung at 2 feet or higher above the plants and would typically be used in a greenhouse application.

Like other grow lights, LED arrays should be plugged into a timer and switched on for about 12 hours a day for established plants and about 16 hours a day for seedlings.

Tips to Grow Food Indoors With LED Grow Lights

Growing food indoors has many benefits, which include the ability to grow plants year-round and the chance to grow a larger number of plants in a small space. LED lights, or light emitting diodes, help in this process and are small and energy-efficient when compared with alternative light sources such as metal halide lamps. LED lights also do not give off much heat, so they will not easily burn the tips of your plants. These lights additionally can last for as long as three years before you have to change their bulbs.

Things You’ll Need
• Chains
• Soil-less potting mix
• Watering can
• Vermiculite
• Tape measure
• Grow light timer
• Fertilizer
• Spray bottle

Purchase seed packets for the types of edibles you want to grow indoors. You can find these packets in local garden centers, building supply stores and even mail-order catalogs. In addition, buy plastic sheets of small containers, called “cell flats,” as well as a solid planting tray.

Look at the timing requirements listed on the seed packages to determine when to begin planting the seeds. For example, peppers and eggplants should be started indoors in mid-March, while the best time for cabbage and cauliflower is early March, and the ideal time for tomatoes is early April.

Buy two or three LED grow lights at a gardening center. Hang them from chains above your planting area so that you will be able to easily raise them as your plants grow.

Set the cell flats into the solid tray, and fill the cells completely full with a soil-less seed starting mix. The mix should not have any true soil and likely will contain peat and vermiculite, which will help the seeds to retain water. Water the mix in the cell flats, which will allow the mix to settle down in their containers and become moist for planting. Continue to add more potting mix and water to the cell flats until the containers are nearly full.

Sow the fresh seeds individually into each cell, placing them four times as deep as their width. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of fine vermiculite, which will keep the seeds moist enough for germination while still allowing enough LED lighting to strike the seeds.

Keep your LED lights between 2 inches and 4 inches above the tops of your seedlings. Leave the lights on for only 12 hours to 16 hours each day, using a timer if necessary. Although plants need an adequate amount of light to grow effectively, they also require a period of darkness for proper development.

Water the seeds with a spray bottle whenever the soil-less mix becomes dry. Mix a weak general purpose fertilizer to one-fourth of the strength following the manufacturer’s directions, and apply the fertilizer once a week to your plants once they grow several leaves.

It’s Time For Considering Use LED Grow Lights

Everyone has a question on their minds as to why should they consider to use LED grow lights when numerous other grow lights for the same purpose are also available in the market easily. There are various very realistic and rational reasons to the use of these lights rather than other ones and their benefits are even more than that.

LED plant lights are less energy consuming, that is they take in little electricity and give out more amounts of wavelengths to the plants. This can very easily reduce your electricity bills by 40% to 70%, according to your need of the product. This is also a reason why this device id used indoors because the energy and heat it emits is lesser in quantity. This lesser quantity is highly favorable for the proper growth of vegetables, plants, flowers, herbs and even medical marijuana. These lesser wavelengths of heat and energy also allow the plants to grow normally without having burnt or damaged. These lights also have built-in fans to keep the bulbs from getting over heated as to get damaged. Due to this reason these lights last longer than other lights because they produce limited heat which is required by the plants.

Another very important reason as to why use the LED grow lighting is that it does not require any other accessories to work like ballasts, reflectors, heat removal systems and fans so the cost of these extra items is also saved. These extra accessories are also liable to break quickly, so once you start using them you will need to change for newer ones after every short while, increasing your budget.

LED grow lights last longer than other grow lights because these have a tendency to work from 50,000 to 100,000 hours before needing to change. Other lights work for only 5,000 hours and then they need changing for the better working of the growing procedure. Even the production of heat in limited wavelengths allow the lights to work for longer, because the built-in fans and heat removal system do not let the light to produce more heat and energy than is required for the plants. All these reasons make the lights work for hours and hours without getting damaged or without the owners having to keep an eye on the lights correctly.

LED indoor plant lights produce at least 90% of the heat for which they consume electricity, while other grow lights produce only 50% to 60% energy because of which the process of photosynthesis cannot be carried out properly. The heat produced by other lights cannot reach the plants and flowers to make their food for proper growth, hence making the procedure very slow and not giving any good reason to use them. The LED grow lights give out enough heat for the process of photosynthesis to take place in an appropriate way as to make the plants grow as if they were placed in a natural environment. The more natural the procedure is, the more naturally the plants will grow even under artificial lights.

LED Grow Light Is Highly Useful For The Growth Of Plants

LED grow light is a light emitting diode bulb which is mostly used for the artificial growth of plants in laboratories, indoor gardens and even farms of food and crops. The new and advanced lights are less costly, bright and long lasting, which give out only the wavelengths of the amount of light needed by the plant.

LED grow light is highly useful for the growth of plants before time or when they are not able to get enough light and warmth from natural sources. This light gives consume less electricity and so give out lesser heat as compared to other lights, so they are more suitable for indoor plants growth. They are placed close to the plants because of their lesser production of heat, and the plants also take more time than under other lights.

These light are available in three colors; blue, red and orange, but all these different color light are used for different kinds of plants. The blue light is used for the growth of vegetables because it gives fewer wavelengths, while the red light is used for growing flowers and fruits because it emits larger amounts of wavelengths. The orange light is usually used in combination with the blue and red lights to suit the capacity of varying plants and flowers because it gives out normal frequency of wavelengths to produce a great combination of light energy for the growth of different types of plants.

Earlier UFO LED grow lights were not as strong or bright as to be used for any kind of experiment because the fewer wavelengths caused the growth of the plants to delay making the experiment longer and useless. But now new technology and advancement has made the LED stronger and reliable for indoor usage and experiments. The color of the lights have also increased from 3 to many, like now light, green, yellow and many more colors are available in these lights, which produce different wavelengths for different uses without having to make combinations.

The LED plant light is a substitute for sunlight because it also it gives out a scale and range of light which helps in photosynthesis of the plants. Just like the sunlight is important for plants and flowers, these light are highly effective for indoor plant growth. Apart from scientists, even gardeners can make use of these lights to make a garden inside the home but he should be aware of the color of the light needed for the plants. If used appropriately, these grow lights are helpful in creating a whole new world of artificially grown plants and flowers, even in a place where sunlight cannot reach.

Sunlight has a high temperature of about 600K and is a little bluish in color, so for vegetables especially, blue light are mostly used for the proper growth, while for other plants and flowers, other light colors are used as per their capacity to absorb wavelengths for their normal development. Similarly, every crop and vegetation uses a different light for their growth.

Ultimate Aquarium Lighting Tips

Aquarium lighting can be very confusing for many novice fish keepers, there are many different types of bulbs or set ups to choose from and to make things even worse the actual choice of tubes to fit into the units can vary dependant on which livestock that you are keeping. The lighting can be very important for many aquariums; corals in a reef aquarium require the brightest of lighting, as the actual corals are usually light dependant.

Lighting in the aquarium is not just a tool that allows us to observe our aquarium and the inhabitants, it is also required to aid plant growth with photosynthesis and some species of fish prefer bright lighting to be at their best. Many species of fish prefer subdued lighting so this is why there is such a large choice of lighting available to us.

Some of the most common systems include the following tubes

Actinic/White tubes- these are commonly used in marine aquariums as they emit a strong white light as well as light from the blue range of the spectrum which is very important for the corals in the aquarium. They tend to give a nice hue in the tank making it perfect for viewing as well.

Day-Glo tubes- these provide light from the full spectrum thus replicating sunlight hitting the water, you will often see these used in a general tank set up or a community tank.

Color-Glo tubes- When you are after a softer light, these tubes are ideal, they emit a soft glow by using colors from the other end of the spectrum, namely yellows and reds. They are ideal for fish that do not like bright lighting and the tank looks cozy when using these.

Plant-Grow tubes- These are specially designed for planted aquariums and emit light from the red and blue color spectrum. Photosynthesis is enhanced with this lighting thus producing better growth and foliage color from the plants.

High Intensity tubes- These are really powerful and are used to penetrate the deeper reef aquariums so that the bottom dwellers do not miss out on the light source. They have a high Kelvin rating, often up to 20,000K and emit a white/blue light.

As mentioned above there are now choices which type of lighting system we can use, Metal Halides are now very popular with the reef aquarist, they emit a high lighting level but they do use a lot of power to keep the aquarium illuminated.

LED systems are also entering into this hobby and are a lot cheaper to run that all of the other systems, there is a drawback though, they are still very costly to purchase from new. This system does not use tubes but has rows of LED bulbs that perform the same function(ie LED aquarium lights).

When selecting your lighting always check the amount of lighting that is required to illuminate the water volume in your tank and never use less than is advised, remember that this can be affected by the depth of the tank as well. Always use timers to run your lighting system and never leave the lighting on for too long as this can also encourage algal growth in the aquarium.

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