Choosing LEDs to grow plants can be a smart and rewarding decision if the correct LED lights are used. For indoor plant cultivation, the correct LEDs need to produce proper amount of photosynthetic active radiations (PAR) that can enhance the plant growth. To get the specific light outputs, manufacturers design their lights to have the proper size and light spectrum output.
While choosing growing lights, every small detail about the product matters and affects the plant growth. LED grow lights are new and many growers do not know what to look for in LED lights before purchasing. Plants, at different growth stages utilize different light spectra, intensity and exposure times. Many growers are unaware of these details and make incorrect choices which can be harmful to their crops. New cultivators especially find it difficult to decide which color spectrum to use and how much intensity of light is needed for their crops. Another challenge for growers is picking a quality LED product that is versatile and energy efficient. With so many options available in the market, it is easy to get confused on which LED product is ideal for their plants. There are many factors that they need to consider when choosing LED lights.
Plant Growing Space
Growing space will determine the wattage and number of fixtures needed. While plants requiring full sunlight need higher wattage of LED fixtures per square foot of growing space, low light plants require lesser wattage. Installing more higher wattage fixtures than what is required will end up being a waste of energy because the plants eventually reach their maximum light absorption levels. Hence, before choosing grow lights make sure you measure lighting area size and determine what wattage and number of fixtures needed for best results.
Type of Garden – Vegetative or Flowering
To get optimal yield, the grow lights that you choose should address the specific needs of your crop. Different plants need different light wavelengths and supplying a suitable spectrum to the crop is essential. Choosing a wrong spectrum can be ineffective and may result in wasting energy. For instance, some LEDs are ideal for vegetative growth while others are only suitable for flowering plants. So, it is essential to evaluate what your crop needs and make choices accordingly.
How Much Heat are the LEDs Producing?
When you are using grow lights for indoor cultivation, make sure the plants are not getting damaged from excess heat. LEDs produce heat just like traditional bulbs, but they produce much less than any traditional bulb. However, not all LEDs are created equal and some produce much more heat than others. Therefore, it is wise to choose a high quality LED that uses less energy to produce light and generates lower heat output. Also make sure you are using the correct number of fixtures based on the growing area. Crops can get damaged if higher wattage fixtures are used or if the lights are too close to the plants.
Can a True Full Spectrum be Achieved with LEDs?
For efficient photosynthesis, plants require different light wavelengths, or spectrums, at different stages. For instance, plants in the vegetation phase many require a bluer spectrum compared to the flowering stage. To supply suitable light spectrums at each growth stage, you may have to use different LEDs that produce specific color spectrums. But if you choose full spectrum LEDs that allow customization of spectral light, or have full spectrum built in, it allows the grower to have the correct light for full cycle cultivation from seedings to harvesting.
When LEDs are used for growing plants, sometimes you may have to consider spectral requirements and customize light settings accordingly. The product that you choose should allow for altering light intensities and exposure time. Also, you must be able to adjust the light fixtures to the proper height to allow some distance between plants and lights. So choose LED grow lights that are easy to use and allow ample features for customization.
Tolerance to Greenhouse Conditions
When selecting LED lights, look for a product that is made of high quality material. A low quality, cheap product may not tolerate greenhouse conditions and die quickly. If something goes wrong with the system, then you will have to put extra effort and valuable time in to change the whole lighting setup. Also, there are many LED brands that make false claims and try to pass themselves off as high-quality products, make sure the one you choose is made of high quality, industrial grade components.