With the advent of grow lights, indoor gardening has become an incredibly easy task. These lights simulate natural sunlight and offer the necessary spectrum for plants to thrive and grow through photosynthesis. Whether you want to cultivate vegetables like tomatoes in winter or enjoy blooming flowers like violets throughout the year, LED grow lights are badly needed. However, given the abundant options available on the market, selecting the best LED grow lights for indoor plants can be challenging. To help you make an informed decision, the following is a comprehensive buyer’s guide outlining essential factors to consider.
What’s the Difference Between LED Grow Lights for Indoor Plants and Traditional Lights?
Conventional lights provide limited wavelengths, which hinders proper light absorption for photosynthesis in plants.
Traditional lights generate heat that can potentially harm and singe your plants. In contrast, LED grow lights are designed to facilitate photosynthesis by offering a broader spectrum of wavelengths tailored to meet the specific requirements of different plants. Furthermore, grow lights are more energy-efficient and generate minimal heat compared with traditional bulbs, ensuring a safer environment for your plants.
What to Consider When Buying the Best LED Grow Lights for Indoor Plants?
Types of Plants
Regardless of whether you are growing plants indoors or outdoors, it’s important to recognize that not all plants have the same light requirements. Some plants thrive with intense light, while others prefer lower levels. Additionally, different plants may have specific color preferences when it comes to light. Therefore, before purchasing any lights for your plants, it is crucial to conduct thorough research on the specific plant species you intend to grow. This will ensure that you can provide the appropriate lighting conditions necessary for the plant’s well-being before bringing it home.
Furthermore, the lighting needs of a plant might change depending on what stage of growth it is in. Specifically, a plant in the flowering stage might have different light needs compared with when it is in the vegetative stage. Therefore, when using LED grow lights, it is essential to adopt a customized approach tailored to the specific requirements of each plant species.
Grow Bulbs vs. Lighting Fixtures
The decision between swapping out bulbs in an existing light or purchasing a new fixture with built-in lighting depends on your priorities, convenience, and budget considerations.
Opting for grow light bulbs is a cost-effective choice and tends to be easier for most people. You can simply replace the existing bulb in an outdated lamp or ceiling light with a grow bulb. In this way, you are able to utilize your current lighting fixtures without investing in new equipment.
On the other hand, grow light fixtures offer a more comprehensive solution but come at a higher price point. These fixtures are designed specifically for grow light purposes and provide a more balanced and even distribution of light throughout the space. They often offer a wider range of light spectrum, catering to the specific needs of different plants. If you have multiple plants or a larger indoor gardening setup, a grow light fixture can be a convenient and efficient choice.
Types of Grow Lights
Incandescent Grow lights
While incandescent grow lights may be the most affordable option, they are the least energy-efficient and produce a considerable amount of heat. This high heat output hinders plant growth. Therefore, although incandescent grow lights are cheaper initially, their inefficiency and potential to generate excessive heat make them less than ideal for optimal indoor gardening.
Fluorescent Grow Lights
Fluorescent lights are known for their low heat output and ability to provide a decent spectrum of light for plant growth. They are available in two common forms: tube lights and compact fluorescent reflectors (CFL). Compared with incandescent lights, fluorescent lights are more energy-efficient, making them a favorable choice for indoor gardening. However, it is worth noting that fluorescent lights tend to be more expensive.
LED Grow Lights
LED grow lights have gained popularity as one of the most efficient options for indoor gardening. They produce remarkably little heat and offer an ideal light spectrum range for plant growth. LED lights offer several advantages, including low energy consumption, minimal heat generation, and a light spectrum optimized for plant growth. These qualities make LED lights the most efficient, effective, and user-friendly choice for growing plants at home, surpassing the performance of fluorescent lights or incandescent lights.
High-Intensity Discharge (HID) bulbs
They are a type of grow light that generates light through an electric arc between tungsten electrodes housed within an alumina-fused tube. These specialized bulbs offer a high light output level, making them a popular choice among commercial growers.
Metal Halide Lights
Metal Halide lights utilize mercury vapor combined with metal salts to provide a powerful light source. These lights require a specific fixture and, similar to HID bulbs, are frequently employed by commercial growers.
When selecting a grow light, it is important to consider the vegetative and flowering coverage it offers. By ensuring the light matches the desired coverage, you can optimize the conditions for your plant growth.
The wattage of a grow light directly correlates to the amount of light it emits. Different plants have varying light requirements for optimal growth. Simply selecting a grow light with the highest wattage is not advisable. Instead, it is crucial to match the wattage of the light to the specific needs of the plants you are cultivating. For instance, if you are growing tomatoes, it is recommended to choose a grow light that provides approximately 32 watts of light per square foot.
PPF and PPFD
PPF (Photosynthetic Photon Flux) and PPFD (Photosynthetic Photon Flux Density) are measurements that indicate the amount of light energy available for plants to utilize in photosynthesis.
These values are crucial for individuals seeking precise information about the light’s capability to support plant growth and optimize their plants’ well-being. Higher PPF and PPFD values indicate a greater ability to promote plant growth, while lower values may have a less pronounced effect.
It is not necessarily bad to have lower PPF or PPFD values. The point is to be aware of the light requirements of your specific plants. Understanding these values enables you to assess if a particular light source can provide the necessary amount of energy for your plants’ needs.
Blue light within the range of 400 to 520 nanometers is beneficial for plants as it enhances chlorophyll absorption, photosynthesis, and overall growth. On the other hand, red light falling within the 610 to 720 nanometer spectrum range plays a significant role in promoting flowering and budding in plants.
When selecting grow lights for your indoor plants, it is crucial to ensure that they provide the appropriate spectrum of light required for photosynthesis, which is vital for plant growth. It is recommended to opt for full-spectrum grow lights as they closely mimic natural sunlight, emitting all spectrums of light, including ultraviolet and infrared, which are not visible to the naked eye.
LED lights are particularly advantageous in this regard, as they often offer both types of color spectrum lighting, allowing plants to receive all the necessary benefits for optimal growth.
A good LED grow light should have adjustable features that allow you to customize its settings according to the needs of your plants. These adjustable features typically include:
Various stages of plant growth need different color spectrum. High-quality grow lights offer the option to switch between red light, blue light, green light and white light, providing the necessary spectrum for each stage of the plant’s growth cycle.
Along with color adjustability, LED grow lights often come with knobs or controls that enable you to adjust the brightness of the light bulbs. This flexibility allows you to fine-tune the light intensity and ensure optimal conditions for your plants.
The distance between the lights and your plants is crucial as it affects the intensity of light received. LED grow lights are designed with adjustable ropes or chains that allow you to change the proximity of the lights. By lengthening or shortening the ropes, you can effectively control the distance between the lights and your plants, ensuring they receive the appropriate light exposure.
How Long Should You Turn LED Grow Lights for Indoor Plants On?
In general, most vegetables and blooming plants require around 12 to 16 hours of light each day, with flowering plants leaning towards the longer end of that range. It is important to avoid overexposing houseplants to light, as it can lead to detrimental effects such as foliage damage, hindered flowering, and dehydration. It is recommended to provide most plants with at least 8 hours of darkness per day. However, bear in mind that various plant species could have different light needs. Darkness plays a significant role in the plant growth cycle. While sunlight during the day facilitates photosynthesis and energy production, darkness allows plants to break down this energy during a process called “respiration,” which is vital for growth and flowering.
More importantly, consistency is key for plant growth. Using a timer on your grow lights ensures that your plants receive a consistent light cycle, promoting healthy growth and overall plant well-being.
For specific lighting recommendations, it’s advisable to refer to the information provided on seed packaging, plant tags, or consult with experts at a nursery. Additionally, it is important to give your plants occasional breaks by turning off the grow lights. Just like humans, plants also benefit from rest and should not be exposed to light 24 hours a day.
Choose LED Grow Lights for Indoor Plants at MokoLight
MokoLight has been testing lighting and grow setups for 16+ years. We offer top-notch LED grow lights for indoor plants at competitive prices. All products come with a 3-year warranty. Take good care of your indoor plants in the comfort of your own home with our LED grow lights! Contact us today!