With the increasing popularity of indoor gardening, LED grow lights have become an essential tool for cultivating robust and abundant plants. Do the best light spectrum for indoor growing exist? We hope you find the answer after reading below.
How Does Light Spectrum Affect Plant Growth?
The growth of plants can be affected by the light spectrum in several ways.
The light spectrum impacts the temperature of the environment. Red lights produce a warm ambience and blue lights create a cooler one. This temperature difference is crucial for plants as they have specific temperature requirements during different growth stages.
The light spectrum affects the energy consumption of plants. Red and blue light are the most critical for photosynthesis, and they influence plant growth and energy consumption differently. Red light is more efficient in driving photosynthesis, so plants under red light may consume more energy for growth and development. On the other hand, blue light is essential for vegetative growth, and plants under blue light may allocate more energy toward foliage growth and compactness.
Furthermore, light absorption and utilization can also affect the overall metabolic activity of plants. For instance, light that is not absorbed by pigments can be converted into heat, which might impact the plant’s energy consumption and overall health.
Ultimately, the color of the grow light plays a significant role in determining the energy demands of plants, making it crucial to choose the right light spectrum based on the specific growth stage and requirements of the plants being cultivated.
What Is the Best Light Spectrum to Grow Plants?
Initially, scientists believed that using red and blue light exclusively could enhance photosynthesis efficiency. This is because chlorophyll, the green pigment in plants responsible for capturing light, mainly absorbs blue and red photons. However, when cultivating plants with complex structures, it becomes essential to understand how light is captured at a broader level.
Some LED grow lights utilize only a combination of blue and red light. While these LEDs are efficient for driving plant photosynthesis, they primarily benefit the top leaves of the canopy. The high absorption of red and blue light leads to limited light penetration into the canopy, causing lower leaves to receive insufficient light. While such narrow-spectrum grow lights can be useful for specific purposes, they fail to provide an ideal light to support the natural development of larger plants.
Full spectrum grow lights emit photons covering the entire spectral range used by plants, typically from 350 to 750 nanometers (nm). However, the term “full spectrum” is often misused by horticulture light producers. Many grow lights labeled as full spectrum only cover the photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) region, neglecting UV and short blue wavelengths, and often lack sufficient far-red wavelengths. These lights are more accurately termed as broad spectrum lights.
A well-balanced broad or full spectrum light can effectively support plant growth throughout its life cycle, provided that the light intensity (measured by PFD and/or DLI) is adequate. However, for optimal results and yield, growers should carefully select the spectrum recipe based on the specific crop, and growth setups.
Balanced broad or full spectrum lights appear as white light to humans. Using such lights in grow room not only creates a natural-looking environment but also allows visual identification of leaf discoloration, diseases, or pests.
The Best Light Spectrum for Indoor Growing
The spectrum for your indoor plants acts as a signal, guiding them through different stages as if they were experiencing natural seasons. To achieve this indoors, you need to replicate the sun’s light by using adjustable spectrum LED grow lights.
When you’re starting from seeds, it’s advisable to provide your seedlings with continuous light over a 24-hour period, but at a low intensity. Aim for approximately 15% red light and 30% blue and white light. As your seedlings develop their first leave, you can increase the light intensity twofold until they progress to the vegetative stage.
When beginning with clones, your first objective is to promote root development. Providing lower light intensity is the key. By maintaining a light spectrum composed of approximately 25% red light and 45% blue and white light, you encourage your plants to prioritize root growth over vertical expansion.
During the vegetative phase, the key goals for your plants should revolve around fostering root expansion and cultivating compact internodes. To achieve this, providing a substantial amount of blue light proves most effective. Higher levels of blue light contribute to controlling plant height, preventing rapid vertical growth. Excessive growth and elongated internodes must be avoided, as they can lead to issues during the flowering stage, such as upper leaves overshadowing lower buds. Maintain your blue and white light at full intensity (100%) while limiting the red light to below 60%.
During the pre-flower phase, it becomes crucial to prioritize the growth of buds. Remember how plants naturally respond to the sun’s red-light signal, triggering the flowering process? Your aim is to harness this natural response. While increasing the amount of red light can stimulate bud development, it’s important to exercise caution and avoid excessive exposure to red light. Overexposure can lead to unwanted elongation during the flowering stretch. During the pre-flower stage, a prudent approach involves a slight elevation in the intensity of red light, reaching around 80%. The blue light, however, should remain unchanged from its previous level.
This phase is where the red spectrum truly comes into play. Until now, you’ve been limiting the exposure to red light to prevent excessive growth, but at this point, your plant requires an abundance of photons. Increase the red light spectrum—both red and deep red—to its maximum of 100%. This adjustment is instrumental in achieving exceptionally high yields.
For the remaining light channels in your adjustable spectrum, maintain them at 100% as well. During the flowering stage, every aspect should be optimized. Excessive blue light can lead to energy being directed toward the leaves rather than the buds. This can result in fluffy buds with ample leaves. To ensure a maximum yield and dense flower formation, the key lies in providing ample red light at high intensity while minimizing the level of blue light.
Remember, blue and white light play a key role in trichome production. To achieve this, prioritize 100% intensity for blue and UVB light while reducing red light to around 50%. This approach is key to cultivating the sought-after sticky buds.
For those who are new to variable spectrum LED grow lights, managing these parameters might seem complex. Fortunately, technology like the MokoLight Controller allows you to program and automate the entire growth cycle with ease.
These guidelines pertain specifically to indoor lighting. If you’re cultivating plants in a greenhouse, there are slight variations in considerations that need to be taken into account.
The Best Light Spectrum for Greenhouse Growing
When cultivating plants in a greenhouse, you don’t need to constantly expose them to full spectrum light. Natural sunlight takes on a significant role, you just need to provide supplemental light. The advantage of greenhouse cultivation is that you save on energy costs since artificial lights don’t need to be at a maximum intensity as frequently as they would indoors.
However, greenhouse growth does involve some complexity. You must calculate the balance between sunlight and artificial light. Factors like location, season, and day length in your region impact this balance. You can check our previous blog to learn more. While it’s challenging to offer precise rules due to these variable factors, you can refer to the indoor lighting guide provided above. The adjustable spectrum mentioned there outlines your plants’ requirements during each growth stage. This knowledge can then guide you in determining the necessary amount of supplemental light to enhance yields and achieve your desired results.
Ultimately, the optimal growth light spectrum for your plants will be determined by their specific requirements. It’s important to note that all types of grow lights have positive effects on plants, so feel free to experiment until you discover the ideal combination for your garden. This ideal balance can also be worked out with a reputable manufacturer like Mokolight, which comprehends the significance of the grow light spectrum and has already established authoritative guidelines for light spectrum usage.
Mokolight LEDs present a tailored light spectrum solution to promote the healthy growth of your plants. This encompasses various options, including but not limited to red and blue lights, full spectrum lights, and broad spectrum lights. As a leading player in the LED market, we have 100% confidence in the supreme performance of our LEDs. Our products are backed by international certifications such as UL and ROHS, ensuring quality and reliability. Contact us today!