LED grow light technology has been fast and furious. And growers have an array of choices to opt for. If you’re currently grappling with the decision of selecting between white LEDs and variable spectrum LEDs for your crops, you might be wrestling with the pros and cons.
The fundamental difference is that white LED grow lights emit a fixed and balanced light spectrum, whereas variable spectrum LEDs grant growers the ability to adjust the intensity of each light spectrum in different growth stages. However, we should take an in-depth look at the difference before buying a specific type. Here’s a straightforward breakdown of the key distinctions between white grow lights and variable spectrum grow lights.
What Are White LEDs?
White grow lights encompass the entire spectrum of light, including red, blue, and green wavelengths. The inclusion of green light bridges the gap between red and blue, amalgamating to display the complete visible light spectrum. While plants can utilize available light for growth, having the full range of wavelengths optimizes both plant quality and growth. For example, although cannabis plants can survive under purple light, they thrive under white light.
Under white light, plants absorb a specific portion of electromagnetic energy, spanning approximately 400 to 700 nanometers, recognized as the photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) range. This range can be extended to encompass 200 to 900 nanometers, including UV light on one end and infrared light on the other.
One advantage of white light is that it allows us to perceive all present colors and thoroughly inspect plants under comfortable, natural-looking illumination.
What Are Variable Spectrum LEDs?
Variable spectrum LEDs are a recent innovation in the world of lighting, offering enhanced flexibility in the range of colors they emit. By adjusting their light emission at specific wavelengths, these LEDs allow precise control over color temperature and spectral output. Variable spectrum LEDs are particularly useful in creating custom lighting solutions to meet specific needs.
These LEDs find applications in various fields, such as commercial and horticulture lighting. In horticulture, they mimic natural light by emitting the essential wavelengths for plant growth. Similarly, they are valuable in commercial settings where adaptable lighting and color accuracy are vital.
Energy efficiency is another advantage of variable spectrum grow lights. Like regular white LEDs, they consume less energy compared with traditional lighting sources. However, due to their ability to control spectrum, variable spectrum LEDs might outperform white LEDs in energy efficiency in certain scenarios.
White LEDs vs. Variable Spectrum LEDs: the Importance of Green Light
A significant contrast between white and variable spectrum LEDs is that white LED lights consist of a relatively balanced mixture of red, green, and blue light. The brightness of each color cannot be customized. This means growers have less control over the growth cycle with white LEDs when compared with variable spectrum LEDs. Additionally, white LEDs emit a higher level of green light than plants genuinely require.
So, what does this mean? Is green light detrimental to plants?
Green light consists of wavelengths ranging from 490 to 580 nanometers. Plants do absorb some green light, although significantly less compared with red and blue light. However, the key significance lies in the fact that not all the unabsorbed green light is reflected away. Instead, a portion of it manages to pass through the leaves. Due to the relatively lower absorption of green wavelengths, they have a greater capacity to permeate through the upper foliage and effectively reach the lower parts of plants.
Consequently, this explains why white LEDs are currently leading to enhanced growth and better yields compared with traditional purple LEDs.
White LEDs vs. Variable Spectrum LEDs: efficiency
To put it simply, variable spectrum LED grow lights consistently outperform white LEDs in terms of efficiency. While both types of lights offer the well-known energy-saving advantages inherent in LED technology, white LEDs waste a significant amount of energy on the green light.
During photosynthesis, chlorophyll-A and chlorophyll-B play a pivotal role by absorbing red and blue light and reflecting green light. However, this doesn’t mean that green light is entirely useless. Plant tissues contain supplementary pigments—carotenes and xanthophylls—that broaden the range of absorbable light, enabling a certain amount of green light to contribute to photosynthetic processes. Additionally, the reflection of green light by chlorophyll has a beneficial effect. While red and blue light are rapidly absorbed by surfaces they illuminate, green light reflects off leaf surfaces, reaching the undersides of other leaves and permeating deeper within the plant canopy.
Nevertheless, even considering these advantages, the biological processes of plants don’t necessitate the level of green light intensity typical in white LEDs. Does the surplus green light harm plants? Not at all. It’s simply an inefficient utilization of energy.
Both white LEDs and variable spectrum LEDs have their own distinct advantage. White LEDs are practical and cost-effective for many applications whereas variable spectrum LEDs provide greater control over spectral output. You can use either type of LED to cultivate your plants.
Yet, concerning the control over yields, chemical profile, flavor, and overall quality, variable spectrum LED lights offer substantial advantages. Natural plant behavior is influenced by the changing sun spectrum as the seasons shift, guiding growth, flowering, and protective responses. By using variable spectrum LEDs, you gain the ability to influence your plant’s growth cycle for desired outcomes. You can manage plant dimensions, encourage flowering, and enhance oil and resin production beyond typical levels. With white LED grow lights, such outcomes are less customizable.
Whether you choose white grow LEDs or variable spectrum grow LEDs, we recommend you to check out our LED grow lights collection. With 17 years of experience in the LED industry, MokoLight is in a position to o offer you top-notch LEDs. Our goal is to help growers find the most useful solution for their crops. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.
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