The use of LED lights that make up for the natural sunlight is becoming popular among people who love to grow indoor plants. As LED grow lights are expensive, people often wonder if any LED light can be used as a grow light.
The general answer is yes, but the fact that needs to be considered is that though some regular LED lights are almost as effective as LED grow lights, most of them do not emit the specific color spectrum required by a plant to grow.
In this blog, we will analyze the efficiency of different regular LED lights in comparison to LED grow lights. It will also help you understand the exact mechanisms on which regular bulbs and grow lights work.
What is an LED grow light?
Grow lights serve the purpose of providing a light spectrum to the indoor plants that mimic the sunlight. They are also used to provide a specific spectrum to a plant with special needs depending upon its stage of cultivation.
Grow lights are used for horticulture, plant propagation, and aquatic plants. Usually grow lights are used on the industrial level, however, they can also be used at the household level.
Learn an interesting way to make DIY LED grow light:
Why to use an LED Light for indoor plants?
As indoor plants do not get direct sunlight, you need to provide an alternate source of light to stimulate plant growth.
Photosynthesis is a crucial process to plant life. It involves the absorption of sunlight to produce sugar. This sugar goes through many phases and the resultant product provides energy to the plant. Not providing enough light to the plant would result in stunted growth or even death of the plant.
LED grow lights serve a crucial purpose of mimicking the sunlight and providing the heat and light spectrum required for healthy plant growth.
Sunlight consists of many light wavelengths and color ranges like purple, orange, green, red, and violet. Each color has a specific role in the development of the plant. Hence, even if you are growing a plant indoor, healthy growth is only possible if the plant receives a light spectrum that includes all the colors of normal sunlight.
Thanks to the introduction of LED grow lights that have made indoor planting easier. They are composed of all the color bands that are present in sunlight and required for plant growth.
As the market of LED grow lights have become quite competitive, you can find a variety of elegant decorative grow lights at reasonable prices.
Can you use regular LED Lights for Grow Lights?
The general answer is YES. But as there is a huge variety of LED lights available over the counter, you need to know which LED light is suitable for your indoor condition. Even with the right choice, the health and growth of the plant would be at stake.
This is because the normal LED lights do not contain all the color bands that are present in the sunlight. Thus, the process of photosynthesis is affected and so is the growth of the plant.
Tip: White LED bulbs are more effective when it comes to growing plants. This is because the white color is a mixture of all light wavelengths. A white bulb would provide the plant with all the required color bands, thus promoting its growth.
However, another factor to determine the efficiency of regular LED bulb intensity or power of light. You need to have lights that provide sufficient intensity of light as required by the plant. Normal light bulbs are usually not so effective as LED lights specialized for growing plants because of lesser intensity.
So, a white LED bulb would provide all the light wavelengths but the intensity might not be sufficient as some colors are needed more than others.
If you are lucky enough to find a regular LED bulb that provides enough power and a good color spectrum at the same time, you are good to go.
How to know if your plant is not getting enough light?
If you are a plant lover, it won’t be so difficult for you to tell as the plant says it all. Even if you have positioned your indoor plant where it receives some sunlight, you might need to provide it some additional light if it is not showing normal growth.
A plant that is not getting enough sunlight will show it in its stunted growth, withering leaves, and yellow-colored leaves at the bottom of the plant.
If you are using a regular LED light and your plant shows these symptoms, it is indicative that the light is not suitable for the plant and you should replace it.
LED Grow Lights OR Regular LED Bulbs?
LED Grow Lights:
- Increased lifespan (over 50,000 hours)
- Emit a balanced amount of UV and IR rays and heat
- Provide a full spectrum of light as sunlight
- Environment Friendly
- Provide more power with less consumption of energy
- Best for all stages of growth
- Emits directional light (like a flashlight)
- More expensive than regular light
- Light pollution (can damage human eye)
Regular LED bulbs
- Energy saving
- Can promote plant growth to some extent
- Emit limited wavelengths of light
- Produce a great amount of heat that can be damaging to the plant
What colors of light bulb should I choose for indoor plants?
This spectrum shows the efficiency of different colors in photosynthesis. It is evident from this spectrum that every wavelength of light is vital for plant growth.
However, red and blue are the most crucial and useful colors. (This is the reason LED grow lights are purple-red and blue make purple).
The red wavelength stimulates flowering, stem growth, and fruit production. Whereas the blue light promotes budding, vegetative growth, and strong roots.
Using a combination of red and blue lights can be most effective for plant growth if used with a regular white light bulb.
Growing indoor plants with regular LED lights is not so stressful if you use the right combination of colors and appropriately position the lights.
Make sure not to get tempted to buy cheap bulbs as they will do more harm than good. Buy good quality regular LED lights or LED grow light to promote the growth of your plant.