LED grow lights have recently become popular for gardening enthusiasts. It is a brilliant idea to aid the growth of plants. The use of a LED grow light is usually applied when using hydroponics, a technology that made it possible for gardeners to plant indoors using only a water and nutrient solution instead of soil.
With a LED grow light, you can have an artificial lighting suitable for hydroponics plants that is both efficient and practical. There is no need to chase the sun because it is in your hands to control the amount of light and heat your plants require.
With conventional gardening, during winter months, there is little you can do with your plants because it is quite impossible to make them grow. But with hydroponics, you control the seasons through controlling lighting and temperature.
When it comes to choosing grow lights, here are some of the reasons why light-emitting diodes or LEDs are a great choice:
- Quiet and Easy on the pocket. Although high-intensity discharge (HID) and fluorescent lamps will do, these types of lighting tend to buzz or can give off a slight humming noise. They also have high-frequency electronic ballasts, requiring mounting equipment and additional expenses. On the other hand, with LED grow lights you will only need some board panels to set the lights in place which can be a lot cheaper.
- High efficiency rate. There is a misconception that this type of lighting is not that bright. This may seem be the case if you do not understand the true meaning of light intensity and brightness in regards to plants. To be precise, LEDs have the ability to maximize the plants’ growth by providing light in just the right wavelengths required by growing plants. HIDs on the other hand, provide a bright white like that provides luminosity across the full spectrum, including wavelengths that plants do not require (green and yellow wavelengths). This is why they look brighter but are not really that efficient, and the rating is merely a fraction than that of LEDs.
- Wide range of options. For a standard LED grow light type, a combination of blue and red lights can be set up in a panel, often resembling the shape of a UFO. Blue LEDs are used for growth. The red ones are for flowering and ripening. A LED grow light will typically have 1 blue LED for every 4 – 8 red LEDs. The ratio will still vary on the type of plants you are growing. You will need to do some research to find out the best mix of blue and red LEDs for your plants.
LEDs can last for up to ten years or more (their life expectancy is 50,000 hours). They give off little heat so the amount of energy is conserved and they can be place near the plants without causing damage through high temperatures. Another advantage is that because they give off very little heat, you do not need a huge cooling system so the maintenance costs are reduced as well.
A LED grow light does not need to be very expensive. The important thing is to be able meet the functional requirements in sustaining your hydroponic plants without having to compromise your budget.
Before you make a decision, take notes while researching so that you will be able to understand your options better and find it easy to evaluate your needs.
Of course, there are risks that you need to take. This is a bit challenging and you might lose patience. But at the same time, it can be a very rewarding project if you do it right. If you choose, rather than buying them, you can set up some your own LED grow light panels and keep the costs down.
Other Points to Consider
- If you are interested or want to discover more brilliant ideas on indoor gardening, there are a lot of websites where you can find information about hydroponics. You can learn how to make your own LED grow lights. The instructions can be downloaded for free and usually include a list of the materials needed.
- If you are a beginner, you must spend time and effort to learn about hydroponics, learning from other people’s experience and shopping around for the best deals in the market. Check out to see if your local gardening club has its own hydroponics group that you can join and learn from.
- If you do not have enough space or on a tight budget, it might be worth considering converting your existing shed or getting a new one specifically for setting up your own hydroponics system – but if you do this, you will need to pay particular attention to thermal insulation. Alternatively, you can opt for simpler hydroponics kits that take up much less space.