Plants need three things to grow light, water and nutrients. Different plants require varying degrees of all three, but they all need at least some sunlight for photosynthesis, some water, and soil or a nutrient solution. It is pretty easy to set up the latter two indoors. Since indoor plants do not have access to direct sunlight, some sort of grow light system is required for a healthy indoor garden.
The three types of grow light are High Intensity Discharge, Compact Fluorescent Lamp and Light Emitting Diode. HID and CFL bulbs emit light in specific spectrums, often requiring indoor gardeners to switch their lighting from one to the other mid-growing season. HID and CFL bulbs can utilize a similar setup, but maintaining two sets of grow bulbs can be expensive and inconvenient. HID’s have a high heat output, often necessitating the use of reflectors, heat sinks and plenty of air flow to prevent damage to growing plants. While CFL’s emit less heat that HID lamps, they still consume a lot of energy and are only good for the first stages of plant growth.
So what about LED grow lights? LED technology has come a long way in the last few years. Previously, LED bulbs were not powerful enough for use as grow lights, but that is no longer the case. Several companies have developed LED grow light systems that produce light with sufficient strength for indoor gardening. The best of these LED grow light systems emit light in just the right spectrums for all stages of plant growth, thus avoiding the chore of changing out your light setup mid-season.
An individual LED light is quite small and emits light in only one spectrum. The most advanced LED grows bulbs incorporate many of these small LED lights in the spectrums needed for the entire growing season. Often, these LED grow lights will emit a purple coloured light, as the spectrums plants need are mainly blue and red. Though the light from many LED grow bulbs appears purple or slightly pink, it contains none of the harmful UV rays that the sun and other grow lights often produce.
One of the greatest advantages of using LED grow lights is the cost savings. LED bulbs need far less power to operate than other lights and run much cooler than HID lamps. LED grow lights also last longer than other bulbs, usually around ten years. Imagine only having to replace your grow bulbs every decade, plus saving monthly on your energy bill. LED grow bulbs are energy efficient, long-lived, do not produce detrimental UV rays and have focused colour spectrum. LED grow bulbs are the ideal choice for your indoor garden.
The technology in grow lights is changing as even HID ballasts are even going digital and LED grow lights are gaining a lot more attention from the indoor grower.Why is this ? because of the recent advancements with LED lighting they are now brighter,longer lasting and a lot cheaper than they used to be.
LED lighting allows you to place the light much closer to your canopy as they do not produce any where near as much heat off the lamp as HID grow lighting.Now dont think you can get away with out using a fan and filter as heat is still produced and could affect your end results if sufficient extraction is not in place
As with hid lighting there are different colours in LED lighting that should be used at the right stages of your plants growth cycle. more blue should be used when your plants are in their growth cycle and red, orange in the flowering cycle.
Early LED grow lights used hundreds of fractional-watt LEDs and these were often not bright enough or efficient enough to even begin to be thought as effective replacements for HID lights. Now the newer LED grow lights on the market use high-brightness multiple-watt LEDs that are increasing the power consumption resulting in increased effectiveness of the technology leading to similar growing results to HID lights.
LED still cost more to buy than HID lighting but do cost that bit less when it comes to the running of the light.With that bit of money saving over the life time of the light makes them a sound choice that is why more and more people are giving LED lighting a chance to bring down running costs without losing quality or yields, using LED grow lights could be what we all end up using to grow indoors as the technology gets even better.
LEDs for me look pretty good when they are on because of all the nice brightly coloured lights but most of the people i have spoken to that have used them never said that they were getting the same quality or similar yields to that of HID grow lights. I think that LED grow still need to be improved on a bit before i would stop using my trusty HID lighting.
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Photosynthesis is driven by wavelengths in the range of 400nm to 700nm, where roughly 50% of solar radiation occurs. Below this range, photosynthetic pigments poorly absorb light, and at the higher wavelengths, the energy is insufficient to support the requirements of photosynthesis. Plants utilize the light from LED grow light environment as an important developmental cue. Plants use their pigments, mainly by phytochrome to detect receiving light. Phytochrome participates in many aspects of plant development, including the regulation of stem elongation, leaf enlargement, and sometimes flowering.
Leaves absorb wavelengths effectively up to just above 700nm, mainly due to photosynthetic pigments, but do not absorb well in the 700nm to 860nm ranges.(PS. LED grow light can emit full spectrum for all phase of plant growth). In addition to plant pigments, water within plant tissues absorb infra-red (IR) region of receiving light. Only a small fraction of the absorbedenergy from light is dissipated by plant metabolism. The great majority is dissipated by evapotranspiration, convective heat loss, and long-wavelength re-radiation (>3000nm).
Visible light belongs to the wavelengths between 380nm to 750nm. Wavelengths lower than 380nm are called ultra-violet (UV) wavelengths and contain high amounts of energy that can be harmful to plants. Only about 5% of sunlight is in the UV range, and greenhouse coverings tend to reduce that fraction further. It should be noted, that some artificial light sources generate UV, except the LED grow light.
LED grow light is the most efficient type of grow lighting that can be purchased. Compare to HID or fluorescent grow light,LED grow light can save 70-80% electricity bill and don’t contain any harmful substance for environment friendly.
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