I wanted to give you a few tips for choosing the best LED grow light as well as what they are and tips for using them – so here goes.
What is a grow light?
A grow light or plant light is an artificial light source. Generally they are electric. They are
designed to stimulate plant growth. You use a grow light when there isn’t enough natural light, like in winter when day light hours are insufficient or maybe if your balcony faces the wrong way. Plants may not die without enough light but they will grow long and spindly and may not set fruit so you won’t get the results you want.
Why Do I want One?
Grow lights either attempt to provide a light spectrum similar to that of the sun, or to provide a spectrum that is more tailored to the needs of the plants being cultivated. Outdoor conditions are mimicked with varying colour, temperatures and spectral outputs from the grow light, as well as varying the lumen output (intensity) of the lamps. Depending on the type of plant being cultivated, the stage of cultivation (e.g., the germination/vegetative phase or the flowering/fruiting phase), and the photoperiod required by the plants, specific ranges of spectrum, luminous efficacy and colour temperature are desirable for use with specific plants and time periods. – this is all a bit deep for me all I know is that they will help me grow vegetables when the light conditions at my place aren’t good enough.
Don’t believe They Could Work
The image at the right is of the largest indoor farm in Japan – they use artificial light could this be the farms of the future. Click here to see more.
Why This One?
- 12month manufacturer warranty
- LED lights don’t get very hot the problem with old fashioned incandescent grow lights is that they got too hot, burnt the plants and dried out the soil.
- 12V LED doesn’t use much power at all -even if you have it on 24 hours a day you won’t notice any change in your power bill – 12v is super low.
- The light coverage is about 3 feet x 2 feet which is good enough for a small herb garden, a balcony planter box, a small green house or a small raised vegetable garden. These are suitable for anywhere light is limited. You could in theory grow flowers in a closet with no othe rlight source.
- Fits into a regular bulb socket – you will need something to put it into like a lamp – it just twists into the socket. You can also get brackets to hang grow lights which may be useful.
- It is suitable for all plants in all stages of growth.
- You can use it for hydroponics, aquatic plants, flowers vegetables or herbs.
- Much more effective than normal fluorescent plant lights.
- Some people report that their vegetables have grown twice as fast as when grown using a full spectrum light – sunlight is full spectrum light. That’s pretty amazing.
- Inexpensive – when you consider it’s a one off purchase to allow you to garden all year. LED lights should last a lot longer than a normal bulb.
Tips For Using a Grow Light
Light “power” reduces depending on how far away the light source is form the plants.
These lights are relatively cool. So the closer the better. Try to have a bit of space around each plant so the light can penetrate.
As a rule of thumb keep the light about three inches from the tips of the plant. The more intense the light the better. Use the three inch rule and adjust as you see fit. Once you go from three inches to six inches you have halved the “amount” of light reaching the plants. So the closer the better.
Just like in the sun seedlings need time to get used to the intensity of the light put tender plants and seedlings further away from the light this is called hardening off.
Don’t use a light that has infrared/UV indoors they give off heat that will cook your plants.
Be careful where you plan to put them – they give off a really bright pinkish light that may be way too bright in your living areas and could irritate your eyes.
As a guide run the light for 18 hours if you are growing vegetables or 24 hours if you are growing flowers.
Try to place it so the plants will grow straight – just like in the sun plants will grow toward the light. You could turn them about 1/4 turn a day to stop this. you can also buy hanging pully products to hang your light.
Most grow lights are designed for inside use so be careful using it outside on a balcony.
Some plants, like tomatoes and peppers, need an ideal soil temperature that is about 70 degrees F to germinate so depending on how warm your growing area is you may also need a heat pad.