LED Grow Lights

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LED grow lights were originally developed in the space station as a cheap and effective way to provide the needed light spectrum to grow plants. And only recently have they found their way onto the open market so, in my opinion, are still prohibitively expensive.

LED lighting has some major advantages over traditional grow lights, both fluorescent and metal halide. Some of these advantages are:

  • They consume very little power compared to metal halide lights.
  • LED's generate very little heat so and are high intensity.
  • LED lighting can be adjusted for spectrum; more red light for budding plants and more blue light for vegetative growth.
  • They appear to be modular in that LED lighting units can be added or removed from the grow light system at will.
  • This modular approach gives you the ability to add LED grow lights of different spectrum's side-by-side allowing you to grow very different types of plants together.
  • LED bulbs will individually last for years before burning out.

Sound too good to be true? Almost.... The one main disadvantage of LED grow lights is the cost which looks to be about 3 times that of a metal halide setup.

How do they compare with traditional metal halide and fluorescent grow lights? LED lighting produces more red and blue spectrum lighting than fluorescent grow lights and do not have to be arranged so close to the plant.

Remember that fluorescent lighting drops off in intensity almost geometrically as the distance from the light to the plant increases so need to be only inches from a plant to be effective. LED lights do not have this problem; intensity does not vary much until more than a foot away from a plant.

led grow lights

When compared with metal halide (MH) lighting, LED's consume only the fraction of the power that MH lights need and do not need a ballast. And in terms of intensity LED's produce the same spectrum as MH lights at 1/4 the wattage. Therefore a MH light at 100 watts can be replaced by a LED light of 25 watts to produce the same intensity of light.

But...they are still new to the market and I predict will eventually become relatively cheap to buy. I, for one, cannot wait until they are affordable...


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