So Many Grow Lights, How to Choose?
- By: Kirti Nag
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. HIDâ€™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 CFLâ€™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.
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