Last Updated on August 8, 2020 by Daniel Cooper
LED grow lights are a relatively new edition to the world of indoor gardening. A decade ago, no one would have imagined that the LED light technology would be used for growing plants, but now they are becoming the preferred technology for indoor growers. Before LED lights were introduced, people used HID or fluorescent grow lights.
These lights work well in growing a vast array of plants but they also have some serious shortcomings. Mainly, these lights produce scorching heat which can be damaging to the plant and they prove to be very expensive in the long run.
Since they have a short lifespan, they need to be replaced very often. Also, because of the heat they produce, you also need to invest money in proper heat management and ventilation while using HID bulbs.
LED lights are the polar opposite in that regard. They produce little to no heat and prove to be very cost-effective in the long run. Just like their HID counterparts, LED lights are capable of providing a full spectrum light. However, in order to be effective regarding plant growth, you need to understand the light intensity curve of the LED lights.
Light requirements of plants:
Plants produce their own food by absorbing light energy and converting it through the process of photosynthesis. Chlorophyll absorbs light and induces this process. Other pigments present in plants for light absorption are carotenoids and phycocyanin.
Even the chlorophyll itself is of two types: chlorophyll a and chlorophyll b. All these pigments absorb different bands of light at different frequencies. Both chlorophyll pigments work at optimum under the blue 430 nm and red 660 nm light. Blue light is required in abundance during the vegetative stage whereas more of the red light is required during the flowering stage. Adjusting the correct light ratio based on the need of the plant is crucial.
Most LED grows lights adjust the color frequency after detecting the current stage of growth. These full-spectrum LED lights provide the entire band of colors. However, additional lights of red and blue color may also be used to enhance plant growth.
LED light intensity curve:
The light intensity curve of the LED lights is bell-shaped, regardless of the color of the lights you are using. The light provides a 50% intensity at 120 degrees with 60 degrees on each side.
In order to adjust the perfect ratio for the optimum growth of your plants, you need to calculate the current need of your plant with the frequency of the light provided the LED diodes. The optic level of the lens of your light must also be considered.
The wavelengths of the light produced by LED diodes vary. You need to calculate the intensity of each light by placing the light at the midpoint and measuring the angle of the light and their lapse. Another important factor that you must consider is the distance between the plant and the light.
What you need to remember is that the farther the light is, the lesser will be its intensity. As LED lights produce no heat, they must be placed closer to the plant at an angle where the light accurately reaches the plants. If the light that you are using is of a lesser intensity then it must be placed closer.
The key is to understand the intensity of the light emitted by your LED light. Once you understand that, you will be able to adjust the frequency of different lights accordingly.
In order to make LED lights effective for growing any plants, you must learn to adjust the light frequency.
You must also keep it in mind that these lights are very different from the other grow lights so the similar principles used for them do not apply to LED lights. Once you learn how to adjust the color requirements of your plants, LED lights to prove to be the most cost-effective and efficient grow lights. You can also read outdoor gardening tips article to know about outdoor gardening and LED grow lights basics.
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