Are LED grow light the best option for indoor plants?
LED grow lights are becoming more and more popular with gardeners growing plants indoors. This is partly due to LED technology coming on in leaps and bounds over the years – in the past, LED lights were only available in red, which wasn’t the best light source for growing plants. Now they’re available in a range of colors, making LED grow lights a much better option.
The big question for many gardeners though, is which type of indoor grow lighting is better – LED grow lights, or one of the many other options out there? You can choose from a wide range of bulb types, including incandescent, halogen and compact fluorescent lamps to grow your plants. To help you decide, here are some of the pros and cons of each type of lighting:
Incandescent grow lights
Incandescent bulbs are the most traditional type of light bulb, usually used to light homes. They only last 6-12 months and are not the most efficient way of producing light. This is because they use a metal filament, which burns when electricity is conducted across it. This means much of their energy is converted to infrared energy rather than light.
They produce high levels of red wavelengths, which encourage plants to fruit and blossom. As they give off so much heat, they need to be placed far away from plants to ensure they don’t damage them.
Halogen grow lights
Halogen bulbs use a similar technology to incandescent lights, meaning they also tend to waste energy producing heat as well as light, and need replacing every 6-12 months.
They provide a full light spectrum, but like incandescent bulbs, gardeners need to keep them at a distance to ensure they don’t damage plants.
Compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) grow lights
CFL bulbs were designed to be a more energy-efficient lighting option to incandescent bulbs. They are one of the cheapest and most basic grow light options, making them a popular choice for beginners to indoor gardening. They last up to 10 times longer than halogen and incandescent bulbs. They are also safer to use in small spaces, as they don’t produce the same amount of heat, meaning plants can grow near them without suffering any damage.
The downside to CFL bulbs is there are two main types of colour – soft white and daylight – and to use these as grow lights for your plants, you’ll need both. This is because plants need both types of light at different growth stages.
LED grow lights
Best LED grow lights also has a long life expectancy (up to 10+ years), and use up to 60% less electricity compared with incandescent and halogen bulbs, to produce the same amount of light. This is because they hardly lose any energy generating heat. Gardeners can change their LED grow lights to any colour in the light spectrum, which means you can tailor growing conditions to individual plants.
Although LED grow light can cost a bit more initially than the options above, their lifespan and energy efficiency make them a very good investment in the long run.