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6 Myths About LED Grow Light That Companies Tell You

Author: Shirley Balerio
by Shirley Balerio
Posted: Dec 27, 2018
led grow

LED grow lights are an effective choice for indoor planting. They have revolutionized the world of indoor gardening. By providing necessary light, they can be used to grow a wide variety of plants. However, companies are not always upfront with the technology and as a result, a number of myths have sprung up. Read on as we dispel some of these myths!

1. Sunlight-like Light Is Best

This myth is a result of common sense gone wrong. We assume that normal plants grow under the light of the sun best and tend to go for LED grow lights that mimic the sun’s rays. However, research has shown that plants only use a specific range of wavelengths of light. Much of the light given off the by the sun is not used at all! Go for LED grow lights that give off light in the 400 to 700-nanometer range, as this what a plant requires most. So, if a company advertises their LED grow lights by comparing them to the sun, you know what to avoid.

2. LED Lights Can’t Damage Plants

There is a common misconception that the heat generated by LED lights is too small to harm plants. While this is true under normal conditions, the heat generated is still significant. In fact, an LED might convert as much as 20% of electricity into heat. LED lights are growing more efficient, and are certainly much cooler than their fluorescent counterparts, but his heat can negatively affect these plants unless taken care of. The position of these lights is also important, as keeping the light too close can cause photobleaching.

3. Lumen Count Is Key

You may have heard that lumen is the unit for light intensity. It makes sense that more is better, right? Wrong. Lumens do indicate intensity, however, they do so with respect to the human eye. The eye is sensitive to a different set of wavelengths than those of plants and as a result, having a higher lumen count serves no real purpose. So, when you pick out LED grow lights, make sure to pay attention to the wavelength of light, rather than the brightness.

4. Wattage Affects Growth

Watts are in no way related to brightness. The Watt is a unit that refers to electricity consumption. More electricity consumption does not mean more brightness, as different bulbs have varying degrees of brightness even for the same wattage. An LED can produce the same brightness as an incandescent light, at a much lower wattage. Where wattage does come into play, is how efficient your setup is. Do not use wattage count to determine how much useful light your plant is getting.

5. Alternate Between Blue and Red

The myth proposes that blue light is better for vegetative growth, and red light is better for flower growth. As a result, manufacturers even provide different modes to switch between these lights. The truth is, plants require a healthy combination of both these lights in all stages of development. Switching light combinations mid-growth can actually reduce yield. A way to address this, is to keep your light sources constant from start to finish, and to use both blue and red lights.

6. PAR and PPFD

While researching about LED grow lights, you may have stumbled across PAR. Photosynthetically Active Radiation refers to the range of wavelengths plants use. PAR is neither a measure of light intensity nor does it measure the quantity. Rather, what it does signify is the quality. It does not consider light below 400 nanometers, and above 700 nanometers, a fundamental flaw. Do not approach a company that uses this as a measure of plant growth. Instead, PPFD (Photosynthetic Photon Flux Density) is the number you should look out for, as it shows the average light level in the grow space.

LED grow lights are incredibly useful. However, they are complex and make use of a wide variety of concepts that buyers should be familiar with before buying. Now that you’re familiar with some common myths a company uses, you’ll know what to avoid. Happy growing!

About the Author

Teacher-turned online blogger, Shirley is a full-time backyard homesteader based in Virginia. When she doesn't have her face buried in a book or striding in her garden, she's busy blogging about simple life hacks of the daily life.

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Author: Shirley Balerio
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Shirley Balerio

Member since: May 02, 2017
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