If you cultivate plants indoors, you may have noticed that your plants need extra light to grow.
Are you unsure whether you need a special LED Grow light or if any standard LED light will suffice? Millions of hobbyist plant growers have this question in their minds. Let us get to know.
Grow lights are unique horticultural lights that meet the special requirements of plants. You cannot use ordinary lights as grow lights even if they produce limited crucial wavelengths for plants. Standard LED lights do not emit adequate Blue and Red light, which plants need for photosynthesis.
Let us look at more reasons why you should not use regular LED lights as grow lights.
Regular Lights Do Not Have Appropriate Design for Plant Growth
There are various reasons you cannot use regular LED lights as grow lights. One primary reason is the difference in their designs. Apart from technical differences, there is a difference in the design of the two. The design of standard lights is not suitable for plant growth.
Standard LED lights illuminate surroundings. Therefore, their structure is designed accordingly.
LED Grow lights generally come with a wide integrated structure. Many LED Grow light manufacturers provide lights that have adjustable hoisting systems. It helps plant growers adjust the lights according to the space and requirements of their growing area. Some LED Grow light fixtures are single integrated units that make them more user-friendly. Just hang them and start using them.
Regular LED Lights Do Not Provide Enough Color Spectrum Light for LED Plant Growth
Plants require light for the photosynthesis process. The process helps plants to convert light energy into chemical energy. In simple words, plants make their food from sunlight through this procedure.
The actual light plants need for the photosynthesis process ranges between 400 – 700nm. This range is known as PAR (Photosynthetically Active Radiation), and it includes color wavebands like red, blue, and green.
These light spectrums affect the complete growth of your plant. It influences flowering, fruiting, flavor, and plant health.
The spectrum 400-500nm affects the flowering of the plant. While the green light spectrum (500-600nm) is useful for plant extension growth. The red UV light spectrum between 600 to 700 nm is crucial for photosynthesis.
LED Grow lights provide these color spectrums to the fullest. Regular LEDs do not produce enough RED and Blue lights required for the overall plant development.
Regular LEDs might produce some of the lights but in a low amount. Also, they have a narrow spectral wavelength. As a result, they do not provide an appropriate light spectrum to help plants photosynthesize.
Generally, standard LED lights are mounted on the ceiling; therefore, plants do not receive proper lights.
If you do not want to compromise your plants’ health, invest in grow lights only.
Regular LED Lights Are Not in tune with LED Plant Growth
Regular LED lights have a different design. These lights are artificial light sources engineered to lighten dark spaces. They are appropriate to the human eye. We measure their brightness in lumens.
Humans are most familiar with the hue green, which is in the middle of the color spectrum. Therefore, plants growing lights look soft to us.
We measure the intensity of plant growing lights as PPFD. It measures how much Photosynthetic Active Radiation a plant receives per second. This metric is crucial for plants growers as it assesses the intensity and quality of light plants receive.
You do not find PPFD measures on regular LED lights pack. You have to determine it yourself. You would not get the right color ratio with most standard LED lights.
Is LED Grow Light Really More Energy Efficient Than LED Light?
Well, both light types use the same LED technology but have different purposes and power. Therefore, it wouldn’t be right to compare them in terms of energy saving. If you search over the internet, you will find that industry people have different views on it.
According to one point, plants require a certain light intensity level for photosynthesis. And regular LED lights don’t have that much light output per watt to support this process. As a result, they would require more energy to produce the same light. Therefore, LED grow lights are often the best choice for the growth of plants.
Nevertheless, some experts feel that plants need an additional color spectrum from LED Grow Lights. Consequently, regular LEDs are more energy-efficient. However, the fact is, both types of lights are energy efficient as they both use the same light source, i.e., LED.
You must understand that LED technology has continuously been upgrading. Therefore, LED Grow lights are far more energy-efficient than conventional plant growing lights.
You Cannot Put Regular Lights Close to Your Plants Due to Overheating
Even if you use several regular LED lights to provide your plants adequate light spectrum, they will not stay healthy.
Regular lights produce enough heat. Keeping them close to your plants may cause the burning of leaves. If you use regular lights as plant growing lights, you would need a proper ventilation system. Otherwise, there would be excessive heat in your greenhouse.
LED grow lights are designed to cope with this situation. You can install them even four inches above plants to provide the maximum lights without fear of photobleaching. Plant growers whose space is limited by height can hugely benefit from grow lights.
The closer light also ensures adequate light penetration. However, keep PPF of light in mind. Do not forget that placing light too close can cause burning in plants.
Furthermore, if your plants are exposed to too much heat, they will lose their ability to fluoresce.
Plant growing lights are cooler as they emit heat passively. They use a heat sink that exchanges the heat passively to keep the temperature at the most favorable level.
At Darkless, we have plant-growing lights that come with genuine heat sinks. Our heat sinks are 25% more efficient than regular heat sinks.
LED Grow Lights are Available in Different Sizes and Shapes
It is another reason you should use grow lights for your plants. Your LED Grow light manufacturer can provide you with lights of different sizes and shapes. You can choose that suits the requirements of your growing area.
Unlike regular lights, grow lights provide information about μmol/s. Thus you learn how many feet of growing area that light would cover.
LED Grow lights are available in different configurations that you can choose as per your needs.
LED Grow Lights Come With Special Features
Several things are missing in regular LED lights, making them unfit for plant growth. Below are a few things that make Grow lights the best choice for plant growth.
Most regular LED lights that illuminate dark places do not have a proper cooling system. With grow lights, you either get a heat sink or cooling fan to minimize the heat impact on plants.
With regular LED lights, you cannot be sure if your plants will get the appropriate light spectrum. However, LED plant growing lights ensure optimal full spectrum. Furthermore, they pretend sunlike spectrum.
Modern LED Grow lights can control each panel spectrum individually. As per the requirement of plants, you can turn on and off particular lights. Ask your LED grow light supplier about this feature in advance. Since regular lights come with a single spectrum, you cannot do any manipulation.
Similar to RGB LED strip light, RGB LED Wall Washer Light, and Floodlights, LED Grow lights also come with dimmable function. It helps you adjust the intensity of the light as per your plant’s growth cycle.
Darkless LED Grow lights come with a controller giving your full control over your plant growing lights. You can connect this controller to your phone via Wi-Fi and take control of over 100 lamps. Besides dimming, the controller lets you do temperature settings and auto shutdown.
Is LED Grow Light Better Water and Dust-proof Than Regular LEDs?
The characteristics of waterproof and dustproof in LED lights depend on their IP ratings. Since LED Grow Lights have to work in a special environment, you must check their IP ratings.
So there is no absolute statement directly can say: LED Grow Light than ordinary LED has better waterproof and dustproof.
Regular LED Lights also come with different IP ratings. At indoor and untouchable places, you don’t need a very high IP rating. Generally, IP ratings within the IP 44 are adequate. However, LED Lights installed underwater or outdoor may need an IP rating up to IP 68.
For more details on IP ratings, you may see our post, How to Choose the Waterproof IP Rating of the Led Light Strip?
Is Any Particular Plant Has a Chance of Surviving with Regular Lights?
Regular LED lights provide some wavelengths and PAR light to your plants. However, they will not be adequate for all types of plants. Nevertheless, there are a few plants that can survive in low light.
Plants that grow naturally beneath trees do not require a high level of light. Those plants might benefit from your regular LED lights. If the following plants are not getting adequate sunlight, you may try using regular lights.
- Peace lilies
- Devil’s Ivy
- Spider plants
- Snake plants
- Parlor Palms
Depending on the plant type, you can determine how many wavelengths in the lights they requirements. If LED lights in your home meet that requirement, you can use them.
You may use regular lights to grow plants. However, there is no assurance that your plants will grow healthy. After all, regular LED lights do not emit adequate color, and light spectrum plants need for photosynthesis. Consequently, you must invest in LED grow lights.
If you avoid LED grow lights because they are more expensive than regular lights, remember that they have a fast return on investment. Using them for plants will ensure quicker flower and fruit development. Moreover, the plant harvest after maturity will be better