Expert growers know how significant grow lights can be for creating optimal conditions for your houseplants, especially if your home doesn’t get enough sun exposure during the day.
Grow lights, along with grow tents, are key gardening gear for anyone who wants to grow beautiful indoor plants and provide them with the ideal nature-like environment.
There are various kinds of grow lights available. Each one of them comes with some great perks but LED lights have become a favorite among the majority of growers because of the fantastic benefits for indoor plants. That, and lower energy bills.
Now, it’s true that LED grow lights are often pricey. If you’re not someone who can afford them, it’s normal that you would want to know the answer to questions such as:
“Can you grow plants with led lights I use at home?”
The answer to this one is quite tricky, actually. While most species won’t die even if you use normal led lights for plants, they won’t progress either, which is a bummer.
Isn’t Placing Houseplants Next to a Window Enough?
Not always, unfortunately. Almost all plants we have at home need plenty of light during the entire year to develop properly.
While some species can be pretty resistant, not all of them are.
If the window you usually keep your plants next to doesn’t get enough sunlight, your house plants will suffer since they need more exposure or higher light intensity for photosynthesis.
Living in a place with a colder climate and short daylight is a big issue if you rely solely on windows as sources of sunlight for indoor plants.
So, if you notice that your green friends have become lighter in color, that they turn all leaves towards the sunlight source, or that they don’t bloom at all, you should consider providing more light.
That’s where led plants lights step in!
Are LED Lights Good for Plants?
Absolutely! Buying LED lighting for plants is one of the best choices you can make when it comes to taking care of your indoor garden.
Even though they can be pricey, they will save you significant amounts of cash in the long run, energy-wise, since LED light is energy-efficient.
From a general point of view, the answer to your question “can plants grow under led lights I have at home?” is somewhat positive, there’s no doubt about that.
Still, let us discuss a bit why you should consider investing money into LED grow lights. Also, let’s compare the good and the bad of LED grow lights so that you get a precise picture of how this works.
Let’s find out in which way do led lights work for growing plants.
Can They Replace Natural Light?
Many people want to know “do LED lights help plants grow?” to decide if they should buy them or not. Therefore, allow me to go through a couple of important facts, to clarify the doubts for you.
While LED grow lights can’t be a total substitute for sunlight, they come pretty close. They mimic the effect that the sun has on your green friends and allow them to create food and grow better.
If used correctly, LED plant lights can help your house plants reach their full potential and grow strong and healthy.
You probably also want to know will led lights grow plants harm your dear friends- they won’t.
If you follow the instruction and mind the distance between the light and the container, it will only contribute to better and faster development.
However, if you also wonder do led lights grow plants to speed up the development even more than natural light- they don’t.
Think of them as some sort of friend in need.
What Are the Perks of Using LED Grow Lights?
The list is really lengthy, but I shall do my best to highlight the most significant ones.
Besides providing your plants with the necessary spectrum of colors they’d normally get outdoors, LED grow lights are also safe to use because the bulbs don’t get too warm.
If you use lights that warm up fast, you risk harming your green friends by burning them.
Want to keep your electricity bills as low as possible even while caring about house plants?
LED grow lights are an excellent choice because they are very energy-saving. This can help a lot if you have a large grow tent that needs to be covered with grow lights.
To reap all the fantastic perks that LED grow lights offer, you should learn all about particular requirements of the specie regarding light intensity.
It is crucial to know how far from plants to position the lights, how strong the intensity should be, for how many hours during a day you should keep the lights on, etc.
Each specie needs some time in the dark for optimal growth, which means that even if you invest in LED grow lights, you should switch them off at least during the night.
Since most brands allow you to customize the blue-to-red ratio in the LED lights, you should figure out which combination is the best one for your plants.
This feature makes LED grow lights an excellent choice for any stage of growth because you’ll be able to adjust the ratio according to your plant’s wavelength requirements.
Finally, LED lights are fairly small and don’t take up too much space, which is ideal for not so spacious homes or grow tents.
Are There Any Downsides of Using LED Grow Lights?
Of course. LED lights do offer more advantages than disadvantages, but you should be aware of the cons too in order to make the best possible choice.
Besides being a bit pricey, LED grow lights can also be a bit unpleasant to the human eye.
That’s why it’s recommended you use them in a separate room where you don’t spend a lot of time, or under a grow tent.
Will Plants Grow Under LED Lights I Usually Have at Home?
If you have only a few petit indoor plants, you probably don’t want to invest in big LED grow lights, so, logically, you might be wondering “can plants grow with led lights I have at home?”
The answer is—yes, but you should be aware of the fact that they will develop slowly and most likely won’t produce flowers.
Indoors plants that require low light exposure might benefit from having normal LED bulbs as a source of light.
On the other hand, the species that prefer a lot of sunlight won’t progress as they should if you don’t use grow lights, given that your place doesn’t get enough sunlight during the day.
Another problem can be the lack of the right red-to-blue ratio that your indoor plants might need.
Normal LED lights usually can’t be customized to provide the ideal wavelength in different grow stages, which can be a problem for high-maintenance houseplants.
If you’re privileged enough to live in a sunny area all year round, you won’t have to worry about this issue because you probably won’t even need to provide an artificial source of sunlight.
In this case, using a regular LED light as an extra boost occasionally is more than enough.
What’s the Light Intensity I Need?
Now that we have solved the “does LED light help plants grow?” doubt, it’s time to talk about quantity, right?
While people who have only a couple of indoor plants will be fine purchasing only one regular LED bulb. But, if you have an entire indoor garden, you’ll need more than that.
The common rule is:
- Around 30 watts=one square foot (if you own plants that demand a lot of light)
- Around 15 watts=one square foot (if you own plants that don’t require much light exposure)
So, as you can conclude, it’s important to know the requirements of every plant for this aspect as well.
If you use grow tents for your indoor gardens, the best thing to do is keep the plants that have similar requirements together so that they can receive the same amount of light and the same red-to-blue ratio.
Don’t have enough space to group similar plants in different places inside your home? A good trick is to keep the lights closer to the plants that require more light and further from the ones that prefer lower light intensity.
Many manufacturers offer grow lights that can be adjusted according to your plants’ requirements so look for those if needed.
What Other Grow Light Options Are There?
Other than LED, you can pick one (or both) of the following:
- High-intensity discharge lights for growing (also known as HID)
- Fluorescent grow lights
Let’s mention the advantages and disadvantages of both so that you can decide which plant lights will work for you if you’re having second thoughts about the LED lights.
HID Grow Lights
These come in different variants. One of the kinds that offer the best color spectrum and mimics the sunlight the best is metal halide. The other with the same properties is high-pressure sodium light.
These kinds of lights are very energy-efficient but they do require a special kind of ballast and won’t work well unless the ballast is matching the bulbs.
Even if you manage to screw the bulbs on, they will burn out almost right away.
- Great sun-like color spectrum
- Several types to choose from
- Tricky to set up because of the ballast
- Requires detailed research on each type of the HID lights to know which one to select
Fluorescent Grow Lights
Beginners usually choose to purchase fluorescent grow lights for their plants because they are the most affordable option on the market.
They come in a variety of shapes and sizes which is great when living in small spaces and looking for smaller bulbs to provide the necessary amount of light exposure without disturbing your everyday life.
The two most popular options of this type of grow lights for indoor plants are:
You should bear in mind that this type of light is usually not as strong as the other two kinds (HID and LED) but it can be a great option for starting seedlings or for plants with lower light exposure requirements.
- Come in different shapes and sizes
- Low heat output
- They contain mercury
- Short lifespan
Can I Use Normal LED Lights for Growing Plants—Final Verdict
So, do LED lights work for plants even if they aren’t grow lights? As you can already conclude, using normal LED lights instead of the grow ones won’t kill your plant.
Even if you own high-maintenance plants that love being exposed to light, using a normal LED bulb will still offer a minimum of light they need to stay alive.
Having said that, you can’t expect any impressive growth or flowers if you decide to rely on only a couple of normal LED bulbs.
Still, if you have plants that have already grown so much and you’d like for them to grow slower, you can switch to keeping them under a regular lamp with a regular LED light.
In case you expect your plants to thrive and bloom frequently, you’ll have to splurge and invest in the professional LED grow lights or at least purchase fluorescent grow lights if you’re on a budget.
At the end of the day, the decision on whether or not to invest in a professional LED light for plants is all yours.
Now that you know all the pros and cons of both normal and grow LED lights, I’m sure you will be able to make the smartest possible decision. An informed one, that’s for sure.
I truly hope you enjoyed my guide on led light plants. What’s your opinion on led for plants? Which ones do you use, if any?
Share your precious experience with me, I can’t wait to hear from you!