Whether you’re interested in starting a hydroponic mini-farm, starting seeds for your garden, or keeping your perennials alive happy during winter, grow lights increase the amount of light your plants receive indoors. This translates to happier, healthier, and more productive plants. LED lights are a cost-effective choice for indoor gardens because they use less wattage. Here’s everything you need to know about choosing LEDs for your indoor garden.
Cost of LED Lights for Growing Plants
A high-quality LED grow light system will set you back $150 to $250, depending on the size and wattage you select. While LED lighting systems for hydroponics or indoor gardening do cost more up front, they deliver a much greater return on investment over their lifetime. The higher price tag is subsumed over the lifetime of usage into the lower cost of running the light, giving you a net savings.
Consider the typical lifespan of LED grow lights. An LED bulb can illuminate for anywhere from 25,000 to 100,000 hours before failure. If you use the LED grow light for 10 hours a day, you’ll be able to go for over 6-1/2 years to more than 27 years with the same bulb.
Since LED bulbs don’t get hot (unlike fluorescent or incandescent bulbs), they can be placed very close to the plant’s leaves without causing harm. This promixity allows plants to soak up more light than they would be able to do from a greater distance.
Some plants do better than others with LED lights. Anecdotal evidence from gardeners suggest that “vegetative” plants (think leafy greens) perform very well with LEDs.
Lower wattage means your electric bills will go down when you replace your current indoor grow lights with LED lights for growing plants.
Choosing LED Lighting Systems for Indoor Growing
LED lighting systems use less wattage to deliver equivalent light to other lighting systems, such as fluorescent, metal halide, or incandescent. Lighting manufacturers say that a 300-watt LED lighting system can match the output of a 600 to 1,000-watt HPS system.
The size of your indoor garden determines the wattage you’ll need. For every square foot of greenery, you’ll need 20 watts of light at minimum. This if your indoor garden space takes up four square feet, you will need an LED lighting system that delivers 160 watts or greater.
When you shop for LED indoor grow lights, you’ll notice they come in a range of colors. This benefits plants, because their cells respond to different light wavelengths. The best indoor grow lights will contain a blend of six to nine colors from across the spectrum. Greater than nine colors diminishes yield, because plants aren’t able to absorb some of the wavelengths. Fewer than six wavelengths means your plants won’t get as much light as they need to fully thrive.
The cost of LED plant lighting systems has come down in recent years and the bulbs have gotten more effective. It is clear that LED lighting systems are the future of indoor gardening. Upgrade your hydroponics or indoor grow system today to reap the full benefits of switching to LED.