A grow light contains bulbs that produce ultraviolet (UV) lighting to stimulate plant growth over its lifespan. These lights are not meant to replace natural light, but instead, they support plants when the sun is lacking. Combined with other horticulture tools, grow lights make it possible to grow crops year-round, regardless of the climate or weather.
By emitting essential UV light, horticulture grow lights support all stages of plant growth. Complementing exposure to natural sunlight, the amount of needed light will depend on the types of plants. The spectrum of light is measured in nanometers (nm), as detailed below:
It depends on the size of your facility or growing space. For instance, greenhouses require much more light than indoor gardens. Smaller light fixtures are ideal for indoor gardens or grow tents, while larger grow lights are best for outfitting commercial greenhouses or vertical farms.
If the LED light offers enough photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD), it should work as a grow light. PPFD is a measurement of how much light reaches the crop canopy’s photosynthetic active radiation (PAR) zone (wavelengths of light within 400-700 nm of the visible range).
Regular LED bulbs typically do not produce enough power to mimic natural sunlight’s light spectrum. These bulbs have narrow spectral wavelengths and give off high amounts of heat, making them potentially dangerous for plant life. However, it all depends on the type of crop. Regular LED lights are inexpensive and long-lasting, but they are only energy efficient when used on occasion, not constantly like in horticulture.
If you choose to try regular LED lights first, be sure to carefully monitor the physical growth of each plant. When plants do not receive enough sunlight or the right type of artificial light, they usually grow to be tall with lighter-colored leaves. In these cases, the best course of action is to invest in specially designed LED grow lights.
For any indoor grow operation that prioritizes energy efficiency, LED grow lights are the best choice. They compare to other types of bulbs in the following ways:
In addition, choosing LED grow lights over alternatives tends to be safer for the plants. They are specifically engineered with the right wattage and lumens, emitting the amount of light needed to support photosynthesis and growth.
High-pressure sodium (HPS) lamps utilize an electric current to stir up a mixture of gas within the tube. The result is the emission of a very strong light, though HPS lamps produce a great deal of heat. Meanwhile, light-emitting diode (LED) lights have two semiconductors, which work together to produce light. The wavelengths of LEDs can be adjusted throughout the growth cycle to accommodate varying plant needs. LED grow lights also contain technology that regulates and absorbs the generated heat.
Technology will always continue to evolve, and future innovations could drastically alter current grow light designs. However, grow lights have been coming into their own, and as of 2023, more indoor growers are using them than ever before. HomElectrical anticipates that this trend will continue for years to come, which is why we are always stocking our inventory with the latest grow light offerings.
Yes, fluorescent lights work as grow lights in certain situations, depending on their light intensity. For instance, they work well during germination or when plants are in their seedling stage, but they might not be the best choice for all plants when it comes to photosynthesis. Usually available in a tube-like design, fluorescent lights are known to work best for plants with low to medium light needs.
Full-spectrum grow lights emit certain wavelengths in the red, infrared, green, ultraviolet, and blue spectrums, which are ideal for plant growth. Regular incandescent light bulbs have wavelengths in the yellow and green spectrums, which can appear to be white light, but these are not what plants need to photosynthesize. Plus, regular bulbs give off more heat than grow lights, which could harm the growing environment.
There are several advantages of using specially designed LED grow lights, whether for commercial grows or houseplants. These include:
HomElectrical is standing by to help you find the best grow lights for your horticulture and hydroponic needs, from low-light fixtures to greenhouse HVAC, as well as other types of residential and commercial lighting options. Plus, you might even be able to take advantage of a great warranty.
Shop our inventory now, and be sure to register for a HomElectrical account to streamline your experience.