How to Use LED Grow Lights: Tips for Keeping Your Plants Warm

how to use LED grow lights

Want to start growing plants indoors? Then you’re in the right place as we will show you how to use LED grow lights. In this article, we’ll guide how to develop your indoor garden using LED lights, things to consider when buying growing lights, and lots more.

How to Use LED Grow Lights

You should place your LED glow lights around 14–30 inches above your plants. A great benefit of grow lights is that they are designed to produce little heat so that you can position them close to your plants without any issues of scalding or killing them.

Mistakes to Avoid When Using LED Grow Lights

If you’ve never used grow lamps before, you probably have some doubts or questions. Below are some common mistakes to bear in mind when trying to grow plants.

Watering Your Plants Too Much

Yes, plants need water to survive and grow, but overwatering your indoor plants is a common mistake that plant owners make. Since LED grow lights don’t emit a lot of heat, they’re not zapping a lot of water from the soil, so you don’t need to water your plants as frequently. Keep an eye out for the soil’s moisture levels by pressing it. If you feel a squelch, you know that they’re not due a watering just yet.

Selecting the Wrong LED Lights

It’s a common misconception to think that all LED grow lights function and operate the same, but this isn’t true. Since there is a range of LED grow lights available on the market, you’ll need to choose and change the light spectrum in accordance with the indoor plants that you have. For example, some lights are best suited for vegetables, while other lights emit a red hue to support growing buds. For most indoor plants, you’ll want a full spectrum LED kit but always double-check this is compatible with the indoor plants you have before making a purchase.

Opting for Poor-Quality Lights

You can’t expect great results if you’re using poor-quality LED grow lights. While we understand that not everyone has a large sum of money upfront to splash on grow lights, low-quality editions prioritise a low cost over quality. In fact, many cheaper manufacturers make claims that their lights don’t live up to, and some only can grow one plant at a time. Poor-quality grows lights can also be dangerous if they’re not produced in a country with the same electrical safety requirements as your country.

Not Providing Your Plants With Enough Light

If you want to grow plants, you have to provide them with the correct hours of light that they need to develop. It might sound easy, but it requires a little research before you purchase grow lights. In particular, one 300W light might be appropriate for one or two lights, but it won’t cover the surface area of any more plants.

Therefore, you’ll need to opt for more powerful lights of 300W+ to accommodate this extra capacity. To help you further, we recommend looking at reviews from past customers on the websites you’re considering purchasing from for guidance on how many plants the LED grow lights could cover.

Hanging Your Lights at the Wrong Distance From Your Plants

It’s important that your lights are set to the right distance from your plants. It is a common mistake that plant owners make. If your lights are too far away, the plants could stretch to reach the light. But, if the lights are too close to the plants, this can add stress to them, causing bleaching or burning.

You don’t need to be a plant expert to spot that your indoor plants look a little under the weather. Pay attention to browning, curling and thinning.

What Type of LED Grow Light Do You Need?

Incandescent

It is typically the cheapest type of grow light you can buy, and it’s also easy to find. However, there are some extra precautions to consider with this type of grow light. First, you’ll need to position the LED light at least 24 inches away from your plants.

You should also bear in mind that this type of light can reach a high temperature (which is another reason why you should keep a respectable distance between that and your plants). You might also want to consider the space you choose where your plants grow because the room can quickly become heated. One of the biggest advantages of this type of light is that most come with a built-in clip, making it easy to reposition the angle during different growth stages.

Fluorescent

Fluorescent lights are another cheap option but don’t reach as high of a temperature. They emit blue light and are easy to install.

LED

LED lights are small and inexpensive. They’re also easy to set up and provide both red and blue light intensity. This light source makes an excellent choice for growing plants indoors.

Tips to Consider When Buying LED Grow Lights

Before purchasing LED grow lights, there are some essential considerations you’ll need to remember. Follow the guideline below to decide on the right LED lights for your indoor garden.

Measure the Surface Area

Firstly, you should know how much space you need for your indoor plants by measuring the surface area to know how much light you’ll need to provide the plants. If this equates to a large surface area, you might want to consider purchasing several LED lights to maximise the space. Or each of the growing plants might not receive the sufficient amount of light that it needs for proper plant growth.

Choose LED Lights With a Cooling System

Because LED grow lights can overheat after use, it’s important that you look for LED lights that cool soon after—especially if you’ll be using the lights for around 15 hours a day. Not only can this intense heat remain harmful to your plants, but it can also pose safety issues—especially if you have pets or young children running around. Fortunately, the heat within LED bulbs takes place towards the back, so the heat can sink, moving away from the unit and plants.

Output

Not all LED bulbs have the same output, so it’s essential that you know the output you’re looking for. As a general rule, we recommend an output of at least 300W. However, you can’t always receive 100% power, so you’ll likely end up with less power than the maximum specification. Therefore, you might want to opt for the highest watt out of the two options unless you’re searching for an energy-efficient alternative.

Moreover, leafy greens need around 30 watts per square foot. But tomatoes require 40–50 watts per square foot. To calculate the wattage output you need from your grow lights, you’ll have to multiply the square footage of your area by the watts you want to provide (based on what you’re growing). Then, divide the number of watts by the number of bulbs you plan to use.

Semiconductor Chip

The LED lights’ core will have a semiconductor chip that converts electricity to light, but this chip also has a role in determining the wavelength. You’ll want to search for a semiconductor chip that’s at least 3W. Otherwise, you won’t experience sufficient lighting for optimal plant growth.

What You’re Growing

Another important aspect of choosing the right grow lights for you is considering what plants you’re growing. To some extent, all LED lights will perform the same job, but specific models can offer a feature that another LED light might not. In particular, not all plants need the same wavelengths during different growth stages. As an example, tomatoes will require a different light wavelength than growing indoor flowers.

Ease of Use

The last thing you want is for your LED lights to require a lot of your time and effort to manage them. Instead, you want your chosen grow lights to be easy and efficient to operate. Consider how easy it is to adjust the wavelength and light intensity when you need to. In fact, this is ideal should you want to adjust the amount of light and switch what plants you grow indoors. Furthermore, search for LED lights that are ready to use immediately after removing them from the packaging.

Warranty

LED grow lights aren’t cheap to purchase, so ideally, your chosen product will come with a warranty to give you peace of mind. Most models should last around ten years, but if you purchase a cheaper model from an unreputable brand, you might not get this lifespan, so having a lengthy warranty can definitely help.

Also, you might want to consider the cost and ease of replacing the bulbs should they become faulty. Most bulbs have a long lifespan, but you don’t want to change the bulb every few months, even if you use the LED grow light every day.

Growing Vegetation

If you want to use your LED bulbs on indoor vegetation, that’s completely possible. Vegetables will require about 16 to 18 hours of light daily. This amount of time will provide enough light to mirror outdoor conditions for vegetative growth. After one to two months of growth, your vegetation will begin to flower, which indicates that the plant can move to the next growth stage. When it’s ready to flower, consider changing the light cycle to 12 hours of light every day.

Flowering

To operate LED lights for growing plants, you’ll need a light cycle of 2 to 18 hours a day. If you have an increased red light spectrum, you can expect increased flowering size. The flowering stage will typically last around eight weeks, during which you should avoid feeding the plants too much. And avoid overwatering the plants.

What Spectrum of Light Is Right for Your Plants?

For plants to grow properly, they need light: blue light and red light. Both types of light come from the Sun, but many LED lights offer this spectrum to help with growth. As you look for lighting, you’ll discover that they’re labelled in numbers, which indicates the lighting range. For example, a 6500K light provides more blue light, which is ideal for early growth. However, a 2700K light provides warmer red, which is best for flowering and fruiting. Instead, you can purchase LED lights with a balance of both and a full spectrum, so you don’t need to make any adjustments as your growers go through different stages.

What Tips Do You Have on Using the Right Light Source?

Growing plants and vegetable sure isn’t easy, but if you know how to use LED grow lights, it can be a lot easier. Be sure to follow our guidelines for the best results and healthy, luscious plants!

We hope this article provided a helpful insight into the light plants need to grow. If you have any advice to share on how to grow plants, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

Additional Resources

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *