Using the right grow light is an extremely important factor in growing plants indoors. Since plants depend mainly on sunlight for growth, it is crucial to provide them with lights that best mimic the wavelengths of sunlight needed for photosynthesis. There are many grow lights available for indoor gardening: from simple incandescent bulbs to HID, fluorescent and LED lights, there is a lot to choose from.
HID lights are considered to be one of the most popular grow lights selected by indoor gardeners. They have been around for a long time and many people still use them. Recently however, LED lights have started to become very popular. A decade ago it was unimaginable to use LED lights for growing plants but now, with recent advancements, they are proving to be very efficient. A lot of people have now started to switch to LED lights from HID lights. However, since these two lights work on different principles, switching from HID to LED lights may be a bit of a challenge. Here are 5 important things that you need to keep in mind when upgrading your grow room to LED lights:
Reduce the watering of plants:
Transpiration is the process by which plants release excess water in the form of water droplets. This phenomenon occurs in conditions where the temperature becomes too hot for the plants. HID lights are infamous for producing a lot of heat. Since HID lights produce a lot of heat, they increase the temperature of the room hence increasing transpiration in plants. If the plants are not given sufficient water, they may become dehydrated and wither. LED Grow Lights, on the contrary, produce very little heat and hence they do not trigger the process of transpiration in plants. Therefore, you don’t need to water the plants as frequently as you would under HID lights. Giving plants too much water under normal temperature also has a negative effect and may result in cell lysis.
Keep the room temperature in check:
Where the heat produced by HID has negative effects, it may prove to be useful in cases where you rely on these lights as a main source of heat. Remember that plants do need some heat to grow, especially plants that are adapted to grow in warmer regions. With LED lights you may not need to ventilate the room as you would with HID lights, but you might find the room becoming a little too cool for the growth of some plants in colder regions, during the winter season. In such cases you need to provide a heat source along with your LED light.
The placement of lights:
HID lights are supposed to be placed at great distance from the plants because of the heat they produce. As said earlier, too much heat may lead to dehydration hence it is important to maintain distance between plants and HID lights. LED lights can be placed closer to the plants. If you place LED at a huge distance, plants will not be able to absorb the light effectively as the intensity of LED lights might be lesser than HID lights.
Adjusting the light ratio
In order to be effective, it is very important for you to adjust the light ratio when changing from vegetative growth to the flowering stage. Plants require different wavelengths of light at different stages of their growth. When they are in vegetative state they need more blue light and during the flowering stage, they need more red light along with the remainder of the wavelengths that are necessary for optimal photosynthesis.
Automate the light cycles
Light exposure is another crucial element in plant growth. Plants have a natural biological clock that sets time for different light cycles for each stage of growth. The light exposure required for the vegetative stage is different from that required during the flowering stage. To adjust the light exposure of your LED lights you can set a timer for different light cycles. Vegetative growth requires 16-18 hours of light per day and flowering requires 12-14 hours per day.
If you keep these important factors in mind, you will successfully grow with LED grow lights and reap all the benefits of this technology.