LED Grow Lights – The Beginners Guide

When growing plants indoors, unless you have a convertible roof on your home, you will need to use LED grow lights. There are many factors to consider when deciding which LED grow lights to purchase for your hydroponic system. 

Below are a couple key features we find very important when choosing a LED grow light. We have also included some tips on how to read your plants and troubleshoot when the lighting may be at fault. 

Dimmable:

A strong yet versatile light is essential, and what we mean by that, is having a LED grow light that can not only provide enough light for sun loving plants but also have the capability to be turned down for your more delicate greens. A dimmable light allows you to adjust the intensity of the light down or your fragile seedlings and up as the plants grow and require more light. 

LED:

LED stands for light emitting diode. LED bulbs release a fraction of the heat as regular light bulbs due to the fact that they use less energy, which also makes them much more energy efficient and cost effective in the long run. Less heat being put off by your grow lights mean happier plants. 

Kelvin and Watts: 

Try to find LED grow lights that range between 5,000-7,000 kelvin. When it comes to determining how much wattage you need, this depends on your square footage of growing space. Generally speaking you want to aim for about 25-40 watts per square foot. 

Full Spectrum:

Plants need different wavelengths of light to carry out different cell functions. By providing a full spectrum light you can rest assured knowing that you plants will be able to grow healthy roots, stems, and leaves, and also produce fruit. 

Troubleshooting:

1. If your plants seem like they are taking forever to grow, make sure you are providing full spectrum light and increase the intensity.

2. Yellowing leaves that are turning brown around the edges could be a sign of burning. Your plants may be telling you to turn down the intensity of the lights. Yellowing leaves can also be an indicator that your pH is off too, so be sure to check the pH level of you water reservoir as well. 

3. If your plants are growing very well but not producing fruits or flowers, double check that your grow lights are full spectrum. Plants use red light to produce fruits and flowers. 

Hydroponic gardening requires patience and trial and error just like when gardening outside. Once you have an eye for what your plants are trying to tell you, troubleshooting becomes easier. Starting off with great equipment is step one towards many successful growing cycles!

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