Plants seem respond well to LED lights similar to fluorescent’ lights. They generally result in a tight inter-nodal growth, and short stocky, strong plants. The plants do look a little different, the leaves can tend to curl down, but are usually thicker and a more healthy shade of green.
Vegetative growth tends to be a little slower compared to MH and HPS lights, but seem to be healthy and progress normally. Fruiting and flowering is also slightly slower but healthy.
One LED UFO will come very close to the best results you could achieve with a 400 watt HPS and it uses only 1/4 of the electricity, plus it doesn’t generate any heat. But LED’s are NOT the best choice for big plants however, that’s because they loose light intensity quickly the farther away the foliage is from the light source. Listed below are some LED and LED light kits to get you started.
In terms of lighting systems for indoor hydroponics growing, LED is the new kid on the block. LED, much like fluorescent lighting produces a very small amount of heat. Unlike florescent lighting, LED lighting equipment is quite expensive. However, LEDs are about the most efficient lights in terms of energy consumption. It is likely that the reduced costs of powering this lighting could more than offset the initial capital outlays through the life of an LED panel.
One of the shortcomings of LED has been the limited spectrum produced by diodes. Thus far, LED lights are unable to combine all colors of the light spectrum in a single diode. The only way to get the full spectrum is to combine diodes of different colors in a panel to produce a quality of light that plants respond best to at a given stage of their life cycle. For example, red is a preferred color of flowering plants in the blooming stage. HID (High Intensity Discharge) lights are not able to produce the maximum spectral output in the red wavelengths that plants can utilize, LEDs can. This has the net effect of maximizing photosynthesis. Some LED systems allow control and manipulate spectral output, providing your plants with the optimum light for a given stage.
Another drawback of LEDs is that the light produced lacks the intensity of HID systems. Getting summer crops, accustomed to the summertime sun, to flower and fruit, requires intense light. Getting fruits and vegetables to achieve maximum growth requires the same. . As an aside, summer crops are also adapted to heat, and LEDs provide very little heating. Intensity also effects light’s ability to penetrate foliage, therefore LEDs may not be well suited to maximizing production in taller plants.
Here are a few notable advantages of LED lights, and a recap:
- They use less energy. This is perhaps the most noteworthy advantage to LEDs at the moment.
- They are very long lasting. In fact, the diodes in your panel will probably outlast the power supply, and the power supply can be replaced.
- Since they are solid state, they are very durable. It is a lot harder to damage an LED panel than it is to break a light bulb or fluorescent tube.
- They produce less heat. This can also fall out on the disadvantage side of the equation, depending on what you are growing.
- They are smaller than other light sources.
- Greater control over the color of light.
The biggest drawback to LEDs is the cost. Most of the other shortcomings will be reduced or eliminated as the technology matures. Due to the energy efficiency of LEDs, there is a lot of R&D going on in all applications that require light, indoor growing is sure to reap the benefits in.
As you can see with some of the lights below they can be quite expensive although the costs are coming down quickly: