My sister and I both have been nerds since childhood. We were always one of those students who loved to sit on the first bench in the class and would study like bookworms before exams. While I chose to pursue my career in interior design and especially the smart lighting industry, she chose to serve a bigger role in society and decided to work with an NGO for a social cause.
She is currently working on a project in a few of the high-altitude villages in Nepal, guiding the locals to grow vegetables in a greenhouse during harsh winters. Before she left for the country of high mountains, she sat down with me to understand everything about LED grow light strips. I was more than excited to contribute to this cause in some way by helping my sister out. Also, my extensive research on the topic led me to write the article for my readers looking for LED strips for growing plants.
LED grow lights help in the successful growth of indoor plants by providing them with a light spectrum similar to that of sunlight. If you use LED strips as grow light, you should use the lights alongside other brighter and larger bulbs. There are various LED strip grow lights available on the market; you can choose one based on its power, wattage, heat output, connectivity, etc.
In this article, we shall discuss what grow lights are and whether you can use LED strip lights as grow lights. I will also recommend some of my best picks of LED strip grow lights
What are LED Grow Lights?
An LED grow light is a type of light to help plants grow by providing a light spectrum similar to that of the natural light from the sun. Some LED grow lights provide a spectrum tailored to the needs of the plants at their different stages. The outdoor conditions are mimicked with varying spectral outputs and intensity of light.
While LED grow lights come in a variety of shapes and sizes, the most important component of the lights are the LED chips that decide the quality and brightness of the light.
Effect Of LED Grow Lights On Plants
Natural sunlight consists of the visible spectrum, infrared radiation, and ultraviolet radiation. The visible radiations feature all the colors on the visible spectrum. Different colors of the visible spectrum have different effects on plants and are required at different growth stages.
If you are looking for grow light strips for your plants, LED lights are an efficient and customer-friendly tool to grow plants indoors in comparison to using fluorescent lights or incandescent lights. While some LED lights feature only certain colors, the full-spectrum white LED lights feature all the colors necessary for different stages of plant growth.
Read ahead to understand how different colors affect the growth of plants.
- Blue is the first color of light that plants can absorb in their vegetative state. Blue lights help in inducing growth in the early stages of the plants’ lives. Blue light also stimulates stomatal opening, orientation to light, and photoperiodic flowering.
- Green, orange, and yellow lights respond opposite to blue light by stimulating stomatal closure.
- Purple light also helps in the growth of a plant in a vegetative state. However, purple light is not as effective for photosynthesis as blue light.
- Red light helps the later stages of plant growth as it is essential for buds to bloom.
- White light includes all the colors of the light spectrum and can be effective for every developmental stage of plant growth if used alone.
- UV light enhances the pigment accumulation ability in leaves.
Can You Use LED Strip Lights To Grow Plants?
The successful growth of a plant does not depend much on the brightness of
LED lights but on the wavelength of the color spectrum. Hence you can use LED lights either as a growing light or as a part of a more complex setup of growing lights. While the colored LED lights can take care of the specific growing needs of an indoor plant, the full-spectrum LED lights cater to most plant requirements.
Below are some reasons why LED strip lights are suitable for use as grow lights. While the reasons are good enough to answer your question ‘can you use LED strip lights to grow plants’, this does not mean that all plants can survive on LED lighting as some plants may rely on a certain amount of heat and light for their successful growth which an LED strip light cannot provide,
LED Strip Lights Are Cost-Efficient
LED lights have an estimated energy efficiency of 80-90%as compared to conventional light bulbs. Hence, LED lights significantly reduce energy consumption and help save money by lowering electricity bills which makes LED lights not only an energy-efficient lighting solution but also cost-efficient lights to be used as grow lights for indoor plants.
LED Strip Lights Are Flexible
One great reason why I would totally use LED strip lights as grow lights is that LED lights are flexible to be used in any area of your space which makes it easier for users to adjust the light positioning of the lights as per their suitability.
LED Strip Lights Are Bright Enough For Photosynthesis
Single color white LED strip lights are great to be used for indoor plants because they emit the entire spectrum. The full-color spectrum comprises all the colors of the light and, thus, can help the plant grow in all the stages of its life cycle.
RGB Strip Lights Are Suitable For The Growth Of Plants
RGB strip lights are suitable for the growth of the plants if the colors suit the need of the plant growth. If you use a single RGB strip, you must buy red and blue lights as the colors aid plant growth at different stages. Aso, make sure they are 5050 strip lights, as they are brighter than the standard LED strip lights. Alternatively, for effective seedling germination, you may use a brighter bulb with an LED light strip.
LED Strip Lights Do Not Produce Heat
LED lights do not emit a significant amount of heat. As per the research done by the Centre for Nanoscale Science, LED bulbs are about 90% efficient at converting energy into light, and only 10% of the energy is emitted as heat. Moreover, LEDs lights from reputed brands contain heat sinks to draw the excess heat away from the bulb. Hence these lights are quite suitable to be used as grow lights, unlike the lights that produce a lot of heat that can burn or dehydrate your plants.
LED Strip Lights Are Easy To Dispose
Since LED bulbs do not contain toxic and life-threatening mercury, so in many states in the US these light bulbs are considered safe to be thrown along with regular household trash. However, since these contain other hazardous chemicals, such as arsenic, lead, etc., you may be required to recycle your LED light bulbs or dispose of the bulbs at special facilities, depending on your area.
You may read one of my articles to gain more information on how to dispose of LED lights.
How To Choose The Best Grow Light For Your Plants?
Rearing your plants indoors has never been easier. Whether you want to grow plants inside your space or in an area that does not get sufficient sunlight, using LED strip grow lights has changed the game for many plant lovers. All you need is the right kind of grow light, and you can enjoy juicy tomatoes and beautiful roses all around the year.
Once you know you need LED grow light strips for your plants, the next step is to know how to choose the best grow light strips for indoor plants. I will answer this question for you in this section of the article.
Here are a few things to consider while choosing an LED plant light strip for your indoor plants.
The Color Of The LED Grow Light
Depending upon the need of your plant, choose the color of the LED strip grow light. While the single-color white LED strip lights emit the entire spectrum, the RGB light strips emit a specific color or colors. The full-color spectrum can help the plant grow in all the stages of its life cycle, and RGB strip lights are suitable for specific needs of the plant growth.
Brightness Of The LED Grow Light
Seedlings require to grow lights of around 2,000 lumens per square foot to grow, while flowering plants need around 10,000 lumens per square foot. Biologists often also use PPF or photosynthetic photon flux to measure light intensity to decide the suitability of plant growth. The higher the PPF of the LED strip light, the more effective the light should be for your plant growth.
LED Grow Light Heat Output
LED grow lights give off very little heat compared to the amount of light they produce but if they produce more heat than usual, it can damage or dehydrate your plants. I recommend my readers invest in named brands that grow lights rather than cheap ones to ensure that the lights do not overheat. You may also consider investing in models equipped with built-in cooling systems to ensure proper temperature regulation.
Connectivity of LED Grow Light
Different users choose different ways to operate their lights. Grow lights can be operated by a switch, Bluetooth, home automation systems, or remote. The users must consider this aspect of LED grow lights while buying them and choose the light that suits their needs.
Dimmability Of LED Grow Lights
Your plants do not need a very bright light all the time. Regulating the brightness of the light throughout the day allows the plants to have a more natural growth. Hence, looking for a dimming feature in your LED grow lights is a wise idea. A good quality LED grow lights can exhibit 20%-100% light.
Warranty Period Of LED Grow Lights
Another thing that is worth looking out for is whether the LED grow lights that you are planning to buy offer a warranty or not. Most good brands offer a warranty of 6 months to 2 years on their LED grow lights, which is important to consider.
Expert’s Pick: The Best Grow Light Strips For Indoor Plants
Grow lights are a blessing for plant lovers who wish to grow plants indoors or in a low-light area. These lights are also boon for cold areas as they make it easier to grow vegetables in the greenhouse. It is vital to choose the appropriate grow light for your plants so that you can provide them with the best growing conditions.
I have compiled a list of my favorite light strip grow lights below that you must grow through if you are looking for LED light strips for growing plants.
The Barrina LED Grow Light is an LED batten light that offers a full spectrum of light. Since the light resembles closely to natural sunlight, it is one of the best grow lights for plant seeding, growth, and flowering. The package includes six lights; each light has 120 LEDs with a total power consumption of 24 watts. Each light has its own power switch on the light itself, making it easier for you to control each light independently. However, you can also connect all six lights in a series connection with a 48 inches connecting cord.
The light package includes seven connecting cords and eight small connectors for easy assembly. The lights can be installed using double-sided tape, cable ties, or clips. The light has an easy installation process and also has a 2-year warranty period.
The Sondiko grow strip light is a full-spectrum light that is one of the top growth lighting solutions for your indoor plants. Being a full-spectrum grow light, the light contains all wavelengths of light, hence, catering to all the growth needs of the plants. The lights are made of aviation aluminum, a heat conductive material, and the light’s brightness is suitable for growing vegetables, flowers, succulents, etc.
The light strips can be mounted using cable ties, screws, magnets, adhesive pads, etc., and the setup is minimal and easy. I was impressed with the cost of the dimmable lights, which is $14.99 on Amazon. The grow lights can be turned on and off using the timer.
The Lightimetunnel LED Grow Light is an RGB strip grow light with 16 red and blue LED light chips in each bar which produces the light spectra as required by the plant depending upon its growth stage. The light comes in a 2-bar set, 4-bar set, and 6-bar set.
You can switch on and off the light using the timer feature of the light. You may also adjust the brightness of the light to 25%, 50%, 75%, or 100% dispensing upon the requirements of the plant. The 20% dimming feature makes these lights a great succulent grow light strip. The well-designed aluminum body allows good heat dissipation, ensuring the grow light’s long lifespan. The lights are flexible, and the light package includes double-sided tape for easy installation. Ightimetunnell boasts of its 12-month warranty and 30-day return policy.
The OxyLED Grow Light Strips is a powerful RGB grow light with a power of 15W. It emits targeted spectra for specific growth needs of a plant. These are one of my favorite RGB grow lights for Indoor or greenhouse. The light has 27 blue LED chips that aid photosynthesis and 81 red LED chips that are essential for seed germination, root growth, and bulb development.
The OxyLED Grow Light Strips are dimmable lights with five levels of brightness adjustments; hence you can dim the lights from 20% to 100%. The light also has a timer feature to set the turning on and off of the lights. You can easily install the lights using cable toes or nails. I was impressed how the lights are highly waterproof to be used in an outdoor low-light area.
Q1. Can too much artificial light harm the plants?
Answer – Artificial lights can aid the growth of a plant if they mimic the sunlight in terms of color spectrum and intensity. Like outdoor plants do not receive sunlight all day long, indoor plants shouldn’t be exposed to artificial light for a prolonged period as it can affect the plant’s metabolism. The heat emitted by the lights can burn or dehydrate your plants.
Q2. How much light is required per square foot indoor area for growing plants?
Answer – The thumb rule is that you need 25-50 watts of light per square foot of indoor grow area. However, the amount of light required also varies on the kind of light that you are installing.
Q3. Should I use red and blue light separately for my plants or a combination of the two?
Answer – The plant more efficiently absorbs red and blue components of the light than other colors of the spectrum. However, the red-blue combination allows a faster rate of photosynthesis than the red or the blue light alone and helps increase the plant size, leaf number, leaf size, and chlorophyll content.
Grow lights can change the game for plant lovers who wish to grow their plants indoors. Grow lights give plants the similar nutrition that they derive from the sunlight and help them grow through different stages of their lives. LED light strips are a great option to be used as grow lights as they emit the colors needed to aid plant growth, produce less heat, and are flexible enough for easy installation. Both full-spectrum LED strip light and RGB strip light are suitable to be used as grow light is used with proper information.
If you are looking for an LED grow light strip, the article must have helped you to understand the important things to keep in mind while purchasing the grow light. I hope you would have found my best picks for LED grow light strips useful. If you have more questions about LED grow lights, write to me in the comment section.
As an interior decorator, I am always looking to make homes beautiful but with minimalism. As a part of my occupation, I am always in touch with smart devices that makes your life easy, beautiful and comfortable. I take care of the smart living section for BringUptoDate.