Light conditions in your home aren’t the ideal light exposure for many houseplants. Sometimes, they’ll need that extra boost of light that LED lights can offer.
But will normal LED lights do, or should you invest in specialized LED grow lights? As you will see in this article, the answer depends very much on the type of plant you’re attempting to grow, the season, and the exposure of your home to natural light.
Of course, there is a difference between normal LED lights and LED grow lights that I will discuss below along with the suitability of different lights (LED strip lights, light bulbs, etc.) for growing plants.
Why do Plants Need Extra Light?
Some plants will absolutely adapt to indoor growing conditions and thrive, despite not receiving as much light as they would if they were grown outdoors.
Other plants, however, struggle because the natural light they get exposed to indoors is simply not cutting it for them. Plants that need full sun are the most likely to struggle, especially in the following conditions:
– Dark House
If your home doesn’t receive much sun, you may want to skip plants that require full sun exposure to thrive.
You may want to consider keeping low light plants instead, or supplement natural light exposure with the help of LED lights.
– Winter Time
While you can take sun-loving houseplants outdoors during summer, you cannot do that in winter with houseplants that aren’t cold-hardy in your area.
Therefore, seasonal changes that come with a natural reduction of sunlight can also be a reason why you may need to set up LED lights in your home.
– Growth Speed
A reduction of light can stunt the growth of many plants. If you want your sun-loving plants to grow faster, grow lights can help with that too.
Grow Light vs Normal LED Light
Grow lights are specially designed to simulate the light spectrum offered to plants by the sun. They contain the best mix of red, blue and other wavelengths needed by plants to thrive.
Normal LED lights can also help your plants, the white light they emit is beneficial to plants, but they’re just not as complex in terms of the light spectrum as grow lights, nor do they provide the sufficient output needed for many houseplants.
Therefore, between normal LED lights or grow lights, grow lights are certainly the better option for your plants.
Neither replace the benefits offered to plants by natural sunlight, but LED grow lights come pretty close to that standard.
Best Cheap Grow LED Light
On the contrary, there are good LED grow lights that come at a reasonable price. For example, the Relassy LED Grow Light for Indoor Plants is not only a well-designed grow light, but it also offers sunlike full spectrum light.
You can use the Relassy grow lights for all types of indoor plants, regardless of the growth stage.
Another advantage of this type of grow light is that it has replaceable bulbs and the dual gooseneck head is adjustable, allowing you to set the angle at which light reaches your plants.
Heat dissipation is solved by the high-density aviation aluminum material and finned chips design. The C-Clamp mount makes it easy to firmly place the lamp anywhere you want.
Pros & Cons of LED Lights
If you’re going to use LED grow lights, it’s a good idea to know the pros and cons of this type of light compared to conventional grow lights.
- Full-spectrum light
- Good temperature dissipation
- Less bulky
- Environmentally friendly
- Higher upfront costs
- They emit blue light which is harmful for human eyes
Despite a few shortcomings, LED grow lights are increasingly becoming the gold standard in grow lighting systems. They’re also becoming more affordable.
Can You Use Led Strip Lights to Grow Plants?
Yes, you can use LED strip lights to supplement natural light sources. While they’re not as intense as overhead LED grow lights, they can be useful when you need to light your plants from a difficult or unusual angle.
Use LED strip lights if you need that extra flexibility to light your plants or if you don’t want to deal with installing overhead lights.
Strip lights also use less power, emit less heat and take up less space than other grow lights.
Can You Use a Light Bulb to Grow Plants?
It depends. It depends on the plant but also on the type of light bulb. A regular incandescent light bulb can help some plants, but they’re the least efficient in terms of helping plants grow. Plus, they emit a lot of heat and they aren’t energy efficient.
Halogen and CFL light bulbs have a much better usable output for plants compared to incandescent ones.
Standard LED lights can also help, but they’re less efficient than grow lights that produce the exact combination of red, blue and other wavelengths needed by plants.
On the other hand, specialized LED grow lights provide both the needed output and the full color spectrum that will make the most impact on your plants in terms of growth and development.
While the other light solutions I mentioned do have some effect, they work best as supplemental lighting, while LED grow lights can be used even as an exclusive light source.
Since not all plants are light-intensive, simple artificial lighting solutions (e.g. standard fluorescent lamps or LED lamps) can have a positive impact on plants that are grown or overwintered indoors.
Other plants — and especially those that require full light exposure — will only thrive with specialized lighting conditions.
LED growth lights or horticultural lights are becoming more complex and more affordable, helping you grow a variety of plants, herbs, and even some types of fruit indoors, regardless of the season.
The full color spectrum, the excellent heat dissipation technology, the cost-efficiency and ease of installation recommend LED grow lights for indoor plants as the next best thing after natural sunlight.