In the article, we will go over grow lights vs led lights and the ways in which it is possible to use regular LED lights as grow lights for plants. Using LED lights to grow plants is possible in some cases, and of course, in these cases, it can be very beneficial as regular led lights tend to be more affordable.
After reading the article you will know when to grow plants with LED lights (the regular led light bulbs) and when it is better to stick to the full spectrum grow lights. I hope this article helps you in deciding when to use LED lights for plant growth especially when you are thinking about LED lights for indoor plants.
Can we use regular LED lights as grow lights for plants?
The answer is yes and no, and this is because it depends. It depends on the type of plant that you have.
For example, foliage vs. flowering plants. Where your plant is in terms of the growth cycle. And how you want to help her with this lighting.
LED Grow Lights vs LED lights (purpose)
So in order to decide which one is best for you and your plant, let’s look at the main differences between regular LED light bulbs and full spectrum LED grow lights.
The first main difference between the two of them is their purpose. Regular LED lights have the purpose to illuminate a space. So to bring light to our spaces, and this is for example our homes, our offices, where we eat, where we live, etc.
On the other hand, LED grow lights’ purpose is to encourage plant growth. So we already see a key difference here, regular LED light bulbs are made with the purpose of bringing light to humans.
And full spectrum LED grow lights are made with the purpose to encourage plant growth. So they are made with the plants in mind.
So one is for humans and the other one is for plants.
LED Grow lights vs LED lights (colours)
This is very important when it comes to the second biggest difference, which is colour. So let’s remember, light powers photosynthesis in plants. And photosynthesis is the process that plants use to produce carbohydrates to grow.
So light is very important when it comes to plant growth.
Now, in the light spectrum, there are specific colours that will be used by the plant more efficiently when it comes to photosynthesis. And these colours fall in the PAR spectrum, which is the Photosynthetic Active Radiation Spectrum.
Depending on where your plants are in their growth cycle, each colour in the PAR spectrum will affect them differently.
For example, orange colour in light has been proven to have an impact on the taste of basil. Also, within the PAR spectrum, the colours blue and red are the ones that are most efficiently used by a plant when it comes to photosynthesis and growth.
And this is why we see grow lights that come only in blue and red light. Because these two colours will be efficiently used by the plant when it comes to photosynthesis and growth.
Generally, the blue light will help with vegetative and foliage growth, and the red light will generally help with flowering.
Now, let’s look at both types of LED lights and see which colour they actually provide to our plants. It is true that both regular LED light bulbs and full spectrum LED grow lights provide a white colour light.
But within this white light, we have other colours in the spectrum that are not visible to the human eye.
While full spectrum LED grow lights provide a percentage of all colours in the PAR spectrum, regular LED lights do not, and this is because again the purpose of each one of them and how they are made.
There are two common methods to produce white light in LED lamps.
The first one is very commonly used by manufacturers of regular LED light bulbs. And the way that they do it is that they use yellow phosphorus over a blue LED light to produce the white colour.
This works because a big amount of yellow light will stimulate the red and green cone in our eyes, and this will trick us into seeing white. This is great for lighting but misses to provide the red light spectrum that is needed by plants to grow, especially flowering plants.
On the other hand, the method to create white light in full spectrum led grow lights is very different because first, the manufacturers have to make sure that they have all the colours in the PAR spectrum that our plants need, especially blue and red.
Once they get the spectrum right for our plants, they adjust the spectrum so it seems white to the human eye.
So here we can see that full spectrum LED grow lights will have that advantage. We will make sure that we provide all colours needed within the PAR spectrum to our plants.
When we can use regular LED lights as grow lights
However, there are some scenarios when we can actually use regular LED lights for our plants. So let’s talk about these.
Let’s remember, regular led lights will provide blue light to our plants. Even though it seems white to the human eye, it is within the blue light spectrum.
And in order to make sure that you are providing that spectrum to your plant, just check the box and make sure that you get the cool white light.
As we said before, blue light helps our plants with vegetative growth and foliage growth. So if you have a plant that is full of leaves and is not going to flower, that plant is not going to need as much red light as blue light.
And in this case, a regular LED light will be helpful to your plant. Of course, keep in mind that this light is not going to provide all colours in the PAR spectrum, which can also be beneficial to your plant in other ways.
But it will be useful in providing blue light for your plant so it can grow.
I have also read that blue light is very good for seedlings. So if you are growing seedlings, you can also use a regular LED light for this stage of the growth cycle of your plant.
How to know if your plants are getting the right light
Now, very very important, whether you use a regular LED light bulb or a full spectrum LED grow light, make sure to always observe your plant.
If you see that your plant or your seedlings are growing really leggy, that means that she is not getting enough light or the light intensity is not enough.
In this case, just move your light a little bit closer to your plant and observe it again. If you see on the other hand that the foliage is getting burned, that may be too much light intense light.
So move your plant a little bit farther away from the light source.
I can also say, if you do have the means to invest in a full spectrum LED grow light, I totally recommend doing it.
And this is because, as a plant beginner, having full spectrum led grow lights for my plants has made it way easier for me to provide all of the colours in the PAR spectrum that they need, and I can see that they are thriving and they are very happy.
So yeah, I would totally recommend that, if you can do it.
Let me know if you have any questions and comments down below, and as always, please share this article with your friends and family.