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Can I use normal led lights to grow plants indoors?

by Shayna Boothman (2019-08-01)


Can I use normal led lights to grow plants indoors?
LEDs, being monochromatic sources and being available in wide range of pure colors, are the only light sources that can be tailored to give right spectrum & do wonderful things for plant growth. Plants grow quicker and healthier than under other, traditional lighting methods such as HPS, and if the LEDs are good, then even better than under natural sunlight.

led lightMost popular plant growth LEDs lights are purple/pink
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Not All light sources contain a full spectrum of colors – some light sources contain some of the colors. however Sunlight contains all spectrum colors and it feeds plants with either energy to trigger certain metabolic reactions or influence the behaviour.
Different color LED chips placed inside the light, give different kind of response from plants. It is said that, if we want plants to grow tall, increase the amount of far-red, yellow, orange and green chips inside the luminaire. If we want plants to be compact, put more blue or UV colored chips. It seems, these kinds of responses are encoded in plants’ DNA and when designing LED lamps, we can count on plants responding the way nature has designed them to.

Two essential light colors to be placed in an LED lamp are: red and blue. Red is the main component needed for photosynthesis and stem elongation inhibition. Additionally, it signals to the plants that there are no other plants above it and that it can thus have uninhibited development. Blue stimulates stomatal opening, stem elongation inhibition, leaf expansion, curvature towards light and photoperiodic flowering. The combination of these two sets of effects will, in simple terms, get the plant from seed to the vegetative stage and eventually to flowering, but much slower than under continuous spectra a.k.a spectra that contain more than just red and blue. Adding some other spectrum colors such as green, could enhance the leaf expansion rate and stem elongation, which in turn results in higher biomass (yield) accumulation. Adding UV wavelenghts affects the accumulation of compounds such as phenolics which could boost the flavor of the end product or its health benefits to humans.

Red and Blue LED chips are the cheapest to procure. And this is why most LED grow light manufacturers opt for simple red-blue combinations.

Kwality Photonics has played a responsible role in the research work on plant growth in few Indian Universities since last 10 years - Hyderabad Central University, Assam University, BITS Pilani-Goa etc , by designing & delivering tailored spectrum LED sources in high & very high power configurations with controls easy enough to be used by Biologists ( as opposed engineers).
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In near future, Kwality Photonics LEDs group would like to help any commercial enterprise to produce indoor tabletop leafy vegetable plant growing appliances. They research the plant behaviour & we do the LED & the engineering !

Finally to answer your question- Yes, regular LED bulbs can be used to grow plants in house - but suboptimally. As Blue has major role, A coolwhite LED of 6000K CCt containing higher amount of blues is preferred over warmwhite LED containing less blue but more Red color. In either case there is wasted energy in green part of the spectrum. Total expended cost of Power will decide the viability of bio produce, so go for Blue & Red lights, for growing plants.
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Edit Oct2018:

I’ve become wiser to know that several other colors can be used by the plant growers to manipulate the rate of growth, succulence, the color and the taste of the fruit/leaf ! Here is the summary.


In order to grow indoor, plants need:

Blue wavelength light for foliage growth.
Red wavelength light for flowering and fruiting.
Plants have little use for green wavelengths and reflect them back, which is why leaves appear green.
LED lights are also a low heat, energy-efficient artificial light source. Because LED technology is so customizable, every bulb is different, so make sure your bulbs produce the blues and reds necessary for plants. Horticultural LED grow-lights produce only the wavelengths most utilized by plants, so you may want to look for these bulbs rather than buying ones for general use.
Best LED Light Brands
Some best led grow lights in market: