Why is LED Lighting So Good for Plants?

Apr 15, 2013 5 Comments by

Since the mid-1990s, LED lighting has undergone a revolution.  LEDs are increasingly more efficient, allowing for greater and greater savings, while potential use has grown immeasurably, as the fundamentals at the heart of LED technology allow for task-specific manufacture.

Because our understanding of LED technology has coincided with that of plant biology, the benefits of LED lighting for horticultural purposes are now wide-ranging.  These include quicker germination and faster root growth, larger yields, an increased number of yields, better control over plant growth, greater energy efficiency and less radiant heat damage.

The science behind it all can be complex, but the essential principles are simple.  Photosynthesis and the absorption of clorophyll do not occur throughout the light spectrum, but only within a small field (this is known as PAR (photosynthetically active radiation) and is not much larger than visible light).  Not only that, but certain combinations of types of light benefit different plants according to their species.  Knowledge of those ‘light recipes’ means that scientists can customize their LEDs to achieve maximum benefit to the plant.

Furthermore, because LEDs can be manufactured to such precision, types of light which are not beneficial to the plant are not emitted, meaning that there is no waste of energy in this respect.  Also, since LEDs produce such little radiant heat (unlike traditional lighting systems), lamps can be located in closer proximity to the plant without damaging the plant tissue; another energy saver.

In addition to light-spectrum optimization and various intrinsic energy efficiencies, the fact of LEDs being solid-state devices means that there are other inherent benefits.  Among them is their greatly increased life span, zero toxicity and minimal failure, but also they are far more easily integrated into digital control systems.  As a result, their intensity levels may be configured into automated dimming systems, which can be programmed according to a simple timer, or more complex sensors in order to simulate sunset and sunrise at different times of year; or even to respond to varying ambient conditions, such as natural light, temperature, and humidity.

With its vastly superior photosysnthetic and energy efficiency, as well as its excellent reliability, long life and environmentally-sound and digital-friendly constituent makeup, LED technology is set to give a giant boost to horticultural production.

LED Grow Lights

About the author

15 years horticulture experience to draw from

5 Responses to “Why is LED Lighting So Good for Plants?”

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  5. Ana says:

    Thanks for the info. Maybe you can help with how much light intensity I need to put on Orchids. I have this LED panel: (http://orphek.com/orphek-products/atlantik/) that I used for Corals I can dim to 1% and boost to 100% each channel of blues/reds/whites or UVs. Any suggestions would help. Thanks

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