Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Not All Grow Lights Are Created Equal

Do your seedling plants look like this? Thick robust stems, broad leaf size, healthy green color, 100% germination? If not, you may be using incorrect indoor lighting to grow your plants. Not all grow lights are created to capture the ideal wavelengths and light intensity that plants need to flourish.

Plants have the ability to capture light and store lights energy in chemicals like sugar and starch which are then used to power the plants cells. This allows the plant to grow. This process is called photosynthesis. Chlorophyll drives this major plant process. Scientists have learned that chlorophyll is best at catching red and blue light and this is what drives plant growth.

LED grow lights calibrated to the proper wavelength and intensity provide the correct lighting plants need to drive major plant function and growth.
Plants need blue light for stem and foliage growth and red light for flowering growth. The rest of the light in the light spectrum is wasted. Not only is it wasted, it can be harmful to the plant. If you find your plants are “reaching” for the light, growing ‘tall,’ ‘spindaly’ or ‘leaning’ it is most likely because they are not getting the correct light wavelength and intensity that they need to function, so they are “searching” for it.

LED grow lights do not produce much heat. This is because LED’s are energy efficient, creating 90% light and 10% heat, where as conventional lighting, is the opposite. If the temperature gets too high, plants go into a safety mode and drastically reduce their growth and production. They stop the transpiration process to avoid losing water. This greatly stresses the plant and hinders the growth process.

If your seedling plants are not flourishing you may be using the incorrect lighting. A good LED grow light with the proper wavelength and intensity provides the correct amount of light and heat your plants need to grow healthy and strong.

About the Author
Michele Daniels of Grow Home Organics is a contributing write for Mike the Gardener Enterprises, LLC, who runs the largest Vegetable Gardening page on Facebook.

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