Standard HID lights are fast becoming a thing of the past as everyone pushes to upgrade their grow room lighting to LED. Without a doubt, the LED revolution has taken hold and won’t be letting go any time soon. The benefits are just too great, such as lower electricity costs, perfect color spectrums to produce an outstanding yield, and long bulb lifespan. However, sometimes you might encounter common LED light setup mistakes that can throw a roadblock in your progress. Let’s explore some common LED light setup mistakes and how to overcome or avoid them.
1. Choosing the Wrong LED Lights for Your Needs
One of the most important aspects of LED lighting is the color specs. You want the right type of blue, red, and white lights. Typically, when you have the right LED lights for growth, they will shine a bright purple color, which encourages plants’ development.
LED lights sold as full spectrum are ideal for the vegetation and flowering stages of your plants’ life. Depending on the LED light system that you pick, there might be a switch that lets you choose between veg mode and flower mode. When you switch the modes on the lights, it will turn on the colored LEDs that are suitable for the plants’ growth stage.
- Vegetation Phase: Bluish light that promotes rapid growth.
- Flowering Phase: Purple/red light to encourage bud development.
Your success with indoor gardening is somewhat related to choosing the best colored LEDs at any given time to meet the growth needs of your crop.
2. Buying Low Quality LEDs
Everyone considers cost when deciding to go with LEDs. However, you might want to steer clear of cheap LED lights that might be inferior.
High-quality LEDs are expensive (especially compared to other light types). However, you get what you pay for when it comes to investing in quality lighting.
Sadly, the market is inundated with low-quality, subpar LEDs. The websites and retailers might try to promote their lights as affordable and claim that they meet all of the needs of your crop and will provide you with a superior yield. However, reality usually falls short. Many times, cheap LED lights are manufactured overseas, including in China.
They are made from inferior materials, do not have an exceedingly long lifespan, and can even become a fire hazard if they fail to meet strict safety requirements.
Ideally, you should spend a little more to get proper LED lights that provide your plants with exactly what they need to thrive. At GrowersHouse, we offer superior horticultural LED lighting to meet the needs of your plants. You can search our LED lights by brand and lighting spectra, watts, and available discounts.
3. Wrong Height Settings
Too High - It’s common for growers who switch to LEDs to have a problem with the height calculations of their LED panels. Basically, if you are used to other lights like HIDs then you might have to adjust to LEDs. HIDs are known to create a great deal of heat, so growers become programmed to hang the lights high to safeguard their plants. However, LEDs produce significantly less heat than HIDs- you seldom have to worry about them burning your plants. If you hang LEDs at the same height as HIDs, then the plants will be forced to stretch upwards to reach a sufficient amount of light, causing weak, lanky growth.
Too Low - Many growers try to hang the LEDs too close to the plants, which creates its own set of problems. Hanging LEDs too close to plants might cause the plants’ foliage to block some of the beneficial spectrum lighting, so plants fail to receive the correct light spectrum. Improper light spectrum causes stress in plants and poor growth.
Powerful LED lights positioned too close to the plants have the potential to provide an excessive amount of light, which can result in “over-lighting.” The plants become stressed, and leaves burn or bleach out (turn white) as a result. Often times LEDs can be safely within 6 to 12 inches from your plant canopy, but if you see the top leaves getting crispy or the top of your buds bleaching then raise the light by about 12 inches.
You might be wondering what is the right height? There are a lot of factors to consider, such as the type of crop, the brand of LEDs and the LED type. A rule of thumb is to hang LEDs higher during the vegetative stage and lower during the flower. If you are unsure, try to position the lights at 24 to 36 inches above your canopy in veg and 12 to 24 inches above your canopy in flower. If your plants are responding to those heights well, you can try getting them closer to increase growth rates, but watch out for those signs of plant stress mentioned in the previous paragraph!
4. The Danger of Overwatering
You might be wondering what irrigation has to do with lighting. HIDs (the most common lighting used prior to LEDs) produce a significant amount of heat, causing growers to irrigate frequently to meet the needs of the plants. However, LEDs produce less heat, so the reduced temperature can lead to overwatering if you fail to adjust your watering schedule. Excessive moisture leads to pests and damage. Regularly check the soil prior to watering.
5. Failing to Provide Sufficient Lighting
Sadly, many sites that sell cheap LEDs or proclaim that they have the best deal on lighting will list a multitude of specs and numbers to confuse buyers. With LEDs you’ll want to pay attention to lumens over watts. If you purchase LEDs with high wattage, they might still be weak and produce a poor spread. The lower parts of the plants won’t get sufficient light.
Always take the time to research what you are buying and check the seller/manufacturer’s recommendations. You want to make sure that your plants receive a sufficient amount of lighting to flourish and that means purchasing acceptable LED light systems to meet their needs.
Grow Light Setup Tips: LEDs
Below are three helpful grow light setup tips for LEDs.
Install Multiple LEDs
LEDs have what is referred to as a targeted beam angle. You can use them as individual spotlights to target specific areas of a plant or grow room with extremely focused lighting. However, you should try to achieve an even spread of light to cover the surface area of the plants using multiple LEDs. The LED beams will effectively overlap to produce a lovely even distribution of light throughout the grow room.
Monitor Heat in the Grow Room
HIDs produce an excessive amount of heat, which growers factor in when setting the ambient temperature. However, LED grow lights produce no heat, so the ambient temperature in the grow space might dip so low that your plants sustain harm. You might need to use another heating method if you convert from HIDs to LEDs. Also, remember even if you have to turn the heat up in the grow room, the savings you achieve with the LEDs will still be better than the HIDs.
Mounting Your LEDs
How high or low you mount your LEDs will factor in the yield and product quality of your crop. Determining the height is complicated. You’ll need to consider the number of bulbs you are using and the available natural sunlight (if any). You want the LEDs to produce a wide and even distribution of light. To achieve this, consider the following:
Choose LEDs that produce a wide beam spread.
- Do not mount the LEDs too high or the bulb’s intensity will be reduced.
- Do not mount too low or you might damage the plants.
- Take the time to read the manufacturer's recommendation for the mounting height that comes with the LED lights at the time of purchase.
LED lights are ideal for plant cultivation as long as you strive to avoid common LED light setup mistakes. If you are shopping for LEDs, please check out our wide assortment here: LED Grow Lights.