While lights designed and marketed for growing plants have been available for years, experienced gardeners have long known the secret that inexpensive fluorescent tube fixtures work just as well or better than any expensive grow lights. However, fluorescent tube bulbs still have their drawbacks when used for growing or starting plants. Using the compatible LED tubes to change up your fixtures helps you overcome these limitations so you can reach all of your indoor gardening goals without having to invest in expensive new equipment.
If you're a dedicated indoor grower who has a whole room of orchids or an extensive spring seed starting routine, you likely notice the increase in your electricity bills due to the lights running 16 hours a day or more. Fluorescent bulbs are already more efficient than their incandescent counterparts, but LED tubes use even less power. LEDs use far less less energy than a comparable fluorescent tube, resulting in long-term savings that will pay for the cost of the swap over the lifespan of the LED tubes. In a greenhouse or other large structure with hundreds of plants, the savings could add up to help you achieve payback within a much shorter time.
Balancing Light Values
Since plants aren't absorbing green light (that's why they appear that color to us), it's primarily the red and blue parts of the spectrum fueling growth. We tend to buy indoor lights based on whether they're cooler or warmer than daylight, which means they're either more red or more blue. Red light is necessary for flowering and fruiting, but it's blue light that plants rely on for growing and leaf development. LEDs can be adjusted to create any color necessary at any intensity, allowing you to find the exact balance of red and blue you need for the specific plants you grow. Adjustable value LED tubes allow you to change the warmth to increase red light intensity as your plants grow and move into the flowering stage. If you're just starting seeds, you can stick to very cool lights that speed up early development.
Offering Direct Lighting
The fluorescent tube is full of gas that generates light when electricity is added, so naturally that light is somewhat diffuse and tends to radiate outwards in all directions around the fixture. In contrast, LEDs are very direct and only send light in a single direction at a time. LED tubes tend to arrange all the individual units on the bottom so that it all goes directly to your work area. This means plants absorb more of the light coming out of the tubes, resulting in better growth without the need to upgrade your lights.
Reducing Gradual Fade
Fluorescent tube bulbs are inexpensive and widely available, which is important when you're replacing them every year or two because they're fading. Fluorescent lights dramatically lose total lumen output each year. Not only do they only last nearly half as many hours as LEDs, but they don't produce the same amount of light over their lifespan. This means for gardening purposes they need annual replacement. LEDs take a lot longer to fade off in intensity, reducing your replacement costs dramatically in the long run.
Eliminating Heat and Burns
Finally, LED tubes can be positioned practically against the leaf's surface to deliver light as intensely as possible. This technique is important to limit unnecessary upward growth, also known as getting leggy. Even fluorescent bulbs produce too much heat and can burn the leaf's surface, but LEDs eliminate this problem by staying cool during long-term operation. This is one of the biggest reasons that commercial growers are switching to LED systems.Share
1 September 2017
One day, after watching a show on TV about people who had high-tech homes, I decided to invest in some better electronics. I headed to the store to see if I could find a state-of-the-art sound system and a projector for my living room. I found an incredible array of high-tech gadgets, and it was difficult to decide. Fortunately, a friendly sales representative took me under his wing and explained all of the gadgets and gizmos that I found. This blog is here for other novice homeowners like myself who might be wondering how to spruce up their place. You never know, it could make your home truly special.