Hydroponics is a hydroculture technique where plants are grown without soil but with use of minerals nutrient solutions. Plants are growing with their roots exposed to mineral solutions and many times supported by medium such as gravel or perlite. You will realize that many plants grown this way are always kept indoors. Just as the plants have been separated from natural soil, also man made grow lights can be used to do the magic of the sun.
This article will take you through basics of indoor lighting with LEDs. The goal of this article is to give you fundamental understanding of how LED work for hydroponics, amount of wattage needed to grow hydroponics with LEDs and the advantages of LEDs in growing these plants.
How LEDs work for Hydroponics
When compared to other lights, LEDs are considered the best for growing hydroponics indoors. Advantages of LEDs compared to other lights include:
- More heat efficient– Unlike other grow lights, LED are heat efficient and do not produce a lot of heat that would damage hydroponics. For those who grow their hydroponics in confined environment and would want to control heat, LEDs are the best choice. You can place your lights close to plant do distribute light well without harming the plants
- Last longer– LEDs lasts longer compared to other grow lights hence giving your hydroponics time to grow without breakouts. They have a solid state with no vacuum or gas components and can last for 50,000 to 100,000 hours before they fail.
Above these advantages, LED grow lights produce a high luminous efficiency when compared to other grow lights such as HPS and HID. LEDS are able to produce a more efficient light with high color spectrum and high intensity. This makes them the best to grow hydroponics.
Am sure you know that plants need different colors of light in every growth phase. With LEDs you can get a system that has color filters, or have or have the LEDs themselves to produce the light spectrum your hydroponics needs to thrive well. You can as well adjust the amount of each light or color any time during plant growth to help customize the plant needs at that time. The trick is to choose only the best led grow lights.
Distance between Hydroponics and LEDs
LEDs are very powerful and can give positive results for your hydroponics when fixed or installed in the right manner. Unlike other grow lights such as HPS and HID, you cannot have a standard distance to separated LEDs from your plants. It can therefore be a little tricky using these lights to grow hydroponics. The distance to place your hydroponics will depend solely on LED model manufacturer. Other factors that may affect this distance include:
- LED bulb size and shape
- The manner in which lenses were used to reflect the light to plants
- LED wattage
LED wattage and plant distance
Below is a quick guide of the distance you can keep your LEDs away from hydroponics depending on LED wattage:
- 1 watt LEDs = At least 30cm or 12 inches
- 3 to 5 watts LEDs = At least 45cm or 18 inches
- 300 watts and above = At least 76cm or 30 inches
Placing the lights too close to the plants may burn them and lead to stunted growth. Placing the lights at a far distance will also mean your plants get less light.
The Bottom Line
When used in the right manner, LED can make it a success to grow hydroponics indoors. However, you need to find the best Led in the market. Factors you can consider to select the best LEDs for your hydroponics include:
- Number of watts
- Wavelength output
- Light intensity and