If you’re a passionate cultivator or a personal gardener, and you don’t have enough access to natural lighting, you must have been advised to put your money into white LEDs. If you’re unsure about: “Can white LED lights grow plants?”, this article is for you.
Know that Light is the key environmental parameter and acts as a critical source of energy for plant growth- whether it's greenhouse or indoor plants. Although they’ve got a natural tendency to complete their growth cycle, the vegetative and flowering stages, particularly, are directly influenced by light.
Light helps plants perform effective photosynthesis to develop each aspect optimally- germination, plant stature, growth habits, and transition to flowering and fruit ripening.
Without these lights, you would not have green plant life, vegetable gardens, and blooming flowers.
White LEDs or White light-emitting diodes are semiconductor devices that produce white lights- a combination of wavelengths, including red and blue waves that support photosynthesis as well as other colors necessary for plant growth.
By definition, white light is perceived to be substantially free of color. But they contain a mixture of colors to be that one white.
In simple terms, White is not a spectral color but rather a combination of different light colors. Human eyes can only perceive three colors-- red, green, and blue-- and any light that stimulates all three at similar levels will appear white.
But if they contain a multitude of color wavelengths, why do they visibly appear white? This is because White lights with LEDs are achieved in two ways:
1) phosphor conversion, a process in which a blue or near-ultraviolet (UV) chip is coated with phosphor(s) to produce white light; and
2) RGB systems, in which light from multiple monochromatic LEDs (red, green, and blue) is mixed, resulting in white light.
High-quality White LEDs such as Phlizon FD-6000 are increasingly used for plant applications to supplement sunlight in greenhouses and provide the only light source indoors.
Over the years, plants have been capturing much of their energy through solar radiation. There is no denying that the Sun has been a fantastic plant light source, but things like seasonal shifts and weather patterns tend to obscure the sun’s brilliant rays. The reduced daylight hours with the changes in season and huge cloud formations casting unwanted shadows made modern farmers shift to artificial light inventions.
Possibly the earliest invention of artificial lighting on plants goes back to the 1800s. Since then, three different lighting paths have been discovered. First incandescent lighting. which was characterized by Edison’s incandescent filament lamp; second was open arc lighting, followed by the enclosed gaseous discharge lamps, which were initially developed using mercury vapor.
Soon after the evolution of Artificial lights, such as Phlizon White LED, the plants gained an evolutionary advantage over unpredictable sunlight. Obviously, when artificial technology offers the greatest advantages in two areas- light intensity and light spectrum- they are likely to find themselves atop the evolutionary heap.
The primary purpose of these artificial lights is to optimize growth in artificial growing environments concerning light quality, quantity, and photoperiod extension, to manage resources and crop performance precisely. These lights allow growers for efficient production and year-round plant growth.
A major part of the plant journey is to perform the photosynthesis procedure- a method in which the light energy is turned into chemical energy in the form of sugars (glucose).
This carbohydrate-processed glucose, during photosynthesis, is mostly used by plants as a vital energy source to build leaves, flowers, fruits, and seeds. Later, the glucose molecules combine to produce more complex carbohydrates such as starch and cellulose. This cellulose is the structural material used in plant cell walls.
The entire exercise is carried through chlorophyll ( a pigment involved in photosynthesis ), which absorbs light energy and then converts carbon dioxide, water, and minerals into oxygen and energy-rich organic compounds.
Photosynthesis in plants is crucial for maintaining life on Earth; if it discontinues, there will soon be little food or even no other organic matter remaining on the planet, and most types of organisms will disappear.
For the photosynthesis mechanism, light becomes the leading environmental factor. Particularly the quality of light plays a major role in the productivity and appearance of ornamental and food specialty crop species.
Especially the color of light takes the major lead in this regard. For example, in the presence of blue light, plants will likely be more compact, with more thick leaves. When red light is present, plants will be larger and have longer stems. With red light, plants may also have more flowers.
Photosynthesis takes place in two sequential stages: light-dependent and light-independent reactions. In the light-dependent stage, the pigment molecules of the leaf absorb sunlight in the photosynthetic membrane and then convert them into stored chemical energy.
While the light-independent or the Calvin cycle stage proceeds once products (NADPH and ATP) of the light-dependent reactions are present in the chloroplast. Plants use this chemical energy to drive the assembly of sugar molecules using CO2;
Traditional grow lights such as incandescent, fluorescent lights, and high-intensity discharge lamps (HID) have long been the industry standard for indoor horticulture because they were considered the most efficient traditional lighting systems.
But soon after, LED technology changed the whole game. Conventional greenhouses that initially relied on high-pressure sodium lamps to supplement sunlight are no longer efficient because they consume far more power to produce the same light levels.
Though they may appear relatively efficient from the outset, they failed to sustain for a long. As soon as farmers experience their low potential in crop production, lower light efficiency, and shorter lifespan than LEDs, they fast become outdated and replaced.
To run a farm using traditional lighting systems, cultivators were forced to think about the labor/maintenance costs of these bulbs, the electricity requirement, cleaning, and HVAC utility bills.
Thanks to the introduction of LED grow lights such as Phlizon White-emitting diodes, farmers have found a more cost-efficient solution for getting maximum light to produce bigger yields at a higher quality with low maintenance and wasted energy.
Similarly, they’ve got more control in altering the spectrum of light, which enables plant growth better than traditional fluorescent or incandescent bulbs.
Specifically, LED grow lights give off specific amounts of blue and white light, which supports healthy photosynthesis in plants. Additionally, they contain green and red visible light as well as other non-visible spectrums such as infrared (IR) and ultraviolet (UV).
If we compare traditional grow lights in the greenhouse versus LED grow lights, LEDs outperform in major areas of plant development. First, LED grow lights offer a long life span of more than 100,000 hours, which is many times more than an HPS or MH. That's a big difference!
Secondly, LED grow lights produce less heat; in fact, the energy conversion efficiency in the visible light region is 70-80%, while the traditional grow lights release much heat, causing the temperature inside the greenhouse to rise, adversely affecting plant growth.
Additionally, a significant attribute of LED technology is the reduction of energy costs associated with electric lighting. Reports have supported that because LEDs are capable of controlling light output in response to the environment, they save about 90 percent of electricity, which is two or three times as much as traditional grow lights.
To conclude, What’s more, they added that LED grow lights are very lightweight with a more beautiful appearance, awarded as the best choice for modern agriculture indoor farming.
Sunlight has been the only light source dictating plant growth for years, but when farmers and cultivators witnessed its low reach during winters or seasonal change, they struggled for ways to arrange artificial lights for plants. Since then, the lighting technology continues to race and beyond.
The pinnacle of that technology today is White LED – or White light-emitting diode. The concept – where semiconductors and electroluminescence create the optimal light directly from electricity – is actually proven beneficial.
White LEDs are produced by two methods, so its the specific tone of color that defines how it is made. The various types of white LED lights are classified as a reddish-orange “warm white” (about 3,000 K), a neutral or faintly blue “cool white” (about 4,000 K), and a blue-white “daylight” (about 6,000 K).
The reason we’re hearing a lot about them lately in the horticulture field is because of the enormous benefits and speeding advancement of white LEDs, making them a viable and effective replacement for other traditional light sources.
Initially, LED only came in red, but with advancements in brightness, LED for lighting is now effective, extremely high quality, and energy efficient.
There are commonly two different methods of producing white LEDs: the Red, Green, Blue (RGB) method and the phosphor method. Although the latter is the most used in the industrial lighting sector, but each possesses its own set of merits.
Under the RGB Method, white light is generated by blending the three colors: red, green, and blue, in an appropriate ratio. The RGB for white light illumination provides a light source with a variable color point, allowing the user to select the desired color of the diodes. But practically, that strategy can be cumbersome and expensive, requiring complex circuitry to control the color output.
The other simpler and less expensive route to white light is the phosphor method, which uses a blue chip coated with a yellow phosphor, most commonly a yttrium aluminum garnet (YAG).
The phosphor-converted white LEDs provide more light efficacy and allow tuning the color temperature with phosphor composition. Additionally, the blue diode in white LED is very stable with temperature variations, so when the temperature of these lights increases, you do not lose much on lumens.
This design is limited to producing light in the cool-white and daylight ranges. And because its output is weak in the red spectral region, it has a low CRI value (less than 75).
White phlizon LED technology in agriculture fosters key plant processes such as morphological changes, photosynthetic activity, nutrient metabolism, antioxidant capacity, and flowering in plants.
Parameters such as low consumption, high efficiency, uniform light lines, and light distribution with appropriate wavelength and color ratio are what make white LEDs a commercially viable choice for efficient photosynthesis for plants in the greenhouse.
Not only do these LED grow lights shorten the plant growth cycle to increase the quantity and quality of plants, but they can also use a switch device to control the process of plant growth from seedling, germination, blooming, and fruit phase.
One exciting advantage of white light is the visual comfortability that eliminates glare during the daily maintenance of your indoor garden. They tend to offer lesser visual fatigue and sublime visual effects with these white LED grow lights.
In shirts, these grow lights offer more targeted light solutions while consuming 50-70% less energy than standard practices. Operations that increase in energy-efficiency lessen the burden on surrounding communities.
Obviously, the PAR or 400nm-700nm wavelengths are the most helpful range for plants to perform photosynthesis, but not all light within this range is helpful in the same amounts. By this, we mean the amount of green and yellow light in the spectrum. Though they’re effective, they are needed only in considerably smaller amounts than red and blue light.
Many studies have supported that a low percentage of green light (≤ 24%) enhances plant growth, whereas a higher rate hinders its development.
So here comes the main points of discussion. White LED full spectrum led grow lights, or Broad spectrum lighting, means the complete spectrum of light similar to or close to the sunlight. This includes the wavelengths of 380nm-740nm range, the Visible PAR plus invisible wavelengths, like infrared and ultraviolet.
Now this amount of light emitted by white light LED far exceeds the amount a plant can actually absorb, and more than 50% of this light winds up reflected from the plant’s surface. So generally, this wasted energy, as a result, costs you power money and also gets turned into heat, raising the temperature of the growing environment.
Ultimately, this heat phenomenon would harm plant trichome production and pressurize the grower to invest money in additional cooling equipment and increase their watering schedules.
This whole evaluation calls for the targeted spectrum LEDs into the spotlight. Targeted-spectrum grow lights efficiently work on a light science to produce only the wavelengths the plant needs while eradicating the wastefulness that plagues the white-light LED market.
These diodes allow the growers to adjust the spectrum by maximizing blue lights during the vegetative stage and red lights during the flowering, ultimately limiting the yellow and green light a fixture emits.
Consequently, targeted spectrum LEDs make sense to adopt as they favorably benefit the growing system in all angles- reduce heat, reduce costs, and no cooling measures.
Now, what seems validated by the facts is that White-light LEDs may be easier to manufacture and photograph, but these are all for human convenience. A targeted spectrum is way more beneficial to plants, and ultimately, that is what matters for growers everywhere, from home growers to commercial cultivation facilities.
But the debate does not end here. Despite the potential drawbacks, We still see white LEDs appearing to be the most used horticulture lighting source. so why is that?
This brings us back to the original question, “Can white LEDs grow light? And the answer is the resounding “yes.”
Many recent researches have convinced us more about the effects of different light colors on photosynthesis, and many growers have realized that green light is more valuable than it was initially thought.
Greenlight actually penetrates deeper into the canopy of plants than other colors. This means that a healthy green fixture will stimulate growth further beneath the canopy than a light that doesn’t contain green wavelengths.
Further adding to this is that white diodes are commercially used by nearly all industries for their visibility aspect. More research and developments have been conducted in this field, so ideally, their manufacturing is cost-efficient, and their availability is more accessible than the diodes with targeted spectrum. This results in bigger profits for the companies.
To conclude, what seems relevant to the case are the facts supporting the idea of white LEDs as an efficient lighting source for plants because white LEDs share the same spectrum as sunlight, so they can do a fantastically great job in growing plants indoors as the sun does with plants outdoors.
The importance of light intensity and spectral distribution on plant growth and development becomes evident when plant cultivation is compared under white LED systems.
Vegetable production in enclosed plant factories with white LED lighting, also called vertical farming, has seen tremendous progress.
Also, various ornamental plant species such as roses and campanula were experimented in two enclosed chambers to evaluate the effectiveness of white LED and other traditional HPS light sources .
Surprisingly, the LED-based supplemental lighting saved 60% energy used for electricity compared to HPS lamps and the plant reproduction was progressively marked with these diodes.
Now that we know that grow lights play an essential role in plant growth, but the amount they need can vary quite a bit. For example, your houseplants with a sunny window need low-wattage LED bulbs to do just fine, but some indoor plants demand brighter, more consistent amounts of light to grow properly.
To pick the right LED, as a general understanding, equip yourself with enough knowledge of the these important variables.
- Light spectrum: Light spectrum refers to the combination of different colors that defines the quality of light, usually measured in wavelengths. Plants require a specific wavelength of about 400nm to 700nm, also called photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR), for photosynthesis and overall healthy growth.
The 400-500nm (blue) light wavelength and 610-720nm (red) compensate for each other and contribute the most to photosynthesis. Blue light facilitates the growth of green leaves, and Red light helps flower and fruit and prolong the flowering period. Therefore, LED plant light with a combination of these two colors are efficient in choice. In terms of visual effects, these lights appear pink.
- Light Intensity: Another most crucial factor in choosing an LED grow light is the light intensity- the amount of PAR landing an area over some time period. This is actually measured as PPFD (Photosynthetic Photon Flux Density). In other words, PPFD is a ‘spot’ measurement that tells you how many photons from the PAR range hit a specific area of your canopy over time. From a grower's perspective, 600 to 1,100 PPFD (umol/m2/second) LED is optimal for good growth without any negative impacts of too much light.
- Grow Light efficiency: In order to know how effective your White LEDs are at growing plants, grab an understanding of what is called its grow light efficacy’ first. That is, how efficient the light is at converting the Watts we’re putting in. To measure this, simply divide one by the other – i.e., PPF PPFD per Watt (PPFD/W). A higher value of PPF/W means a higher light efficiency or more energy-saving.
The resulting efficacy value is measured in μmol/J. The higher this number, the more efficient is the light at converting electrical energy into photons of PAR.
- Color Rendering Index (CRI): It is a unit measurement of the color accuracy of artificial lights to show objects. Using a numerical scale of 1 to 100, CRI evaluates the color rendition of things under different lights compared to how those objects would look under natural sunlight. The general rule is that the higher the CRI, the better the color rendering capacity. Typically, light sources with a CRI of 80 to 90 are considered as good, and those with a CRI of 90+ are excellent!
Apart from all these factors, the technology of White LEDs, along with their design, appearance, material, durability, warranty, and certification, will guide you in choosing the right ones for your plant needs.
White LEDs have progressively captured a foothold in the agricultural landscape for their sustainability benefits and profitable features. Though this new methodology is still evolving, giving a number of exciting new developments and innovations on the horizon.
To summarize the information, we all have clearly understood that Plants need light to thrive, and artificial lights such as Phlizonestore PH-series are an excellent way to ensure they’re getting what they need.
The challenging environmental factor, sunlight limited reach to plants during cold weather, and the reduction in crop productivity in cultivable land has directed advancement in indoor cultivation systems.
With all this in place, a White LED grow light is a viable solution to tackle the efficient plant-growing processes. It provides a more comprehensive spectrum of light tailored toward different stages of plant development.
White LED grow lights will ensure that your plants receive just the right colors and intensities needed for optimal health at each stage of their growth cycle!
The white LED technology further marks its footings as more innovations and new technologies in hydroponics continue to be unearthed. Integrating these techniques would help farmers address the complex challenges of food security in the growing world population.