Fluorescent vs
LED Grow Lights

Fluorescent grow lights produce a combination of light spectrums aimed at promoting photosynthesis. They also allow the plants to achieve maximum height since they emit low heat compared to High-Intensity Discharge (HID) grow lights.  Do these features make fluorescent a suitable alternative to LEDs? Here’s a complete breakdown of LED vs fluorescent grow lights.

LED vs Fluorescent Grow Lights

LED grow lights are diodes or semiconductors that emit a combination of blue, green, orange, and yellow UV light for horticultural use. This technology stands out because the light produced is the closest replica to sunlight compared to fluorescent or HPS bulbs. In addition, some models have features where farmers can activate purple UV light for nurturing flowering plants.

Advantages of Led Grow Lights

LED grow lights are diodes or semiconductors that emit a combination of blue, green, orange, and yellow UV light for horticultural use. This technology stands out because the light produced is the closest replica to sunlight compared to fluorescent or HPS bulbs. In addition, some models have features where farmers can activate purple UV light for nurturing flowering plants.

Compatible With Smartphones

Recent innovations have produced LED grow lights that allow farmers to control light cycles and intensity remotely. After setting up the panel, a grower downloads an app and connects to the LED through Wi-Fi. It’s quite a life-saver for cultivators traveling long distances and might forget to activate flowering or regulate light intensity. The same feature is crucial for first-time growers who are still learning the ropes.

Compatible With Compact Spaces

LED grow lights are popular in compact-size grow kits, such as the 24 x 24-inch model since crops can thrive without experiencing heat stress. This advantage makes LEDs a safe bet for novice cultivators eager to learn about indoor growing while nurturing one or two plants.

Requires Minimum Dehumidification

A cultivator using HPS lights inside a 4 x 4 grow tent needs to create space for a dehumidifier. The accumulation of heat produced by the bulb and moisture released through transpiration nurtures mold spores into full-blown fungi. This additional equipment results in the farmer paying expensive power bills. LED grow lights only produce 33 percent of the heat emitted by HPS bulbs. This edge reduces the need for a dehumidifier except during winter when external humidity increases significantly.

When Should You Use an Led Grow Light?

Plants that grow tall and develop thick bushes require penetrative light reaching the undergrowth to maximize yield production. It’s also crucial to have a grow light that adapts to the crop’s flowering stage. Peppers, for instance,  flourish under a light that’s rich in red wavelengths. Tomato plants produce large fruits when exposed to red and blue wavelengths.

High-Intensity Discharge bulbs consume 70 percent more energy than diodes. A 200-watt LED produces a similar amount of lumens emitted by a 600-watt HPS bulb. Their inability to produce different wavelengths of light limits yield production, making them an expensive option for illuminating large areas.

What Are Fluorescent Grow Lights?

Fluorescent grow lights contain mercury vapor and a white phosphorous coating inside the bulbs. They’re used to nurture seedlings or plants that require a low amount of UV energy. These bulbs come in two designs, the most popular being the Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL). Tubes come in different diameters such as the T5 and T8. Light is produced when electricity passes through the electrodes and stimulates the mercury atoms to move vigorously. This movement produces ultraviolet light which becomes brighter as the wavelengths pass through the phosphorous coating.

Can You Grow Plants With Regular Fluorescent Lights?

Yes, you can germinate seeds using regular fluorescent bulbs because they produce heat and light that are conducive for seedlings. In addition, some houseplants require a moderate amount of UV light to carry out photosynthesis. As the seedlings transition into a vegetative state, the cultivator has to purchase alternative grow lights for the crops to grow strong and healthy.

Advantages of Fluorescent Grow Lights

Affordability

Fluorescent grow lights are highly affordable and easily accessible at any store. The light fixtures cost less than $100, making this option the most affordable compared to HPS and LED grow lights.

Allows Maximum Vertical Growth

Seedlings can grow without experiencing heat stress when a CFL is suspended two inches above the soil. As the plants grow taller, the farmer maintains a two-inch distance between the bulb and apex.

Reliable Source Of UV Light

A 26-watt CFL bulb provides green and yellow light wavelengths that are necessary to promote photosynthesis. This process provides seedlings with sufficient energy to develop healthy roots. The wavelengths produced by CFL maximize the growth of foliage and improves the plant’s chances of survival.

When Should You Use a Fluorescent Grow Light?

Cultivating Crops That Require Low UV Energy

Kitchen herb gardens require a moderate amount of UV light to cultivate crops into maturity. The average duration for most herbs is three weeks. It makes sense to purchase a couple of T5 or T8 fluorescents to supply light because their low consumption of electricity makes them affordable compared to HPS or LED bulbs.

Germination

Seedlings require UV light to perform photosynthesis and develop healthy roots. Fluorescent lights enhance the success rate of germination by providing warmth to the soil. In addition to boosting microbial activity, the heat activates the seedlings’ metabolism.

Nurturing Houseplants

Green plants are common inside home yoga studios because they increase fresh air supply and enhance aesthetics. A homeowner can enjoy vibrant greenery throughout the year because CFL bulbs are low maintenance, and provide sufficient UV light that’s beneficial for photosynthesis.

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