After hearing so many fantastic facts about LED grow lights, some cultivators assume switching to LEDs will automatically improve their crops. Sure, LEDs can be incredibly beneficial, but indoor gardeners need to know how to use them properly. If people don't use suitable LEDs or fail to maintain their grow lights, they could cause significant harm to their plants.
Seven Horrible Mistakes To Avoid When Using LED Grow Lights
Never Use Regular LED Lights In Place Of LED Grow Lights
There are many reasons manufacturers created a separate category for LED grow lights. While regular LED lights share some properties with LED grow lights, they aren't optimized for a cultivation space. With standard LED lights, you won't give your plants the ideal spectrum for photosynthesis, nor will these lights have the appropriate power of PPFD for robust growth.
Also, regular LEDs have a lower diode efficiency than grow lights, which means they will give off more heat in your grow space. Excess heat can alter your room's temperature and humidity, which could have disastrous effects on whatever strain you're growing.
Don't Rely On Cheap LED Grow Light Models
The initial cost for LED grow lights typically isn't as affordable as HID bulbs. Therefore, it's understandable why many people search for the cheapest option when they're just getting started with LED panels.
However, cheap LED grow lights rarely save you money in the long run. These "affordable" LEDs often have subpar efficiency and a shorter lifespan. Chances are that ultra-cheap LED grow lights won't reward you with huge yields, nor will they last as long as higher-quality LED grow lights.
While cost is a significant factor when purchasing LED grow lights, please remember LEDs often save people money over the long term. Focus more on the quality and longevity of your LED grow lights to get a more accurate read on their affordability. Among quality-assured LED grow lights, Mars Hydro does have several affordable options for beginner growers.
Watch Out For The Wrong Spectrum Ratios
Generally, the best LED grow lights will have a full spectrum of lightwaves to mimic natural sunlight. However, not every LED grow light has the optimal balance of light spectrums for every plant. You may find some LED grow lights rely more on greens or oranges, which won't produce the highest yields or the quickest growth. On the flipside, LED grow lights with excessively high UV or IR concentrations can inadvertently kill plants.
Unless you're a professional grow light designer, you should avoid self-designing a full-spectrum LED for your grow space. Instead, it's best to work with a trusted LED manufacturer that has invested heavily into research & development to create a lab-tested LED grow light spectrum.
Avoid Using LED Grow Lights With An Unstable Voltage
In addition to PPFD and spectrum ratios, please don't forget to research the reliability of your LED grow light's voltage. Lights with an unstable voltage will likely emit a strobe effect, which could significantly reduce their efficiency and long-term performance. Even subtle strobe lights may confuse plants, thus stunting their growth and yield potential.
Most LED grow lights will maintain a stable voltage throughout their estimated lifespan. On some special occasions, such as commercial cultivation, obtaining LED grow lights that can work properly under a range of voltages is a must. In a nutshell, it is quite important to confirm the voltage range of your LED grow lights and avoid excessive use if you would like your LEDs last longer.
Never Change Your LED Grow Light Intensity Or Height Too Fast
"Low stress" is the key to success with indoor growing. For the best results, cultivators strive to create an ideal indoor environment that allows plants to mature without expending excess energy on avoidable stressors.
For instance, expert cultivators always carefully plan a strategy before adjusting their LED grow light's height or brightness. Moving too quickly to a new light intensity can disrupt the normal physiological development of a cannabis plant. In general, it takes about two or three days for plants to adjust to a new schedule, so cultivators must carefully monitor their crop whenever making a big move like moving LED grow lights.
In these cases, it helps to have LED grow lights with a dimmer option to reduce the light intensity if you find it's too stressful for your plants. Mars Hydro includes a convenient dimmer in all the LED models to take the stress out of light adjustments.
Due to their growth pattern, plants could benefit from the gradually-changing light by slowly increasing the light intensity or decreasing the light distance, and tend to be more healthy. You can find more about the dimmer settings and distance chart of LED grow lights on this page.
Protect Against Spilling Solution On LED Panels
Most LED grow lights have a protective film or "glue" that protects circuits and diodes from direct contact with the air, dust, and water. This safety feature should be a significant concern when choosing which LED grow light to install in your grow space.
Despite that, however, you should never spill nutrient solutions on LED panels. Certain substances in the nutrient solutions would happen to interact with the protective film, making it dissolve or disfunctional. Afterwards, your LED panel may turn yellow or flake off, and as dust builds on your diodes, they won't be able to give off their full light intensity, which leads to stunted growth and poor yields.
Remember To Properly Maintain Your LED Grow Lights
You don't need to change LED grow lights as often as HID bulbs, but these panels still require routine maintenance. Cultivators who neglect to properly clean their LED grow lights will notice diminished performance over time.
To maintain LED grow lights, cultivators must turn off and unplug all units before a scheduled cleaning. Always use a soft & scratch-resistant cloth dipped into a 50/50 mix of isopropyl alcohol and reverse osmosis water. Gently glide your fabric across the LED board, bars, and enclosure to remove debris and dust. For the best results, most cultivators recommend using this simple cleaning strategy about twice per month.
Avoid Major LED Grow Light Mistakes With Mars Hydro!
As one of the top-selling LED grow light manufacturers, Mars Hydro knows how easy it can be for new cultivators to make errors when adjusting to these lights. However, our expert LED design team has spent considerable time and energy creating optimal LED grow light models for indoor cultivation.
Since our LED grow lights have already gone through multiple rounds of research and development, you’ll start off with a battle-tested design. Chances are less likely you'll run into errors if you start with a Mars Hydro LED grow light.
To learn more about Mars Hydro, please read this page.