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LED's as Grow Lamps. A new scam?

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LED's as Grow Lamps. A new scam?

Postby Durgan » Feb 18, 2009 7:41 pm

There seems to be an influx of propaganda propagating LED's as grow lamps. There is much sales hype that cannot withstand scrutiny. Most of the pictures on the Internet are most misleading.

Is there any meaningful research ongoing regarding these lamps? Apparently there are now some high intensity lamps available, and if efficient they may be an improvement of the various high wattage lamps now in use. I am very skeptical about the claims of the sellers.

LED is light emitting diodes. They have been around for years mostly used as indicator lamps on electronic equipment , since they don't burn out, and emit little heat.
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Re: LED's as Grow Lamps. A new scam?

Postby Eeyore » Feb 18, 2009 8:58 pm

I can't imagine they would be very effective as a grow light at all....
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Re: LED's as Grow Lamps. A new scam?

Postby kelly_m » Feb 19, 2009 8:26 am

Here's what I've learned on LED's as grow lights. Just a nutshell synopsis, as I am no scientist!

LED's emit not UV, no full spectrum light. They do emit red and blue spectrum. which is good, but not good enough. And the more expensive lights are better than the cheaper....The cheaper ones do not emit enough of the red/blue, nor enough light output...

either way, LED's don't seem to be effective on their own (although this is too new to make that conclusion, further studies need to be done by reputable growers ....most of the sites I found were Marijuana grow sites, and well, they don't cut it in my books. the suggestion is to use a CFL (compact fluorescent) in conjunction with the LED's.

At the very least, you're saving $$ compared to the regular fluorescent gro-lites......

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Re: LED's as Grow Lamps. A new scam?

Postby IlluminateNGrow » May 21, 2010 11:43 pm

I am partial because I do sell LED grow lights but I really wanted to clarify some things. All LED grow lights should not be judged equal. Most of the LED lights on the market really are not meant to grow plants. They are made in China and are put together with 1-3 W blue/red LED bulbs that are leftover from making things like headlights and flashlights. Plants need red and blue wavelengths for photosynthesis but, like the previous post stated, plants need a full spectrum light. The original patented LED grow light is a full spectrum light and it has been engineered from the bottom up for growing plants and that is all. There are so many benefits to this light that I can’t list here. Here is a press release that sums it up much better than I can here. ... 06659.html
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Re: LED's as Grow Lamps. A new scam?

Postby Durgan » May 22, 2010 5:23 am

Testing is dead simple. The tests presented in my experience are misleading to the extreme. Most seeds germinate in the dark, and some twit presents a grow tray with a LED lamp above indicating success. This is scamming, and I slam them at every opportunity.

Growing anything to fruit production under artificial lights is almost impossible, and is so uneconomical to be beyond most home growers. Every commercial grower utilizes as much sunlight as possible, supplemented by artificial lighting.

I have completely given up on artificial lighting, and use as much outdoor light as possible. This often means work by moving plants outdoors when possible. The beneficial effect on plants is astonishing, compared to any artificial light.
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Re: LED's as Grow Lamps. A new scam?

Postby ViridianFields » May 23, 2010 1:12 am

Interesting discussion. I have an interest in lighting technology, though not for growing plants. I maintain a reef aquarium which is lit with metal halide as the sole energy source for the various corals and alga I maintain (and the plethora of other creatures that depend on the algae and each other for food). LEDs can be appropriate for the growth of ANY photosynthetic organisms, as a number of people with reef aquariums are now using LEDs as the sole lighting and getting excellent growth in corals and macroalga. There are a number of things that they are doing different than these so called 'LED grow lamps'... using heatsinks and fans to cool the LEDs, enabling them to run at a higher amperage (and then using the full potential of the LEDs), using high quality LEDs (Cree X-REs or Phillips Luxeon III or V), mixing different colors of LEDs but including the high quality (and high output) whites, etc...

I could go on... metal halide and high output T5 fluorescent took a while to catch on (and for people to understand how to use it). I've seen some pretty nice high light plants growing under T5HO (and we've all seen news images of metal halides or even high pressure sodium lamps during marijuana grow op raids). I know for a fact you can grow coral under a home-built LED array, so building your own but with plants in mind shouldn't be too hard (and wouldn't technically be illegal because you would be 'experimenting', the same reason they get away with it in the aquarium community).

The reason there aren't any high power LED rigs aimed at the general public, the 'home and garden' market, is because a company called Orbitech owns the patent rights to putting high output LEDs over plants and corals, or rather using LEDs to grow plants or corals... and actually flexed it's legal muscle last year when they took a company called PFO to court. PFO had been selling high output LED fixtures in the reef aquarium market. In the end PFO didn't survive because they were a much smaller company... but now there are a few new, even higher output models out on the market also aimed at the reef aquarium community (and a couple of them are pretty sleek fixtures and are apparently quite well made). I believe this may be possible because there was an outcry in that community and it turned out that it was possible that there was public knowledge of the use of LEDs to grow corals before Orbitech was granted the patent for the use of LEDs in that application... not sure though, I haven't really kept up with it. My tank has been downgraded to a very small, fishless system (5.5 gallon), mostly so I can spend more time doing 'planty stuff' :mrgreen:

Orbitech was the first to come up with putting LEDs over plants though, before anyone else (and was granted that patent several years before the one for using them on corals), and they are an aerospace type company, so it's unlikely you'll see any really useful grow lamps in the near future (though patents do expire eventually).

I should note that I also agree that artificial light is best only as a supplement to natural light when it comes to growing plants to fruiting. It has its place for growing flowers though...

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