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How to Use LED Lighting in Hydroponics

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How to Use LED Lighting in Hydroponics

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Overview

Hydroponics is the system of growing plants without soil that allows gardeners to grow plants year-round in a controlled environment. In order to accomplish this, hydroponics gardeners commonly use artificial lighting to promote plant growth and vitality. Although several types of artificial lighting systems are available, light-emitting diodes (or LEDs for short) provide hydroponic gardeners with an efficient and long-lasting source of light. LEDs also give off less heat than conventional bulbs, making them ideal for growing heat-sensitive plants.

Step 1

Select an appropriate LED lighting system. Kits are available and they are ideal for the beginner because they make the initial setup very easy. The price of a LED system can seem high, so it is important to find a cost-effective system that meets your individual needs. However, although the initial cost may seem pricey, the LED light systems will more than make up for the cost in energy savings over the long run.

Step 2

Choose the appropriate bulbs for your individual situation. Classic white bulbs produce a wide spectrum of light, most of which is not useful for plants to engage in photosynthesis. On the other hand, LED lights generally come in red or blue, the two most useful wavelengths of light for growing plants. A combination of red and blue LED lights will provide for larger spectrum coverage, and as a result, better plants.

Step 3

Install the light system over your plants according to the directions provided. One of the benefits of using LED lights in hydroponic gardening is that the light is directed straight down. Therefore, you will not need to worry about installing any sort of reflective system in addition to the original LED lights. In addition, a LED system produces virtually no heat, which means that you can mount them fairly close to the plants. In fact, some systems boast that you can mount them as close as six inches to the plants.

Step 4

Attach any peripheral control devices, such as plant timers. Although you can certainly always turn on your LED light system by hand, you can also attach it to a plant timer. These timers are a great way to ensure that you have preprogrammed control over your hydroponic lighting system.

Tips and Warnings

  • Always follow the manufacturer's mounting directions carefully.

Things You'll Need

  • LED lighting system

References

  • Hydroponics.com: Hydroponics Lighting
  • Hydroponics Farming: Information Regarding Hydroponics Lighting
  • Hydroponics Fact Sheet
Keywords: hydroponics, LED, plants

About this Author

Writing out of Hamden, Conn., Kyle Lanning is a full-time student who has been writing at the collegiate level for the past five years and has been published extensively on eHow. Lanning currently holds a B.S. in business management from Clarkson University and is pursuing a J.D. at Quinnipiac University School of Law.

Article provided by eHow Home & Garden | How to Use LED Lighting in Hydroponics