Hey Planty friends, today I want to talk about grow lights that I used this winter and my recommendations.
My plants are situated in northeast and south west windows. In winter the north facing windows get no direct light (some in summer). However my southwest windows do get some direct sun for about 1 hour a day in the winter and this is where most of my plants are. So, this winter I decided to try out grow lights. I was very apprehensive at first because I knew nothing about grow lights or how to choose the right light. They come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and price point. I wanted something in the “cheap” range with a max budget of $60.
When buying Grow lights there are certain parameters you should know, however not all grow light sellers list these parameters on their product. This makes it harder to decide which grow light to choose.
During my research I came across an article by fellow Canadian blogger Dustin of Here But Not. If you are not familiar with PAR (Photosynthetic Active Radiation) and PPFD (photosynthetic photon flux density), please stop by and read his article here. Dustin also has this awesome article along with an image to illustrate what PPFD is needed for orchids and houseplants. These two articles should arm you with knowledge in choosing the right LED grow light you might need.
However as I said earlier, not all LED Grow lights have these important parameters such as PPFD listed. This doesn’t mean you can’t buy these lights. It just means you have to look for other information that you can use to make a sound judgement i.e. kelvin scale, light wavelength, etc.
This was true for me, as most of the lights within my price range do not mention helpful parameters such as PPF, PPFD so I tested a few lights (over 60 days) based on the information they had on the product. So for this post, I just want to focus on the different LED grow lights I have used and to share with you how they faired.
**The author of Green Obsessions is a participant of the Amazon Associates program, and thus, she gets commissions for purchases made through links in this post.**
LED GROW LIGHT REVIEW
1.NICREW SkyLED plus Aquarium light (30watts/ 6500K equivalent with 450nm blues and 660nm reds/ Price varies depending on length of light fixture): This is the first grow light I would recommend. I love this light so much. I was very skeptical at first when a friend in the aquarium hobby recommended it, as I thought aquatic plants would have different light requirements. However, I decided to give it a try. I had it on a 40 gallon fish tank in the basement, where I kept prayer plants, dragon anthuriums and other high humidity-loving exotic plants. It was the only source of light for these plants. I run the lights during off-peak hours, so from 7pm to 7am (recently changed to go until 10am for a total of 15 hours). Not only did the plants survive but they thrived! New growths were just as big as growths in bright natural light. I even kept at one point a planter of succulents which turned a pink hue and grew exponentially over just a few days as you can see in my picture below.
2. YGROW LED Grow Light 1(00W/ 300-800nm/ $40.99): This light is my second favourite. I kept a hoya compacta under this light and the new growth was not stunted. This first hoya compacta photo was taken Feb 6th 2021 and that new leaf at the tip looks even bigger today as shown in the subsequent pics. Ivies too thrived under this light. I had a string of hearts and string of spades which did grew very tiny leaves under this light, suggesting it may not be ideal for plants with much higher light needs such as some succulents and cacti. However my variegated string of pearls turned a slight pink hue under this light. Of note it could have been due to the heat generated by the light (not much) versus the light as opposed to the intensity of the light itself. Plants were kept from 2 to 10 inches away from the light source.
3. Roleadro Full Spectrum LED Grow Light (75W, 3500K with range 300nm-800nm) CAD $42.99: Now this light is very similar in appearance to the YGROW light. At 75 watts, you could see a slight difference between the two lights – The plants under the YGROW light had no stunted growth whereas those under the Roleadro light had slightly smaller leaves. This Makes sense since this is 75W whereas the Ygrow is 100W equivalent. This brand however has higher wattage LED grow lights which I wouldn’t hesitate to try in the future.
4. DJing Lite LED Grow Lights (White Sunlike/ 480nm-800nm/ 68W /$49.99): These lights come with 3 heads and it is the total of all 3 light heads that add up to 68 watts. Hence each head is about 22? watts. Honestly, I cant say if this light did much. These lights were focused on plants that sat on shelves which were about 3 feet long and were about 1 feet from a south-west facing window. My plants didn’t wither off and die under these lights but neither did the other plants on the topmost shelf with no grow lights. The plants under these lights had no noticeable new growth. I wouldn’t recommend this light unless your goal is to just keep your plants alive. A pro of this light is that , you don’t need a smart plug as it comes with its own on and off timer (which was difficult to figure out at first).
5. Dommia LED Grow Light panel: (20 watts/ 460-465nm/620-740nm,/6000-6500k/ $30.99). This one I got because I had seen it in a lot of youtube and instagram videos. I thought it was worth a try. Just like the DJung Lite, plants under this light are on a shelf about 2 feet away from a southwest facing window. The sun pretty much almost sets in that window so it only gets about 1 hour or so of bright indirect light in the winter. The rest of the time, I think this shelf only gets med-low light. The plants under these lights did not die, but all new growth if any were very stunted. My string of dolphins were literally touching the diodes and yet they produced very deformed ‘dolphins’- that is- they were unrecognizable as dolphins. My plants however are still surviving under these lights. The pro of this light is that is was very light-weight and easy to set up. I used command strips to mount these on shelves. Of note, the poor performance of this light compared to the others is somewhat expected given that it is only a 20 watt light while the others (excluding Djing) have much higher wattage. This light along with the Roleadro and YGrow were kept on the same shelf, albeit different levels, which allowed me to compare them and note heir differences in supporting plant growth.
I know in general it seems the higher the wattage the better the light. While that may be true this assumption is tricky to make for LED lights. For example you may have two 100 watts grow lights from different manufacturers and one might be better than the other due to quality and efficiency differences. Go here to read more and understand this concept better. Most of the wattage that is listed as well is not the actual wattage being drawn from your socket, but rather it is the equivalent or approximate wattage in fluorescent light that is being listed.
Also you might be wondering why I mention growth in winter. Aren’t plants dormant in winter, Barbara? Not necessarily, I find if you provide the right conditions tropical plants will grow indoors even in winter. At least most of my plants seem to grow in winter i.e. Hoya, Monstera deliciosa, Fiddle leaf fig etc.
And there you have it! These are my Grow light recommendations (in the lower price range). I am currently testing other grow lights and may write about them in the future.
**This post was not sponsored**
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Hi, I’m Barbara and I’m a little obsessed with house plants. I share my house plant adventures in the hopes of inspiring you to continue to enjoy the greens in your home. And if you have no plants (yet!) I hope this blog inspires you to add some green to your home. So go on! Try it! I think you might quite like it. And who knows? You may end up being … obsessed too.