How Far Should LED Grow Lights be From Plants?

The technological advancement of LED lights has revolutionized indoor and greenhouse production. Lights such as MARS HYDRO TS 1000W are helping gardeners achieve their highest possible yields.

Regarding intensity output and spectrum control, these lights are the best option for simulating sunlight and enhancing your plant growth. LED lights accomplish this by using limited energy and producing little heat.

However, to enjoy these advantages to the fullest potential, you must determine the optimum distance between the light and your plant canopy. Since LED lights emit less heat than other grow lights, plants can withstand LED lights being much closer.

A basic rule is that LED lights should be about 12 to 30 inches above your plant canopy. As your plant grows, you have to adjust your lights’ height to accommodate the height of your plants. Most gardeners change their grow lights heights using chains or cables, which allow the light source to be adjusted depending on the plants’ height.

grow light distance calculator

Calculate LED Grow Light Distance – By Wattage And Growth Stage

When determining how near LED grow lights should be, the key thing to consider is your LED lights’ wattage. Higher watt lights mean that you will need to place your lights further away from plants, while you can move low watt lights closer to plants without harming them.

Another thing to consider when determining the right LED light placement is the changes for each growth stage. If, for instance, your LED is dimmable, you can use dimming to change the light intensity on the plant surface. While if your LED is undimmable, your only option is to adjust the hanging height.

LED Light Distance from Plant in Each Growth Stage:

Seedlings Stage

The seedling stage is the most vulnerable. Thus, it does not require as much light intensity as other phases. If you have to use LED lights during the seedling phase, you need to raise them high above the plants to prevent the soil from drying up. The ideal distance to maintain between LED grows lights and seedlings is 25-35 inches. Once the roots start to develop and sprouting begins, you can minimize the distance between the lights and the plants.

Cloning Stage

Cloning is one of the popular practices among most cannabis growers. The process includes growing cannabis from mature plants clippings or cuttings. The distance between lights and clones varies from that needed for the seedlings.

Unlike seedlings, clones require intense light to initiate the growth process, while the distance from the light to the canopy should be 14-36 inches depending on the plant maturity and LED grow light wattage.

Vegetative Stage

The vegetative phase needs intense light. It is the stage that plants begin maturing and utilizing photosynthesis for rapid growth. LED grow light should be near to the plant canopies at this phase to enhance the light intensities.

The perfect distance between the lights and plant canopy at this stage should be between 12 to 24 inches. Although the plants require high light intensity during this stage, you need to monitor them closely to prevent adverse effects caused by too much or too little light intensity. We have reviewed few grow lights for vegetative stage. You can pick any of them from the list.

Flowering Stage

The final phase of the plant growth cycle is the flowering stage when the plant goes through buds’ production and stem growth acceleration. During the growth period between the vegetative and flowering stages, you need to increase the lights’ height from the canopies.

However, the increase of the light’s height needs to be gradual, and you should closely monitor the process to make sure that the distance doesn’t harm the plants in any way. Unlike the vegetative stage, light intensity during the flowering phase needs to be lower. The appropriate distance between the light and the plant canopy should be between 16 to 36 inches.

Furthermore, plants tend to increase in height during this phase. Hence, if you need to keep the plants’ height short, you don’t have to raise the height between the light and the canopies. However, when you keep lights too close to the canopies, you might end up with wider sprawling growth or plant damage.

Effects of Too Much Light on Cannabis Crops

Cannabis crops require sufficient light for vegetative growth, healthy buds’ establishment, and the photosynthesis process. Some of the reasons cannabis growers prefer LED grow lights is because they are easy to monitor and don’t emit a lot of heat.

Although cannabis needs lots of light for healthy growth and high yields, too much light can cause distress to the plants. The same thing can occur when you don’t give the plant sufficient light.

Here are a few side effects of placing LED grow lights too close to the cannabis plant:

  • Stunted or irregular growth
  • Yellowing of the leaves
  • Plants weathering and dying
  • Sunburn
  • Plant defoliation
  • Green stained veins
  • Upward-facing leaves or bleaching

Advantages of LED Grow Lights for Indoor Gardens

Investing in LED grow lights for indoor gardening offers a long-term economic benefit over traditional lighting. Furthermore, it is eco-friendly with minimal maintenance costs. Here are major advantages that may lead an indoor gardener to buy LED grow lights.

Rapid Harvest Cycles

One of the crucial benefits of using LED grow lights is that they can foster plant growth rate. The lights can be used 24 hours a day, giving the most plant growth possible per season. It is also possible to boost annual plant yields with this grow light, leading to higher profits.

Performance and Durability

LED lights are built to be durable with a service life of 100,000 hours. Low running temperature is a major reason these advanced lights last longer than conventional lights, which emit more heat. The lower temperature poses less wear and tear on the setup, giving it a longer lifespan. Because LED light is based on solid-state technology, there are no moving parts, allowing for more durability.

The LED light offers all the needed lighting to grow healthy crops in an indoor environment. Plants will be healthier when providing them with LED lights than conventional lighting that produces harmful light wavelengths. These lights also offer the gardener control over regulating the light wavelength, allowing for an ideal photosynthesis process. Furthermore, LED grow lights eliminate the need to set up indoor cooling systems since they don’t produce heat.

Environmental Safety and Energy Efficiency

Energy and cost are vital concerns for any gardener seeking sustainability. LED lights are over 60% energy efficient compared to conventional sources. They produce less heat and give suitable light at a lower cost than what a traditional grow light can offer. The key reason energy bills are lower with LED lights is lower heat production and energy use.

The Bottom Line

Every indoor gardener wants to have maximum yields from quality plants in the shortest time possible. Grow lightings play a key role in determining the time it takes for the plant to mature. Light also enhances the plants’ status, but only when you maintain the right distances from the crop canopies.

Keeping the correct distance also gives you the desired height and crop uniformity. Determining the distance required using LED grow lights doesn’t come easy for most indoor gardeners. However, when you follow the given guidelines, it will become easier for you to make the right distance calculations for your next plant growth cycle.

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