Now that you have your LED grow light, you must use it properly for optimum growth and yield. The most common mistakes with LEDs are not having enough light and not placing the light at the proper distance. If you do not provide your working area with enough light coverage, you can expect less than robust growth. Similarly, incorrect light placement will not have optimal results. Placing a light too close will stunt growth, too far will cause stretching. Follow the recommended coverage areas listed on the Details Page of each light for optimal light penetration and coverage. Keep I mind that there are many variables to indoor growing, so you may want to add or remove some light depending on your own specifics.
Keeping the proper distance between your LED grow lights and your plants is important for robust photosynthesis and growth. Your LED grow light provides the wavelengths of light your plants need for growth and flowering. G8LED grow lights are formulated to the photosynthetic activation radiation (PAR) wavelengths necessary for plant growth. Plants will reach for the much-coveted light source just like they grow towards the sun in outdoor conditions. The general rule of thumb is to increase the distance between the top of the plants’ canopy and the light source as the light becomes more intense. This means that hydroponic LED grow lights of different power ratings will perform best at different distances. The 240 Watt LED Grow Light should be 12-24 inches from the top of the canopy. Larger lights such as the 450 Watt LED Grow Light should be lowered around 14-30 inches from the top of the canopy. More intense lights such as the 600 Watt and the 900 Watt LED Grow Light should be kept at 14-36 inches from the top of the canopy of your plants.
Since LEDs do not emit a great amount of heat like MH/HPS systems, you can better regulate the room temperature and the temperature immediately below your light. Ambient room temperature can be 82 degrees instead of 72 degrees during lighting and can go as low as 60-65 degrees when the lights are out. Be sure to use less water than you would normally use as LED lights emit much less heat than conventional methods. Wait until your soil is a little bit dry before watering again. You should also use 30% fewer nutrients as compared with MH/HPS when growing with LEDs
Do not work in your grow room when it is supposed to be dark in the OFF cycle. The plants need the dark time to rest and light intrusion will negatively affect their growth. If you must work during the OFF cycle, use green light bulbs for lighting as the green light is reflected by the plants and will not disrupt their sleep schedule.
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During the vegetative state is when you will start to reap the benefits of your LED grow lights. During this period you will save on your electricity bills and get superior growing results if you properly follow the general tips listed in this section. In the vegetative stage, plants need less intense lighting than in the flowering stage.
Vegetative growth is maintained with 16 or more hours of light. You can even keep the plants under 24 hours of light and they will continue to grow in this stage. However, the recommended growth cycle is 18 hours of light during the vegetative growth stage. This light cycle will create an environment that mimics the photoperiod in the summer with long days. During the vegetative stage is when you will start to reap the benefits of your LED grow lights. During this period you will save on your electricity bills and get superior growing results. In the vegetative stage, plants need less intense lighting than in the flowering stage. It is during the vegetative growth stage that cloning, transplanting, pruning, and bending are all initiated.
Turn your LED grow light ON for 18 hours a day and then turn the light OFF and leave your plant in the dark for another 6 hours. Your plant will need four to six weeks of this cycle to be ready to start the flowering stage. Pre-flowers are the first indication that the plant is ready to move into the next stage of growth. The pre-flowers grow at branch internodes just behind the leaf spur in around the fourth week of vegetative growth, when the plant is six to eight weeks old. When you start seeing pre-flowers forming this means that the plants are ready to go into the flowering stage. You can continue to grow in the vegetative growth stage or switch to flowering at this point. The pre-flower looks like a regular female flower with white fuzzy pistils. The pre-flowering can take from one to two weeks. Wait to induce flowering until pre-flowers have appeared. Induce flowering by switching your light cycle to 12 hours of uninterrupted darkness and 12 hours of light.
With LED grow lights we mimic the seasons by changing the light cycle from 18 hours a day to 12 hours. Give your plants 12 hours of uninterrupted darkness and 12 hours of light to induce visible signs of flowering in two weeks or less. Adding more light to the plants also help give bigger flowers and yield. It is recommended to add an all red 90 watt led grow light at this stage for more robust flowering.
Once you have induced flowering for one to two weeks and flowering starts, it can last can last eight weeks or longer. During flowering growth patterns and chemical changes in the plants (i.e. indoor growing flowering stages). Stems elongate, leaves grow progressively fewer blades and flower formation is rapid at first then slows. Phosphorus and potassium uptake increase to promote floral formation. Your nutrients should have less nitrogen and more potassium and phosphorus during flowering. Don’t give nutrients too often as this can cause your plant to get nutrient burned. You should use about 30% fewer nutrients with LED flowering grow lights as compared to MH/HPS systems. Do not overwater, over nutrient and do not harvest too early.
LED grow lights are great for cloning plants. Proper usage of LED grow lights will multiply the number of plants you have in a methodical and environmentally friendly way. Cloning requires only 2-3 weeks in the vegetative state. Use an 18-20 hour ON cycle for your clone and spray it with water intermittently. As with the vegetative state, when your plants are seedlings the light should be at the recommended hanging distance. As the plants start to grow, adjust the light upwards a few inches at a time.
Protect Your LED Grow Lights
Buying a LED grow light is a capital investment for your indoor growing hobby or business. The investment offsets other capital expenditures by eliminating the need for ballasts, reflectors, heat venting systems and air conditioning in addition to lowering operational costs by dramatically decreasing the electricity consumption of your grow room. Keep your lights clean and free of smoke, dust or bugs by cleaning with compressed air. Smoke, dust and bug accumulation inside the light acts as insulation on the heat sinks and diode boards. This layer of unwanted insulation will cause the light to heat up more than the normal amount and can lead to diode failure. To provide further protection, you can connect your LED grow light to a surge protected power strip or a power stabilizer. Doing so will regulate the voltage coming from your power outlet and eliminate any potential power fluctuations. If too many high wattage devices are connected to the same circuit there can be voltage fluctuations which damage power drivers inside the LED lights. This is especially true for growers who use solar energy to power their grow rooms since these systems tend to have power spikes and surges. Grow Green with G8LED technology!