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If a plant gets too much light, whether that’s natural or artificial, it can start to show signs of distress. However, light and heat are two different things. And while certain grow lights can emit enough heat to burn the leaves of a plant, it won’t be the actual light burning them.
All plants need light to grow, but if you’re using artificial light for your indoor plants, you may worry about whether you’re giving them too much light. Or perhaps you’re asking “how far should LED grow lights be from plants?”
Many people also worry about burning their plants with grow lights. But with the right lights, correct set-up, and monitoring, there is very little chance that you’ll find burn marks on your plants.
Continue reading to find out more about grow lights, the risks of fluorescent or LED burning plants, and how to correctly use them.
You can burn your plants – regardless of what they are – with grow lights. But it’s usually not the light intensity that does the burning.
Rather, grow lights that emit a lot of heat, and if placed too close to the plants, can cause photo-bleaching and even burn the leaves.
This can be avoided, though, by careful monitoring of the plants and lights, and controlling the length of time for which the plant is getting light.
As well as making sure that you have the correct distance to wattage ratio.
If your plants are getting burned from their grow lights, chances are that there is too much heat coming off the light. Or it is just too close to the plant.
Some grow lights produce less heat than others, and these have a much lower chance of ‘sunburning’ your plant.
LED lights produce the least amount of heat, making them a safer choice for those who are worried about burning plants with grow lights.
But, even with less heat, you’ll still see LED burning plants if the lights are not at the correct distance.
This is not to alarm you, but if your plant is overexposed to its grow light, without a break and the correct distance, there is the possibility of it dying.
But the good news is that this would take a very long time – so you’d need to be on vacation or just really unaware of your plants for it to happen.
Plants that don’t get enough sunlight while they are growing indoors can really benefit from grow lights.
These lights essentially bring the ‘sunlight’ indoors and help the plants soak up all of the light in order to photosynthesize.
So, grow lights are good for plants growing indoors, and the lights definitely do more good than harm.
Giving your fiddle leaf fig a grow light, for instance, can help make this finicky plant a very ‘happy chappy’ in whichever corner of your home you place it.
If you’re buying lights for your plants, you’re going to want to look specifically at grow lights.
These are designed to give your plant the right amount of light and heat, as well as the correct red and blue light waves. So essentially, a grow light is a plant light.
A regular light bulb – typically used in your house – is not ideal for plants, since they emit too much heat and don’t emit the correct light waves that the plant needs for growth.
The ideal grow light distance from plants will depend on the light you’re using. Fluorescent and incandescent lights need to be further away from the plants than LED grow lights do.
This is again because of the heat that is emitted from the different types of lights.
LED grow lights can be as close as 6 inches from plants, without burning or scorching them. This will provide the perfect amount of light and heat, and you’ll see your plants grow splendidly.
Read more: How close should grow lights be to plants
For plants outside, sunlight only reaches them during the daytime – so it makes sense that your grow lights should act in a similar way.
Your plants should get 8 – 10 hours of light and then they should get a period of darkness to ‘rest.’ Just like we humans need.
If you leave your grow light on for 24 hours a day, every day, you will most likely lose your plant. It’s best to try and have grown lights on a timer.
Most houseplants are actually quite communicative if you know what to look for. They will show you signs that something is wrong.
If you’re giving your plants too much light, you may start to see brown or black edges on the leaves. And in more extreme cases, leaves may start falling off.
On the other hand, if there isn’t enough light reaching your plant, you’ll start to see yellow leaves, or the leaves will be wilting and drooping.
So, are LED grow lights worth it? I definitely think so.
If you’re worried that your plants are not receiving enough direct or indirect sunlight in your home, you may be ready to invest in a grow light or two.
This is never a bad idea and you’ll see your plants grow significantly faster and more lush under a healthy dose of light.
I simply suggest that you ensure you know the basics of grow lights and that you are prepared with the correct information to set your plants up for success.
But don’t be afraid to experiment a little bit. As long as you are watching your plants grow, you will see if they need any help or if they are being hurt by the light.