LEDs vs CFLs
Get breakdowns of their best models for growing cannabis:
HLG 65 V2 Quantum Board (all versions work well from seed to harvest)
If kept too close, LEDs may cause cannabis leaves to look discolored similar to a nutrient deficiency, even if nutrient levels are fine.
Electric Sky LED grow lights (The Green Sunshine Company)
Actual Power Consumption: 520W
Breakdown of Most Popular HLG LED Models:
Actual Power Consumption: 180W
3 Main Types of LED Grow Lights
Grow Space: 2.5’x3.5’’
With LEDs, always look at the “actual power draw” or “actual power consumption” which is the amount of electricity the LED panel actually pulls from the wall. When comparing different LED grow lights, this is the closest you get to a side-by-side comparison.
Anyone that has opened a tent with mature cannabis plants under HPS light which has been running at high temperatures (e.g. 30ºC) will have smelled the intense aromas that flood out of the plant. Running your tent cooler with LED allows you to keep more taste and flavour in your buds instead of losing them to extracted air.
Traditionally many cannabis growers fight grow room temperatures, their grow rooms usually running 3 or 4ºC above the optimum point. With LED grow rooms run naturally at a cooler optimum temperature.
You may not notice this issue since soil (and many grow nutrients) already contain adequate levels of Calcium and Magnesium. Calcium/Magnesium supplemental nutrients are widely available in any grow shop.
The combined benefits of LED mean that HPS is increasingly looking a dated technology, producing a light spectrum that is not optimised for cannabis and too much heat. LED, by contrast, does not waste energy producing the useless orange/yellow/green wavelengths.
The transpiration differences mean that Calcium and Magnesium ions can be less mobile under LED and this may cause deficiencies that you will have to correct with nutrient additions.
LED power levels have been increasing significantly over recent years, and at the same time so have the LED efficiencies. Early LED’s would convert 15% of electrical energy to light energy, now the best LEDs convert over 50% of electrical energy into light and that figure is rising.
These days LED is very powerful and hanging distance will play a large role in the performance. The most common mistake when growing cannabis with LED is that the lights hang a little bit too close to their plants, especially seedlings which can suffer stress if the light is too intense for the first couple of weeks.
Calcium and Magnesium deficiency
Due to the lower ambient heat levels associated with LED the plants may often show a reduced need for water consumption. Remember that when watering, since inexperienced LED growers can be tempted to over water their plants which reduces root growth and subsequent plant growth. Cannabis roots need oxygenation to grow fast, over-watering them reduces root oxygenation and reduces plant growth and yield.
The advantages of LED are becoming more and more obvious and this is reflected in their increased popularity. With each passing year the power and efficiency of LED continues to improve. They are less expensive to run compared to HPS and run much cooler.