How to Grow Cannabis Using LED Lights

LED growing lights behind cannabis plants.

It used to be that lighting was one of the most expensive aspects of growing marijuana. A good set of HID or CFS lights could set you back a couple hundred with all the required equipment. Now, thanks to LED lights, cannabis grow lights are much more affordable, making growing cannabis at home much more attainable.

Related: 4 Best Grow Tents for Growing Marijuana

Different Types of Cannabis Grow Lights

The main types of cannabis grow lights are HID, or high-intensity discharge, CFL or compact fluorescent lights, and of course, LED or light-emitting diode lights. HID lights were the most commonly used cannabis grow lights when indoor growing first became popular in the 1990s. This was because they produced just the right number of lumens to grow cannabis indoors. 

Though they work exceptionally well, HID lights are not without issues. For instance, a good setup is very expensive. If your plants don’t produce to your liking, you could find yourself out a few hundred dollars with no way to make your money back. 

Those who could not afford a good set of HID lights would resort to CFLs, which, while not as effective during the flowering phase, managed to get the job done most of the time. Often times, these were the only options for growers with smaller operations, or those growing a couple plants for personal use. CFLs have gained some popularity over the years, but they would never be as popular as HID lights, which are trusted by growers all over the world. That is until LED lights entered the picture.

Why Use LED Lights?

Cannabis plants and A Pot for Pot LED grow light indoors.

There are many reasons to use LED lights when growing cannabis.  

Affordability

For many, the main reason is that they are relatively inexpensive when compared to the much pricier HID setup. This is especially true if you are growing a smaller number of plants. Our grow lights at A Pot for Pot are specifically designed for growing a small number of marijuana plants and is priced well under $200 – proof that high-quality lighting doesn’t need to be expensive.  

This was not always the case. When LEDs were first gaining momentum among growers, the technology was still fairly new and had not entirely been perfected. Think about how expensive and inconvenient cutting-edge technology like smartphones were when they first came out, and it often wasn’t worth it. For example, many agree that the first-generation iPhone was not the greatest. However, today’s smartphones are much more affordable, and they are everywhere. 

Energy Savings and Privacy

Another thing to consider is how much money LED cannabis grow lights will save you on your energy bill. HID lights are good at what they do, but the amount of energy they use will cause your energy bills to skyrocket. This not only hurts your pocketbook, but it can also draw unwanted attention in your direction either by a landlord, a nosy neighbor, and/or the police. When people had to keep their marijuana growing activities under wraps, spiking electricity bills often gave them away. While cannabis is legal in more areas now, this does not necessarily mean that you want the whole neighborhood knowing what you are up to. 

Reduced Water Usage

Not only are LED lights more energy-efficient, but you’ll also save on water usage as well. As you are now aware, HID lights use a lot of energy, which in turn produces more heat. This dramatically increases the temperature of the grow room, causing your plants to consume more water. Cannabis is already quite the water hog when compared to other plants and growing even just a small amount of plants uses a lot of water. Any way to reduce water consumption is great for the environment, not to mention great for your utility bill. 

Durability

Finally, LED lights last longer than HID or CFL bulbs, ensuring many years of good use before they need to be replaced. Traditional cannabis grow lights last for only 20 thousand hours. In contrast, LED bulbs last more than twice as long, for up to 50 thousand, or sometimes even 100 thousand hours. That’s five times the life of HID lights! 

Convinced? Check out A Light for Pot to start growing cannabis with LED lights.

Start Growing with LED Lights

Cost is not the only reason to make the switch to LED lights. Experienced growers know that seedlings and plants in the vegetative stage benefit more from blue light, while flowering plants need red light to thrive. Before LEDs, growers would have to purchase two different types of lights: metal halide for the vegetative or blue light stage, and high-pressure sodium bulbs for the final flowering stage. 

With LED cannabis grow lights, this is not the case. Different color LED bulbs give a grower the ability to manipulate the color spectrum, thus allowing you to use the same light setup for both phases of growth. This not only eliminates the need to purchase two different types of lighting setups, but you’re also guaranteed the best results in your plants!  

The benefits of using LED cannabis grow lights are many. The next big question is how to grow marijuana using only LED lights. A good rule of thumb is one light per every 1.5 square feet. This generally will yield you up to 6 ounces per plant, which ends up covering what you spend on the light and will definitely end up saving you money in the long run.  If you are growing only 1-2 plants, our single 75 watts LED light supplies plenty of light for your plants. 

Even if you’d like to grow more than a few plants, you don’t have to go for the more expensive HID lights. Simply add to your setup with either a few larger LED bulbs or several of the smaller ones. If you opt to go for the latter option, make sure that your plants and your lights are spaced out correctly, as you want to make sure that each plant gets adequate amounts of light. Using too few lights can cause stretching, whereas using too many lights leaves you at the risk of light burn, as well as energy overconsumption.

If you are willing to step up the quantity of your grow, that is, really take it to the next level, you should be prepared to spend a little bit more cash. A large scale 350-400 watt LED operation that will outdo the average 600 watts HID lighting system is not going to come cheap. However, a larger LED light setup will still be more cost-effective than an HID setup of the same size. 

Related: Smell-Proofing Your Indoor Marijuana Grow Room

Drawbacks to LED Lights

If there is one drawback of using LED grow lights, it is that your plants’ grow time will be slower than if you were using HID lights. Again, this is because HIDs emit more energy than LEDs, leading to faster flowering.

You should also be aware that while LEDs don’t put out as much energy, your plants are still susceptible to light burn. So, like any other lights, make sure that you are keeping your lights a proper distance from your plants. 

With LEDs, you don’t have to place your plants as far away as you would with HIDs. Keep lights below 300 watts about 30-70cm away, or just around 12-27 inches. Lights above 300 watts should be kept at 70-80cm away, while gradually decreasing space when flowering. Larger wattage like 450 should be close to 80 cm or 31 inches. 

Be careful when making any changes to your light setup. Decreasing the space between plant and light too quickly might have detrimental effects. Keep an eye on your plants and take it slow!

Getting Your Grow Lights

a Light for Pot - Single Pot 75 Watt LED Grow Light

a Light for Pot - Single Pot 75 Watt LED Grow Light

If you’re a more impatient person, LEDs might not be for you. However, most beginners will benefit from using LED cannabis grow lights. In fact, they might be just the thing you’re looking for! Our LED grow lights can be purchased individually alongside our Complete Grow Kit. A Pot for Pot 75 Watt LED lights are each perfect for a pot with 1.5 sq ft of canopy, and multiple lights can be arranged for a larger grow.

Related: How to Harvest Weed - A Step by Step Guide

Use A Pot for Pot Complete Grow Kit to help your cannabis plants grow strong.

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