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Just White LED Fails for Horticulture

Wednesday, 29 March 2017  | 

There’s a lot of just white led lights being sold for growing plants now which completely astounds us that any honest vendor would claim a just white led lamp is horticultural!!

In the past, we didn’t have much choice over our light sources and had either blue, white (ish) or orange options which were used for domestic, commercial and horticulture.

So, let’s clear up this myth about white led and its place in horticulture:

 
Max Lumens for Puny Humans

All white led are designed for humans and the human eye curve response.

What this means is that white led contain the colours that we as humans see and respond to best including blue, royal blue, green, orange and red, and they contain very small levels of hyper red (660nm) the main colour that influences plant growth, flowering and oil production.

White led are also designed for max lumens and always have significantly less PPFD output than mono led (an led that emits just one colour).

One of the reasons for this is the phosphor coating that you will see on all white led, this phosphor is what turns the blue led into white for our eyes. Unfortunately, it also reflects 15 - 20% of the light back to its source where it is cancelled out thus the lower efficiency.

So to summarize:

  1. Inefficiency due to phosphor coating = lower ppfd.
  2. Lack of primary hyper red 660nm.

So why do you ask are these guys selling lights with just white led in and claiming they are horticultural, the simple answer is 'White led are extremely low cost due to their mass production, the cost of a white led versus its Red 660nm counterpart is 70% less' this means that very cheap lamps can be made and sold for a very high profit to unsuspecting customers.

 
   
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