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LED Test 1: A small matter of survival

LED Test 1: A small matter of survival

09 Aug 2012

Update (Feb 2018)

The wait is over - LED lights have taken a leap since we wrote this article in 2012! The GN Telos 0008 is awesome! And we sell it! 

LED Test 1: A Small Matter Of Survival (Aug 2012)

Everyone's talking about LED's

But are they any good? We carried out a series of tests to find out!

This is the first test we did. Here, we find out how good LED lights are at maintaining herbs.

What We Did (LED vs. CFL)

We wanted to see which was best at maintaing herbs  - a 90W LED or 125W CFL

Setting Up

We set up two XL BudBox Grow Tents - a CFL went in one, an LED in the other.

We bought:

  •  2 x basil
  • 2 x parsley
  • 2 x chilli plants 

One of each went into each tent (divided at randon)

Each light was then suspended 90cm above the plants, as recommended by the LED manufacturer.


90W UFO LED Grow Light
£90 RRP

The LED light was unexpectedly loud! The fan used to cool the circuit board made a right racket.

In a different tent, you'd have heard it over the extraction system.

Day 2

We were in for a shock. All plants under the LED looked and felt much drier than those under the CFL. 

The parsley had suffered most  - but, to be fair, it didn't do too well in either tent.

We gave plants a good watering.

Day 3

All parsley plants revovered well. The ones under the LED light were still a little worse for wear. 

We did spot an aphids on the chilli plant kept under the CFL, but there were no signs of an infestation.

All plants under the CFL were sprayed with Pyrethrum anyway, just in case. 

Day 6

Plants stayed stable over the weeked. They hadn't dried out enough to cause any serious problems.

The aphids were also gone!

Results (Day 7)

This is the first time we've taken plants out of the tent. 

It's quite tough to check plants under an LED lights. The purple glow masks colour changes. So this is the first time we've had a really good look at them.


Parsley, Day 7 Parsley, Day 7


Both parsley plants had suffered at first. They were making a good recovery, though!

The one gown under the LED (right) looks a little sorry for itself. 

It's smaller and droopier with more yellow leaves. 



Parsley, Day 7 Parsley, Day 7


Both basil plants are doing well. No yellow leaves in sight!

If anything, the one grown under the LED light looks bigger and busher with darker leaves. 

Both plants have a couple of new shoots at the top, too. 


Parsley, Day 7 Parsley, Day 7


There's a clear winner here. The LED chilli (right) is clearly bigger. But the leaves look gnarly and pinched. The plant may well be stressed. 

Those on the CFL chilli are flat and smooth. 

While the chilli under the LED was bigger, the chilli under the CFL was healthier.

Results (Day 14)

The parsley was still struggling, the basil flourishing and the chilli plants about the same. 


Parsley, Day 7 Parsley, Day 7


Both parsley plants are well past their best. Both have yellow leaves. 

The big difference is their size. 

The one under the CFL is much bigger and still has useable leaves. 



Parsley, Day 7 Parsley, Day 7


Both basil plants were excellent.

The LED basil plant is still bigger and bushier. But its colour has started to fade and its leaves are drooping. The CFL basil plant has far more useable leaves. 



Parsley, Day 7 Parsley, Day 7


There's no yellowing here!

THE LED chilli has the edge on growth. But the curling leaves are a concern. The CFL chilli didn't grow as much, but all new growth is healthy.

About the author

Keith looks after our stock and staff. He's a bit of a hippie and has the hots for chillies. If you want to grow them, ask Keith how it's done.

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