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LED Test 3: Transplanting And Vegetative Growth

LED Test 3: Transplanting And Vegetative Growth

Alex Grady

Update (Oct 2020)

LED lights have taken major leaps forward since we wrote this article in 2012! Check out the range of LED growing lighting - we stock lights from Telos, Gavita, Maxibright and more.

LED Test 3: Transplanting and Vegetative Growth (Oct 2012)

Everyone's raving about LED's. But do they work?

We decided to see for ourselves. This is test 3 of 3. 

Here, we find out if LED's are any good during transplanting and vegetative growth.

What We Used

For this test, we needed to upgrade our LED!  

One kind retailer sent us a 360W LED unit worth a whopping £550. It's a serious bit of kit - just look at it!

We were looking forward to putting it to good use.

The manufacturer reckoned it'd outperform any 600W light. 

Sounds promising. 

To find out if they were right, we decided to make this one an A/B test - their LED vs. our lowest cost HID.

LED - £550

This is what £550 of LED looks like! Something we did notice is that it only has one hanging point. Lights like this rotate now and then and mess up your footprint. Not a great feature.

HID - £49.95

For our HID, we just used a bog standard 600W BAY6 Euro Light  (£49.95). 

What We Did

We used 2 of the cuttings and 2 of the seeds that we rooted in Test 2

Step 1

We left it a little late to transplant. All cuttings were a bit manky. The extra time under the UFO LED didn't do 'em much good. Still, the roots were nice!

Step 2

The two cuttings were transplanted into 3"" Grodan Transplanting Cubes.

Step 3

Two Large BudBox Tents (100cm x 100cm x 200cm) were set up.

Step 4

To make it a fair test, we used one fan to draw air from both tents.  

Step 5

Next, we set up the lights and put them in the tent. 

Step 6

After the pest problems we had in Test 2, we decided to add a Hortishield Insect Trap.

Step 7

An Accuread Temperature and Humidity Meter also went into each tent.

Step 8

We made a DIY bubbler for each tent, using:

  • Black buckets
  • Oxypot net pots

One cutting was transplanted into each pot. 

Step 9

The two plants grown from seeds were placed in RhizoPots.

One went into each tent. 

All plants got a good spray of an organic insecticide, and lights were set to run on an 18hr cycle.


Since the cuttings looked so shabby, we were genuinely worried the test would be over before it began. 

We were in for a surprise...

Day 10

By day 10, the cuttings in both tents had seriously improved!

They almost looked like normal plants.

The cutting under the LED looks the best, but it was the healthier of the two cuttings so that doesn't surprise us.

The plant under the HID light wasn't doing as well, but it did start out with only one good leaf on it! 

So, it's too early to really judge which light is best.

Day 28

Plants in both tents were looking good!

The one in the HID tent had improved the most, and was looking much bushier with lush, green leaves.

The one under the LED light wasn't doing as well. It had gained some height, but was lacking lateral growth. The leaves were also thicker, darker and leathery.

We actually took some measurements, to be really precise.

  Plant under LED Plant under HID
Min temp 10.7oC 10.4oC
Max temp 37.3oC 39.3oC
Min humidity 11% 10%
Max humidity 65% 66%
Lux reading 400 460
Height 29cm 25cm
Width 29cm 35cm

The environment in each tent were pretty similar. So why were the plants so different?

We have to put it down to the light.

Granted, this test wasn't perfect. If we repeat it in future, we'll probably bring the LED closer to the plant (even though the manufacturer recommended a minimum gap of 100cm). 

For us, this test was good enough to prove that £550 worth of LED didn't outperform a £49.95 HID light. Not this time.

But we won't rule LED's out altogether - they're getting better all of the time. When we find one we think is worth the cost, we'll let you know!

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