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Are LED Grow Lights Considered Indirect Sunlight?

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The use of LED grow lights to produce direct or indirect light caught my attention on Reddit.

While reading about how to care for plants and seeing articles that address it, some indoor gardeners wonder if plants need direct or indirect sunlight. They were unable to distinguish between direct and indirect light from the lights to help plants grow indoors.

Are you confused about this? Keep reading; we’ll help you find the solution.

LED grow lights

Is Direct Light or Indirect Light Better for Plants?

The amount of light required for plants to thrive varies depending on the type of plant and is always determined by the lighting needs of your specific plant. While some outdoor plants prefer partial sun or complete shade, many need direct sunshine. Bright, indirect light is best for the majority of indoor plants.

Is A Grow Light Considered Direct Sunlight?

  • The majority of grow lights used by amateur growers are classified as indirect light.
  • For professional farm growers and earnest enthusiasts, LED grow lights are powerful enough to simulate direct sunlight.
LED grow lights for indoor plants are definitely not in direct sunlight. They are not from the sun, after all. But they are specifically designed to mimic the wavelengths of sunlight that plants need to grow. In a way, grow lights can be compared to indirect sunshine because they give plants another source of light.

The type of indoor grow lights for cannabis, the distance between the light and the plant, and the level of light intensity all play a role in the answer.

Even an extremely low-powered small indoor grow light can provide the close-range, high-intensity light known as “direct sunlight.” For example, an ordinary home light bulb with an output of roughly 800 lumens will create “indirect light” at a distance of 10 inches (25 centimeters) and “direct light” at a distance of 2 inches (5 centimeters).

However, based merely on where the plants are positioned and how the sunshine strikes them, sunlight can also be categorized as direct or indirect. Even if the window does receive direct sunshine, sheer drapes can diffuse the brightness and make it appear indirect.

What Does Bright Indirect Light Really Mean?

Indirect sunlight is basically any light that does not come directly from the sun but is reflected or filtered through some other medium.

While reading through advice on how to take care of plants, you might have come across the phrase “bright indirect light.”. The sun is shining outside and the curtains are open. Do you believe that the light that is now reflecting in is sufficient to provide all indoor plants with brilliant indirect light? That is a misconception, to be sure.

Bright indirect light actually refers to the amount of light intensity required for photosynthetic activity and plant growth. This indicates that the light is sufficiently bright to be equivalent to 800-2,000 FTC.

In order to understand light, you can’t just consider the presence or absence of the sun; you also need to think about the angle of visibility from where the plant is located versus how the plant looks at the sky.

  • Your plant is at the top of a shelf, it has a small view of the sky.
  • Beside a window with a sizable portion of the sky visible, your plant has a wide area of the visible sky.

Try viewing all of your houseplants from a plant perspective if you want to significantly increase their performance. You can observe how much the two angles differ by looking up at the sky from their perspective and how much they can see.

Click and open this video to see a comparison between the plant’s perspective of the sky from a shelf and the view of the sky from the ground beside a window, along with a test using a light meter to demonstrate the difference.

grow weed outdoors

Are LED Grow Lights As Good As Sunlight?

Direct sunlight or LED grow lights? Which one does your plant want?

In general, plants prefer the higher quality of light that sunlight delivers. Because plants can receive from the sun the blue and red light necessary for their growth. Although the sunlight outside is bright, it is not as consistent or intense as the indirect sunlight that comes via windows.

But by allowing plants to receive the light of nearly similar quality, LED full-spectrum plant grow lights may also meet such needs. Your plants will have a broad view of the sky if you garden inside beneath a plant light.

For your plants, grow light like a tanning bed. It provides them with a more focused spectrum and certain wavelengths of radiation. A small solar spa for your seedlings, if you will!

If you have an understanding of how LED grow lights work, you are more likely to learn that full-spectrum plant grow lights can also do a better job of providing ideal light intensity than direct sunlight.

Direct sunlight and grow lights are two different light sources, but both can be considered direct or indirect light. Here are some of the differences between the two.

  • Spectrum. Direct sunlight provides all light, which includes all the colors of the rainbow. LED lights for growing plants indoors provide the specific wavelengths of light that are most beneficial to plant growth.
  • Light Intensity. Direct sunlight has a higher light intensity than your lights. Plants get more energy from sunlight than grow lights, but this also means that direct sunlight is too intense for some plants.
  • Availability. Direct sunlight is limited by the season and weather. Grow LED lights for indoor plants can be used at any time of the day, regardless of the weather. 
  • Controllability. You can control your lights to provide a specific amount of light at a specific time, whereas humans cannot control nature.
  • Distance. Direct sunlight can be more difficult to control in terms of distance, while you can adjust the distance between your grow lights and your plants to provide the right amount of light.


  1. Fluorescent bulbs that provide only the blue spectrum, or incandescent lamps that provide the red spectrum, or red and blue lamps that emit only purple light, are not the best choice for plant growth.
  2. The kind of plant, the environment, and the grower’s particular objectives all play a role in choosing an indoor grow light LED.

Is Indirect Sunlight Enough For Indoor Plants?

Each plant has different light requirements, but for most houseplants, indirect sunlight is sufficient. Please take care to provide low, indirect light for your plants. Even indoor plants require sufficient light to finish photosynthesis.

Is Morning Sunlight Better Than Afternoon Sunlight?

Indirect light is ideal for many indoor plants. They are too sensitive to the strong direct sunlight in the afternoon. Certain indoor plants can benefit from this soft direct light because morning sunshine is not as intense.

Wrapping It Up

You are better knowledgeable about direct and indirect light today. When you locate your plants in the optimal area for lighting, you’ve completed the first step in cultivating lovely, healthy plants.

Overall, any plant owner would be wise to invest in LED grow lights. because they help plants survive and even thrive in less-than-optimal growing environments.

There will also be those who insist that only natural sunlight is considered “real” sunlight. But in my opinion, if grow lights give energy to your plants as sunlight does, and make your plants happy, that’s enough. Whether it is direct or indirect light makes no difference.

Thus, feel free to let your plants enjoy the shine of LED grow lights.