Can LED Strip Lights Be Used As Grow Lights?

can LED strip lights be used as grow lights

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Indoor gardening objects are delicate art that requires patience, skill, and a little luck. Whether you’re an experienced green thumb or a newbie to the world of gardening, one thing is certain: you need the right tools to succeed. 

Are you now looking for affordable LED strip lights that want to replace professional LED grow lights?

Yes, growing light strips are indeed much cheaper than full-spectrum LED plant grow lights. Flexibility is also available in many cases, making LED strips a particularly good choice for smaller grow rooms.

But can these colorful LED strip lights really help your plants thrive?

Let’s take a deep dive into the world of LED gardening. Read on to learn whether you can use LED light strips to grow plants and where they are most useful for indoor growers.


Do LED Strip Lights Help Plants Grow?

The flexible LED lighting is small, long and thin fixtures that are typically used for mounting on cabinets or other furniture accents. Novice growers are thinking that it would be nice if all they needed to grow cannabis were these cheap LED strip lights. Consider the money that could be saved!

They have become a popular topic of discussion among amateur growers due to their cheapness, compactness, and convenience.

  • Someone on Quora asked if the multi-color LED strip lights used for parties could be used as LED plant lights.
  • YouTube also has many demonstrations on how to bring DIY plant lights into indoor home gardens and use LED strip lights for growing plants.
  • There are also some LED strip light suppliers who use the LED gimmick to mislead users that LED strips can be used as grow lights.

However, it is always right to keep a clear head and think independently.

These small, inexpensive grow light strips can only be used as a supplemental light source in a grow room, or as a work light in an office or kitchen. As if they were ordinary LED lights, they do not have enough output to support growing plants.

LED strip lights
Pexels-Dzenina Lukac

LED Strip Lights VS Professional LED Grow Lights

LED bar lighting strips and professional LED grow lights are two different kinds of LED lights with other uses and functions.

Spectral Output

Color-changing tape light can provide a wide range of colors for different lighting effects, but may not have the specific spectral output needed for plant growth. 

LED full-spectrum plant lights are designed to provide specific wavelengths of light that are best suited for plant growth and can easily support a grow room without any other light source.

Light Intensity

LED grow lights are usually much brighter than strip lights because they need to provide enough light for the photosynthesis of the plants.

LED strip lights are designed for decorative purposes and may not be as bright considering that they are integrated into human life.

Heat Output

LED grow lights generate more heat than indoor LED lighting strips because they have a higher intensity and specific spectral output. This may require additional cooling measures to prevent damage to the plants.


LED grow lights are designed for growing plants. They have features such as adjustable spectral output and intensity, timers, and dimming functions.

LED color strips are designed for decorative lighting applications. They have features such as remote control and color-changing options.


LED plant lights are more expensive than HPS lights due to their special design and features. 

No doubt, that is certainly more expensive than the color LED light bar, much more expensive. 

The input is always proportional to the gain.

do LED strip lights help plants grow

Are LED Strip Lights Sufficient to Support Plant Photosynthesis?

LED strips used for decoration, are usually very low power and do not consume a lot of electricity. But this also means that they do not emit a lot of light. Not enough to stimulate photosynthesis in plants.

Of course, different plants require different amounts or intensities of light. The term used to describe the amount/intensity of light is PPFD.

  • Microgreens are one of the least light-demanding edible plants you can grow, requiring about 100-200 umol/m2/s of PPFD. 
  • Things like tomatoes, peppers, and cannabis will require up to 600 umol/m2/s PPFD.
  • If your LED strip consumes 20W, it will probably only output about 25-50 umol/m2/s, even if it is squeezed together.

Most grow lights try to emit a natural spectrum that is as close to the sun. The LED lights used for parties are too weak, and color filters make them even weaker to be LED grow lights.

Those kinds of lights are designed for entertainment and have sharp spectral peaks. If you want artificial light to grow your plants for the best results, spend heavily on lights that are spectrally rich and designed for growth to get the job done.

Nowadays, many plant growth light manufacturers produce full-spectrum plant lights to meet the needs of users and comply with market development.


Using LED Strip Lights in Your Grow Room

LED strip lights do have a number of uses, even if their use in growing plants is limited to supplemental lighting.


If you have a grow room setup, you can use them in some key areas to help minimize lighting costs and keep you and your plants safe.

You can definitely use them in the germination area, either alone or in conjunction with some CFL or T5 fluorescent lights to help provide a broader spectrum. 

LED strip lights for seed starting can provide adequate lighting during the germination phase, as plants need less light in the early stages of their growth cycle.

Everyday Lighting

Around the grow room, you will need some light to illuminate the tools and objects you interact with. Areas close to the sink or hose are the best places to arrange strip lights.

Equipment Room

Larger grow rooms may have an equipment room containing gadgets and lighting system panels, power supplies, alarm system front ends, etc. 

This area is an ideal place for some well-placed LED waterproof tape lights. They are very bright and do not get hot and are easy to install.


The LED strip lights can be installed in a low spot near a staircase or sidewalk. It illuminates the sidewalk so you don’t have to turn on the main light. 

The colorful LED Christmas tape lights mean you can use colors that plants don’t often use for lighting to avoid light interfering with the plants’ work and growth.

multi color LED strip lights
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Final Thoughts

You’ve tackled this article with the bravery and determination of a knight fighting a dragon.

LED strip lights = beautiful colors

LED grow light = correct plant growth spectrum

You should get it: multi-color LED light strips are not enough to help plants grow and bloom healthily. But they do come in handy for other purposes, for the pre-emergence stage of plants or as supplemental lighting in the grow room.

In other words, the flexibility and low cost of LED tape strip lights make them useful in a variety of applications, even if growing plants is not one of them.

If you don’t want those large and bulky LED grow lights, you can take a look at those cost-effective T5 LED grow lights. Or look forward to our new products that will be available soon.

You can freely assemble the LED plant lights in the shape of your own growing room arrangement to provide an efficient light environment.

If you are interested in our new products, you can contact AUXGROW for the latest news.

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