Exploring LED Technology - Blurple vs. Full Spectrum

LED technology is an exciting and evolving subject. In our blog, Choosing the Right LED for your company we explored the importance of looking at materials, warranty, and certifications that form a quality LED fixture. However, that is only one piece of the large LED puzzle. One of the biggest components to look at is light wavelengths. Specifically, those that will best compliment your cultivar and bring out the full potential of your crop.

Advancements in wavelength research and technology present an opportunity for manufacturers to choose the wavelengths that will maximize the potential in various plants and Controlled Environment settings. These advancements allow growers to take control and select the best LED according to the needs of the plant. With all the options available on the market today, the true challenge lies in understanding which light is best at achieving the results you seek in your cultivar.

How technology is transforming Indoor Growing Spaces

As technology in LEDs continues to advance, so does the range of products entering the marketplace. Manufacturers are tailoring lights to respond to various circumstances, including lights for vegetative states and flowering. Today there are two LED lighting types that are most seen in growing facilities: Red/Blue wavelength-commonly known as Blurples and Full Spectrum.

Narrowing in on Blurples

Blurples are one example of a narrow wavelength that have maintained popularity within the cannabis space.

Blurples are made up of a combination of blue and red diodes so that the resulting colour appears a bluish purple. The red light is usually the highest percentage, between 75 and 90, and the blue diodes usually account for about 10 to 25 per cent.

A selection of growers believe that growing under Blurples is the most effective way to grow plants because they don’t include wavelengths like “green, yellow, and orange”, which are often underutilized by the plant. Blurples can be incredibly efficient because of the large percentage of red diodes found in the lights, however there are a few challenges:

  • It can be very difficult for growers to work under these coloured lights. Blurples have been known to both cause headaches and have the potential for mood-altering impacts on growers and staff.

  • The purple hue can make it challenging to see the true colour of the plant. This could result in the grower missing early signs of disease or discolouration, which are a key indicator of the overall health of the crop.

  • The full potential of the various wavelengths, such as green and yellow, in LEDs are still being discovered. Therefore, when growers choose to restrict their plant to a specific wavelength they may not be getting the full potential out of the genetics.

Factoring in the Benefits of Full Spectrum LEDs

Full spectrum lighting has come a long way since it was initially used for plants. Today, manufacturers have narrowed down what is best for plant growth and harnessed this information to create LED spectrum recipes that optimize the growth potential in plants. Years of growing and LED research continually demonstrates that plants benefit from a variety of wavelengths; not just the two most well-known light spectrums- Red & Blue

Full spectrum LEDs offer a variety of wavelengths with the ability to more naturally mimic sunlight in a controlled indoor environment. Cannabis thrives when it is given all that it needs, including less researched wavelength colours, found within the sun's spectrum.

Research in horticulture lighting has also shown us that although plants prefer more than just red and blue, they don’t use all the wavelengths produced in sunlight. In fact, if LED companies truly used the full solar spectrum, efficiency would go out the window. However, science has also discovered that plants need more than just red and blue wavelengths. This is why we’ve engineered Aelius LED lights to optimize the full spectrum, by including the wavelengths that the plant needs within the full range of visible light.

It’s about cultivating an environment that is both energy-efficient, while also providing the plant with the “next-best-thing” to the sun.

If sunlight is so great, why not just grow outdoors?