Will House Plants Grow Under Normal LED Light?

Without any lighting your house plants won’t grow at all. But you probably don’t live in the dark and have modern LED lights in your home. So you may wonder if your plants will grow under regular LED lighting. The answer is a strong yes, but perhaps it’s not your best option. Read on for a comprehensive overview and what to do instead.

Is Normal LED Light Sufficient for the Growth of House Plants?

Plants need regular access to a natural light source. The natural light helps them grow lush and healthy. So, what if your plants can’t get sunlight? How much LED light is sufficient?

We should understand how plants acquire and use light to answer this question.

How Do Plants Get Light?

Natural light comes in a spectrum of colors of different wavelengths.

Plants are like humans in this respect. They can only capture wavelengths between 380 and 750 nanometers.

They use the photons in these light rays to produce nutrients through photosynthesis. Generally speaking, plants have two types of chlorophyll that absorb different wavelengths:

  • Chlorophyll A: absorbs wavelengths of the orange-red and violet-blue light rays.
  • Chlorophyll B: absorbs only blue light rays.

This means that plants tend to absorb red and blue sun rays more than any other color. So, the question remains: does normal LED light work? Does it provide these necessary wavelengths?

Does Normal LED Light Work?

Yes, your house plants can grow and thrive under normal LED light. Yet, it isn’t the healthiest type.

Regular LED bulbs emit light rays of different hues and wavelengths. Thus, they provide your plants with different wavelengths, including the red and blue light rays they need for growth.

The problem is that regular LED lights aren’t designed for plants. Their primary purpose is to light up a given space for human eyes that don’t need a specific wavelength.

LED light bulbs create white light in two ways:

  • They convert blue light waves into white by a phosphor coat over the diode. In this case, the white light lacks the red light necessary for the plants.
  • They mix green, blue, and red lights to form white light. This way, the white light includes unnecessary green light.

That’s why everyday LED lights can help your plants grow but won’t give the ultimate results.

seedlings cultivation with LED plant lamp
LED grow light bulb in a regular desk lamp

Normal LED Light Vs. Grow Lights

Now, if typical LED lights aren’t the best, what is?

Many people prefer specialized grow lights as they best stimulate the proper growth of house plants.

Here’s a basic comparison between LED lights and grow lights:


LED light bulbs emit white light. That light can sometimes be suitable for your plants, but there are some cases when it’s not.

Unfortunately, these bulbs don’t come with a label to tell you how they create this white light. Therefore, you won’t know whether the light rays reaching your plants are suitable for their growth or not.

On the other hand, grow lights cater specifically to the needs of plants. That’s why they produce more blue and red wavelengths in a full light spectrum.


Think about it this way; you’re using normal or grow LED lights to compensate for the lack of natural sunlight. Therefore, you need to mimic the intensity of natural light depending on the season and plant type.

Unlike normal LED lights, grow lights give your plants the required intensity with reduced heat. LED lights have a higher intensity which can harm the plants.

Bulb Shape

Regular LED light bulbs come in the shape of a teardrop. This shape isn’t haphazard; it’s basically why the bulb emits uniform light to fill the entire space.

However, when it comes to caring for house plants, some of that light will be wasted as it doesn’t fall directly on them.

On the other hand, grow light bulbs come with flat edges. This way, all the light is projected straight onto the plants. This makes grow lights your best option in dark corners.


Regular LED lights are much cheaper than grow lights. They’re generally less intense, which, of course, translates into less energy consumption.

On the other hand, grow lights can cause a huge electricity bill. Fortunately, grow LED lights have recently become designed to be more cost-efficient.

indoor plants with LED grow lights
Special LED lights for your house plants

How Much Normal LED Light Do Plants Need to Grow?

If you choose to go with normal LED light, you should determine the amount of light you need for your plants to thrive.

This depends on two factors:

The Amount of House Plants

Regular LED light isn’t strong enough, and most of it doesn’t go to the plants in the first place.

Therefore, you need to increase the amount of LED light around your house plants to guarantee exposure.

For instance, for every square foot of plants, use around 30 to 50 watts of regular LED light. This way, your house plants receive an amount of light equivalent to what they’d get in nature.

The Type of House Plants

Each plant type requires a certain amount of light to thrive. This means that not all house plants can grow under the same conditions.

For instance, you need to pay attention to your low-light plants because they won’t thrive in too much light.

That’s why it’s a great idea to place similar plants together while setting up your house plants to cater to their specific needs.

Where to Place Normal LED Light?

A good question to ask is where exactly to place your normal LED light bulb.

Now that you know how much light you need, let’s discuss where to place your light bulbs for optimum results.

First, we recommend placing the lights on top of the plants, not to their sides. This placement helps distribute the light over the entire space.

In addition, LED lights shouldn’t be too close to the plants. This is to avoid burning the leaves.

Interestingly, the distance between the plant and the normal LED light bulb is directly related to the wattage of the bulb.

For instance, you should place high-wattage bulbs 35–50 inches above the plants. On the other hand, bulbs below 1000 watts should be 10–20 inches away from the plants.

4 Signs Your House Plants Need More LED Light

Did you know your plants can communicate with you? They can signal to you to increase their light intake.

Here are four clear signs that your house plants need more light:

Impaired Growth

You should monitor your plants’ growth rate. If they don’t grow as expected, something is wrong with the amount of light they get.

The problem may range from weak and slow growth to no growth. In addition, you may notice that the sprouting leaves don’t reach the size of older ones.


Legginess refers to the condition when the plant’s stem grows super long with very few or no leaves at all. This can be a classic sign of a lack of light.

Although leggy growth can result from several issues, the amount of light is one of the most common ones.

Cutting leggy stems will solve the side effect but not the issue. You have to fix the lights to avoid seeing such long stems again.


Plant leaning is another problem that usually comes hand-in-hand with legginess. It’s simply when your plant leans toward any direction.

Believe it or not, leaning means that your house plant is striving for some light. When your plant leans, it’s seeing a spot of light in this direction and is moving to catch it.

A leaning plant isn’t healthy, and it’s one of the first unmistakable signs that you need to increase your plant light intake.

Discolored Leaves

The color of the leaves is one of the crucial signs of vitality. Any hue different from the expected can reflect a need for more light.

For instance, when the plant doesn’t get enough light, its leaves turn brown, yellow, or pale green.

In addition, variegated plants appear faded to the point of losing the color patterns we appreciate.

3 Signs Your House Plants Need Less LED Light

Yes, light is essential, but don’t overdo it. Your house plants only require a certain amount of light. More light can cause problems as well.

Here are three signs that your plants are taking in more light than necessary.


Any sign of droopiness in your house plants should cause alarm. It means poor health and can sometimes be an early sign of death.

Droopiness signifies dehydration caused by the intensity of LED lights. However, it can also be a result of over or under-watering. So, if you know you water your plants properly, reconsider the lights.

Excessive shedding often comes with droopiness. Unfortunately, it’s too late for those shed leaves, but solving the primary cause can save the existing ones.


Brown leaves should raise a red flag. Browning starts at the edges and grows to take over the entire leaf. Don’t ignore this sign.

This color can be a sign of dehydration caused by exposure to potent lights. In a house plant setting, this can mean that you use strong wattage or that you’ve placed light bulbs too close to the plants.

In any case, reduce the intensity of your LED lights with the first sight of browning.


If you ignore brown leaves, they’ll burn. Just like you can get sunburnt, excess light can cause the plants to burn.

Burning shows in the crisp texture of the leaves. This, too, can be the result of dehydration caused by excessive LED lights.

Unfortunately, there’s no turning back once this happens. Therefore, you should just cut these burnt leaves and reduce the light or move it further from the plants.