Are LED Lights Good For Indoor Plants? Discover the Benefits!

Looking to buy indoor plants, but worried about limited sunlight exposure? 

Luckily, LED lights can be a great solution to this predicament!  LED lights can promote plant growth and health for a variety of indoor plants, from herbs to decorative flowers. 

In this article, we’ll cover: 

  • LED regular lights vs. LED grow lights (table included)
  • The limitations of regular LED lights
  • Choosing the right LED lights for your plants
  • Signs that your indoor plants require more light.

Let’s get started!

Are LED Lights Good For Indoor Plants? 

Yes! LED lights can be a great option for indoor plants as they are considered one of the best lighting solutions for plant growth indoors. LED grow lights supply the essential wavelengths of light for photosynthesis and also support energy efficiency.

Difference Between LED Grow Lights and Regular LED Lights

Spectrum and Intensity

The spectrum and intensity of LED light is important for photosynthesis – the process through which plants make their own food by utilizing light energy, water, and carbon dioxide.

Grow lights are designed to emit both blue and red light for optimal plant growth. In contrast, regular LED lights might not be equipped with the proper spectrum or intensity for your indoor plants.

Light Output

Another key difference between LED regular lights and LED grow lights is the efficiencies of the two.

While LED regular lights do not consider plant needs in manufacturing, LED grow lights are more efficient and are able to target the light exposure with the right intensity for a plant. 

Heat Output

Heat output is not easily monitored in LED regular lights. This is yet another reason why LED grow lights are superior at keeping indoor plants healthy: grow lights are manufactured to keep heat output low (for cost efficiency and plant stability).


Finally, the cost of LED grow lights over time is more affordable than their LED regular light counterparts due to their electrical efficiency. 

LED grow lights generally have a longer lifespan and lower heat output, whi ch adds to a better overall cost. 

Here is a table summarizing the above information:

LED Regular LightsLED Grow Lights
Spectrum & IntensityMay not contain all wavelengths or the right intensity.Contains both blue and red wavelengths and the right intensity.
Light OutputConverts a small portion of electricity into usable light.Converts a LARGE portion of electricity into usable light.
Heat OutputHeat output varies.Heat output is optimized for plants.
CostElectricity output can be expensive/unregulated.Electricity output is used efficiently by the system.

Can Indoor Plants Grow Under Regular LED Lights?

In theory: yes, indoor plants can grow under regular LED lights. However, a few factors must be considered:

Limitations Of Regular Led Lights For Plant Growth

Regular LED lights emit a general wavelength pattern that is designed to visually mimic how humans interpret natural sunlight. 

However, this does not equate to real sunlight that is usable by plants. If possible, check to see if your LED light emits both red and blue wavelengths.

Also, consider the type of plant that you own.

If you must use regular LED lighting, two great options are the peace lily (spathiphyllum) or Chinese evergreen (aglaonema). These plants, along with some others, are able to adapt more easily to traditional LED lights.

Furthermore, cost is a limiting factor that may prompt a plant owner to use grow lights (as detailed above). All of these reasons should be considered prior to purchasing an indoor plant and its light setup.

Choosing the Right LED Lights for Indoor Plants

Spectrum And Intensity Requirements

The right LED lights should contain red/blue wavelengths and adjustable intensity. Additionally, your LED lights should perform a light cycle; darkness is just as important as light for plants, just as it is for humans!

Recommended Wattage And Coverage Area

The recommended wattage is 20-25 watts per square foot (which also equates to about 500 lumens per square foot). 

Hanging height

The distance your plant should be from its light source is no more than 30 cm, but this is very dependent on the intensity of your LED light. Many indoor plant LED lights will provide a guide for calculating the distance. 

Additionally, the recommended hanging height is at your chest, as this will enable you to see the plant/soil and intervene with water, fertilizer, and other plant essentials. 

Signs Your Indoor Plant Needs More Light

Leaf Discoloration

Leaf discoloration occurs when there is insufficient light over time, which causes a reduction in photosynthesis (and thus, food for the plant). 

There are several color stages to this phenomenon, such as pale green, yellowing, and redness. 

Each stage marks a decrease in chlorophyll production, and eventually an increase in a red pigment that plants create when they are under light strain (anthocyanin). All of these changes occur prior to growth restriction due to insufficient light. 

Leggy Growth

Leggy plant growth (etiolation) is when plants change their physical structure to have longer, thinner stems and wider leaves. 

This is a response to inadequate light exposure, so increasing the surface area of their leaves is a mechanism to soak in more sunlight. 

Slow or No Growth

Growth can vary among plant species, so always check the specific scientific name of your plant and do some reading on its typical behavior. 

However, if your plant looks wilted or underdeveloped, you may need to improve its light situation. 

TIP: Take pictures of your plant every day if you suspect it is not growing properly (or at all). Compare the photos to get a better idea of your plant’s growth!


After reading this article, you should now be able to give your indoor plants a great light setup so that they can thrive in the comfort of your home. 

If you need to reference this article again in the future, feel free – your plants will thank you for being such a diligent caretaker!

John Bayly

John Bayly

John has dedicated his career to the lighting industry. Starting out as an interior designer with a specialism in lighting, he went on to found his own commercial lighting business. He now shares his expertise and passion for all things lighting with readers of