LED Side Lighting

by /u/ekrof

A very important kind of lighting for bucket gardening are LED strips, which can be installed on the walls of the container as a supplemental source of lumens. These SMD LEDs (Surface-Mount Device) are not powerful enough to act as the main lighting, but they provide sufficient energy to make a difference for the plant. This is specially useful for crowded buckets, as the sidelighting penetrates below the top canopy. LED strips are a cheap and always recommended upgrade for any bucketeer.

LED strip types

5gal are the smallest size for Space Buckets

There are many types of SMD LEDs: for Space Buckets, 5050, 5630 and 7020 chips are recommended, while 3528 should be avoided. The 5630SMD LED offer the best heat to lumen ratio, and are much brighter than the 5050SMD strips. Meanwhile, 7020 chips are harder to find and less reliable, with a higher heat footprint. All of the LED strips can be purchased in waterproof and non-waterproof variants. For SB, the waterproof strips are the most durable and recommended.

Single chips

Single LED chips can also be used for Space Bucket sidelighting: an array of 1w or 3w LEDs can provide an interesting alternative to SMD strips. This solution is usually harder to install, but more effective in the long run. With these kind of LEDs, it is always a good idea to keep the heatsinks on the outside of the growing container.