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
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 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.