The lighting of seedlings and indoor plants is one of the prerequisites for their proper development and growth, as light is the basis for photosynthesis. In summer, the green inhabitants of the apartment get enough light from the windows. In bad weather or during autumn and winter, plants indoors or in greenhouses suffer from a lack of light. This situation is especially pronounced in northern latitudes. Artificial light can help. The right lamps and lights can compensate for the lack of sunlight, stimulate seedling growth by preventing them from being stretched, and allow plants to bloom regularly. In this article, we will work with the website bubgo to examine the most common parameters of plant lights, their advantages, and disadvantages, and identify their weaknesses, so that you can decide which plant lights you need to buy or not.
What Are the Functions of Plant Lights?
Industrial greenhouses for growing vegetables, tropical fruits, or flowers throughout the year use artificial light to simulate the changing times of the day. Heat-loving tropical plants and native vegetables require a certain level of sunlight in order to grow, flower, and bear fruit in an unseasonal or atypical climate regime. To reproduce sunlight, experts installed special lights on the ceiling structure.
Houseplants, which grow in almost every unit, also need additional lighting to regulate sunlight from late fall to early spring. Potted flowers, ficus, ornamental trees, pepper shoots, balcony cucumbers, and other vegetable plants will grow better and form thick and strong stems if sufficient light is provided. In today's lighting market you can find a wide variety of lights.
LED lights can be used for artificial lighting. However, do not rush to buy the first lights that appear and give a standard white or warm yellow light. Their optical spectrum is not important for plants. Such bulbs are suitable for flat lighting, but not for greenhouse lighting or other rooms used for growing seedlings, flowers, or vegetables.
Characteristics of Plant Lights for Plant Growth
Young seedlings and mature plants need sunlight. Under the influence of ultraviolet light, physical and chemical processes of photosynthesis take place with the aim of producing carbohydrates and promoting the development of plants. Young shoots use different wavelengths of light for stable life processes. Seeds require one wavelength of light for germination, another for growth, and a third for flowering.
In order for plants to develop properly, the full spectrum of light must be available. Blue and red wavelengths are the most effective. Plants also need ultraviolet and infrared spectrums that are not visible to the human eye.
A. Effects of blue light on plants
Blue has a wavelength of 420-490 nm. This spectrum is the key to photosynthesis and shows the effective development of the green part of the plant. It is essential for seed germination and shoots growth. Under the influence of blue light.
1. Development of cotyledons and leaves of seeds.
2. Formation of strong, fleshy leaves.
3. Prevention of shoot elongation, which leads to a thin stem.
4. Close to the time of bud formation and flowering.
Full exposure to blue light and ultraviolet light ensures the development of squat, compact, sturdy stems and fleshy, juicy leaves with a rich green color.
B. Effects of red light on plants
The wavelength of red light corresponds to 600-700 nm. This spectrum is essential for the following plant development and formation processes
1. It stimulates the flowering period.
2. It increases the flowering period of crops.
3. It activates the formation of fruits or seeds.
4. It has a positive effect on the taste of fruits.
Due to exposure to the red light spectrum, plants grown in greenhouses are able to flower, bear fruit, and form seeds.
Typically, the number of red diodes is two to three times more than the number of blue diodes. The ratio of LEDs in a lamp depends on the goal and purpose of the illuminator. For example, a general-purpose lamp that provides growth, flowering, and crop yield simultaneously is equipped with blue and red LEDs in a ratio of 7:10.
It also requires a certain amount of ultraviolet and infrared light to develop adequately, so it would be nice if the light had diodes that emit radiation invisible to our eyes. This factor is important when growing fruit and berry crops, but not for flowers and houseplants.
What is the Optimal Light Temperature for Plants?
An important parameter in the selection of lighting equipment for seedlings is the color temperature of the light. This is measured in degrees Kelvin (K). To create lighting that is as close to natural daylight as possible, you should choose a fixture with a color temperature of 6500 to 8000 K.
Lighting Patterns for Greenhouses and Indoor Plants
The intensity of the light is as important as the wavelength of the color light. To choose the right luminaire for your application, you need to consider physical characteristics such as light intensity in lux, and the luminous flux in lumens. You can use the formula to figure out how much light intensity you will get from a particular lamp. 1 lux = 1 lumen/1 square meter. So if you buy a 1,000-lumen lamp, you can fully illuminate one square meter of nursery area from the center of the light source. This gives you 1,000 lux, but the farther you are from the light source, the lower the light intensity, which means that the edge of a 10 m2 plot will get 100 lux instead of 1,000. the larger the greenhouse area, the more lighting fixtures you will need.
Tropical and regional crops are illuminated in their natural habitat by sunlight equivalent to 3.2 to 100,000 lux. When selecting artificial light sources, the light requirements of the plants must be considered.
Plants grown outdoors require light bulbs with a higher light intensity of 15-20,000 lux. To ensure they bloom properly, you will need to install 50,000 lux lighting.
Plants in this category include.
1. vegetable crops: tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants, peppers.
2. fruit trees and ornamental trees.
3. hibiscus flowers.
4. palm trees, cacti, aloe vera.
Provide light fixtures with moderate light intensity for planting plants that naturally grow in weak shade areas. These plants include begonias, anemones, pineapples, lobelia, ficus, chlorophytum, and phlox.
Low-intensity lamps of 20-10,000 lux provide artificial lighting for shade-loving plants: millipedes (violets), red palms, calla lilies, and begonias.
What Role Does the Wattage of a Lamp Play?
Artificial lighting should not only be efficient but also economical to run. Therefore, you should pay great attention to the wattage of your lamp. Wattage is the amount of electricity a lamp consumes, measured in watts (W). Modern LED lights consume relatively less energy than their fluorescent counterparts, while being able to illuminate the same size area, creating the same, if not higher, intensity of luminous flux.
The Difference Between a Greenhouse and Indoor Plant Lights
Greenhouse lights are subdivided into different types depending on their design. Each bulb has a specific set of advantages and disadvantages.
A. Fluorescent or fluorescent lamps
Fluorescent lamps are used as supplemental lighting to natural light. They have a low energy requirement but also produce a low luminous flux. They should be installed as close to plants as possible.
Manufacturers make lamps for plant growth and separate lamps for flowering. Universal luminaires for both plant life stages are also available. Compact fluorescent lamps are small energy-saving devices. Their main advantages are as follows.
1. low power consumption.
2. they do not produce heat.
3. they produce moderate luminous flux.
4. they have a longer life than sodium and metal halide lamps.
This lighting fixture is ideal for creating quality artificial lighting for indoor flowers. The disadvantage of LED lights compared to LED bulbs is the high power consumption.
B. LED bulbs for plants
LED bulbs and panels are popular due to a number of significant advantages. These lights emit a powerful beam of light, consume little energy, produce no heat, and protect the leaves of plants from burns. Also noteworthy is their long service life.
LED bulbs are suitable for seedling lighting in both large and small greenhouses. the ergonomic design of LED lights increases profitability in the ornamental and horticultural business.
Some LED models for artificial greenhouse lighting are based on a combination of blue and red LEDs of different wavelengths. Individual lights combine blue, red, and green LEDs. this luminous flux will be perceived by our eyes as white light.
How to Calculate the Amount of Led Lights Installed for Artificial Lighting in Greenhouses?
There is a rule of thumb to remember when installing lights: the amount of light a plant receives is inversely proportional to the square of the distance from the light source to the pot. In other words, the further away the light is, the less light the plants receive.
However, another indicator should not be forgotten: the higher the light fixture is placed, the wider the area of light flux it covers. This leads to a less economically attractive conclusion: you need to place an individual bulb above each plant or install a high-powered light bar. Therefore, in addition to increased lighting costs, you will incur higher maintenance costs. You can minimize your costs in the following ways.
Installing the bulb in a reflective shade or covering the inside of a standard square with mirror tape or self-adhesive foil. Mirrored panels or foil material should be used to decorate the ceiling, allowing light to bounce back and forth onto the planter. By doing this, the lighting is distributed as evenly as possible throughout the greenhouse.
The lights should be positioned at the top to ensure even illumination of the seedlings. Installing the lights at an angle will cause the seedlings to stretch, form stems crookedly, and bend over.
Rules for Using Led Bulbs
Tomatoes grown in a greenhouse require the most light, eggplants, and peppers less so. If they are grown in winter, when dusk is early, you should not skimp on lighting. However, the lamps should be on for no more than 2-3 hours in the early morning and no more than 2-3 hours at sunset.
Glass does not transmit the UV rays that plants need, so it is worth turning on the UV lights from time to time. This will allow the fruit to gain its flavor as it ripens.
How to Choose the Best Plant Lights for Houseplants?
The first thing to do is to determine the lighting needs of your plants, then think about the desired results and weigh the budget. LED bulbs are the most energy-efficient lighting devices. With the right arrangement, you can get even lighting with minimal maintenance.
In addition, most LED lamps are designed with standard E27 sockets, so they can be installed in standard outlets. A table lamp with LED bulbs is ideal for illuminating a small box of seedlings.
LED bulbs for artificial lighting are divided into two types of lamps.
1. bi-color, consisting of blue and red LEDs.
These lights create a kind of optic nerve fatigue lighting. It is very difficult to stay in a room with Plant lights for a long time. LED bi-color bulbs can be used at home but should be installed in a non-residential room where you will not spend much time.
2. multi-color, including blue, white, red, and UV LEDs.
Information about the performance of the light is provided on the package. Once you've studied the box, you'll know the power, the intensity of the luminous flux, the color temperature of the fixture, and its intended use.
If you have a small budget for lighting equipment, consider purchasing a universal LED bulb that is suitable for each stage of growth.
When finances are tight, it's a good idea to purchase several sets of lights to outfit your plants and provide the most efficient lighting for each stage of growth.
Portable LED lights for home use are available in a large number of mounting designs: equipment on hangers, table and bayonet lights, and Plant lights on suction cups for a small number of seedlings grown on a windowsill.
The deciding factors for purchasing lighting fixtures are.
1. Low energy consumption. The lower the wattage, the better.
2. High luminous flux value. The more lumens, the better.
3. The number of LEDs and the variety of colors. In the case of the same cost and other performance indicators being the same, multi-color lighting fixtures should be preferred.
Of course, LED bulbs cannot completely replace natural sunlight, but with their help, seedlings will survive the long winter and spring months to form strong stems and lush foliage that can be safely transplanted into the ground, and houseplants will bloom more often and for longer periods of time, enjoying their blooms almost year-round.
In our bubgo.com online store, you can buy lamps for lighting plants and greenhouses. Buy plant lights here and offer free shipping on purchases of $50 or more, with 15% off for new users during the sale.