THE EFFECTS OF LIGHT QUANTITY AND QUALITY ON PLANT CHARACTERISTICS

Choosing the right LED grow light recipe for your indoor crops is essential for ensuring robust healthy plants with the qualities most desired by consumers.

feb_blog3_effects-light-quantity-quality-plant-characteristicsJust like the location of a field where a farmer grows his crops affects the health and structure of the plants, as well as the quality and quantity of the harvest produced, your choice of lighting for your indoor grow facilities impacts a variety of plant characteristics. Since 2001, research conducted at the U.K.’s Stockbridge Technology Center has investigated the effects of LED lighting on the cultivation of plants grown indoors. In addition to their finding that the cost of LED lighting is 83 percent of HPS lights, the scientists’ ongoing study has provided evidence of the different ways the quality and quantity of LED lighting influences plant growth, health, and characteristics. By reviewing this information and applying this research to your grow operations, you can optimize your crop production to maximize the revenue they generate.Time Harvest Schedules by Regulating the Quantity of Light Exposure

Light quantity, as measured by the intensity of light in watts and the amount of light to which the plant is exposed on a daily basis, affects plant’s rate of photosynthesis. When reviewing information about grow lights, you may also come across the acronym PAR, which stands for Photosynthetically Active Radiation and refers to light with wavelengths ranging from 400nm to 700nm. A plant’s rate of photosynthesis determines the amount of energy available for growth. By optimizing the quantity of lighting exposure for your particular crops, you can determine when your crops will be ready for harvest and sales. In addition, the light quantity also influences the size, strength, and health of the leaves of your plants, as well as the ability of the plant to resist pests and diseases.

The Influence of LED Light Recipes on Plant Characteristics

The color of LED lights that is best for your indoor crops is highly dependent on the type of plants you are growing. For example, if you want a compact lettuce plant, you need a mixture of red and blue lights. If you plan to grow vines, such as cucumber plants, you will want to use light falling in the far-red spectrum since light with this wavelength causes plants to stretch. The wavelength of light used to cultivate plants also influences the flavor and texture of the plant. In fact, scientists have found that fruit grown under LED grow lights is sweeter than those produced under other types of lights.

When choosing LED lights, take care to review the mixture of lights used, since some colors cancel the effects of other lights. For instance, far red light negates red light and green light counteracts lights falling in the blue spectrum.  If you are unsure the best LED light recipe for your plants, consult with LED lighting experts.

Sources:

Runkle, E. (n.d.) Light Quality Defined. Greenhouse Product News.

Complex responses shown to light quality (2016) Horticulture Weekly.