Are you wondering if your plants can grow with artificial light? Even though it’s possible, it requires a little knowledge and attention to detail to ensure that greenies can thrive. With the right setup, plants can flourish and be just as healthy as they would be when grown in natural light. Thus, the article will explore the potential of artificial light and how it can be used to cultivate plants. Also, we’ll discuss the different types of artificial light, the benefits and drawbacks of using them, and the various factors to consider when selecting an artificial light system for your plants.
Photosynthesis is the process by which plants use energy from light to turn carbon dioxide and water into food, releasing oxygen as a byproduct. The light energy is absorbed by a pigment called chlorophyll, which is in every plant and gives leaves green color. Photosynthesis is essential to all life on Earth, providing energy and oxygen to plants, animals, and other organisms.
Thus, light plays an important role in the feeding system of a plant, along with water that helps to absorb nutrients and air that transfers carbon dioxide into plant stems. In fact, you can notice the relationship between light system, temperature, and humidity: lighting affects temperature, which affects humidity. Lighting can increase or decrease the temperature, which directly connects to the environment's humidity.
Types of Indoor Grow Lights
Indoor grow lights provide essential lighting for plants to photosynthesize, and there are a variety of types available. Here are some common types:
- Incandescent Grow Lights. These are traditional, filament-based light bulbs that offer a warm, yellowish light. They are generally cheaper than other indoor grow lights but also use more energy and do not provide the optimal spectrum of light to suit all plants’ photosynthesis needs.
- Fluorescent Grow Lights. These are most commonly used for indoor plant growth and are relatively inexpensive. They provide a cooler, bluish light and are much more efficient than incandescent bulbs, but they may not provide enough of the red end of the spectrum for photosynthesis.
- LED Grow Lights. LED grow lights are the most energy-efficient type of grow light and can provide various light spectrums. They also tend to be more expensive than fluorescent or incandescent bulbs, but they last longer and are much more efficient.
- High-Intensity Discharge (HID) Grow Lights. HID grow lights are the most powerful grow lights and provide an intense light source. They are most commonly used in commercial and larger-scale growing operations, but they can be very expensive and require special ballasts and reflectors.
- Induction Lighting. Induction lighting uses an electromagnetic induction process to create light. It is a highly efficient and long-lasting type with a lifespan of up to 100,000 hours. Induction lighting also has no filaments or electrodes and is available in different sizes and shapes. It produces a very bright and directional light beam, making it perfect for houseplants needing direct light.
- Halogen Lighting. Halogen lighting uses a tungsten filament and halogen gas. This type is very bright, efficient, and has a longer lifespan than traditional incandescent lighting. It is also available in different sizes and shapes to fit any need.
- Energy-Saving Lamps. Energy-saving lamps are designed to reduce energy consumption. They use a combination of fluorescent and LED technology to produce high-quality, long-lasting light. They produce a softer, less directional light than other types of lighting, which makes them great for houseplants that need more diffused light.
Which Indoor Grow Light Is the Best?
Overall, the best artificial light for houseplants will depend on the species, the environment, and the grower’s budget. All the lights mentioned above can be used indoors, but you should choose the suitable lighting system based on the plant’s temperature and humidity needs. Also, it would be helpful to research the light requirements of a certain plant species, meaning direct, diffused, or filtered light. Additionally, some plants may require a specific light spectrum to photosynthesize beneficially, which greatly limits the choice of artificial light system.
How Much Light Do Plants Need?
The amount of light a plant needs for photosynthesis depends on the type of plant and the environment in which it grows. Some plants, such as grasses and other shade-tolerant plants, require only small amounts and can perfectly live in constant shades, while others, such as sunflowers, require much more direct light.
Low-light plants thrive in shady or dimly-lit areas such as a room corner, north-facing window, or hallways. These plants generally require significantly less light than most others and are thus perfect for indoors or in areas with limited light. Here is a list of some excellent low-light plants:
- Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior)
- Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
- Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum spp.)
- English Ivy (Hedera helix)
- ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)
- Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)
- Philodendrons (Philodendron spp.)
- Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
Medium-light plants require a few hours of direct sunlight and indirect light for the rest of the day. These plants generally require more light than low-light plants but still may not be suited for full sun all the time. Here are some of them:
- Azalea (Rhododendron spp.)
- Orchid (Orchidaceae spp.)
- Chinese Money Plant (Pilea peperomioides)
- Hawaiian Umbrella (Schefflera arboricola)
- Calathea (Calathea spp.)
- Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata)
- Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura)
High-light plants tend to thrive in environments with plenty of direct regular light. These plants are often found in outdoor gardens and balconies and are not suitable homes with low light. Here is a list of some high-light plants:
- Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
- Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
- Cacti (Cactaceae spp.)
- Succulents (Crassulaceae spp.)
- Agave (Agave spp.)
- Aloe Vera (Aloe vera)
- Daylily (Hemerocallis spp.)
- Yucca (Yucca spp.)
Symptoms of Insufficient Lights for Plants
Plants that suffer from insufficient light may show signs of distress in various ways, from yellowing leaves and stunted growth to dropping buds and even death. Here are some of the most common symptoms:
- Wilting of the leaves
- Yellowing of leaves
- Leaf drop
- Leggy growth
- Smaller than usual leaves
- Delay in flowering
- Stunted growth
- Foliage thinning
- Weak stems
- Unstable root system
Sunlight Vs Artificial Light for Plants
Lighting is one of the essential factors that help indoor plants to grow and develop. Different houseplants require various light conditions, so consider all the nuances before buying a new green pet. Some tolerate LED light — a popular and effective alternative to natural lighting. A diode lamp is an economical way to provide the required color spectrum for a plant.
Even though sunlight is generally the best source of light for plants, as it is the most natural and powerful source of light, artificial light, such as fluorescent and LED bulbs, can be used to supplement sunlight, as they can provide additional lighting exposure in low-light environments, which answers the question is artificial light good for plants. However, such light should never be used as a complete substitute for sunlight as it is not as powerful and cannot provide all of the necessary nutrients for proper plant growth.
Does Artificial Light Help Plants
Yes, artificial light can help plants, especially in low-light environments. Various fluorescent, incandescent, induction, or LED bulb lighting can supplement natural light and provide additional light for plants that may not receive enough sun, boosting photosynthesis and promoting healthy plant growth.
Tips for Growing Plants Indoors With Artificial Light
Growing plants in artificial light indoors can be a challenge, but there are a few tips to keep in mind that can help you to achieve success:
- Ensure the temperature is appropriate for the type of plant you’re growing.
- Place the plants at the right distance from the artificial light source.
- Make use of reflective surfaces to increase the light intensity if needed.
- Keep the plants away from direct sunlight to prevent overheating.
- Rotate your plants regularly to ensure they’re getting even exposure to light.
- Monitor the plants for signs of stress and take action as soon as possible.
When You Can Use LED Lamps?
Here’s a useful checklist for deciding whether LED lamps are appropriate for your plant:
- You have a dark corner where you want your plants to live;
- You live in a dark house;
- Your plants struggle over winter;
- You’d like to add tenderness to your plant care routine.
What Are the Advantages of LED Lamps?
LED lamps, as the most common artificial lighting choice on the market, have certain advantages:
- They are usually compact, which helps to save space for more plants;
- They provide an optimized emission spectrum. LED technology allows you to adjust the irradiation range to receive waves of different colors at different stages of seedling development. Energy can be concentrated at a specific frequency, so there is no need to waste it on the production of light in a useless range. This flexibility is not found in incandescent, fluorescent, and gas-discharge lighting elements;
- LED lamps are economically profitable since they consume significantly less electricity;
- LED illuminators are durable. Their average service life ranges from 50 to 100 thousand hours of work;
- They do not generate much heat; hence, there is no need for additional cooling, ventilation, and humidification complexes.
Characteristics of LED Lamps for Flowers
The pendant lighting height is a central factor in defining how much light the plant will receive. With the correct location of the LED lamp, you can create natural conditions for growth and flowering. For a full-fledged process of photosynthesis, configure the wavelength of the lamp to be from 400-700 nm — the PAR range.
The range of spectral color that is needed for photosynthesis is particularly important. It is almost impossible to achieve a full-spectrum glow when using fluorescent lamps for plants. Also, consider that there are waves that do not participate in photosynthesis. They can provoke rapid aging, the appearance of excess shoots, and overgrowth. These waves include infrared light and ultraviolet light.
We do not recommend using germicidal UV light lamps for growing plants at home. Blue and red ice backsplash are the most important waves that help indoor flowers grow properly. The diode lamp is not incandescent and has the property of evenly spreading blue and red colors. It can emit violet-blue and red-orange colors, which allows the plant to develop intensively from the photobiological side.
How to Choose the Best Luminaire Option
Use the following lighting modes for indoor flowers: 1000-3000 lux — for growing in a darkened room, far from the window; 3000-4000 lux — for those in need of a diffused stream of light; 4000-6000 lux — for those in need of direct lighting; 6000-12000 lux — for exotic fruit-bearing species.
Are All Led Lights Good for Growing Plants?
There is a difference between regular LEDs and grow light LEDs. The latter is designed to meet plants' specific needs and have higher intensity and a broader light spectrum, while the former is designed for general lighting. Grow lights produce more red and blue light, which is what plants use to photosynthesize, while regular — white light.
Are LED Aquarium Lights Good for Plants?
LED aquarium lights are a great option for potted plants since they provide a steady, balanced light source. They are energy efficient and do not generate a lot of heat, which can be beneficial for plants that prefer cooler environments. LED aquarium lights come in different colors and intensities, allowing you to customize the lighting for optimal growth of your plants, even though they don’t provide the green color spectrum needed for active photosynthesis.
Are LED Strip Lights Good for Plants?
Can plants use artificial light from LED strips? Yes, but still, such lighting systems are not ideally suited for plant growth but rather fulfill a decorative function. However, LED strip lights can be a great additional light choice in combination with other growing lighting because they use less energy and last longer than other bulbs.
Are Full Spectrum LED Lights Good for Plants?
Full spectrum LED lights, often used in indoor plant growth, benefit plants because they provide a wide range of wavelengths, which may encourage photosynthesis. In fact, those lights allow more precise control over the spectrum, intensity, and duration of light, so you can tailor the lighting to the specific needs of your plants starting from the seedling stage.