Can plants photosynthesize with artificial light?
Finding indoor plants, which develop with very few hours of sunlight, is something that we usually see. Are those plants growing healthily? As we already know, plants are photosynthetic organisms, that is, they need light to produce energy by themselves. But can plants photosynthesize in artificial light?
We will try to answer these questions clearly and simply in this post. In this way you can stay calm when using lights in your garden, whether you want to use garden spotlights, tree spotlights or the type of lights you want. Additionally, we’ll take a moment to recommend plants that will do best in artificial light and explain what type of artificial light works best for your garden.
1. Can photosynthesis occur in artificial light?
If you don’t feel like reading the whole section, I’ll summarize it quickly, yes, photosynthesis can occur with artificial light. It would be good for you to know why this can happen, but for this the explanation is not short. You will have to read everything that follows.
Let’s start by explaining that plants have certain pigments such as chlorophyll, xanthophyll and carotenoids that allow them to carry out photosynthesis. More specifically, they are responsible for absorbing light during photosynthesis, and they also give the leaves their characteristic colors. Chlorophyll is the pigment best known to all and is the primary pigment responsible for photosynthesis
The importance of light and photosynthesis for a plant is easy to verify. It is enough to place a plant in a room with very little natural light. Little by little you will see how the leaves will become pale, unsaturated and smaller than a plant with more light. In addition, the plant stems and internode will also grow to reach the available light source.
In order to understand if photosynthesis is generated or not with artificial light, you should know that this process in plants is carried out at a wavelength of 400 to 700 nanometers. This range is known as photosynthetically active radiation and encompasses the red, blue, and green wavebands. Therefore, if the artificial light has the correct wavelength, any plant can perform photosynthesis.
You can check that what I say is true by visiting any greenhouse, these days most of them use artificial light to optimize production. They are built in such a way that they let in enough light, but are closed enough to prevent convective heat loss. By using artificial lights, greenhouse growers can increase production and lengthen the growing season.
2. What kind of light should you use for your plants?
We have already answered the most important question, we know that artificial light is capable of helping plants to carry out photosynthesis. But any type of light is useful for the case? The truth is that no, not any type of light will help your plants. Let’s see the types of light available:
- Incandescent lamps: these lamps were the first way to generate light from electrical energy. Its operating principle is simple, an electric current is passed through a filament until it reaches such a high temperature that it emits radiation visible to the human eye. Its low efficiency meant that its commercialization is currently not allowed in many countries.
- Halogen lamps: The halogen lamp is a type of incandescent lamp formed by a tungsten filament that is inside an inert gas with a small amount of halogen such as bromine or iodine. It emits a clear and sharp light capable of highlighting those parts of the room that we want.
- Fluorescent lamps: Fluorescent lamps are low-pressure mercury vapor discharge lamps. They produce ultraviolet radiation due to the discharge effect that activates the fluorescent powders it contains and transforms the ultraviolet radiation into visible radiation.
- LED light: these lights essentially work on the principle that Albert Einstein enunciated in his day, according to which some materials, when subjected to current, generate light. The basis of LED technology is based on the diode, this is a two-pronged electronic component that allows energy to flow through it in only one direction. Being the most current and efficient technology, you can find LED lights of all kinds, such as led bulkhead light, linear uplight, led flood light, tree spotlights, and more.
The above are a lot of technicalities that may not interest you. The important thing is that you know that both incandescent and halogen light do not generate a suitable range of waves for your plants. While the flowering light such as LED could help your plants to grow.
3. The plants that best adapt to artificial light
To finish the post, it should be noted that choosing the right plants to grow under artificial light is essential to guarantee its success. Some plants require a lot of light to grow, while others can grow well in lower light levels. Here are some of the best plants to grow under artificial light:
- Herbs: Herbs like cilantro, basil, and parsley are great options for growing under artificial light. These plants require moderate light levels and will do well in an indoor setting.
- Houseplants: Houseplants such as philodendron, lucky bamboo, and ribbon are ideal for growing under artificial light. These plants are tolerant of low light levels and can thrive in a low light indoor environment
- Lettuce and leafy greens: Lettuce and leafy greens like spinach and chard are good options for growing under artificial light. These plants require moderate light levels and can grow well in an indoor setting.
- Succulents: Succulents like cacti and jade plants are great options for growing under artificial light. These plants are very hardy and can thrive in low light levels.
In general, plants that require moderate light levels and are tolerant of low light levels are the best choices for growing under artificial light. By choosing the right plants and providing them with the right light conditions, you can ensure healthy and successful growth.
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