Top 10 Q&A About Greenhouse Lighting for Optimal Plant Growth

The rate of growth and the amount of time a plant stays active is very dependent on light. This is because light energy is used in photosynthesis, which is very essential in growing plants, even for plants in a greenhouse.

Greenhouse lights in a greenhouse can be used to supplement the length of time during the day.

 

For the conversion of light energy into chemical energy (photosynthesis) to occur optimally, there is a need for 610-700 nm wavelength. This is required for the germination, chlorophyll absorption and flower or bud development.

 

What is Greenhouse Lighting?

Greenhouse lighting is simply the light used in a greenhouse environment. The natural sunlight can, sometimes, reflect on plants in the greenhouse but it is essential to have a supplemental source of light to create an optimal lighting, especially during periods of low sunlight, cloudy days or in regions of low light.

 

On an average, most greenhouses require six-hours of direct full spectrum light. The time range can always be based on the type of the crop and the environmental factor.The sufficiency of light is required by plants to aid healthy growth and increase the yield.

 

Why is Lighting Important for Greenhouse Plants?

Plants, as an organism, use light to convert carbon dioxide and water to carbohydrates (energy), which is a process called photosynthesis. This process occurs not just in the regular plants but also in greenhouse plants.

 

Light is crucial to plants as it serves as energy in order for them to grow, bloom and produce fruit or/and seed. Without light, plants die because carbohydrates cannot be produced and thus the energy required for growth is reversed.

 

What are the Best Types of Lights for Greenhouses?

There are several types of light that can be used in a greenhouse, but four basic ones will be mentioned, incandescent, high intensity discharge fluorescent (HID), light emitting diode (LED) and high intensity fluorescent.

Some of the pros and cons of the these types of lights are:

 

Types of Lights

Pros

Cons

Incandescent

 Simple, easy to use and does not require ballast.

 Relatively inexpensive to set up.

 Generally do not provide sufficient light in greenhouse application.

 Produce substantial heat

HID (HPS: High Pressure Sodium; MH: Metal Halide)

 Produces red and blue spectrum of light.

 The HPS light helps flowering plants while the MH light promotes leafy growth

 

 Requires large heavy ballasts that are separate from the reflector

 Produces heat that can be detrimental during the warmer season.

LED

 A practical solution in most greenhouse as it weighs a fraction of other lights.

 Has Excellent balance of blue and red light.

 They produce very little heat and have a long life.

 Cost more upfront.

Fluorescent

 This type of light is more suitable for seedings

 Low heat emission, suitable for close proximity.

 Not so good light source for growth and budding

 Less life span

 

How Does Light Intensity Affect Plant Growth?

When light intensity is too high or too low, it can have an effect on the photosynthesis, physiology, morphology and the crop’s secondary metabolite. You can measure your light’s intensity by using a plant light meter or a general light meter.

 

Generally, when artificial light is used as the primary source of light in a greenhouse, the lighting is usually 25 watts per square foot of the garden. ¼ pf the wattage is used when using LEDs. You can use a way less amount of light when it's used to supplement natural light or you are growing plants that do not require much light like lettuce.

 

What is the Ideal Light Spectrum for Greenhouse Plants?

Light spectrum is the electromagnetic segment of light and an ideal one for any greenhouse plant depends on the growth stage of that plant. If you are using your light as the sole source or supplementary also determines your choice for an ideal light spectrum.

Knowing the perfect spectrum for your plant can aid flowering, speed its growth and even increase nutrition. The red and blue spectra of light aids the photosynthetic efficiency of plants. Other grow lights also required spectra of light, for instance, the green spectrum aids greeny leaves. One of the best light sources for a full spectrum of light is the LED.

 

How Long Should Lights be On in a Greenhouse?

Photoperiod, which is the period of time an organism is exposed to light in a day, plays an important role in plants growth, which is why it is important that it’s monitored. Naturally, most plants respond to alterations in photoperiods by producing seeds and/or fruits in certain times of the year.

In regular cases, lights should be left on for at least 8 to 10 hours in a day, so as to mimic the amount of natural light plants are exposed to. You can make this even more perfect by using a smart controller.

 

Can Lighting Affect Greenhouse Temperature?

Temperature and light are the most manipulated environmental factors of greenhouse crop production. Different light sources, including sunlight, have a specific amount of heat generated and this directly has an effect on the greenhouse temperature.

When the heat generated is excessive and tends to stress the plant, you can protect the plant by temporary shading, sufficient watering or apply mulch. You can later revert to the normal procedures when the temperature falls back to normal.

 

How to Calculate Lighting Needs for a Greenhouse?

To calculate the light needs for your greenhouse, you must determine the DLI (daily light measure) for your crop, using a DLI calculator. You can now use PAR meters to measure the intensity of natural light level. By simply subtracting the natural light from the DLI, you will get the exact light needed for your greenhouse plant. You can tailor your calculations to specific crops and the greenhouse conditions for accuracy.

 

Can Ordinary Household Lights be Used for Growing Plants?

Yes, using an ordinary household light can help plants grow but you won’t get a satisfactory result as the grow light will give. LED grow lights emit the full spectrum of light required by plants to grow and thrive.

Although you can still use your regular bulbs for a beginner stage garden with few plants and change it to full spectrum grow light once you see the plant sprouting. Plus, a regular bulb doesn’t cost much.

 

What are Cost-Effective Lighting Solutions for Greenhouses?

One of the major problems faced by farmers is the cost of getting advanced light to use in their greenhouse. One of the solutions is to consider a fluorescent light for seedling and smaller plants that grow over a short period of time.

 

To also balance between cost and efficiency, you should prioritize energy-efficient fixtures, such as LEDs. They offer long-term savings even though they cost a little high upfront. You can also use a smart controller with dimmable led grow lights to optimize energy use.

 

Additionally, you can explore used or refurbished equipment, just ensure it meets greenhouse needs while saving you cost.

 

Conclusion

The importance of greenhouse proper lighting cannot be overemphasized as light is fundamentally crucial to plant growth. Choosing the right greenhouse lights is essential to provide the plant with the right spectrum, intensity and duration for each stage.

You can trust Philzon with the best choice of lights, led vs hps, fluorescent vs incandescent. The right lighting not only ensures optimal plant growth but also contributes to resource efficiency and sustainability.

 

6 comments

Feb 22, 2024
rhet hall-jones

rhet hall-jones

Feb 17, 2024
Briar Ward

Briar Ward

Feb 12, 2024
Cayden Gillespie

Cayden Gillespie

Feb 11, 2024
Talon Duke

Talon Duke

Feb 08, 2024
Jax Ochoa

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