Just as you would like the perfect lighting in a room to perform tasks, plants also like the right amount of light in a day to grow well. You probably know this if you are into gardening. The challenge comes in determining the perfect light requirements as well as how to provide those conditions for your plants, especially when growing plants indoors. We give you the basics of everything light and plant growth in this article. This way, you can have the right information that you need to grow plants successfully.
The importance of light in plant growth
Plants need the energy to grow and thrive. Moreover, plants produce this energy in a process known as photosynthesis. Plants require three things for this process to be successful: water, light, and carbon dioxide. When plants absorb water through the roots and carbon monoxide through the leaves, light energy helps in converting these into glucose and oxygen. The glucose produced is the food that plants require to grow, and produce flowers, fruits, and seeds.
How light affects plant growth
Plants want to maximize the amount of light they receive in order to complete the process of photosynthesis. That is why you find that most plants, especially those grown in a shady part of the garden, tend to grow towards the direction of the source of the light. Some plants such as the sunflower are known to follow the sun’s direction during the day for the same purpose. In addition, plants record much growth when the light is plenty such as in summer and spring. When the sunlight is scarce in the winter and fall, plants reduce their growth; leaves start browning and eventually fall.
Light intensity and duration for plant growth
Light intensity and duration are some of the factors of light that affect plant growth. Light intensity refers to the brightness of the light or the amount of light energy the leaves are receiving. Moreover, light intensity determines the rate at which photosynthesis takes place. If the intensity is high, photosynthesis is more and vice versa.
Duration of the light is simply how long the plant is exposed to light. This also plays an important role in the growth of the plant. You find that plants such as kalanchoes and poinsettias flower when days are shorter, while others need longer days to flower.
Important wavelengths for plant growth
Sunlight comes in different wavelengths. While it is important for plants to receive the full spectrum of the sun, the red and blue light spectrums benefit plants the more. Blue light has high energy and supports leaf or vegetative growth. When plants receive this light in small quantities, leaves grow with yellow streaks instead of solid green. Red light, on the other hand, aids in the blooming and flowering of plants. Without enough red light, blooming is weak and flowering is delayed. When growing plants indoors, understanding the important spectrums helps in selecting the best grow lights.
What’s the perfect lighting for plants
Plants require just the right amount of light to thrive. Too much light and you will start noticing leaves fading in color, leaves drooping and flowers and leaves shrivel and die. Too little light causes stunted growth, delayed blooming, yellowing leaves, and spindly growth. That is why it is important to understand the light requirements of your plants.
Plants can be classified into 3 classes as far as lighting requirements are considered: low light, medium light, and high light. Low light plants are mainly grown for foliage and not flowers. They can thrive in a shady areas such as under the branches of bigger plants. Medium-light plants require an area that is well-lit, but away from direct sunlight. High light plants require areas that are brightly lit.
Light exposure for indoor plants
If you are growing plants indoors, you can take advantage of the sun by strategically placing plants near windows. South and southwest facing windows let in the most light and would be ideal for high light plants such as orchids, jasmine, hibiscus, and caladium. East and west-facing windows let in just enough light for medium light plants. You can place plants such as peperomia, jade plants, and spider plants. A north window receives less light, making it ideal for low-light plants such as the peace lily, snake plant, English ivy, and ZZ plant.
How to provide the perfect lighting
Thanks to the grow light technology, you can provide the right lighting requirements and grow plants all year round. You can alter the duration of the light for indoor plants by keeping grow lights on for the duration that you need. When it comes to intensity, moving the grow light near the plant or away from the plant can alter the light intensity. In addition, you need lights that can be able to replicate the important wavelengths of the sun: the blue and red spectrum. LED grow lights are designed with this in mind. However, choosing the best LED grow lights can be tricky. Going through an LED grow light guide can unlock valuable insights that can help you make the right choice.
With the above information, it is clear that providing plants with the right lighting is critical to plant growth. So, before you bring in a plant, understand the perfect lighting requirements and determine whether you have the conditions in your home. But, lack of enough light shouldn’t demean your interest in indoor gardening. You can always mimic the sun using LED grow lights.