I. Lamp for plants: the need and scope
1. Natural conditions for plant growth
a. Different Spectra of Light
2. Artificial lighting for plants
a. Monitoring of luminaire parameters and growth rates
II. How to buy a lamp for plants and not make a mistake with the choice?
1. Lamp for plants and its varieties
a. Are incandescent and fluorescent lamps currently used to light plants?
b. Discharge lamps for plants
c. Benefits of LED Plant Light
c. Installation of lamps for plants
2. The results of studies on the effectiveness of lamps for plants
a. Objects and results of research
Lamp for plants: the need and scope
A plant light is an integral part of the process of plant growth and development. The climatic conditions in Belarus do not allow them to receive the necessary amount of sunlight for most of the year. If the plant does not receive enough light, then it withers and, as a result, dies. In order to ensure continuous growth and development, you can buy a plant light. This will restore the lack of light and accelerate growth.
The lack of lighting primarily affects young plants and shoots. The leaves become pale and desaturated, and the size decreases. Their stem stretches, bends and stretches towards the light source. The activity of photosynthesis processes depends on the amount of light energy. Photosynthesis is a chemical process associated with the transformation of inorganic substances into organic substances under the influence of sunlight. It allows plants to get the energy they need to grow.
Natural conditions for plant growth
Natural conditions allow plants to receive light from the sun, its radiation contains the necessary spectrum of different colors. Therefore, artificial lighting from lights for plants must match natural lighting, thereby giving the desired spectrum. If you choose the wrong spectrum of light, then growth may slow down. Sunlight contains in the spectrum wavelengths from 400 to 700 nm. In the spectrum of light, the following colors can be distinguished and their purpose:
Different Spectra of Light
The ultraviolet color of the spectrum is necessary for the best growth of resinous plants, and violet promotes biological growth. Blue helps produce chlorophyll B, which is vital for root growth. Due to the red color, chlorophyll A is produced, which has a positive effect on the growth of the aerial parts. Infrared promotes the production of chlorophyll F, which increases the green mass. The combination of several spectra allows you to accelerate the growth of greens and fruits.
Plants, unlike the human eye, see infrared radiation. In order to determine the useful amount of light that hits your vegetation, the concept of photosynthetic active radiation (PAR) was introduced. This indicator measures the power of light in relation to photosynthesis. When choosing a lamp, you must rely on this indicator. If you choose an insufficiently powerful lamp, then there may not be enough energy to make up for the lack of light.
Artificial lighting for plants
On an industrial scale, lights for plants have been used relatively recently. The development of this industry is hampered by the rather high cost of a ready-made solution. Industrial volumes require a lot of powerful and expensive luminaires with special characteristics, which in turn leads to an increase in energy costs. As a result, the price of products rises and competitiveness decreases. While LED lights are still expensive.
There are various options for the use of artificial lighting: mixed, periodic and full. Complete replacement of natural lighting is required in rooms isolated from light. Mixed lighting includes an additional light source. It is necessary especially in winter, when there is a shortage of sunlight. The periodic option is used to increase daylight hours (morning and evening). Such a mechanism can accelerate the growth and mass of plants.
Monitoring of luminaire parameters and growth rates
If natural lighting is completely replaced, then climate control monitoring is mandatory. Other factors also need to be taken into account, since each plant has different properties, so they need a different amount of light every day. For example, a hibiscus needs 14 hours of light, and an orchid needs 9 hours. It is necessary to place the lamp for plants at a certain height, which depends on the characteristics of the device, so that the light density is optimal.
Installation height is determined by the distance from the lamp to the leaves. If the plant is light-loving, then the minimum distance should be 15 cm. If, on the contrary, it loves shade, then the distance increases to 55 cm. It is also important to place the lamp at a right angle to the plant. Otherwise, the plant will reach for the light and take on an ugly shape. Before you install the lamp, check with the experts for the requirements for growing your plant.
How to buy a lamp for plants and not make a mistake with the choice?
At the moment, you can buy a light for plants from a large number of manufacturers. At the same time, their range is very diverse. Making the right choice is sometimes very difficult, so often just the cheapest is chosen. Before you buy a lamp for plants, you need to understand the features, similarities and differences of various lamps and fixtures. If you make a mistake, you can harm the plant and not achieve the desired result by spending your money.
Incandescent lamps were first used to illuminate plants, after which fluorescent lamps appeared. Not so long ago, halogen and gas-discharge lamps (DRL, DRI and HPS) began to be used. LED lamps were the last to appear on the market, and immediately began to increase their market share. All of them have their advantages and disadvantages, so their use in greenhouses may be limited. So, some of them are not suitable for the ripening stage or the growth stage, for greens or fruits.
This is due to the fact that plant growth depends on a certain spectrum of light. Before you buy a lamp for plants, you must also make sure that it is reliable. First of all, pay attention to the indicator of dust and moisture protection. It must be at least IP66, but it is better to choose a luminaire with IP68. This will prevent moisture from getting inside the lamp, as well as simplify the cleaning procedure. Your greenhouse lamp will be durable, and you will only do business.
Lamp for plants and its varieties
Now we will consider the types and varieties of lamps used for plants. The right choice of a luminaire largely depends on the spectrum of light they create. Here you can select bicolor, multispectral and full spectrum sources. In bicolor, the red and blue colors of the spectrum are mixed, mixing in different proportions. Basically, such a source is used as an addition to natural lighting, since it still cannot be used alone.
Multispectral greenhouse lights are created by combining white, red and blue. This type of lamp is well suited for plants with dense foliage. Dense spectrum sources are used mainly in the absence of natural light. Their disadvantage is that they irritate the eyesight, therefore, their installation in residential premises is not recommended. The following types of lamps and lamps are used to illuminate plants:
- gas-discharge (DRL, DRI and HPS);
- incandescent lamps;
Are incandescent and fluorescent lamps currently used to light plants?
In order for the plant to distinguish between day and night, incandescent lamps were previously used. However, now they are practically not used, because of their inefficiency and low light output. It is also worth noting that most of the energy consumed (more than 90%) is spent on heat. This can only be justified if the plant needs heating. If you place incandescent bulbs too close to the plant, it can dry out due to the amount of heat generated.
Fluorescent lamps are also rarely used in greenhouses. This is due to their low power, which requires the installation of a large number of them to obtain the required level of illumination and energy released. The duration of the operation of such lamps mainly depends on their moisture resistance. All this makes them expensive and uncompetitive compared to LED. However, despite their shortcomings, they are often used for the germination of seedlings and flowers.
This type of lamps can be manufactured both with a built-in driver and with an external one. The difference lies in the size and ease of use. Osram Fluora一 is one of the most popular fluorescent lamps. These are linear models of lamps of various lengths in which the blue and red colors of the spectrum predominate, contributing to the accelerated flow of photosynthesis. They are used when there is a lack of natural light in flower shops, aquariums and the like.
Discharge lamps for plants
The following modifications of gas-discharge lamps are widely used: metal-halogen (DRI), mercury-gas-discharge (DRL) and sodium (DNaT). Most often in greenhouses, due to their low price and economy, HPS lamps are used. They have a power of 400 to 1000 W, giving out light of the visible (400-700 nm) and invisible (700-850 nm) spectra. They are really effective, even compared to LEDs.
At the same time, they convert only 25% of the electricity into light, and the rest goes to heat. Also, their work is accompanied by noise, and both the lamps themselves and the chokes and electronic ballasts are noisy. Many growers are trying to keep their energy costs down due to the ever-increasing price of electricity. To do this, they use a cyclic lighting mode, set to work during low electricity tariffs. Metal halide and mercury lamps are less common in this segment.
Metal halide lamps get very hot, so they must be placed at a height of at least 60 cm. If moisture gets on it, it can explode. Also, its disadvantages include high cost and short service life. An average lamp per kilowatt can cost $200. The glow of mercury discharge lamps can be used during the growing season, the formation and ripening of fruits. One of the main disadvantages is the presence of mercury, which makes its use unsafe.
Until recently, LEDs were expensive and inaccessible, but now any buyer can find a lamp at an affordable price. Many people use red and blue LED strips to illuminate plants at home, combining them in different sequences. We do not recommend this solution as tapes often produce little power at high power consumption. The many advantages of LED technology can be decisive when choosing a lighting object.
Benefits of LED Plant Light
The advantages of the LED lamp for plants are primarily associated with high rates of energy saving and durability compared to analogues. For example, LED plant lamp ledz e-Fito saves more than 50% electricity and guarantees a lifetime of more than 100,000 hours. This is many times higher than analogues in terms of durability. You can also highlight the following advantages of these fixtures:
- ease of operation;
- no overheating;
- universal application;
- no noise.
Installation of lamps for plants
LED lights for plants are quite simple to connect to the electrical network and install. At the same time, they do not need additional cooling, gear and reflectors. They are designed for future work in greenhouses, which always have high temperatures in summer. Heat dissipation is facilitated by a specially shaped aluminum case. Thanks to this, the LEDs work normally, the aluminum case takes the excess heat from them, and their resource is preserved.
The efficiency of such lamps is achieved by using only the red and blue range of the spectrum. These colors of the spectrum are used by plants for photosynthesis, and the excess energy is not spent on other colors of the spectrum. Unlike HPS lamps, LED plant lamps are not affected by voltage fluctuations. If such a fluctuation occurs with the HPS lamp, then it will be able to turn on after at least 5 minutes due to the design features.
If HPS are characterized by the presence of noise, expressed by buzzing and buzzing sounds, then in LED lamps such noises are completely absent. The only thing you can sometimes hear is the work of transistors or fans. The versatility of LED lights is also important. If the plants are in the growth stage, then only the red color of the spectrum can be used. You can also vary the color combinations depending on the stage of development of the plant and its species.
The only disadvantage of LED lamps is their rather high cost. However, due to low energy consumption and long service life, such investments pay off in the future within 2-3 years. Numerous laboratory tests and studies confirm their effectiveness. Next, we will consider one of these tests, in which LED lamps and HPS gas-discharge lamps were compared with each other in terms of the main parameters.
The results of studies on the effectiveness of lamps for plants
During the study, 3 types of lighting were used: LED, HPS lamps and natural. The entire research process was carried out in one greenhouse on one type of plant. The plants themselves were placed on horizontal racks with a height of 100 cm. Objects with natural light were not additionally illuminated. For other objects, two cameras isolated with black film were prepared, which were placed at the same height.
The temperature during the day was 21 degrees, and at night 19 degrees. After it began to rise, fans were installed in the chambers. In the first chamber, a HPS lamp (400 W) was placed, the height from the plants was 180 cm. For the second chamber, a lamp suspended at the same height with 8 red and 4 blue LEDs was used. Plants received the same amount of light energy, thanks to the adjustment of the light output. All these activities were carried out to equalize the options.
Objects and results of research
Plants typical for growing in greenhouses were selected as objects of study: yellow pepper “Hungarian” and English daisy “Bellis perennis”. Subsequently, after the appearance of the second leaf, both objects were transplanted into 4 boxes and randomly distributed into groups. Plants were fertilized every two weeks and checked for pests. Every week, data on the height of objects was recorded in special logs and the indicators were analyzed.
As a result of the experiment, it was found that the height of the plants varied significantly. The tallest plants (18.66 cm) were in the natural light group. Plant height of 14.35 cm was achieved with LED lighting. The lowest (12.86) were the objects grown under DNaT lamps. Despite the small difference in results, the energy costs of HPS lamps were twice as high.
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If your plants don’t get enough light, they may die. In case of lack of light, artificial lighting can help you. Lamps for plants should have the same light spectrum as the sun. The most important colors in the spectrum are blue and red. They contribute to the production of chlorophyll, which positively affects the development of the plant. Buying lamps for plants is now quite simple, but they need to be chosen correctly.
The most popular at the moment are LED lamps and HPS lamps. The difference in plants grown with their use is negligible. However, LED luminaires can reduce electricity consumption by more than 50% and their service life is much longer. If you need to buy a LED lamp for plants or get expert advice, then you can refer to us. We will gladly answer all your questions!