Artificial Light Vs. Natural Light for Plant Growth

Written by april sanders
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Artificial Light Vs. Natural Light for Plant Growth
Some houseplants need supplementing with artificial light. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

All plants that use photosynthesis to produce food need light. While natural light is best, artificial light can suffice and is often used indoors where plants are not exposed to enough natural light.

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Light is necessary for plants to produce food. Sunlight is best because it varies with the seasons, allowing plants to go through a natural cycle of growth and rest. In addition, the heat of the sun is not usually intense enough to scorch the leaves of the plants, unlike some artificial light.


There are two types of artificial lights: incandescent and florescent. Incandescent light produces mostly red light, which encourages flower and seed growth. Unfortunately, incandescent bulbs produce heat and radiation, which can burn plants. For this reason, most plants cannot grow well if incandescent lighting is the only light source. Florescent lights produce blue light, which promotes foliage growth, but if this is the only source of light, plants will likely not bloom.


If you can't provide your plant with natural light, the best solution is to use a combination of some natural light and some artificial light. Expose the plant to as much natural light as you can, and then supplement with incandescent and florescent lights. Keep the bulbs between 6 and 12 inches away from the foliage so that it doesn't burn.

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