The Right Phytolamp - Choosing A Lighting Device For Additional Lighting Of Plants
Wise nature has thought of everything to the smallest detail - sunlight provides all the needs of plants in the best way, activating germination of seeds, seedling growth, flowering and fruit setting. But when we put green pets in unnatural conditions, away from their usual environment, and with a short daylight period in the cold, we take on a very difficult task. One of the most important factors in the successful growth and development of plants is optimal light. What phytolamp to choose to provide it? In this article we deal with the main characteristics of lighting devices in order to understand which one is required in each specific case.
The importance of correct lighting for plants
It would seem that additional lighting of plants indoors should not cause any special questions: you should allocate a personal lamp to a flower and the result will be excellent. But that's not quite true.
Light is primarily a visual experience for people. When we have plenty of light we find it easier to get around and see details of objects, and when it gets dark we know we should go to bed. For plants, on the other hand, light is much more important, since to a certain extent they use light as "food". In this regard, not only the quantity but also the quality of light is important for them.
As you know from school biology course, the basis of plant life - photosynthesis. As a consequence of this complex chemical process, water and carbon dioxide are converted into oxygen and sucrose with the help of light, and the green mass grows as a result. But in addition to the well-known photosynthesis, it is important to be aware of the existence of the photomorphogenesis phenomenon. In simple terms, under the influence of light rays of different spectra such processes as seed germination, root system growth, flowering and ripening of fruits are activated.
So when choosing a lamp for plant lighting, it is important to consider the spectral composition of the light emitted by the device and take into account some other indicators.
Basic characteristics of light fixtures
To find out what characteristics of the majority of bulbs for sale and to learn to read the markings on the packaging of light fixtures I invite you to take a small excursion into physics.
W (W) - watts, power of light fixtures
W (W) - watts, power - they indicate the amount of energy a light fixture consumes. It is important to understand that this indicator is not always directly proportional to the light output, because when converting energy into light beams some of it is lost.
Accordingly, there is a relationship between power and luminous intensity, and a fluorescent lamp with 40W indicator will look brighter and light a much larger area than a similar 15W luminaire. But nevertheless, this value is not all that simple.
If you compare the popular energy-saving lamps to other types of bulbs, for example, they will shine brighter than other lamps for the same number of watts, although they use less energy. So watts are more useful in calculating how much the meter will "wind up" in the end by regularly using the lamp.
Lm (Lm) - Lumens, amount of light
Lm (Lm) - Lumens are units for measuring light output, that is, they indicate how much light a lighting fixture gives. In simple terms, lumens indicate the brightness of light.
The requirements of plants regarding light intensity depend on their species. If you take the average values for indoor flowers the light amount should not be less than 6000 Lumen for a sure growth and development. But it is best when it is close to 10000-20000 Lumens. By the way, in the summer time on the surface of the soil, the illumination is from 27000 to 34000 Lumen.
K - Kelvin, shades of light
Kelvin - this unit shows the shades of light, the so-called light temperature. That is, how much the glow is visually perceived as warm or cool (not to be confused with the degree of physical heating of the lamp). Why does this indicator need a florist?
The fact is that scientists have revealed the relationship between light temperature and plant development, so it is very important that the flowers receive light of optimal "temperature".
G - cap
This characteristic will be important if you buy a fluorescent lamp and housing (lamp) for it separately. With bulbs, screwed into the socket, the base is designated by the letter E, with a standard socket marked as E40.
V - Volts, voltage
The voltage at which the lamp works; on some lamps indicated the limiting range of operation of the lamp. For example, 100-240 V. Most domestic light fixtures operate from a standard 220 Volt power supply.
Selecting a fluorescent light bulb to illuminate plants
According to studies, approximately 6500 Kelvin is required for seed germination, seedling growth and successful vegetation. And 2700 Kelvin for maximum blooming and fruit-bearing.
W arm White (WW), "natural white light" (Neutral White Light (NW) ) and "cool white light" (Cool White (CW) lamps are generally available for indoor lighting.
Depending on the manufacturer, the performance of these lamps may vary slightly. Typically, fluorescent lamps of warm white light have a characteristic in the range of 2700-3200 Kelvin, natural light - 3300-5000 K, cold white light - from 5100 to 6500 K. There can also be daylight labels (Day Light), whose values start at 6500 K.
In this regard we should also mention such a concept as nanometers (nm). Unlike Kelvin, nanometers indicate the wavelength of light radiation. The interval of electromagnetic radiation visible to the human eye has a wavelength in the range from 380 nm to 740 nm. Scientists have proven that the 660 nm (visible to the human eye as red light) and 455 nm (perceived as blue) are the most effective for the full development of plants.
This is because the energy required for photosynthesis is mainly provided by the red rays of the spectrum. The green and yellow component of the light is practically useless for the plants.
According to special instruments, the cold light bulbs have the most green and blue, and almost no red. Whereas a warm light bulb has a significant amount of red. So if you are planning to light your plants with normal household daylight bulbs (fluorescent bulbs), it is better to combine both types of fixtures. For example, warm white 2800 K and cool white or daylight 6500 K, because the first one has a lot of red, which is important for plants, and the second one has a considerable amount of blue.