The Light Spectrum: Which is Right for Vegetables?
When it comes to cultivating vegetables, you want to make sure to provide your plants with the best possible care. Doing this is more than just regular watering and nourishment, though! If you want to perfect your vegetable yield this year, you need to make sure you know what light spectrum is suitable for the veggies you’re growing.
The different colors on the light spectrum all represent something different for your ever-growing plants. Even though we might not be able to pick up on all the colors with our naked eyes, your vegetables definitely can, and they highly benefit when you know which colors are ideal during specific stages of their life cycle. But, if you’re not familiar with the light spectrum and its many colors, don’t worry! We’re covering all of that and more down below. Through this article, you’ll be able to fully understand which colors on the light spectrum are right for vegetables. Let’s get started.
Mastering the Different Colors on the Light Spectrum
Before we talk about vegetables’ relationship with the light spectrum, let’s talk about the range in general.
The light spectrum, otherwise known as the electromagnetic spectrum, refers to the wide range of electromagnetic radiation that comes from a particular light source. The wavelengths this radiation produces comes off as different colors, some visible to us and some not. Each one of these colors on the spectrum makes a different amount of energy, adjusting as needed. Think of the sun: Its intense influence is ever-present to both humans and plants during the day. As the sky turns to dusk, though, the amount of energy it produces is vastly different; thus, the colors it gives off are different, too.
Usually, when talking about vegetables, we deal with about five different spectrums: the UV light spectrum, green/blue light spectrum, red light spectrum, and far-red light spectrum. Each one of these spectrums functions slightly differently, offering potential benefits for your vegetables. However, some of these colors are better for your veggies at different stages in their lives, making it crucial to understand these spectrums just a little bit better.
Once you’re able to master utilizing the different colors on the light spectrum, you’ll notice that your vegetables are likely to thrive, too. You have to remember that, if these plants were being grown under the sun, they would be exposed to all these different wavelengths depending on the time of the day. Why wouldn’t you want to replicate that? Trust us: your plants will surely thank you.
So, what colors on the light spectrum are best for vegetable cultivation?
What Light is Best for Vegetables?
As we mentioned, there are a handful of different colors on the light spectrum, both visible and not. However, today, we’re going to be focusing just on three different types of light that we’ve found best for your nutrient-rich crop. Although, it’s important to keep in mind that you shouldn’t stick with just one color light for your vegetable’s whole life cycle. As we mentioned, your plants’ needs will change depending on their point in life. That being said, let’s start with blue light and its effects on your vegetables.
Generally, blue light is associated with chlorophyll, the green pigment you find in your plants and many vegetables. If you’re growing green vegetables, your plants will require a bit of blue light to receive nourishment and grow as healthy as they should. Plants that are lacking in blue light will likely look a bit dull, and they won’t be nearly as lively as they once were.
When exposed to blue light, this triggers the opening of the plant’s stomata. The stomata are the microscopic openings on your plant leaves that regulate water and carbon dioxide intake. Without this, actually undergoing photosynthesis is nearly impossible, making it crucial for plant development.
On the flip slide, though, too much blue light can be harmful to your vegetables if you’re not careful. An excess amount of blue light may give your plants too much chlorophyll, causing leaves and stems to wilt and wither. When providing your plant with the necessary amount of blue light, you must be careful not to overexpose it. While some amounts of blue lights can be wonderful for your plant’s growth, too much can seriously hinder your grow.
Thankfully, a lot of typical LED or other indoor grow lights have shades of blue already in them. Thus, your plants will naturally be exposed to small amounts of blue light — enough to give your vegetables what they need.
Like blue light, red light is also essential for vegetable growth, providing the plant with the energy it needs to thrive. While red light does have some impact on photosynthesis, that’s not its primary role. Primarily, red light supports plant stem and leaf growth, as well as flowering for applicable vegetables.
Using red light to help stimulate seed germination and root growth can be extremely helpful in your vegetable’s early life. The red light’s energy allows the plant to start growing strong during the period it needs it most. Essentially, this helps to set your plant up for a healthier, more robust life than it would have had otherwise.
Similar to what we mentioned with blue light, you cannot only grow your vegetables using red light. If you do this, you’re going to find yourself with some seriously out of control plants. This is because, as we mentioned, red light helps significantly with plant extension growth. So, if it is only exposed to red light, your vegetables stems and leaves are going to start growing up and out, looking quite sporadic and unappealing. This appearance is the most significant sign that your veggies are not getting the nutrients they need from other colors on the spectrum.
If it wasn’t obvious before, it’s obvious now: sticking to a range of colors on the light spectrum is best for your vegetables. That’s precisely why more and more farmers are turning to full-spectrum lighting options instead.
Full-spectrum lighting refers to lighting that encompasses the full light spectrum. Thus, it best mimics how the sun would provide light for your vegetables if grown outdoors. This kind of replication is beautiful for plant growth, as it ensures that your plant is getting the full range of nutrients it needs to cultivate correctly. When you embrace full-spectrum lighting, you’re providing your vegetables with a full range of energy and nutrients.
Finding the Ideal Light for Your Veggies
Though it may take a little bit of time and maybe some trial and error, finding the ideal light for your vegetables is easier than you think. Once you take the time to fully understand how the light spectrum corresponds to your vegetable growth, you’ll see how you should be doing the same.
Still have questions about plant cultivation and lighting? Luna Cultivation is an expert in both fields, and we’re more than willing to help you out. Check out all of our blog posts for more information, and don’t be afraid to reach out for advice or questions. We understand that plant cultivation can be a bit tricky, but we’ll work with you side-by-side to ensure your vegetable growth is as nutritious and healthy as it can be.