MadSci Network: Botany

Re: which is better for regular plants 2 grow in sunlight or artificial ligh?y?

Date: Wed Jun 21 00:18:42 2000
Posted By: David Hershey, Faculty, Botany, NA
Area of science: Botany
ID: 959636673.Bt

First, the term "artificial light" is a misnomer. The more accurate term is 
electric light. Incandescent lamps by themselves are too hot and are inefficient 
so produce relatively little light. Thus, by themselves, incandescent bulbs are 
not good light sources for plants. Fluorescent lamps are much cooler and much 
more efficient so are a good light source for plants except that they cannot 
provide as much light as full sunlight. High intensity discharge lamps, such as 
high pressure sodium, do provide light levels as high as natural sunlight.

Generally sunlight is better because it is typically easier to provide the high 
light levels most plants prefer with sunlight than with electric light. One 
exception would be in winter in a greenhouse where natural sunlight levels may 
be very low and electric lights, even fluorescent lamps, could provide much more 
light and much more rapid growth. Plants that grow well in low light such as 
most foliage house plants and African violets often grow as well or better with 
electric light than they with natural sunlight, which varies widely from day to 
day and season to season.

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