Spectral effects of supplemental greenhouse radiation

Supplemental radiation (SR), traditionally provided by high-pressure sodium (HPS) lamps, is recommended for greenhouse production of seedlings during radiation-limiting conditions. Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have emerged as an appealing alternative to HPS lamps primarily because they can provide SR at improved energy efficiencies, they have longer fixture lifetimes, and the radiation spectrum can be tailored to potentially manipulate plant morphology by targeting radiation absorption of specific photoreceptors.

Researchers grew seedlings of three annual bedding plants and two vegetable transplants in greenhouses at 20 °C under a 16-h photoperiod under six SR treatments: five that delivered a photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) of 90 μmol·m−2·s–1 from HPS lamps (HPS90) or LEDs [four treatments composed of blue (B; 400–500 nm), red (R; 600–700 nm), far red (FR; 700–800 nm), and/or white LEDs] and one that delivered 10 μmol·m−2·s–1 from HPS (HPS10) lamps as a control with matching photoperiod.

The LED treatments, defined by the percentages of B, green (G; 500–600 nm), and R radiation, were B10R90, B45R55, B10G5R85, and B12G20R68 + FR (FR at 12 μmol·m−2·s–1). At transplant, leaf area and seedling height were similar among 90 μmol·m−2·s–1 treatments in all species except snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus), in which seedlings grown under B12G20R68 + FR had 62% greater leaf area than those grown under B45R55 and were 47%, 18%, 38%, and 62% taller than those grown under HPS90, B10R90, B10G5R85, and B45R55, respectively.

After transplant and finishing under the same SR treatments, snapdragon flowered on average 7 days earlier under the B12G20R68 + FR treatment than the other LED treatments, whereas geranium (Pelargonium ×hortorum) grown under B45R55 and B12G20R68 + FR flowered 7 to 9 days earlier than those under the B10G5R85 and B10R90 treatments. Seedlings of each species grown under the HPS10 treatment accumulated less dry weight and took longer to flower compared with seedlings under the other SR treatments.

The study authors conclude that radiation quality of SR has relatively little effect on seedling growth and subsequent flowering although in some crops, flowering may be earlier when SR includes FR radiation.

Access the full study at HortScience.

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