Red Light Therapy for Plants: (Here’s What You Need to Know)

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Red light therapy for plants is a modern approach involving unique red light wavelengths to increase their growth and development. 

This technique is responsible for: 

  • Photosynthesis
  • Flowering
  • Improved plant condition

This makes it beneficial for the agricultural industry to look for ways to improve the quality of their crops.

Quick Summary: RLT For Plants 

Red light plays a crucial role in plants’ photosynthesis. Chlorophylls most actively absorb light with a wavelength of 450-495 nm and 620-750 nm in length in red light. NASA study the use of red light therapy, and to date, they have found remarkable effects of the RLT; both for plants and humans. 

Science Behind Red Light Therapy for Plants

Plants use light in photosynthesis. In this way, light energy is converted into energy for plant growth. 

The photosynthetic activity is related to light mainly in chloroplasts using chlorophyll pigments. 

Normally, the chlorophylls are most effectively absorbed by light of either 450-495 nm and the length of 620-750 nm within the range of red light. 

However, green light reflecting a wavelength of 500-570 nm gives plants their normally observed color. 

Still, red light is highly important for photosynthesis, as this wavelength is fully absorbed by chlorophyll and many other pigments.

The red light in photosynthesis helps form ATP and NADPH, energy carriers that support the vital process. It also controls morphogenesis, the formation of the plant’s shape, and structure.

Red light directly influences the phytochromes, a light receptor system responsible for the red–far-red color ratio. 

Radiation in the range of red light also helps to increase the activity of the chlorophyll production system, which has the most efficient absorption characteristics. 

Several Benefits of Red Light Therapy for Plants

Red light therapy has multiple benefits for plants, which enhance different aspects of their development and growth. 

  • The first advantage relates to the growth rate of plants and their yield. Moreover, the extent to which red light stimulates photosynthesis is based on the enhanced action of chlorophyll pigment, which absorbs the light energy. 
  • It is more effective when provided with a more stable energy supply that promotes faster growth and increased yield. 
  • Another significant advantage is related to seed germination, which also benefits from red light exposure. 
  • Phytochrome is part of the system responsible for seed germination control. Some red-light treatments can break seed dormancy and promote faster and uniform germination. 
  • Another benefit is the overall plant health and stress resistance, as some studies indicate that red light treatments could increase plant resistance to unfavorable. If working, it may be related to triggering some defense mechanisms and enhanced synthesis of protective compounds in the plant. 
  • One can outline denser and more sturdy plants. 
  • Since red light influences plant morphogenesis, the plants under it will have shorter internodes. Therefore, they will be less likely to lodge or not be able to withstand their biomass mass in general. 
  • The other critical benefits may include damage to flowering crops and red light potential in boosting flower properties.

How to Use Red Light Therapy for Plants?

Using red light for your plants may require picking the right lamps, understanding the critical factors to achieve the desired effect, establishing the system, and ensuring safety. 

Types of Lamps for Red Light Therapy 

LED panels are energy-efficient and emit a wide range of light with specific wavelengths. These lights can be configured so that they produce mostly red light, which is good for plant targeting. 
Grow lights, which can be LED, fluorescent, or incandescent. LED ones are the best option due to the lower amount of heat emitted and efficiency. The lights can vary in shape and size, suitable for different growing stands. 

Factors for Lamps Wavelength

The ideal one is around 660 nm, while the accepted range is 620-750 nm. The red light required is critical for photosynthesis and proper growth regulation. 

  • Intensity

The measurement is micromoles per square meter per second. It should generally be enough to provide the plant with the lights it needs. The more lumens or micromoles you have, the better, as it is positively correlated with the plant’s demands. 

  • Coverage Area

You must ensure it covers your growing space evenly. If space is insufficient, each unit should be relevant in size or have the number of units needed. 

  • System Establishment Distance

The light source should be 12-24 inches above the plants. The closer, the harder the plants will feel the heat, but the higher the risk of burning the leaves with heat. 

  • Duration of Exposure

The right is between 12-16 hours of use. Some plants benefit from continuous light, but it is better to research the type. 

Safety Avoiding Overheating

Red lights are the safest option, but you must ensure heat is emitted. The system must be well-ventilated. Lights should not be too close to the plants to avoid a burn.