Toxic Light Could Be Killing Your Indoors Plants

Native plants at a nursery were exposed to overexposure to light. That’s the finding of a study published online today by the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters.

Researchers from the University of Washington concluded that light from indoor plant lights traps more heat and inhibits photosynthesis at a time when plants need all the help they can get.

The researchers exposed three species of garden plants — American Louisana Thistle, rhododendron, and peony — to lights designed to mimic outdoor light. Under direct outdoor lighting, the plants foraged their normal range of minerals; indoors, with similar light, their food supply was decreased.

Plants grown in these plant lights had 20 percent less chlorophyll and 16 percent less photosynthesis. The plants grew three days faster in bare-roofed growing conditions, suggesting there’s something about outside lighting that favors photosynthesis.

In other words, those LED lights that you grow your plants in could be harming them.

Optimizing indoor plants under specific lighting conditions is vital, as light levels vary throughout the year and humidity can be high indoors. Designing appropriate lighting can allow you to develop the plants you want, but it also can make for more interesting plant life in the house. Your indoor plants could be living up to their potential and developing healthy and thriving habits—but only if you light them correctly.

Are you growing plants in your home? What are some things you can do to make sure your indoor plants are healthy and thriving?

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