Lighting Strategies for Ornamental Crop Production

Jillian Whitehead

Cultivation Guide, Horticulture, Ornamental horticulture | July 21, 2020

The ornamental horticultural industry is diverse and made up of flowering potted plants, cut flowers and bedding plants. Ornamentals have specific lighting requirements needed to grow high quality and consistent crops.  Since many bedding plant varieties are started in winter, lighting becomes important for managing early growth stages and to ensure products are in a condition ready to be shipped to customers.  Cut flowers and flowering potted plants require supplemental lighting in low light times of the year, to avoid slow growth cycles and to grow uniform, healthy plants.  Since lighting is tied to overall quality and yields, it becomes important to have a reliable lighting system that can deliver on the goals you want to achieve.  With so many lighting options in the market, deciding which to go with can become overwhelming.  At P.L. Light Systems, we build and sell both HID and LED luminaires, and have been working with North and South American growers for 40 years in helping them build their businesses and achieve their goals. 

For more information download our Ornamental Crop Cultivation Guide

– Explore the basic concepts of how the light environment affects plant growth

– Learn about lighting requirements for cut flower, bedding plant and flowering potted plant production

– Discover what lighting system works best for your application

Download The Guide

 

 

 

HID LIGHTING SYSTEMS

When it comes to ornamental crops, whether its bedding plants or cut flowers, HID technology remain the most popular lighting choice for its tried and true spectrum for initiating flowering and optimizing photosynthesis.   

For greenhouse applications, we recommend the high efficiency NXT serieswhich enables growers to achieve optimum light intensity uniformly across the surface of the crop with fewer luminaires.  We have worked with numerous growers such as Eurosa Farms and Burnaby Lake Greenhouses, who have retrofitted their greenhouses with new NXT2s with HPS lamps. Achieving high quality plants, while saving money on lighting costs were both important aspects of installing new luminaires.  Both growers have seen plant growth and quality increase by at least 30% and have seen better energy savings compared to their old magnetic ballast luminaires.   

NXT2 retrofit at Burnaby Lake Greenhouses

LED LIGHTING SYSTEMS

LED luminaires are becoming increasingly popular thanks to their energy efficiency.  For ornamental growers, we have seen businesses such as Meyer’s Fruit Farms have success in their propagation zones where they have increased crop cycles and improved plant growth under the HortiLED Top, versus their previous non-lit greenhouse.  LEDs are great for propagation because the spectrum helps to grow compact, well branched plugs that transplant easily.  LEDs can also be a great lighting solution for growing production plants, but we recommend trialing a small area before any large LED installation, as different species respond differently to the same spectrum. 

For propagation zones with low ceiling applications we recommend the HortiLED Multi, which is designed to be placed close to the crop canopy.   

For high ceiling, or greenhouse applications we recommend using the high efficacy HortiLED Top 2.0 in RW(MB) spectrum for optimized photosynthesis.  For sole source indoor applications, the broad Daylight” spectrum is best for plant growth and human working conditions.   

Meyer’s Fruit Farm Propagation Zone with HortiLED Tops

HYBRID LIGHTING 

In many cases, if you don’t want to go all LED, what we suggest is a hybrid LED-HPS application, which provides the grower with the best of both technologies.  A hybrid lighting solution is great for growers who want that radiant heat from HPS lamps in the winter, but want to extend their lighting season into the spring with LEDs, which emit far less heat.  A hybrid solution can also help reduce costs by saving on the installation of additional infrastructure.  

Hybrid lighting in an Alstroemeria cut flower farm

Ready to see what P.L. Light Systems can do for your growing operation? Get started with your own custom light plan or contact your local sales manager.