Artificial lighting for growing seedlings in an apartment

Installations of artificial and natural illumination of plants in an urban interior

When my wife and I were not yet experienced flower growers with great experience, but only beginning gardeners, we also had a question about growing seedlings in a city apartment. Moreover, at the same time, indispensable conditions were set:

Photo 1

- not to worsen the interior of the room even at the time of growing seedlings;
- so that traces from the use of plants for growing seedlings in the rest of the year would not be visible;

- so that wallpaper, carpets, furniture polishing would not fade from artificial lighting during continuous use. And this is what we got (perhaps you have different conditions, but you can use my ideas, solutions). Photo No. 1 shows the interior of a room in a normal setting. An artificial illumination installation (UIP) is laid out on a sheet of paper.

Photo 2

Photo No. 2 shows the assembled UIP with open access. The black film is wrapped on three sides and slipped under the TV (you can use the buttons on the bottom of the cover). Below it is placed seedlings in a container. The back of the black film (near the battery) is raised 5 cm above the floor so that the cold air from the window does not allow the temperature to rise above the set value (it is regulated by the opening width of the window and a thermometer). The lower part of the coffee table lid is covered with aluminum foil (with buttons) for better light reflection. The backlight lamps are connected to the socket system on the shelf under the VCR (you can use an extension cord). The height of the lamps is adjustable. We have them above the plants - with a lamp power of 30 W - at a height of 7 cm (feel free to experiment, gain your experience).

Photo 3

Photo No. 3 shows a UIP with a closed front part, which is made of the same material as the curtains (but it is also possible from the same black film - the main thing is that furniture and curtains do not fade from the light). Photographs # 2 and # 3 show the installation for natural illumination (UEP) on the window, which is assembled from boards and a corner. And although it is attached in three places (under the window sill and in two places on the frames), the stability is sufficient, and there are no traces of such an installation after its dismantling, since pots with flowers are attached to these places the rest of the time. We have been using these devices for many years. They allow in a small room to have a place for growing a large number of seedlings, without deteriorating the quality of life and the interior.

Sergey Petrov, amateur gardener

How to grow seedlings? Choosing containers for seedlings

Growing seedlings any garden crops requires the correct choice of containers. Today there is a huge selection of different dishes for growing seedlings - practical, convenient and compact containers.

We will try to choose the best from all the variety containers for growing seedlings, consider all the advantages and disadvantages of each type.

Nowadays, there is a huge selection of containers for seedlings that differ in their appearance, material of manufacture.


The advantage of artificial luminaires is that they emit a spectrum, by combining which, you can create the necessary conditions.

The main groups included in the natural spectrum of light are:

  • ultraviolet - inhibits the development of bacteria and harmful organisms
  • yellow-green - especially important during vegetative maturation
  • orange - favors the early appearance of flowers, fruit set and ripening
  • blue and red - "accelerate" metabolic processes, activate photosynthesis.

Studies of the effect of artificial lighting on the development of seedlings and plants have shown that they are negatively affected by both the deficiency and the excess of certain parts of the spectrum. Excessive use of yellow and green causes the plants to stretch up too much, their stems become painfully thinner, and fruiting may not occur. Passion for ultraviolet light leads to the death, along with the pathogenic bacteria of the seedlings themselves.

When choosing lamps of artificial light, one should not forget about the laws of growth and development of plants. Although there are general recommendations for illumination - about 6000 lux for seedlings and for adult plants - it is better to use lamps for each type that give the required illumination.

Especially demanding in this regard:

  • pepper plants - they need a luminous flux in the range of 3000-4000 lux
  • tea crops - 3000–3900 lux
  • legumes and bananas - 4000-6000 lux
  • tomatoes of all varieties - 5000–6000 lux.

The calculation of the backlight power depends on whether fluorescent or LED lamps are used for seedlings, their rated power, and the size of the room. The lack or excess of brightness can, in contrast to the wrong spectrum, be compensated for by moving or removing the lamp from the plant.

To do this, you need to install fluorescent or LED plant lamps in any convenient place. This is all the more important when you consider that in practice the number of lamps and their distance from lighting objects are determined empirically, without complex calculations. The more variability in the location of light sources a room can provide, the better.

Low-power lamps, so as not to push them too close to the illuminated crops (this can lead to a fire), can be equipped with reflectors made of any shiny metal, foil, or, if the surface to be pasted does not heat up too intensely, even white cardboard.

Standard incandescent lamps, although their emission spectrum is most consistent with natural sunlight, have a number of disadvantages:

  • low productivity (maximum efficiency - 5-10%)
  • fire hazardous (all the rest of the received energy is converted into heat)
  • explosive and traumatic (plain glass is used as a capsule)
  • short-lived (service life - only 1000 hours).

Another example is sodium gas discharge lamps. They work much longer and have a high efficiency, but they are also explosive, they greatly heat the environment, which can lead to plant burns. Without installing a special starting device, these lamps, in conditions of unstable voltage, quickly fail.

Plasma lamps would be a good solution, the main disadvantages of which are the high price and power of the luminous flux, which limits the use of lamps of this type in small rooms.

Why are the seedlings pulled out?

With a lack of light, the seedlings are pulled out

Light is a decisive factor for seedlings, which contributes to the normal development of young plants. If the lighting is insufficient, and the temperature is high, then the seedlings are pulled out.

It is useless to use ordinary incandescent lamps for illumination, even powerful lamps with a power of 150 watts or more. In the spectrum of an incandescent lamp, unlike sunlight, there are few blue rays needed by seedlings. The main part of the spectrum is occupied by thermal, infrared, rays. Due to infrared rays, the seedlings are stretched out - they are not suitable for photosynthesis.

Incandescent lamps give a lot of heat - you can't hang them close, the seedlings will burn out, and far from them there is no point at all. According to the laws of physics, with a point light source (incandescent lamp), the illumination of the seedlings will be inversely proportional to the square of the distance to it from the light source.

In other words, when removing the light source from the seedlings by half, the illumination will decrease by 4 times, and if you remove it by 3 times, then the illumination will decrease by 9 times, etc. The human eye is not capable of capturing such nuances.

Luminaire with fluorescent lamps

For highlighting seedlings, fluorescent lamps (LD, LDC, LBT, LB, etc.) of general purpose with a capacity of 40, 60 and 80 watts are used, which give cold light.

In an apartment, for seedling boxes with a total area of ​​1 m 2, fluorescent lamps with a total wattage of watts are needed, depending on the month, variety and age of the plants.

Fluorescent lamps give almost no heat - they can be hung above the seedlings. True, there is little orange-red light in the spectrum of fluorescent lamps, at which photosynthesis is most active.

Let's talk about such a great light source for your pets as induction lamps. The cost of such lamps does not depend on the size of the base, color temperature, or the magnitude of the supply voltage. The main factor that influences the formation of the final cost is the power of the luminaire.

Absolutely every such lamp comes with a power supply, which is very nice, you must agree. It can be built into the luminaire or external. In addition, the actual service life of induction lamps exceeds one hundred thousand hours!

This is about half a century when working at home. Even after the lamp has worked for about 60,000 hours, its light output will drop by some 20-30 percent.

They have a fairly low operating temperature, which ranges from 35 to 120 degrees, which makes it possible to use similar lamps in various types of luminaires, even those that are explosion-proof.

These are probably the best light bulbs for growing seedlings. The light emitted by such a lamp does not cause visual fatigue in the dark, it is most effective for the growth of indoor flora.

In addition, the content of mercury in the most powerful such lamps is much less (tens of times) than in widespread fluorescent lamps. If the lamp is accidentally broken, it can be cleaned up with a damp sponge, since the mercury content is very low and is not harmful to humans.

These indoor plant luminaires are a great alternative to the increasingly popular LED bulbs, save a lot of money and last even longer than LED bulbs.

Blue light is most important for seedlings. This spectrum of light has a number of positive effects on a young plant:

  • stimulates the formation of new cells, in particular coarse plant fiber, which is necessary for the growth of seedlings
  • starts the growth of new cotyledon leaves
  • stops the absorption of carbon dioxide by a young plant, but increases the absorption of hydrogen, so that the seedling accumulates more strength for further growth.

Therefore, when growing seedlings using artificial lighting, it is imperative to use blue light lamps, because in winter the sun's rays fall on the seedlings in insufficient quantities. Blue light is especially important for seedlings of raw crops:

  • flax
  • tobacco
  • cotton.

Use homemade LED installations to illuminate it. They are economical and low maintenance. To power the LED elements, it is enough to connect a 12 volt power supply to them. Under artificial lighting, industrial crops grow much better than on a windowsill.

Watch the video: Grow Light Options for Indoor Plants: Were Putting Amazons Best To The Test! Part 1 of 3

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