Does the Color of Light Affect Plant Growth?


Light is an essential component of a favorable environment for plant growth. Growing plants indoors has become popular, and while it has proven to work, there is a higher need for supplemental lighting.

With the advancement of indoor gardening, grow lights have emerged to provide plants with this essential parameter. The question remains; does the color of light affect plant growth?

If you are a beginner in indoor gardening, this article will help you understand the effect of different lights on plants and whether they affect plant growth or not.

Key Takeaways

  • The color of light affects plant growth significantly; therefore essential to choose the right color for your plants.
  • Growing lights come in different colors, and each color has a significant effect on the development, growth, and production of indoor plants.
  • Red and blue lights are the best for indoor growth as plants can easily absorb them and turn them into essential nutrients for growth.

Understanding Growing Lights

With indoor plants, growing lights are some of the most important things you should invest in. There is much debate on the different kinds of grow lights and how each affects the growth of plants.

Growing lights come in various types, each having a significant effect. The most popular ones are Kind LED and HPS growing lights. Both are great for growing plants indoors and have proven to help maintain the health and growth pattern of various plants [1].

However, the color of the lamp you choose has a significant effect on how the plants grow as some benefit the plants more than others.

Why Color Affects Plant Growth

Light exists as a spectrum, and the light we see is a small fraction of the electromagnetic spectrum. That said, light comes in various forms, including visible light, infrared light, gamma rays, and more [2].

Each form of light has rays that could harm plants or benefit them by turning them into essential nutrients plants need to grow. The light we see shows as a pattern, and depending on the color, the wavelengths will vary from long to short.

On this note, plants require a specific type of light and the right amount of energy to grow and produce. Photosynthesis, the process by which plants turn sunlight into nutrients, depends on the energy emitted from the light and chlorophyll.

Chlorophyll is the green color in most plants and is integral to growth and production [3]. If you use a green grow light, it would not be effective in helping the plant grow since chlorophyll needs colors on the opposite end of the spectrum.

The wavelengths produced by the green light would not emit the right energy that plants need to produce chlorophyll and facilitate photosynthesis. With this example, you can see how the color you choose affects the growth of the plants.

Related post:

The Different Light Colors and How They Affect Plant Growth

Different colored lamps will produce different results since they are not created equal. On this note, you can utilize the colors on the spectrum to help you get the results you desire from your plants. Below are the different colors and the results each generates.

Ultraviolet Light

Commonly known as UV light, this type of light can be harmful to plants as it is to humans. This light emits energy that can damage plants with extended exposure. It is therefore not recommended for any type of plant you intend to grow.

Blue Light

This color of light can be highly beneficial for indoor plants, especially during the early stages of life. It is excellent for the production of chlorophyll which is an essential component of photosynthesis. Additionally, it is easy for plants to absorb and convert energy to crucial nutrients [4].

Violet Light

Violet light has a high amount of energy and can highly benefit indoor plants. It comes in handy to develop plants’ color, aroma, enhanced flavors in fruits and vegetables. Moreover, it can help increase the number of antioxidants in plants. It is, therefore, one of the best lights for indoor plants.

Green Light

As mentioned above, green light is not the best for indoor plant growing. This is because plants often reflect the green light, unlike the other colors that they absorb pretty well. Green light can enhance chlorophyll, but it does not help improve growth and production.

Red Light

Red light is one of the common lights used in indoor growing. It is an excellent choice for plant growth; however, it is not effective on its own. It is mainly combined with blue light, especially for plants that have reached maturity [5].

One of the benefits of red light is that it can help with the blooming of flowers. With other colors like blue light, it can increase the number of leaves a plant produces.

Yellow Light

Yellow light is pretty similar to green light as far as the effects go. Therefore, it is not an effective color to choose for indoor plants, as it is hard to absorb and does not meet the energy requirements most indoor plants have.

The Best Colors for Indoor Use

From the description above, it is clear that red and blue lights are the best for the development and growth of plants. Blue is best during the early stages, while red with some blue hues is excellent for mature plants.

The Bottom Line

The color of light does affect plant growth and production; therefore a crucial factor to keep in mind. If you are starting an indoor garden and are stuck on choosing the right colors for the plants, this article is a great resource to guide you through the selection process.


Leave a Comment