You may have heard that Ultraviolet is dangerous. For humans, UV can indeed cause accelerated skin aging and even cancer. Many growers often struggle with the question of whether to use UV grow lights.
But is UV really the only adverse effect? Let’s explore what UV is and what they do together in this article.
What is the UV?
Ultraviolet is a form of electromagnetic radiation that ranges in wavelength from 10 nm to 400 nm. They are second only to visible light in energy but lower in energy than X-rays. There are actually three types of UV radiation: UVA, UVB, and UVC.
UVA – The wavelength range is 315-400 nm. In human life, it causes skin tanning, accelerates skin aging, and even causes cancer. It accounts for about 95% of the UVB rays that reach us from the sun.
UVB – The wavelength range is 280-315 nm. This is a lower level of UVB than UVA (and therefore well outside the visible range). It accounts for about 5% of the UVB that reaches us from the sun. Because of its seriously damaging, it needs to be treated with the utmost respect.
Depending on latitude, altitude and time of year, plants receive 10 to 100 times more UVA than UVB
UVC – The wavelength range is 100-280 nm. The Earth’s ozone layer fortunately filtered the UVC out and does not reach the Earth’s surface. This is because it is more destructive than UVB. Artificially generated, we sometimes used UVC for clinical sterilization.
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Are UV grow lights safe?
Now that you have a general understanding of each UV wavelength, do you want to know if UV grow lights work on plants?
Whether from the sun or through artificial grow lights, UV light can have an effect on your plants. Different wavelengths have different properties and can affect plants differently, and some can even cause more damage than they are worth.
Some horticulture LED lights suppliers specialize in researching, designing and developing UV LED grow light to encourage plants to benefit more from UV light.
Do UV grow lights help plants grow?
Harness the enhancing power of UVA in your growth
The human eye cannot see UV light, but we can see its effects.
UVA can improve plant production, increase plant nutrition and taste, and also make your plants more resistant to fungal infections.
You may be wondering, “How does UVA promote plant growth when its photosynthetic activity is not high?” The amazing thing of UVA is not in its photosynthetic activity.
Will UVB lighting grow plants?
While large amounts of UVB can be harmful, UVB light can be beneficial for indoor-grown plants.
The right amount of UVB lighting can change the quality of your plants by stimulating the production of unique plant compounds. UVB also creates a hostile environment for many garden pests as well as infections such as bacteria, viruses and molds (such as powdery mildew) and their spores.
And importantly, UVB can also help reduce plant growth and stretch. There are plant light suppliers that have specifically designed and developed UVB grow lights to emit just the right wavelength of UVB to achieve the best results.
- Proven to increase desirable plant-specific compounds by 20% – 35%
- Kills or greatly inhibits mildew, such as powdery mildew
- Kills or greatly inhibits insects
- Eliminates airborne pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, and mold spores
- Helps keep plants dwarf by reducing stretch
- Works wonders with just 2-6 hours of use per day
Note: Do not care for plants with UV grow lights on unless you are wearing UV protective eyewear and sunscreen on all exposed skin areas, or you will be at high risk for skin damage and cancer.
The easiest and safest thing to do is to tend to your garden only when the lights are off.
Do UV grow lights work for plants? It is safe to say that plants benefit more from UV light than we humans do.
There is still much to learn about the effects of UV lighting on plant growth. But research clearly shows that when used at responsible levels, it can be significantly more effective.
If you want to utilize UV light in your own growth cycle, a lamp specifically designed to regulate UVB lighting for plants is the best way to go.