LED lighting strategies in cut flowers: balancing plant physiology and biological control of pests

J.A. Dieleman, H.M. Kruidhof, K. Weerheim
Over the last decade, LED lighting has gained considerable interest as an energy efficient light source in greenhouse horticulture. Much work on LED lighting is done under controlled conditions in the absence of sun light, whereas the primary application lies in supplementation of low light conditions in winter. A frequently forgotten aspect herein is that spectral composition may also affect the biology of pests and their natural enemies, both directly and indirectly through an impact on induced plant resistance. In this paper, we present results of trials with chrysanthemum and alstroemeria cut flowers which were exposed to lighting regimes with varying contributions of blue, green, red and far-red light. These trials were done under low levels of natural light, mimicking winter conditions. In chrysanthemum, spectra where blue or green were added did not affect stem length, plant dry weight and number of flowers when the percentage of red light remained over 75%. Replacing part of the photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) light by far-red light considerably increased stem length and (in some species) plant dry weight, at the expense of flowering. In alstroemeria, the number of flowers harvested, their length and fresh weight was largest in the treatment with equal shares of blue, green, red and far-red light. In chrysanthemum, the beneficial insect Orius laevigatus was introduced and its egg-laying activity and population development under different lighting strategies was monitored. The number of eggs laid by the first Orius generation was affected by the percentage red light in the spectrum, with the lowest egg number found in plants grown under 95% red. The results for egg-laying by the second Orius generation differed among chrysanthemum cultivars. The implications of this work on lighting strategies for greenhouse horticulture are discussed, both in spectral composition and in timing during the day and the season.
Dieleman, J.A., Kruidhof, H.M. and Weerheim, K. (2020). LED lighting strategies in cut flowers: balancing plant physiology and biological control of pests. Acta Hortic. 1296, 591-604
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2020.1296.76
chrysanthemum, alstroemeria, spectral composition, natural enemies, Orius laevigatus

Acta Horticulturae