Good thinking. More light can increase growth
for at least some plants. The problem is mostly
the cost of the power and equipment. Plants
getting more light will probably also need more
water. Can you figure out why?
You might want to consider a career in botany,
agriculture, or plant ecology.
Thanks for asking,
Yes - this is actually a way that the FDA
catches marijuana growers, because they keep these
greenhouses full of plants with lots of bright
lights on at night, which consumes a great deal of
power. The police can see if someone has been
doing this just by looking at their electricity
The problem with doing this on a scale that
would be sensibly economical is that artificial
light costs energy, and that energy either comes
from sunlight, from fossil fuels, or from nuclear
power, all of which mean (for different reasons)
have less energy during the daytime when the sun
is shining. Thus unless you're trying to grow a
small amount of a very expensive (and secret) crop
- like the aforementioned marijuana growers who
don't want to grow above ground because they'd be
spotted - using lights to grow plants double-time
just isn't practical. You can do it, but there's
no reason to.
Artificial light does help plants that do not
receive good quality light indoors for sure! And
in regions where there are long days (e.g. Alaska
in the summer with 18-20 hours or more of sun),
many crops bloom like crazy (try searching Google
images with the search term "alaska giant cabbage"
- those things are huge!)
However, artificial light at night may not be the
best for all plants. Light can serve as a signal
for plants to enter into different stages of
growth and development. Darkness may be required
for a plant to be able to properly develop. A
plant may be fine for short periods of continual
light but may not grow as well if it is constantly
kept under light all the time. Artificial lights
can also get pretty hot and can overheat the
plant, causing wilting or even frying the plant.
This sounds like it might be an interesting
science fair experiment to do! Thanks for your
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