How Light Affects The Growth Of A Plant & Problems With Too Little Light

Several Potted Plants On A Windowsill With Light Shining Through
plant light 1
(Image credit: onlyyouqj)

Light is something that sustains all life on this planet, but we may wonder why do plants grow with light? When you buy a new plant, you may wonder what kind of light do plants need? Do all plants need the same amount of light? How can I tell if my plant is having problems with too little light? Keep reading to answer these questions on how light affects the growth of a plant.

How Light Affects the Growth of a Plant

All things need energy to grow. We get energy from the food we eat. Plants get energy from light through a process called photosynthesis. This is how light affects the growth of a plant. Without light, a plant would not be able to produce the energy it needs to grow.

What Kind of Light Do Plants Need?

While plants need light to grow, not all light or plants are the same. If someone asks, "What kind of light do plants need?", they may be referring to the light spectrum. Plants are affected by light that falls into the "blue" spectrum of the light scale. Daylight, fluorescent light, and grow lights all have "blue" tones in them and will help provide the light your plant needs. Incandescent and halogen lights are more "red" and will not help your plant grow. The question, "What kind of light do plants need?", may also refer to time needed in light. Normally they are referred to as low/shade, medium/part sun or high/full sun plants. Low or shade plants may need only a few hours of light a day while high or full sun plants need eight or more hours of light a day.

Problems with Too Little Light

Sometimes a plant will not get enough light and will have problems with too little light. Plants affected by light shortages or too little blue light will have the following signs:

Heather Rhoades
Founder of Gardening Know How

Heather Rhoades founded Gardening Know How in 2007. She holds degrees from Cleveland State University and Northern Kentucky University. She is an avid gardener with a passion for community, and is a recipient of the Master Gardeners of Ohio Lifetime Achievement Award.