Light-emitting Diodes Can Replace High-pressure Sodium Lighting for Cut Gerbera Production

in HortScience

A greenhouse study was undertaken to investigate whether light-emitting diode (LED) technology can be used to replace high-pressure sodium (HPS) lighting for cut gerbera production during Canada’s traditional supplemental lighting (SL) season (November to March). The study was carried out at the University of Guelph’s research greenhouse, using concurrent replications of SL treatments within the same growing environment. LED (85% red, 15% blue) and HPS treatment plots were set up to provide equal amounts of supplemental photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) at bench level. This setup was used to assess the production of three cultivars of cut gerbera (Gerbera jamesonii H. Bolus ex Hook.f): Acapulco, Heatwave, and Terra Saffier. There were no treatment differences in SL intensity, with average SL photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) and daily light integral (DLI) of 55.9 µmol·m−2·s−1 and 2.3 mol·m−2·d−1, respectively. Flowers harvested from the LED treatment had a 1.9% larger flower diameter in ‘Acapulco’; 4.2% shorter and 3.8% longer stems in ‘Heatwave’ and ‘Terra Saffier’, respectively; and 7.7% and 8.6% higher fresh weights for ‘Acapulco’ and ‘Terra Saffier’, respectively, compared with flowers harvested from the HPS treatment. There were no differences in accumulated total or marketable flower harvests for any of the cultivars. The vase life of ‘Acapulco’ flowers grown under the LED treatment was 2.7 d longer than those grown under the HPS treatment, but there were no SL treatment effects on water uptake for any of the cultivars during the vase life trials. There were no SL treatment effects on specific leaf area for any of the cultivars. There were only minimal treatment differences in leaf, soil, and air temperatures. Cut gerbera crops grown with under LED SL had equivalent or better production and crop quality metrics compared with crops grown under HPS SL.

Contributor Notes

This work was financially supported by the International Cut Flower Growers Association and the Joseph H. Hill Memorial Foundation, Inc.; LumiGrow, Inc. supplied the LED lighting fixtures. Plant materials were donated by Rosa Flora Ltd.

Corresponding author. E-mail: yzheng@uoguelph.ca.

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    Relative quantum flux of the high-pressure sodium (HPS; solid line) and light-emitting diode (LED; dotted line) supplemental lighting treatments over the photosynthetically active radiation spectral range (i.e., 400 to 700 nm).

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    Weekly mean natural daily light integral (DLI) at bench-level throughout the 19-wk trial. The overall mean natural DLI at bench level was 2.8 ± 0.98 mol·m−2·d−1 (mean ± SD, n = 19).

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