An elongated stem has beneficial effects on microgreen production. Previous studies indicate that under 24-hour light-emitting diode (LED) lighting, monochromatic blue light, compared with red light, can promote plant elongation for some species. The objective of this study was to investigate whether shortened photoperiod can change blue vs. red light effects on elongation growth. The growth and morphology traits of arugula (Brassica eruca, ‘Rocket’), cabbage (Brassica oleracea, unknown variety name), mustard (Brassica juncea, ‘Ruby Streaks’), and kale (Brassica napus, ‘Red Russian’) seedlings were compared during the stage from seeding to cotyledon unfolding under two light quality × two photoperiod treatments: 1) R, monochromatic red light (665 nm) and 2) B, monochromatic blue light (440 nm) using continuous (24-hour light/0-hour dark) or periodic (16-hour light/8-hour dark) LED lighting. A photosynthetic photon flux density of ≈100 μmol·m−2·s−1 and an air temperature of ≈22 °C was used for the preceding treatments. After 7 to 8 days of lighting treatment, regardless of photoperiod, B promoted elongation growth compared with R, as demonstrated by a greater stem extension rate, hypocotyl length, or petiole length in the tested microgreen species, except for mustard. The promotion effects on elongation were greater under 24- vs. 16-hour lighting in many cases. Among the tested species, mustard showed the lowest sensitivity in elongation response to B vs. R, which was independent of photoperiod. This suggests that the blue-light-promoted elongation is not specifically from 24-hour lighting, despite the varying promotion degree under different photoperiods or for different species. The elongation growth promoted by blue LED light under a photoperiod of either 24 hours or 16 hours can potentially benefit indoor production of microgreens.
Short campanula (Campanula portenschlagiana ‘PGM Get MEE’®) stock plants present a difficulty in machine-harvesting of cuttings. Light adjustment may be an effective approach to mediate plant elongation. Two experiments were performed to 1) investigate whether short-term (five weeks) daily 24-h dynamic lighting (DL) with red and blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs) can promote elongation without inducing flowering, and 2) explore whether DL can be used to modify stock plant morphology to improve the cutting quality and rooting success in a controlled environment. Two lighting treatments were used: concurrent lighting (CL) with red (85%) and blue (15%) LEDs (RB) at 100 µmol·m−2·s−1 and DL with red (170 µmol·m−2·s−1), blue (30 µmol·m−2·s−1), and RB (100 µmol·m−2·s−1) LEDs sequentially at three different lighting stages, respectively, in both experiments. In Expt. 1, at final harvest of stock plants, the side branches were longer under DL compared with CL, but the five (= 2 + 2 + 1) weeks of 24-h daily lighting resulted in visible flower buds under both treatments. Based on the results of Expt. 1, a second experiment (Expt. 2) was conducted with the same cultivar and experimental conditions, but with a shorter photoperiod (10 h·d−1) for 11 (= 8 + 2 + 1) weeks. In Expt. 2, at final harvest, DL compared with CL caused more upright side branches, and reduced the dry biomass of side branches with one branching order and leaf chlorophyll content. However, the harvested cutting quality and rooting success were similar between both treatments. In both experiments, side branch number under DL was greater compared with CL at the end of the first lighting stage. Stock plants under DL were taller from the second lighting stage on to final harvest compared with CL, and the final heights of stock plants under DL met the target for machine-harvest in both experiments. Therefore, if the lighting strategy is further optimized, DL can potentially benefit controlled-environment production of campanula cuttings.