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  • Author or Editor: Scott Golem x
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Until recently, most clonal cannabis (Cannabis sativa) has been propagated using fluorescent lights. Transitioning to light-emitting diodes (LEDs) may be a viable alternative to fluorescent lighting, enabling cultivators to provide specific spectrum treatments to enhance rooting while also saving energy. Vegetative stem cuttings of ‘Gelato-27’, ‘Grace’, and ‘Meridian’ were rooted for 15 days under various combinations of blue (B), red (R), ultraviolet-A (UVA) LEDs, phosphor-converted white (W) LEDs, and a fluorescent (F) control treatment, each with a canopy-level photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) of 200 µmol·m−2·s−1 and 16-hour photoperiod. The photon flux ratios of blue (B; 400–500 nm) and red (R; 600–700 nm) narrowband LED treatment combinations were (1) BR, fixed spectrum of B15:R85; (2) B, B75:R25 on day 0–2 followed by B15:R85 on day 2–14; (3) B+UVA, B75:R25 on day 0–2 followed by B15:R85 on day 2–14 plus 15 µmol·m−2·s−1 of UVA on day 7–14; (4) B50, B15:R85 on day 0–7 followed by B50:R50 on day 7–14. The W and F treatments both had static spectra. After the propagation period (i.e., plug stage), a portion of the cuttings under each treatment × cultivar combination were destructively harvested and the remainder were transplanted and grown vegetatively for an additional 21 days (i.e., transplant stage) under a PPFD of ≈275 µmol·m−2·s−1 from ceramic metal halide fixtures and then destructively harvested. Although there were no spectrum treatment effects on the percentage of cuttings that rooted, root index values were higher in cuttings grown under B+UVA vs. F. Further, relative root dry weights of plugs from the B, B+UVA, B50, and F treatments were higher than the W treatment. At the end of the plug stage, there were no spectrum treatment effects on the chlorophyll content index, cuttings grown under the B treatment had thicker stems compared with BR and W treatments, and cuttings grown under the F treatment exhibited the lowest percentage of new aboveground growth. None of the aforementioned spectrum treatment effects from the propagation stage persisted post-transplant. The use of LEDs is a promising, energy-efficient alternative to fluorescent lighting for cannabis propagation and B-enhanced spectrum treatments appear to enhance the rooting performance of clonal cannabis cuttings.

Open Access