Do you need to place your plant in a dark environment? What happens if you leave your plants in permanent light? These are some of the frequent questions you are bound to ask yourself whenever you are growing any plant.
Do Plants Need Darkness to Grow?
Your plants will respire and grow in the night or any other dark environment. However, darkness is not compulsory for respiration. You would assume that if you leave your plants in a setting that has light throughout, they will grow faster. Well, you will not be doing your plants much of a favor. They will still need to be in the dark for a certain period.
In the dark, your plants get a chance to utilize the metabolic process. Here is a more detailed analysis of plants and their need for darkness.
Is Darkness Important to Plants?
Yes. Plants need darkness. Darkness is essential for plant growth, just as light. Some people believe that when sunlight fades, plants go to sleep. This is a misinformed belief. Allow me to explain.
Plants don’t sleep the way human beings or other animals do. What happens is a change in the type of activity your plants engage in. The level of engagement also increases or reduces depending on the specific activity.
A significant activity for plants that changes when the plant’s environment gets dark is metabolism. Light is essential for photosynthesis since it is a biochemical process that demands light. When you now introduce darkness, photosynthesis stops.
Plants make their food whenever there is light during photosynthesis. In the same process, a waste product, which is oxygen, will be expelled. The fact that plants expel oxygen during the day makes them an essential addition to your living space.
The plants in your garden will never remain dormant. Even without photosynthesis facilitated by light, there is still adequate activity. The energy stored by the plants throughout the day will aid the night metabolic processes.
Are There Plants That Demand Darkness?
Some plants need a given amount of darkness for them to produce flowers. These plants are photosensitive. Other plants such as Euphorbia Pulcherima produce flowers in the winter as a response to the short days. When days are shorter, there is a bigger darkness window for the winter-blooming plants to produce flowers.
If you grow these plants that crave darkness indoors, it would be best to control the amount of light they get. Say, for instance, you decide to grow Kalanchoe Blossfeldiana or Schlumbergera Truncata indoors, you have to regulate sunlight. This is because exposing these plants to light continuously hinders them from blooming.
Another type of plant that demands darkness is the spider plant. This plant will thrive when you expose it to a maximum of twelve hours of continuous light. Darkness favors the spider plant’s growth, though you should not place it in an ever dark environment.
Do Plants Grow Faster in The Dark?
Another vital question that comes to a farmer’s mind is whether plants will grow faster in a dark surrounding. Well, no evidence indicates a faster growth rate of plants in the dark. For this reason, it is best to allow your plants the appropriate duration of dark and light periods unless they are part of the plants that demand more darkness.
Hydroponic kit plants don’t use their energy for photosynthesis when it gets dark. For this reason, it would be right to think that they will grow faster when it’s dark since the plants have some energy to spare.
The plants will grow in an upward direction seeking light. People will therefore assume that the plants are growing faster in the dark. The fact is, the plant cells will become elongated in the search for light. As we have identified, light is vital in photosynthesis, which allows the plants to grow faster as they make food.
Other plants grow faster when they are in the dark. Mung beans are a perfect example of this type of plant.
The Reason Why Mung Beans Grow Faster in the Dark
Your mung beans growing faster in the dark doesn’t mean they are at optimum health. In most cases, when the cells of these plants get elongated, the plant becomes weaker.
Mung beans grow in close proximity. They highly compete for the amount of light they get meaning they will grow faster in the dark. Therefore, mung beans will grow more quickly so that they can reach the light for photosynthesis.
Your mung beans growing faster in the dark does not justify you leaving them in darkness permanently. If you don’t expose them to light, photosynthesis will not occur, causing the death of your mung beans.
Seedlings Vs. Darkness
The soil in your farm does not allow a lot of sunlight penetration, meaning the inner surfaces are darker. This darkness creates an environment that is favorable for seed germination. Since seedlings are different from grown plants, their need for darkness is distinct from the mature plant needs.
For seeds to germinate, you have to place them at a certain depth. It isn’t easy to gauge the depth you will plant your seeds, which has resulted in seeds being able to adapt to light levels. Seeds fail to germinate when they are exposed to light. When planted at this depth, they will germinate since it is dark.
In the case of other seeds, light does not affect how they germinate. Some of the plant seeds that will germinate in the presence of light are geranium, coleus, and begonia. You can plant the seeds of this plant at a shallow depth and expect them to germinate without any trouble.
Is There a Plant Type That Grows In Complete Darkness?
If you are wondering whether plants can grow in the absence of light, worry no more. No plant can be placed in a dark environment and healthily grow to maturity to put it.
Every plant needs food to grow and thrive. Depriving your plants of light interferes with photosynthesis. Consequently, the plants will not make enough food and eventually die when they cannot access light.
That being said, you still have the option of growing plants that require a small amount of light.
Seasonal Change in the Length of Darkness
The metabolic processes of plants are regulated by the length of darkness and the length of the day. Longer or shorter days trigger metabolism stages, be it blooming, going to seed, or fruit. What plants look for is change over time rather than a given number of hours exposed to darkness or light.
The few hours that spring-blooming flowers are exposed to darkness triggers their flowering. This means that they begin to produce flowers when the dark periods or nights get shorter.
If you have long-night or short-day plants, you must create an environment that provides more darkness than average for other plants. This surrounding with poor lighting will facilitate the flowering cycle of the short-day plants.
These plants include Christmas cactus, Poinsettia, chrysanthemums, and gardenias. Farmers who grow these plants need an environment that provides about eighteen hours of darkness every day for the plants to bloom.
Since every plant has its unique darkness requirements, it would be best to separate those that require more light from those craving longer durations of darkness. The separation makes it easier for you to regulate the amount of light you provide for each type of plant.
If you grow photoperiodic plants, the ratio of light to the darkness you provide will determine whether your plants will bloom or fruit.
These plants are the opposite of long-night plants. The term short-night plants originated from the manner some plants respond to their evolution at given latitudes. For this reason, farmers who live closer to the equator grow plants that are accustomed to longer growing seasons during longer night seasons.
Examples of these plants that do well when the durations of darkness reduce include coneflowers, asters, spinach, and lettuce.
Indeterminate or Day-Neutral Plants
If you have a patio that you grow plants in, the odds are that a bigger percentage of these plants are indeterminate or day-neutral.
Other people grow the plants in the house without much hassle. Tomatoes, strawberries, and geraniums are some of the indeterminate plants that people grow in the house.
You can look for containers or flower planting pots and grow a few African violets for the patio. Alternatively, you are free to plant roses in either a covered or an open patio.
Day-neutral plants don’t have a specific duration to be exposed to either light or darkness to grow or flower. Nonetheless, if you can provide an environment that exposes them to between eight and twelve hours of light, they will grow better.
With more hours of exposure to darkness, these plants will have reduced photosynthesis, producing less food. Consequently, your plants become weaker.
Conclusion on Do Plants Need Darkness
Light is necessary for plants to grow nicely. Placing your plants in a location that doesn’t give them access to sufficient light will lead to poor health. For this reason, make sure you balance the period your plants will be in the dark and those they will be exposed to light depending on the type of the plant.
Amelia is a plant and nature lover! Ever since she was little, she loved spending time in her family’s garden and learning about how to care for each plant individually. As an adult, she has dedicated herself to sharing what she has learned and continuing to expand her knowledge on the plant kingdom.