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Green wall lighting

As you are likely aware, light is essential for plant growth. It provides the energy that plants convert to food in order to thrive. Without proper lighting, plants may turn yellow or begin to droop. In the case of green walls, dying plants ruin the whole concept. Without healthy, green plants, there is no green wall. In fact, one of the most common factors that contributes to the failure of green walls is insufficient lighting. Developing a lighting plan to accompany your green wall is a critical part of adding these vertical gardens to your space.

Green wall pillar

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How much light do green wall plants need?

Just how much light green wall plants need will vary based on the types of plants used. Some plants require indirect light, while others may require a medium amount of light or even high light. But one thing is certain; plants need light to survive. Though different plants require different durations of light per day, most do not thrive in 24/7 lighting. Just like humans, plants need time to rest in the dark.

Selecting the best light bulbs is also an essential part of green wall lighting. Using weak bulbs for a longer amount of time is not the same as lighting the plants with a stronger bulb for less time. Some light bulbs produce too much red and infrared light or UV rays, which are not healthy for the plants. Under these conditions, green wall plants can dry up or become bleached.

Find out more about the different types of light bulbs further down this page. 

What kind of light do green wall plants need?

Visible light is composed of many different colors of light, primary among them being red, green, and blue. Plants require blue and red light to facilitate photosynthesis, absorbing it and converting it to energy. Plants use less green light, but instead reflect most of it. This is why plants appear green to us.

The optimal mix of red and blue lighting for green walls can depend on what plants are used. Blue light encourages stocky, compact, vegetative growth, keeping plants compact instead of "leggy." This is an ideal choice for non-flowering plants. Conversely, red light encourages elongated growth and often helps stimulate flowering, a key characteristic of blooming plants.

Light bulb

Types of light bulbs

When selecting the best light bulb to light a green wall, it is important to consider not only the best bulb to foster plant growth, but also how the light will make the green wall appear to onlookers. For example, grow lights, built especially for plant growth, can make plants look black or purple in color. In nature, plants have access to sunlight, which provides a full spectrum of light. Unfortunately, indoor green wall plants have to rely on artificial lighting.

Here are the types of light bulbs for consideration when selecting proper lighting for your green wall: 

  • Incandescent bulbs - Though they are cheap to produce with a high light output, these bulbs are not suitable for plant growth. They produce a great deal of infrared light and not much of the blue light required for plant growth. Additionally, incandescent bulbs are very inefficient. These bulbs, placed further than three feet from a green wall, will have almost no benefit.
  • Halogen bulbs - Halogen bulbs are also cheap to produce, but are more energy-efficient than their incandescent counterparts. However, they produce a lot of radiant heat which can scorch green wall plants.
  • Fluorescent tubes - Look up in most commercial buildings, and you'll probably see these bulbs. They are cheap to operate and are far more efficient than incandescent or halogen bulbs, producing the brightest light for the least amount of electricity. Fluorescent tubes produce little heat and have a long life, but their spectrum is not incredibly well-suited for plant growth. You can find "natural sunlight" fluorescent tubes that imitate a spectrum close to that of the sun and will be a better choice for green wall lighting.
  • Light emitting diodes (LEDs) - As more people begin to pay attention to efficiency and green buildings, LEDs have become very common. They have no gas or liquid components, and are very efficient. You can also find them in a range of shapes and colors, including those suitable for plant growth.
  • High intensity discharge (HID) lamps - HID lamps are the brightest light source on this list, and are also quite efficient. There are 3 types of HID lamps, some a better choice for green wall lighting than others:
    • Mercury lamps - These are not recommended for use around plants because they are the least efficient, and make things appear blue in color.
    •  High-pressure sodium lamps (HPS) - A single bulb of this type can illuminate a large area, and can be helpful in lighting large green walls
    • Metal-halide lamps - These are the optimal lamps for plant lighting due to their power, efficiency, and spectrum of light. Unfortunately, they are also the most expensive. They can be used in conjunction with HPS for green walls. 

Get the best lighting for your green wall

Our green wall experts are the best in the business. With industry-leading training and years of experience, they are best-suited to care for your living green wall. Caring for and properly lighting a green wall can be a delicate science, but you can leave it to us. With Ambius, your green wall is sure to thrive. Contact us today to find out what Ambius can do for you.

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