You are now visiting our Global professional lighting website, visit your local website by going to the USA website
You are now visiting the Philips lighting website. A localized version is available for you.

    How to start

    vertical farming

    Vertical farming or city farming is a hot trend. Consumers love fresh food produced locally. Investors love the new business opportunities. But where do you start and what do you need to succeed? Signify has been in city farming from the start. With our extensive lighting know-how and plant expertise, here is our vertical farming recipe for growth to help you make a flying start.

    Understanding how to grow plants indoors


    When thinking about how to start vertical farming, many investors expect they can simply pick a crop to grow, buy a building, plug in some grow lights and start planting. Actually, the process starts by understanding how to grow plants indoors. Once you know that, you can decide what crops to grow, what kind of facility to choose and the vertical farming technology and vertical farming lighting you need. Find out more in our blog.

    Understanding how to grow plants indoors

    Picking the right plants to grow indoors


    The easiest plants to grow indoors are lettuce, herbs and microgreens, and a lot of indoor vertical farming companies are focused on these crops. There are other crops that can be grown indoors, including berries, eggplants, peppers and grains. At our GrowWise Center, our experts study the types of plants that can be grown and the conditions needed to optimize plant growth in vertical farming facilities. For inspiration, read about 4 remarkable results you can achieve with dynamic LED grow lights in a vertical farm.

    Vertical farming applications


    Vertical farming or city farming techniques vary greatly in terms of the space, technology, and investment in time and money that is required to set them up. Here we compare four different applications to give you an idea of which one might be your recipe for growth. Remember, you’ll always need green fingers to make a success of these applications.

    Large-scale indoor vertical farming plant factory

    Plant factory


    This large-scale production technique is ideal if you want to cultivate in a customized, closed indoor vertical farming environment of more than 2000 m2. Plant factories are very high-tech and highly automated, and can be serviced by robots.  They also have fully-automated irrigation, climate control and logistics with a growth process and production line that can be tailored to your crop. You’ll need sensors and access to data to help you manage, steer and improve the process.

    Level of high-tech
    Small-scale climate chamber with vertical farming lighting

    Climate chamber


    Climate rooms are for small-scale city farming production. They can be used for a specific part of the cultivation process e.g. propagating young plants or for researching the effects of light on your crop. At 500 to 3000 mthe enclosed, box-in-box chamber can be accommodated in existing buildings or halls. Irrigation and climate control are semi-automated and light recipes may be measured with sensors.


    Level of high-tech
    Warehouse farm with vertical farming lighting

    Warehouse farm


    At less than 1000 m2, a warehouse farm can be placed in an existing building or warehouse for small-scale city farming production. Compared to other applications it requires only a medium level of investment and is relatively easy to start up if you have some experience in agriculture. You only need standard racks and a climate computer to start growing crops. Existing buildings often can’t accommodate robots and fully-automated systems, so this vertical farming system is only semi-automated.


    Level of high-tech
    Ready-to-use container for city farming



    For research purposes, standard, ready-to-use containers with 20 to 30 mof growing surface are an easy way to start and have a fast turnaround. Containers are suitable for both single or multiple layer city farming applications. They can be placed in a warehouse to propagate young plants before they are transplanted into a greenhouse. Production runs are limited, so containers are only suitable for small scale projects. Low tech irrigation and climate control are available but there is no automation. Technical knowledge of the total growing system is required to carry out research.

    Level of high-tech
    Grow with the pros

    Grow with the pros


    Dynamic lighting allows you to have the flexibility to choose the crops and change the lights whenever you want to. With dynamic lighting, you can grow various crops in the same facility, and you will be able to steer the color and intensity of the light so you can develop your light recipes. Dynamic lighting also gives you the opportunity to predict the harvest time and get your crops at the time that you wanted. Read more about the remarkable results with dynamic lighting in our blog.

    GrowWise Center

    GrowWise Center


    At the Philips GrowWise Research Center, our experts study the conditions needed to optimize plant growth. This includes the effect that different types of vertical farming lighting, climate systems, nutrition, irrigation, sensors and data collection can have on plant health and quality. It enables us to develop growth recipes for vertical farmers that will produce specific characteristics and create healthier plants with higher yields.

    Vertical farming products

    GreenPowerLED production module Static vertical farming lighting

    GreenPower LED production module


    A vertical farming lighting module for multilayer cultivation of herbs and leafy greens. Includes the ideal light recipe for higher yield, better quality, higher propagation success rates and year-round production. A dynamic version allows you to individually adjust the LED colors and light intensities.

    GrowWise Control System for vertical farming lighting

    GrowWise Control System


    This vertical farming lighting control system is an easy way to create and run custom light recipes to meet the needs of specific crops and improve quality and productivity. Can be used with the GreenPower LED production module Dynamic.

    Vertical farming blogs

    • How to build a successful vertical farm

      How to build a successful vertical farm

      Business expert Roel Janssen shares 3 key lessons learned to build a successful vertical farm enterprise around climate, lighting and spacing.

    • The role of sensors and data collection in a successful vertical farm

      The role of sensors and data collection in a successful vertical farm

      Sensors and data play a pivotal role in vertical farming and they’re ready to transform the future of vertical farming. It is all because sensors enable us to monitor these growth conditions, recognize anomalies and identify problems as early as possible.

    • How the right sales channel can make or break your vertical farm?

      How the right sales channel can make or break your vertical farm?

      Get insights into the ins and outs of building the right sales channel for your vertical farm from Signify Business Development Manager Blake Lange.

    Related cases

    • Creating a recipe for growth for indoor farming

      Creating a recipe for growth for indoor farming

      At the Philips GrowWise Center we focus on making indoor farming successful. Founded in 2015 to prove the concept of indoor farming, GrowWise has since grown into a research power house.

    • Delicious Cook Co. Ltd.

      Delicious Cook Co. Ltd.

      Indoor cultivation yields fesh, safe, readymade meals.

    • Innovatus Inc

      Innovatus Inc

      Philips LEDs allow us to create consistent quality locally, using only a fraction of the water and electricity compared to fluorescent lighting

    • GoodLeaf Farms

      GoodLeaf Farms

      Philips LED grow lights supports sustainable growth at GoodLeaf Farms. As part of the partnership GoodLeaf has greatly improved the predictability of its fresh produce.

    Contact us

    Contact certified partners


    Philips products are sold through a global network of certified partners. Find partners in your region for more information about Philips LED grow lights.

    Contact Philips


    What are the best LED grow lights for your situation? We are here to help. Please use our form to submit your request.



    Amsterdam, 13-15 June

    ICBC – International Cannabis

    Business Conference
    Berlin, 29-30 June

    We're talking about


    How to build a successful vertical farm

    Here are a few key lessons learned from city farming expert Roel Janssen on successful vertical farm projects.