Having the plants ‘market ready’ for prime selling time was proving a challenge for the company. It was time to see if LED could help. As a test, portions of the non-stop Bergonia, Dragon-wing Bergonia and New-Guinea Impatiens crops were placed under LED flowering lights. To create a fair comparison with the crops that weren’t under the new lights, no changes were made to substrate, fertilization, or irrigation.
The new lights were a success across the board. The non-stop Begonias were consistent above the top, and they all bloomed simultaneously. The flowers were able to remain pot tight for a longer length of time. Most impressively, the high shrinkage rate of 12% was reduced to just 1% - a truly phenomenal improvement.
The Dragon-Wing Bergonias and New-Guinea Impatiens shared the victory. Both sets of crops under the LED grow lights showed uniform consistency, and did not bloom too early. However, Valley View did notice that the heat under the New-Guinea Impatiens benches had been turned up. It plans to repeat the trial next year to confirm that the lights, not the heat, made the difference. It will also use LED lights on the New Guinea Impatiens to see if they can speed up flowering for a few weeks.
In all three crops tested, the plants under the LED grow lights performed better than those under normal incandescent lighting. Shrinkage was lessened, plant was quality increased, and labor was reduced, resulting in increased profits.