Eindhoven, The Netherlands – Philips Lighting (Euronext: LIGHT), the world leader in lighting, today announced that Linflowers in Brakel, The Netherlands, is the world’s first commercial chrysanthemum grower to install Philips GreenPower LED toplighting with Philips high pressure sodium (HPS) lighting on a large-scale growing area of over 37,000 square meters. Linflowers, one of the largest wholesale growers of chrysanthemums in The Netherlands, believes that LED lighting improves the quality of its winter grown crops in a cost-effective way. The company chose Philips Lighting as its partner because of its success in developing an effective light recipe for growing chrysanthemums based on extensive research trials undertaken during the past seven years.
Changing market demands
For the last six years, Linflowers’ customers have been demanding chrysanthemums with heavier stems. Added to that, the company is now shipping its flowers all over Europe, so the flowers have to stay fresh for a longer time. “These factors made Linflowers consider switching to higher intensities for their supplemental lighting system when it became time to upgrade one of their greenhouses. That’s because higher intensity lighting produces chrysanthemums that have a longer vase life and have heavier stems,” says Stefan Hendriks, Plant Specialist, Philips Horticulture LED Solutions.
New chrysanthemum light recipe
Until now, growers have been reluctant to use LED grow lights for cultivating chrysanthemums in greenhouses because there was insufficient scientific data to confirm that it was beneficial for the plants. The results from a large-scale chrysanthemum trial at Arcadia Chrysanten earlier this year gave Linflowers the confidence to move to a hybrid lighting system. “Philips Lighting has the most experience and knowledge in both lighting technology and plant biology. In the past seven years, it has done a number of chrysanthemum trials. Based on the exceptional results achieved at Arcadia we are certain that growing our chrysanthemums with this new chrysanthemum light recipe will also produce outstanding crops,” says David van Tuijl, co-owner of Linflowers.
“To meet the required weight for winter grown crops, we have to grow the plants over a period of 10 or 11 weeks. Doing that under just HPS light at 75 µmol/m²/s causes the plant to grow too slow causing a decrease in its quality,” said van Tuijl. The new hybrid lighting installation combines HPS toplighting with Philips GreenPower LED toplighting, spanning a total area of 37,000 square meters. Hybrid lighting allows Linflowers to control light and heat separately and thereby reduce the loss of CO2 by having to open windows to cool down the greenhouse.
Maximizing every micromole
Linflowers uses a combined heat and power (CHP) to generate off-grid electric power and heat for captive use. The previous HPS lighting installation used the full capacity of Linflowers’ CHP and the company even had to purchase additional capacity at times. “I’m personally convinced that we can get much more out of every micromole of LED lighting because you have more control over your greenhouse climate,” says van Tuijl. “We are also participating in a regional pilot to balance energy usage, meaning we sometimes have to switch off our lighting to prevent energy peaks. We can switch off LED lighting much faster compared to the HPS fixtures which will be beneficial.” The entire lighting system will be installed by Philips Lighting’s Horti LED partner Stolze, a longtime supplier to Linflowers, which is experienced in making efficient light plans for Philips Lighting’s products.
Extensive research from Philips Lighting
“As part of our ongoing floriculture research program, we have carried out nine different research trials on various LED light recipes for chrysanthemums with horticultural research institutes and growers since 2010,” said Udo van Slooten, Business Leader Horticulture at Philips Lighting. “The results from our recent large-scale trial for chrysanthemums at Arcadia proved that growers can use our chrysanthemum light recipe in a hybrid installation to grow heavier stems or increase the number of plants per square meter to increase yields. This progress confirms that the close collaboration between growers, researchers and Philips Lighting is the right formula for finding the right light recipe.” Philips Lighting is continuing its research into using LED lighting to extend the chrysanthemum lighting cycle. The initial results are positive and may result in making LED lighting even more cost-effective for chrysanthemum growers in the future. In addition, Philips Lighting is working with several different parties on research into a 100% LED light recipe for chrysanthemums.