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Under-Canopy Lighting: Boost Yields, Bud Quality & Color

In the continuous quest for higher yields, every aspect of the plant’s environment needs to be optimized. Under-canopy lighting, also known as sub-canopy lighting, offers a compelling solution to common lighting challenges faced by indoor growers.

This targeted approach to lighting is designed to boost lower plant growth, which is crucial for maximizing overall yield and quality.

What is Under-Canopy Lighting?

Under-canopy lighting refers to the practice of positioning additional light sources around the lower parts of the indoor grown plants.

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Under-Canopy Lighting: Boost Yields, Bud Quality & Color


In the continuous quest for higher yields, every aspect of the plant’s environment needs to be optimized. Under-canopy lighting, also known as sub-canopy lighting, offers a compelling solution to common lighting challenges faced by indoor growers.

This targeted approach to lighting is designed to boost lower plant growth, which is crucial for maximizing overall yield and quality.

What is Under-Canopy Lighting?

Under-canopy lighting refers to the practice of positioning additional light sources around the lower parts of the indoor grown plants.

This technique is essential for ensuring that light reaches the lower leaves and branches, which often remain under-lit in traditional top-lighting setups. By targeting these areas, growers can stimulate photosynthesis across a larger portion of the plant. This helps to promote a healthier and more uniform development.


The Science Behind Under-Canopy Lighting

Under-canopy lighting is revolutionizing indoor horticulture by enhancing light distribution to the lower parts of plants, which are often shaded and underexposed.

This innovative lighting strategy employs scientifically designed lights placed beneath the plant canopy. These lights target areas that traditional overhead lighting systems cannot reach effectively.

The science behind sub-canopy lighting centers on the principle of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR). PAR is crucial for plant health as it involves the wavelengths of light that plants use for photosynthesis.

Typically, the upper leaves and branches of a plant absorb significant amounts of this light. This leaves the lower parts of the plant with insufficient exposure. Sub-canopy lighting compensates for this imbalance by delivering targeted PAR to these underlit areas. This promotes much healthier growth and more uniform development across the entire plant.

This approach not only optimizes the photosynthetic efficiency but also significantly improves the plant’s overall energy utilization. Enhanced light penetration encourages robust growth in lower branches, leading to increased biomass and potentially higher yields.

Additionally, this method can improve the quality of the produce, as better light exposure stimulates the production of essential oils, flavonoids, and terpenes. These are vital for flavor and aroma in many plants.

Adopting under-canopy lighting is also a step towards energy efficiency. By improving light usage, growers can achieve better results with less energy, aligning with sustainable farming practices. This lighting strategy represents a blend of botanical science and innovative technology, paving the way for future advancements in precision agriculture.


Key Benefits of Under-Canopy Lighting

Yield Increases From 25% - 35%

The most exciting results of adding under-canopy lighting to your grow room are consistent and reliable yield increases. Whether you are a new grower, craft grower, or professional working in a large facility, we are repeatedly seeing huge yield increases. We are confident you will achieve these results as well. The massive increases in average yield can give growers up to a 1-run ROI (Return On Investment).

Improved Lower Bud Structure & Shape

Sub-canopy lighting can significantly improve health and yields by enabling lower buds to develop more fully and contribute significantly to the total harvest. The even level of plant and bud maturity is a huge positive, as you will have more usable and high-quality A/B tier buds.

Consistent Color Throughout The Full Plant

Plants grown with supplemental under-canopy grow lights show consistent color from the top of the plant to the very bottom. This is a huge benefit as typically lower branch flowers lack bold beautiful colors (think purple) as the top flowers.

Less Undergrowth Clearing/Trimming

One of the most significant benefits you will notice is that you will no longer spend excess time trimming undeveloped undergrowth. All flowers on the plant will have the same potential for solid formations, aiding to better yields, but also saving manual time trimming

Save Time Sorting Flower Post-Harvest

Since you will achieve even bud development throughout the entire plant, you will have more appealing flowers that won't need to be sorted by grade. It's all top-tier when under-canopy lighting is used.

Increased Light Exposure

Under-canopy lighting ensures that all parts of the plant receive adequate light, which is vital for consistent growth and prized compound & terpene production.

Enhanced Photosynthesis

By increasing light exposure to the lower leaves, sub-canopy lighting boosts the overall rate of photosynthesis, supporting more vigorous growth and flowering.

Energy Efficiency

Implementing LED-based sub-canopy lighting systems offers the benefit of energy efficiency, which is crucial for sustainable cultivation practices.


Proper Implementation Under-Canopy Lighting

  • Choosing the Right Lights: LED lights are recommended due to their broad spectrum and low heat output, which are ideal for close proximity to plant foliage.
  • Optimal Placement: Lights should be strategically positioned to ensure even coverage. Placing lights too low will cause the light to hit the substrate instead of the plant. Adjustable fixtures can provide flexibility as plants grow and canopy density changes.
  • Monitoring and Adjustment: Regular monitoring and adjustment of light placement and intensity are necessary to adapt to the growth stages and ensure optimal light distribution throughout the growing cycle.
  • Slowly Introduce Light To Full Intensity: One of the most important factors of proper implementation of under-canopy lighting is to minimize stress on the plant. You can do this by slowly ramping up the light intensity to 100%. We recommend turning on your light at about 45%-50% on day 1 of flower, then slowly increase it over the next 18-21 days.

Under Canopy Lighting & VPD Interaction

The connection between sub canopy lighting and Vapor Pressure Deficit (VPD) is significant in indoor cultivation. Both elements play crucial roles in creating an optimal growing environment.

Vapor Pressure Deficit (VPD) refers to the difference between the amount of moisture in the air and how much moisture the air can hold when it is saturated. Essentially, VPD indicates the potential for evaporation and transpiration in plants. It's an essential factor because it influences how well plants can uptake water and nutrients through their roots and release water vapor through their stomata. Managing VPD helps optimize plant growth by promoting efficient water and nutrient uptake and preventing issues like wilting or stress.

Sub canopy lighting impacts VPD primarily through its effects on temperature and humidity within the plant canopy. Here’s how under-canopy lighting interacts with VPD:

Temperature Regulation

Under canopy lighting can directly affect the temperature around the lower parts of the plants. Since VPD is sensitive to temperature changes, adding light sources can increase the local temperature, thereby affecting the VPD. The additional heat ends up being a net positive as it evens out the VPD stratification between the top half of the plant and the lower half of the plant.

Humidity Control

By illuminating the lower parts of the plants, under-canopy lighting can also influence the microclimate’s humidity levels. This localized lighting can cause localized transpiration, where plants release moisture into the air. Managing planting density helps eliminate any microclimates and potential issues in the lower half of the plant.

Enhanced Growth and Transpiration

Properly implemented sub canopy lighting promotes healthier growth and increases leaf density. These two factors will increase the overall transpiration from the plants. More transpiration can alter the humidity levels around the plants, thereby influencing the VPD. Growers need to adjust their environmental controls to maintain an optimal VPD, ensuring that plants can transpire and photosynthesize efficiently without undue stress.

Balancing Act

The key for growers using under-canopy lighting is to balance the light benefits with controlled adjustments in their environment. By monitoring and adjusting temperature and humidity levels in response to changes brought by sub-canopy lighting, growers can maintain an ideal VPD.


Under-Canopy vs. Inner-Canopy/Inter-Canopy Lighting

You're not alone if under-canopy lighting is on your radar for your greenhouse or grow room. Recently, there has been significant interest among growers in using lighting in various placements and angles to cater to their plants' requirements.

This approach includes overhead top lighting, inner-canopy (inter-canopy/intra-canopy) lighting within the plant canopy, and under-canopy lighting positioned below the plants.

Although these sound similar and are both used to help increase light in the middle and bottom half of the plant which usually lacks lighting from traditional overhead lighting, they are technically different.

As this new technology becomes more popular with growers, the terms for the two will most likely become misused and confused.

Under-canopy or sub-canopy lighting involves placing lights beneath the plant canopy, targeting the lower leaves. This promotes growth by providing light where natural sunlight is minimal. This method helps improve photosynthesis and yields in dense plant arrangements.

Inner-canopy, inter-canopy, or intra-canopy lighting, positions lights within the plant canopy itself, distributing light more evenly among all leaves. This approach optimizes light penetration and utilization, reducing shading effects and promoting uniform growth.

Both methods aim to enhance plant productivity but differ in light placement and distribution strategies.


Enhance Your Grow With Faven Lighting

Our friends over at Faven Lighting are helping lead the way when it comes to under-canopy lighting. Tim and his team at Faven Lighting have spent years of R&D on sub-canopy lighting before launching Faven Lighting.

This extra effort of time spent on development has helped set them apart from the competition.

Faven offers two different spectrums based on the type of primary top lighting being used inside grow rooms or greenhouses. This lighting strategy is called "Spectrum Balancing."

This helps to supplement additional spectrums and wavelengths that may be missing or lacking in current lighting layouts.

Grow With Faven Under Canopy Grow Lights

The two custom spectrums, R6 & R8, are designed to be used in rooms with both traditional-style HPS lighting and newer LED grow lights.

R6 lights (60% red) complement HID (HPS) Top Lights that are high in ROY

R8 lights (80% red) complement Full Spectrum LED Top Lights.

This gives cultivators greater control over the quality of the product being produced. While adding Favens to your facility will increase yield, increasing the product quality is also a top priority.

Our customers are routinely seeing a 25%-35% increase in yields when implementing Faven Lights in their grow rooms. If you are looking to take your garden to the next level, we highly suggest giving Faven Lighting Lights a try, you won't be disappointed.


Final Thoughts On Under-Canopy Lighting

The adoption of under-canopy lighting is becoming a game-changer in the cultivation world. The addition of lower canopy lighting in an indoor grow setup compensates for the lack of natural sunlight. This significantly boosts the lower plant development, leading to increased yields and higher-quality harvests.

By strategically implementing and managing under-canopy lighting, growers can unlock the full potential of every indoor-grown plant. In a world of ever-changing technology enhancements, what might seem like a small factor can make the biggest difference.

Be ahead of the curve, and take advantage of the next big leap in controlled environment agriculture with under canopy lighting.

Need help determining the layout or have questions before placing your order? Our experienced cultivation staff is always available to answer any questions you might have regarding Faven Lighting. Give us a call at 888-815-9763 today!

Have questions about your grow? We're Here To Help!

Our Northern California based experts can help. We're here to make sure you get what you need to maximize your harvest.

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