Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

High Light Intensities Can Be Used to Grow Healthy and Robust Cannabis Plants During the Vegetative Stage of Indoor Production

Version 1 : Received: 13 April 2021 / Approved: 15 April 2021 / Online: 15 April 2021 (13:12:44 CEST)

How to cite: Moher, M.; Llewellyn, D.; Jones, M.; Zheng, Y. High Light Intensities Can Be Used to Grow Healthy and Robust Cannabis Plants During the Vegetative Stage of Indoor Production. Preprints 2021, 2021040417 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202104.0417.v1). Moher, M.; Llewellyn, D.; Jones, M.; Zheng, Y. High Light Intensities Can Be Used to Grow Healthy and Robust Cannabis Plants During the Vegetative Stage of Indoor Production. Preprints 2021, 2021040417 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202104.0417.v1).

Abstract

Although the vegetative stage of indoor cannabis production can be relatively short in duration, there is a high energy demand due to higher light intensities (LI) than the clonal propagation stage and longer photoperiods than the flowering stage (i.e., 16 – 24 hours vs. 12 hours). While electric lighting is a major component of both energy consumption and overall production costs, there is a lack of scientific information to guide cultivators in selecting a LI that corresponds to their vegetative stage production strategies. To determine the vegetative plant responses to LI, clonal plants of ‘Gelato’ were grown for 21 days with canopy-level photosynthetic photon flux densities (PPFD) ranging between 135 and 1430 µmol·m-2·s-1 on a 16-hour photoperiod (i.e., daily light integrals of ≈ 8 to 80 mol·m-2·d-1). Plant height and growth index responded quadratically; the number of nodes, stem thickness, and aboveground dry weight increased asymptotically; and internode length and water content of aboveground tissues decreased linearly with increasing LI. Foliar attributes had varying responses to LI. Chlorophyll content index increased asymptotically, leaf size decreased linearly and specific leaf weight increased linearly with increasing LI. Generally, PPFD levels of 900 µmol·m-2·s-1 produced compact, robust plants that are commercially relevant, while PPFD levels of ≈ 600 µmol·m-2·s-1 promoted plant morphology with more open architecture – to increase airflow and reduce the potential foliar pests in compact (i.e., indica-dominant) genotypes.

Subject Areas

Light-emitting diodes; PPFD; DLI; growth; morphology

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