Just about any plant with the right lighting and in the right environment can be grown indoors, but it turns out that determining ideal conditions for growth is not a one-size-fits-all affair. Today, it is pretty well established that different plant species have different needs and requirements, and this happens to be especially true in the realm of lighting where different plant species react differently to different wavelengths of light. This is why it is important to understand the effect of different lighting conditions on a plant species-by-plant species basis. One recent study that emphasises this point looked at the growth of strawberry plants under different kinds of artificial light with some interesting conclusions that might be relevant to anybody thinking about growing their own strawberries indoors.

​​Strawberry plants like the blues

​In the study, scientists grew strawberry plants in a growth chamber under either fluorescent neon lights, blue (436nm) LED lights, or red (666nm) LED lighting. They grew 25 plants under each of the lighting conditions set to a constant photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) of 100µM / m2 / sec for 78 days with the fruit harvesting period from day 37 to day 59.

As one might expect, multiple characteristics of the plants’ growth and the yielding of strawberries were ​monitored including the fresh weight and dry weight of the plants, leaf area, petiole (‘leaf stems’) and flower stem (peduncle) lengths, chlorophyl content, average yield of strawberries, average fruit weight, and ultimately fruit quality (involving such things as flesh firmness, acidity, fruit colour, and the amount of certain phenolic compounds in the fruit like anthocyanins that are healthy for us to eat).

From the study the researchers found that although strawberry plants grown in blue light had higher amounts of biomass, they tended to have much reduced leaf areas and have longer flower stems and petioles. Surprisingly, they also produced significantly more strawberries than the other two conditions. This is in contrast to what one normally associates with flowering plants where red light tends to be more associated with greater flowering and fruit production, while blue light tends to be more associated with vegetative growth. Similar results with supplemental blue light were obtained from strawberry plants in an earlier study (Choi et al., 2015), so this does appear to be a consistent finding.