For years, UV light was looked at as an unwanted light source because of its damaging affects to humans. That damage caused lighting manufacturers to go to great lengths to block the UV emitted from their products. However, recent research has helped the benefits of UV for plant growth to come to light.
UV light activates a plant’s natural defense mechanisms, producing a sort of “sun screen” to protect itself from the damaging light. Some plants can produce as much as 15 different defense proteins with exposure to UV. As the amount of UV increases, so does the production of defense proteins. The presence of these proteins can enhance a plant’s smell, color, taste and resistance to disease. Plants grown indoors without exposure to UV can lack these enhanced benefits.
UV light can also speed up the germination process for starting seeds when grown indoors. As growers transplant seedlings to more intense light sources, UV strengthens the plants, better preparing them for high intensity light. Transplanting seedlings from low intensity lighting to high intensity lighting can shock or slow the plants growth. Exposure to UV in the early stages of plant growth reduces shock time and speeds up the production process.
Yes, UV has benefits for plant growth, but it can still cause damage to plants and humans if not used properly.
Do not expect to enhance your plant growth by going out and purchasing a sun tanning lamp. Sun tanning lamps provide a lot of UV and human skin can only be exposed to them for short periods of time. Exposing plants to that much UV can kill them quickly.
Growers should provide their plants with a quality full spectrum which emits the right amount of UV. That full spectrum light should mimic natural sunlight to make the plants feel as if they are being grown outdoors.