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What is the best solution for plants that don’t see sunlight for a long time?

Photosynthesis in plants is one of the most amazing and vital processes in nature. It is like a silent magic that transforms the energy of sunlight into the driving force of life, providing the basis for the survival of almost all organisms on earth. From the microscopic cellular level to the macroscopic ecosystem, the impact of photosynthesis is everywhere. It shapes the form and growth habit of plants and determines the distribution and reproduction of organisms. It is thanks to plant photosynthesis that our world is full of vitality and vigour, and that we have a rich and colourful ecological landscape and a complex diversity of life forms. This article will take us to the beginning of plant growth to understand the importance of light for plants. I hope it can help you.

Photosynthesis in Plants
The Basic Principle of Photosynthesis The basic principle of photosynthesis is that plants use light energy to convert carbon dioxide and water into organic matter and release oxygen. This process mainly consists of two stages: the light reaction and the dark reaction. In the light reaction stage, the plant absorbs light energy through photosynthetic pigments in the chloroplasts and converts it into chemical energy. This chemical energy is used to break down water molecules into oxygen and hydrogen ions and to produce an energy molecule called ATP and a reducing power called NADPH. During the dark reaction phase, plants use the ATP and NADPH produced during the light reaction phase to reduce carbon dioxide to organic matter. This process requires the participation of a series of enzymes, and the final organic matter produced can be used for plant growth and metabolism.
The importance of photosynthesis to plant growth Photosynthesis is the process by which plants convert inorganic matter into organic matter. Through photosynthesis, plants are able to use light energy to convert carbon dioxide and water into organic substances such as glucose, which are essential nutrients for plant growth, development and reproduction. Energy Acquisition: Photosynthesis is the main way for plants to acquire energy. Plants convert light energy into chemical energy through photosynthesis and store it in organic matter. This chemical energy can be used for various life activities of plants, such as cell division, growth, metabolism and so on. Photosynthesis is not only a chemical change, but also a key link for the continuation of life. In this mysterious process, chloroplasts are like delicate energy factories that methodically carry out complex and subtle reactions.
Effects of lack of sunlight on plants

Reduced photosynthesis In East Asian countries, there are rainy seasons that do not see the sun for a long time, and in Europe and the United States, there are also periods of polar night in some high-dimensional areas, during which the sun may not be seen for several weeks or months, and during this period of time when the sun is not seen, plants consume the nutrients that have been stored before in order to maintain their basic life activities, such as starch or other stores. At the same time, they may make adaptive physiological changes, such as increasing the absorption of low light and changing the structure of their leaves to reduce energy consumption. Some plants may even become dormant or semi-dormant, reducing their metabolic activity to conserve their energy and resources, waiting for improved light conditions to resume growth.
Chlorophyll Reduction

The Role of Chlorophyll Chlorophyll has a very important role for plants, chlorophyll molecules through the porphyrin ring in the single bond and double bond changes to absorb visible light, mainly absorbing blue light and red light, while reflecting the green light, so that the plant leaves appear green. Chlorophyll in photosynthesis is not only involved in the absorption of light energy, but also in the process of energy transfer, through the transfer of electrons and conjugate transfer, the energy into the chemical energy required for plant growth. Chlorophyll a and chlorophyll b have different spectral absorption ranges, and their interconversion, known as the chlorophyll cycle, can help plants better adapt to changes in light conditions. The processes of chlorophyll synthesis and degradation in plants are regulated by the genome to adapt to plant growth and development and environmental changes.
Effects of long-term light deficiency on chlorophyll Chlorophyll synthesis is restricted: light is one of the necessary conditions for chlorophyll synthesis. Under the condition of lack of light, plants cannot synthesize chlorophyll effectively, resulting in lighter or yellowish colour of leaves. Decreased photosynthesis: Due to the decrease in chlorophyll content, the efficiency of photosynthesis in plants will be reduced, affecting the growth and development of plants. Leaves turn yellow: prolonged light deprivation may lead to the degradation of chlorophyll in plant leaves, resulting in a gradual yellowing or lightening of leaf colour. Leaf growth is affected: under light deprivation conditions, plant leaves may elongate and deform, and the leaves become elongated and may even become deformed. Flowering is reduced or stopped: Adequate sunlight is an important factor in stimulating plants to flower. Under low light conditions, the number of inflorescences opening in the plant may decrease or even stop flowering. Reduced disease resistance: Lack of light may affect the plant’s immunity, making it more susceptible to disease.

Impacts of specific plant species
Shade plants Shade plants have a relatively low light requirement, they are able to photosynthesise efficiently under low light conditions and may have leaf structures adapted to capture and utilise scattered light. May have longer chloroplasts or larger chloroplast areas to increase the efficiency of light energy utilisation. May have a well-developed root system to capture sufficient water and nutrients under low light conditions. May have a longer growing period or slower growth rate to accommodate limitations in energy acquisition.
ferns – Ferns usually grow on the forest floor and are able to adapt to low light conditions. They have large leaves and can photosynthesise efficiently in limited light.
Yucca – Yucca is a common houseplant that can grow indoors in low light conditions with elegant leaves and shade tolerance. 3. Hanging Orchid – Hanging Orchid is a shade-tolerant plant that can grow indoors or outdoors in the shade and has air purifying properties.
hellebore fern – The hellebore fern is a small fern that grows well in low light conditions in the forest floor or indoors.
tiger’s tail orchid – Tiger’s tail orchid is a drought and shade tolerant plant that grows well indoors in low light conditions and has air purifying properties.
Greenery – Greenery is a common houseplant that grows well in low light conditions and is easy to care for.

Solar Plants Solar plants have a greater need for light and a higher light saturation point and light compensation point: the light saturation point (LSP) and light compensation point (LCP) of solar plants are usually very high, which means that they need a higher level of light in order to reach the maximum rate of photosynthesis and maintain normal physiological activities. In low light environments, their photosynthetic efficiency is reduced, resulting in inadequate energy acquisition. Leaf structure: Leaves of phanerogamous plants are usually smaller, with leaf surfaces parallel to the light, thicker, and may have a waxy or tomentose surface; these features help to reduce water evaporation under strong light conditions but are not conducive to the capture and utilisation of light energy under low light conditions. Due to the relatively sparse transport tissues in the leaves of phanerogamous plants, the supply of water to the leaves may be insufficient when light intensity increases, resulting in their photosynthetic rate no longer increasing in lower light conditions. Respiration: the respiration rate of sun plants is usually higher than that of shade plants, which means that they consume more organic matter along with photosynthesis. Under low light conditions, this high respiration rate may result in a lower net gain of energy. Growth morphology: Phanerogams grow well under strong light conditions, and their morphological structures are usually adapted to full direct sunlight, such as short internodes and smaller leaves, characteristics that are not favourable in low light environments. Consequently, when growing in less light, phallophytes may not be able to obtain sufficient energy for normal growth and development, resulting in poor growth due to the physiological and morphological constraints mentioned above.

Other effects of prolonged rainy weather
High soil moisture Long-term rainy weather can cause the soil gap for plant roots to become smaller, the plant can not absorb oxygen in the soil will lead to plant root rot, plant roots will also be wet and warm because of the environment, breeding a lot of harmful fungi or bacteria, which will have a serious impact on the plant.
Temperature changes Low temperatures cause the production of reactive oxygen species. Plants reduce oxidative damage by activating antioxidant systems such as superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT) to remove these harmful substances. Plants increase the content of osmoregulatory substances such as soluble sugars, soluble proteins and proline under low-temperature stress in order to enhance the osmotic pressure of cells and improve cold tolerance Meanwhile, low temperature affects the ultrastructure of plant cells, such as changes in the shape of chloroplasts, cell wall pastiness, plasma wall separation, disappearance of nuclear membranes and degradation of organelles, among other phenomena.

Improve Drainage Pile up the soil in your garden with barrels or metal, and keep the soil away from the ground to make good use of gravity and the cracks in the soil for drainage. If you’re in a particularly rain-prone area, you can also install fixed drainage devices in your garden beds or drill drainage holes in the bottom or sides.
Artificial light The light
can be adjusted according to the needs of different plants to achieve more sophisticated plant growth management. It can simulate different periods of light to help control the flowering time of plants, which is especially important for plants that require a specific photoperiod. Plant fill light is not only suitable for home growing, but also for greenhouses, plant factories and other professional growing environments.

Select adaptable plants Planting shade and moisture tolerant plant species
When planting moisture tolerant plants, choose well-drained soil rich in organic matter, reasonable control of water, can be more abundant but to avoid waterlogging of the roots, to ensure proper light and temperature conditions, timely application of fertilisers and pay attention to the control of pests and diseases. At the same time, to maintain air circulation, timely pruning to promote healthy growth, and according to the adaptability of the plant to choose varieties suitable for the local environment, as well as to maintain the appropriate planting density to ensure that plants can thrive.
Plants that do not see sunlight for a long period of time are subject to a series of negative impacts, including the weakening of photosynthesis leading to insufficient energy synthesis, which in turn affects the growth rate and health status of the plant; the blockage of chlorophyll synthesis, which may lead to yellowing or leaf drop; in addition, the lack of light may also affect the flowering and fruiting of the plant, reducing the ornamental and economic value. In order to alleviate these problems, it is especially important to take the necessary measures. Let’s work together to solve this planting problem~!


Gardening blogger

Meet Even, a distinguished collaborator at Green Giant. With over a decade of hands-on experience in the niche of raised garden bed cultivation, she brings an unparalleled depth of knowledge to our team. Her expertise, honed over years of experimental gardening, provides an insightful perspective on the practicalities and nuances of this unique form of horticulture.

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