When it comes to growing plants, everyone should know the absolute basics. One of these is light for photosynthesis, but do candles really produce enough to grow plants?
Can candle light grow plants? In theory, yes! However, different candles (just like different light bulbs) produce different levels of light intensity which are better suited to different plant strains.
Candles are unlikely to be your first port of call when it comes to a natural light source for growing herbs, flowers, or even vegetables.
Candle sizes tend to be quite small, and therefore not powerful enough when compared to large artificial light bulbs.
However, candle light is a more natural remedy that can save you on some serious power usage, keeping your electricity bills down.
The Basics of Plant Growing
Growing your own plants and produce is a great educational experience. Growing herbs and flowers using candles however, can seem slightly more advanced.
The most commonly grown plants are herbs, including culinary herbs like parsley and mint and others used for decoration such as cactus and geranium.
These types of plants also usually have less demands than full vegetable crops and tree saplings. Perfect for less water waste, and the limited light output of candles.
Other than water and light however, you must remember plants also need some warmth. Freezing temperatures can quickly kill any seedling you may be trying to germinate.
Luckily for us, candles provide both light and heat, just like the sun itself! All you need to do is monitor the plants and provide enough water.
How Can Candle Light Grow Plants?
Growing plants from candle light is an intriguing concept; however, it can be effective in certain situations.
It’s also a quick way to create fresh air and natural lighting for your home. The concept of growing plants with candle light has been around for centuries, but it’s never really been too practical.
Especially today, with electric lighting and greenhouse insulation largely taking away the need for natural sun and heat.
Candles are a versatile source of artificial light since they emit both blue and green wavelengths. They also double as a heat source, saving the need for an electric heater.
This allows you to grow herbs, vegetables and flowers indoors easily with the help of sunlight or other sources of heat.
Blue light is needed to support the growth of most plants efficiently. Plants only need certain wavelengths of blue light to grow.
This is why candlelight works well as a substitute for real sun at night time. Although sun does provide green wavelengths that support plant life, candlelight can substitute for this role too since it also emits green wavelengths naturally.
Creating heat as an added bonus helps to reduce indoor pollution caused by indoor electric heating systems.
Light Intensity of Candles
Intensity of light is expressed in footcandles or lux. The amount of light (lumens) falling on a surface over a specific square foot or square metre is represented by this number.
As a result, the amount of light per square foot (footcandles) or square metre (lux) is used to evaluate light intensity.
Not all types of candles may not produce the same light intensity depending on where they are situated in a room and how they are handled during use.
On average however, a single candle can be expected to give off about 12.5 lumens. Is this sufficient to grow a plant, or will you need several wicks burning at once?
Well, a full sun plant (that being a crop bearing vegetable or bulb) will typically needs anywhere between 2000 to 3000 lumens.
While candles, several of them at least, are capable of being beneficial to small herbs and flowers, full crops are simply too demanding for the wax melting product.
Dangers of Using Candles Near Plants
There is, of course, one very obvious risk when using candles for plant growth. Plants have a tendency to be flammable.
All it takes it one stray mouse or gust of wind to knock over a candle, and you could have a bush fire in your own backyard.
Accidents happen indoors as well if not monitored, leading to a burnt out greenhouse or even worse damage happening inside your own home.
Open flames are no laughing matter, and can be seriously destructive. Especially when surrounded by combustible material like plants.
You can use small, electric candles as a substitute. These remove the fire risk, but are still much less energy intensive than modern plant growth bulbs.
Benefits of Candles for Plant Growth
The dim glow of a candle isn’t disruptive to animals or humans since it isn’t powerful enough to cause eye damage or other health issues like sunlight does.
This means that outdoor candles are actually quite an ideal night time supplement for your garden growths, helping to keep the environment safe.
However, this doesn’t mean they aren’t without risks. Especially the risks we have already mentioned above about flammability of plant material and matter.
Smell is one of the human senses which can flow through the whole body. I am the Founder of NeoCandle.com where we talk all about scented candles. Known as Candace the Candle Girl, I know pretty much all there is to know about scented candles. I make and sell them on Etsy and Ebay – so be sure to ask if you have any burning questions 🙂 (pun intended 😉 )