NLB Annual Lighting Forum: Plants Have Feelings: Horticultural Lighting with LED

Watch and listen to the full panel discussion here.

NOVEMBER 30, 2020—The NLB held a panel discussion as part of the NLB Annual Lighting Forum. The topic of this discussion was about horticultural lighting and relationship plants have with light. The discussion was moderated by Randy Reid, Executive Director of the NLB, and featured the following experts: 

  • John Arthur Wilson, Lighting Design Lab 
  • Corrine Wilder, Fluence Bioengineering 
  • Leora RadetskyDesignlights Consortium 

The discussion started off with the question of do plants have feelings? The experts detailed their differing perspectives and opinions on what counts as feelings regarding plants, but they all agreed that as living organisms, plants do feel and react to the environment around them. This leads further into the discussion of why horticultural lighting is important and needs to be focused on as its own category in lighting in order to provide the best solutions for cultivators. 

The discussion turned to the challenges that horticultural lighting face. Leora Radetsky believes the big challenge is the lack of objective information that details how a lighting product performs. The lack of this information makes it difficult for cultivators to know what the best solution for the specific plants they are trying to cultivate is and leads to inefficiency in general. Corrine Wilder provided a response in the same vein, bringing up the lack of benchmarks that provide information on what levels of light what work best for different crops and how that can be implemented in product design and function. The main takeaway is that objective data is lacking in horticultural lighting and is necessary to obtain best results. 

The benefits of LED lighting were brought up in the discussion. Benefits include the ability to fine tune the spectrum of light to a level that is ideal for the plant you are growing, the ability to use UV light to combat pests in place of chemical pesticides, among others. The abundance of benefits highlights the importance of LED lighting as direct sources of light for plants. 

The National Lighting Bureau is an independent, IRS-recognized not-for-profit, educational foundation that has served as a trusted lighting-information source. The Bureau provides its services to the public free of charge, thanks to the generous funding of the organization’s sponsors which include professional societies, trade associations, labor unions, manufacturers, and agencies of the U.S. government, including: 

About the NLB.
The NLB is focused on Promoting Lighting Excellence™ and helping the lighting industry solve its business problems. The NLB exists to create demand for High Benefit Lighting®–efficient lighting designed to optimize human performance, health, safety, and commerce—by educating those who make and influence decisions about lighting.  Obtain more information about the Bureau by contacting its staff at 615-379-7707, or visiting its website (, where information about sponsorship also is available. 

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