Genera Specific PPFD Recommendations

The tables below list our recommendations for PPFD levels based on our experiences at Florawave and Carnivero.  Note that we have not yet tested many genera listed here specifically under artificial lighting but are making recommendations based on experience with light level preference growing under greenhouse conditions.  Some genera have many species and there will inevitably be a somewhat wide range.  Targeting around the low-middle at first should be adequate for most species and hybrids and the lighting can be subsequently increased from there based on desired plant response. 

For all plants, absolute and relative changes in light level play a role in physiological expression.  A thorough discussion is beyond the scope of this page.  However, at the minimum, keep in mind that light will influence leaf size, stem size, flowering, and fruit/seed production.  Anthocyanin and other pigment production is influenced by absolute light levels as well as the spectra.  Higher levels of pigments will give plants a darker, reddish hue. 

PPFD Levels for Carnivorous Plant Genera

Genus PPFD Lower Range (μmol/s/m²) PPFD Upper Range (μmol/s/m²)
Nepenthes 40 450
Utricularia (epiphytic) 40 450
Pinguicula 40 450
Cephalotus 60 450
Darlingtonia* 100 600+
Heliamphora 150 600
Sarracenia (low growing) 150 600
Dionaea 150 600
Utricularia (temperate)* 150 600
Drosera 150 600+
Sarracenia (upright)** 300 1000+
Drosophyllum* 200 1000+

Assumes a 12-14 hour photoperiod

*Estimation (have not tested)

**Have only tried seedlings due to geometric restraints

In all plants, light level, metabolism and nutrient uptake are intimately tied.  For carnivorous plants, these relationships have pronounced physiological effects since the predominant mode of nutrient uptake for most species is through trapping mechanisms (see videos of plants grown under the PPFD recommendations)  Observations suggest that as light levels increase, characteristics that are conducive for trapping also increase.  For an example of this, take a look at the lighting response in Nepenthes.  Increased nutrient uptake by roots and traps increases metabolism.  When the roots are responsible for uptake, the plants express trap characteristics more conducive to photosynthesis as opposed to capture.  Our observation is that the increased energy devoted to trapping mechanisms can take its toll over time if not rewarded with increased nutrient uptake and plants will suffer from deficiencies.  We should advise that the light level recommendations are based on tests with moderate feeding with insects, fertilizers into traps as well as fertilizer directly into the soil.  Growing conditions and nutrient supplementation may lead to different optimal lights levels for the targeted plants.

PPFD Levels for Orchid Genera 

Genus PPFD Lower Range (μmol/s/m²) PPFD Upper Range (μmol/s/m²) AOS Suggestion (ft-candles)
Paphiopedilum  40 100 1000-2000
Phalaenopsis* 40 100 1000-2000
Paphiopedilum (multi-floral)* 100 200 3000
Phragmipedium* 100 200 3000
Oncidium* 100 200 3000
Dendrobium* 150 350 4000-5000
Cattleya* 150 350 4000-5000
Shomburgkias* 200 500 6000-6500
Vandas* 200 500 6000-6500
Assumes 10-14 hour photoperiod
*Estimation (have not tested)

PPFD Levels for Ornamentals and Others 

Genus PPFD Lower Range (μmol/s/m²) PPFD Upper Range (μmol/s/m²)
African Violets* 50 100
Begonias* 50 100
Aroids (lower light species) 50 100
Tropical succulents* 100 200
Philodendron 50 250
Monstera 100 250
Anthurium 100 250
Alocasia 100 250
Vegetables (tomato, pepper)* 200 600+

Assumes 10-14 hour photoperiod
*Estimation (have not tested)

PPFD Levels for Cannabis

Genus PPFD Lower Range (μmol/s/m²) PPFD Upper Range (μmol/s/m²)
Seedlings, clones and mother plants* 200 400
Vegetative Growth* 400 600
Flowering and Budding* 600 1000

*Estimated based on literature


Up next: Physiological Response of Nepenthes  to Light

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