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Can Moonlight Affect Plants? The Farming Method Explained

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The moon influences some animal behaviors, but can moonlight affect plants?

The Light from the moon is, in essence, a reflection from the sun, although much less; light from the moon coupled with its gravitational pull affects plant growth, especially where water movement is concerned.

Moonlight does affect plants because the sap flow in plants becomes more active when the moon is in its full phase. Conversely, sap flow decreases when the moon goes into its waning phase.

Now, you may be a bit curious about how much moonlight affects plants. Most of all, how it affects your crops and how you can use it to help your garden.

This article will explain how moonlight affects plants, if it really works, and why some farmers still use this planting method.

Can Plants Photosynthesize Moonlight?

Effects of Moonlight on plants

We all know that plants use sunlight in photosynthesis, but can they use moonlight to prepare their food? Moonlight results from the sun reflecting off the moon’s surface. 

However, the plants don’t gain many benefits from moonlight.

The moonlight is approximately 400,000 times fainter than the sunlight, so the plants can not carry out photosynthesis properly in the moonlight. 

However, in the case of algae and plankton,  moonlight from the full moon can cause a little bit of photosynthesis and affect the growth of plants.

In general, little to no photosynthesis happens in the presence of moonlight. The plants try to escape from the moonlight because it can affect their circadian rhythm (or internal clock), which controls the growth of the plants. 

If this rhythm is affected by moonlight, the plants might suffer and won’t be able to grow correctly.

Can The Moon Affect Plant Growth?

moonlight affects plant growth

Although moonlight contains more IR rays than sunlight, it can influence the growth of plants in various ways. It might affect the process and use of starch storage in plants. 

According to researchers, plants use more starch when the moon reaches its broad phase. In contrast, they store more starch when the moon is receding. 

During a full or new moon, the level of the tides is high. This is due to the moon’s gravitational pull. 

The moon also increases the water content in the soil simultaneously. This causes seeds to swell, burst and sprout because that is the time when they absorb the maximum water. Hence, plants grow faster and healthier. 

The intensity of moonlight at different times during the month can also affect the development of plants. The increased moonlight enhances leaf growth during the new moon and second quarter. 

However, the moonlight decreases after the full moon. Due to a decline in sunlight, the development of leaves slows down as the moonlight puts more energy into plant roots. 

Due to active root growth, it is the most appropriate time to plant root crops and bulbs.

Moreover, the best time for planting leafy green crops and preparing gardens is when the moonlight and the sun combine to create a rush of sap in the plants. 

This occurs during different phases of the moon. While at other times, these natural forces establish a rest period for the plants.

Why do Some Farmers Plant By the Moon?

Seeds Germinating

The full moon has long been associated with increased fertility, but scientists now believe that the lunar cycle also affects plant growth and development.

Farmers plant crops at different times of the day based on when they think the moon will be full or new. They also use the moon to help them with timing their planting seasons.

When the moon is full, farmers plant early in the morning. This allows the sun to warm the ground quickly and allows the seeds to germinate more easily.

Additionally, seeds sown just before or around the full moon have a higher rate and speed of germination than those sown at the new moon because seeds are able to absorb more water at the full moon.

In fact, researchers found that plants grown during the full moon were taller and had larger roots than those grown during the new moon. 

They also discovered that plants grown during the waxing phase (the period leading up to the full moon) grew faster than those planted during the waning phase (the time after the full moon). This finding was true even when the plants were watered equally throughout the day, so it wasn’t due to differences in soil moisture.

Will Moonlight Affect Plant Flowering?

In the case of night-loving plants, they produce more flowers in low light. The flower production in these plants increases because of the moonlight during the nighttime. 

So, the presence of moonlight can be beneficial for the growth of such plants. 

Furthermore, when Pharbitis nil (Morning Glory) is exposed to the full moon’s light for 8 hours or more with a single dark period of 16, 14, or 13 hours, its flowering gets slightly inhibited. 

In short-day plants, moonlight causes a slight delaying effect on flower induction time in a natural environment.

How Does The Moon Affect Plant Movement?

We may not be able to detect the plant’s movements through our naked eyes. This is because plant movements are too slow or too subtle to observe. 

Therefore, we need to use lapse photography to see their unfurling tendrils and waving branches. Most of these movements are done by plants themselves. 

However, there might be an outside force influencing the Earth’s vegetation. According to Jacob Aron, the moon’s gravitational pull does not only cause rise and fall in ocean tides. It also causes plants to wave their leaves.

Some plants show adaptive mechanisms that stop the interference of moonlight with photoperiodism.

In some leguminous plants (soybean, peanut, and clover), sleep movements change the leaf position from horizontal during the day to vertical at night. 

While in the case of Sainanea, Albizzia, and Cassia, leaflets rotate on their axes and change orientation vertically during the night. 

This is done so that paired leaflets fold together with upper surfaces shading each other because the upper surface is more sensitive to light compared to a lower surface.

Hence, in addition to influencing the growth of plants, moonlight might be responsible for plant movements. 

Does Planting Under The Moon Really Work?

Planting under the moon is a belief that has been passed down for generations. 

The moon is the source of power that can help you grow plants. It’s a natural phenomenon that has been around for thousands of years and is still used today by many cultures.

The idea is that plants will grow faster when planted during a full moon phase, or if you place them in a place where the moon is visible.

The claim is that this is because plants need more energy during their growth phase than they do at other times of the month.

The moon has been known to have an effect on plants, especially when it comes to growth and development. 

The moon is thought to strongly influence plant growth because it controls the tides and causes the ocean waters to rise and fall. This causes waves that affect water distribution in lakes and oceans, which can also affect plant life.

There are several theories as to why this might be true, and all have some merit. One theory suggests that light plays an important role in plant growth and that when there is less light available, plants use up all of their energy reserves so that they can produce new leaves and branches. 

Another theory suggests that plants use more water during this phase of their life cycle, which can lead to drought conditions if there is not enough water available in your soil or container.

So does planting under the moon really work? It’s hard to say with any certainty one way or another since there are so many variables involved like your location and climate, but there are plenty of reasons why you may want to give it a try!

Some of the advantages that moon planting provides us include:

  • Early germination of seeds
  • Increased plant production
  • More moisture in the soil
  • Healthier and enhanced growth rate
  • Fewer pests attack plants

The Takeaway

The effect of moonlight on the plants is because of a change in the flow of sap during different phases of the moon. 

During the full phase of the moon, the flow of fluid increases while the flow of sap decreases during the declining phase. This increase or decrease in the flow of sap can improve or restrict the growth of plants respectively. 

One interesting fact is that plants growing away from moonlight may heal from the damage at a slower rate than those who get moonlight. So, moonlight is also essential for promoting proper healing in plants.

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