Are Mirrors Good For Plants? (Quick Facts)

We all know the importance of enough sunlight for our plants. Sometimes, however, the space we have available for plants does not offer a lot of sunlight. As mirrors are reflective, we could consider using them to reflect more light to plants in darker areas. But is this good for plants?

As mirrors can reflect and redirect light, they are indeed good for plants located in darker areas that need more light. You can use mirrors for both indoor and outdoor plants. However, take care not to direct too much sunlight to your plants, which can damage them.

There are also various other factors to account for when using mirrors to direct light to plants. Some factors, for instance, are how much light is required by the plant, how much light it is currently getting, and how the sun moves.

Are Mirrors Good For Plants

Why Are Mirrors Good For Plants?

For photosynthesis to take place, plants require enough light. Sometimes though, we do not always have areas with a lot of light available. In situations like this, mirrors can be very useful aids in supplying light to these areas, making it possible to grow plants in darker areas.

Mirrors only absorb approximately 5% of the light that reaches their surface. The remaining light that reaches the mirror’s surface is reflected. So, although plants will not receive quite as much light via a mirror as they would if they received it directly from the sun, the difference is very small.

Also, plants that get direct sunlight often receive more light than is needed and convert the excess energy received from the light into heat that gets released again. Therefore, a plant receiving reflected light via a mirror should still get enough to grow and stay healthy.

However, mirrors are not necessarily a good idea if you live near the equator, as the sun’s rays get stronger the closer you are situated to the equator. If the sunlight in your area is very strong, you might want to consider using a very light-colored wall or board instead of a mirror to redirect the light to your plants. Alternatively, you can employ a piece of fabric to diffuse the reflected light.

How Do You Use Mirrors To Redirect Light To Plants?

When using mirrors to redirect light to plants indoors, garden experts recommend using high-end medical mirrors rather than regular beauty mirrors, as these reflect more light. If you cannot procure a medical mirror, a mylar mirror sheet would be a suitable alternative.

It would also be good to consider placing a mirror against a light-colored wall, as lighter colors do not absorb much light and will therefore help redirect even more light to your plants. On the other hand, darker colors absorb more light resulting in less light being reflected on your plant. Placing a mirror on a darker wall may be good for plants that do not require as much light.

When redirecting sunlight, consider how the sun moves throughout the day. You may need to move the mirror a few times a day for plants that usually need more time in the sun. Buying a mirror that can turn, and has wheels, can make the task of moving the mirror easier. Alternatively, you could place a few mirrors within the vicinity of the plant to ensure that it receives enough sunlight.  

What Should Be Considered When Directing Light To Plants?

Before positioning your mirror, first assess how much light your specific plants need and how much light they are currently getting. Doing this will help you get the correct amount of light to your plants.

It would also help you to be mindful that too much sunlight can damage your plants. Experts recommend directing the strongest portion of the light next to the plant to stop your plant from burning.

Also, if you use more than one mirror in an area, be sure to position the mirrors in a way that will prevent them from reflecting light off each other. When mirrors reflect light off each other, light is reduced each time it is reflected. Therefore, if the light gets reflected multiple times, the exercise will be less effective.

How Does A Mirror’s Shape Affect The Way It Reflects Light?

A flat mirror reflects light at the same angle the light hits it but in the opposite direction. For instance, if light were to hit the mirror at 20 degrees, it would reflect the light at 40 degrees. Therefore, when using a flat mirror, consider the angle at which you should place it, so the light is directed to your plants.

With a concave mirror, light is concentrated towards the center of the surface, and a condensed stream of light is reflected. Therefore, plants that require more intense light will benefit from a concave mirror. However, a concave mirror may not be a good idea for plants requiring less intense light.

Due to its shape, convex mirrors reflect light at various angles, thus reflecting light across a larger area. Therefore, a convex mirror will work well for plants that do not need as much light or if you want the light to reach more plants, like in your outdoor garden.

How Do You Prevent Fires When Using Mirrors For Plants?

If you redirect sunlight to your plants by using a mirror, you need to ensure that it cannot cause a fire. A concave mirror, for instance, will reflect sunlight in dense rays, which can cause a fire if reflected onto an object that can catch fire.

When setting up your mirrors for the first time, you should ensure that no sunlight will be reflected onto anything that can burn. It would also help you to bear this in mind when moving the mirror throughout the day as the sun moves or when placing multiple mirrors in one area.  

Conclusion

As mirrors reflect and redirect light, they can be very good for plants that require a lot of light but are situated in darker areas. There are various factors to consider when redirecting light, such as how much light is needed, what kind of mirror to use, how the mirror should be positioned, and the sun’s movement during the day.

It is also good to ensure that you place the mirror correctly to stop your plant from burning or fire from breaking out. Additionally, if you are based in an area where the reflected sunlight might damage your plants, consider diffusing the reflected light with the help of a piece of fabric or using a light-colored wall/board to reflect the light instead of a mirror.