Do plants grow differently when given sun light, wolfram lamp, fluorescent light, LED light, infrared, ultraviolet, x-ray, unfocused laser and stroboscope?
1$\begingroup$ absolutely - plants are green because they prefer light that is shorter in wavelength than green. but like the rest of us they would die in quick order in an X-ray! See: biology.stackexchange.com/questions/450/… $\endgroup$– shigetaOct 12, 2012 at 0:04
It matters a lot. Take a look at this graph:
This graph is for the "normal" plants containing chlorophyll.
There're also "abnormal" :-) ones, simple water plants and cyanobacteria, that contain various phycobilins for photosynthesis instead of the chlorophyll.
If your question is practical, I'd recommend using specialy-designed fluorescent lamps called grow light.
Color of light matters. As the Answer with the graph shows, chlorophyll absorbs certain colors of light best. It is strange that it does not seem to absorb yellow light well, considering that the sun has the highest emission level there, but perhaps it was to keep the plants from roasting in excessive sun conditions.
I did an experiment in High School where I placed colored transparent gel material over otherwise identical plants. One was the control with no box over it, then there was Red, Yellow, Green and Blue. The Yellow and Green did very poorly and the plants appeared to be whitish, perhaps due to inadequate chlorophyll production? The plant under the Blue appeared normal, and the one under Red grew 'leggy' and very fast. This is a known result that plants growing under foliage tend to receive excess red relative to blue light, and it triggers rapid growth, presumably so that the part of the plant can get out from under other foliage.
In my apartment and workplace, I have north-facing windows, sometimes the shades are closed during the day, both factors simulating red-light effect, and the Wandering Jew plants that I have grow like crazy.