How to Choose Grow Lights for Seedlings [2024 Guide]
Growing seedlings indoors presents a unique set of challenges, paramount among them being the provision of sufficient light. Indeed, you can rely on the natural solar spectrum to grow your veggies or plants indoors, however, seedlings grown with natural lighting tend to develop straggly stems or lean over too much. The worst part? They grow way too slowly.
This is where artificial grow lights come into play, offering a tailored solution that ensures young plants receive the optimal wavelengths of light for photosynthesis and growth. The right grow light setup can significantly impact the development of seedlings, promoting stronger, healthier plants ready for transplanting outdoors. Let’s check the top-notch grow lights for seedlings.
Table of Contents
What Type of Grow Lights Is Best for Seed Starting
To start with, while other types of grow lights, such as HPS grow lights, exist, they are generally more suited to larger plants and mature stages of growth due to their high energy output and heat production. For seed starting, LED grow lights are preferred for their efficiency, spectrum, and lower heat output, making them safe and effective for nurturing young plants.
Regarding LED grow lights, two things are worth your attention: height and spectrum.
Are Your LED Grow Lights Height Adjustable?
Plant seeds require a light source that’s very close to them in the initial stage, as they need to receive enough light intensity to promote strong and healthy growth. Later on, as they sprout, you have to adjust the height to provide more space for the leaves. Therefore, wand lights are convenient for adjusting over your seed trays, or you might prefer a fixed setup, with lights suspended above your shelves that can be adjusted using chains or pulleys.
Read More About How Far Should LED Grow Lights Be from Plants
Are Your LED Grow Lights Full-Spectrum?
With a built-in timer, you can simply set your lights to turn on and off at the same intervals every day, which can be a huge life helper. Many timers feature memory settings that allow for daily operation of 4, 8, or 12 hours. Such regularity is beneficial for your seedlings' growth.
Best 3 LED Grow Lights for Seedlings
With all being said above, you should have a rough plan about your desired LED grow light for seedlings in mind. Now, let’s move forward to see the top 3 grow lights that would help your plants sprout.
Spider Farmer Seed Starting Trays - Best for Seed Germination
How to germinate seeds with a bigger chance of success? Seed starting trays are all you need. They allow for efficient space use, better control over the early growing environment, and easier management of moisture and nutrients, not to mention that they are way more affordable than professional grow lights.
The Spider Farmer Seed Starting Tray is designed with soft silicone walls, providing unmatched safeguarding for both roots and soil, maintaining the health of your valuable plants. Thanks to its flexible material, transplanting plants is incredibly easy!
Spider Farmer SF300 33W LED Grow Light - Best for Small to Medium Vegetable Growing
For those seeking artificial lighting support not just for seed germination but from seedling to harvest, a full spectrum LED grow light is a better choice. And here comes Spider Farmer SF300, suitable for small to medium-sized indoor gardens, offering essential light coverage for different stages of plant growth, particularly for growing vegetables.
The grow light is not a fixed setup but rather a standalone fixture, which means you can adjust the height of the light by integrating it with various racks. This versatility in height adjustment is then further enhanced by its 120° wide beam angle. Such a wide beam angle ensures that light is distributed more evenly across a broader area, reaching more plants and penetrating deeper into the canopy.
Additionally, this grow light for seedlings provides a comprehensive light spectrum including 660-665nm (red), 730-740nm (IR), 2800K-3000K (warm white), and 4800-5000K (blue), supporting plant germination, flowering, fruiting, chlorophyll synthesis, and photosynthesis.
Read More about Does The Color Of Light Affect Plants Growth
Spider Farmer SF600 74W LED Grow Light - Best for Larger Scale Vegetable Growing
The Spider Farmer SF600 LED Grow Light stands out as a robust and efficient solution for those looking to elevate their vegetable gardening. This model caters to a more extensive setup requiring broader light coverage for your seedlings.
This grow light for seedlings is powered by 384 top-grade Osram LED chips, offering significant energy savings without sacrificing light intensity or quality. Using just 74 watts of power, it is more energy-efficient and incurs lower electricity expenses compared to fluorescent T5 bulbs.
Similarly, its 120° wide beam angle ensures even light distribution, reaching all your plants uniformly and promoting consistent growth across the entire growing area. Durability is another hallmark of the SF600, with its solid construction designed to withstand the rigors of continuous use in a humid and warm grow room environment.
Working Tips on How to Use LED Grow Lights for Seedlings
To get the right amount of light and help your seedlings grow strong and healthy, it’s important to know how to use LED grow lights properly. To help you out, we’ve gathered some essential tips in the following.
Positioning the Grow Lights: Begin by setting up your LED grow lights at the right height above your seed trays. This distance is crucial and varies depending on the light's intensity and the type of plants you're growing. Generally, LED lights should be placed closer to seedlings than traditional grow lights due to their lower heat output. Check the following image for suggestions.
Implementing an 18/6 Light Schedule: How long should your grow lights be on? For optimal growth, seedlings require a significant amount of light—typically, 18 hours of light followed by 6 hours of darkness. This cycle simulates the long days of summer, encouraging vigorous growth. The 6 hours of darkness are equally important as they allow seedlings to rest and respire, which is crucial for their development.
Providing Strong Light Post-Germination: Once the first true leaves emerge, it's essential to ensure that your seedlings receive strong, direct light. This stage is critical as adequate light intensity helps prevent seedlings from becoming "leggy"—a condition where they stretch weakly towards the light, resulting in a fragile stem.
FAQs about LED Grow Lights for Seedlings
Are LED grow lights good for seedlings?
Yes, LED grow lights are good for seedlings. They provide the necessary light for seedlings to grow and can be adjusted to the appropriate distance from the plants for more accurate lighting.
For seedlings, it is recommended to use LED grow lights that emit a blue light or balanced light spectrum. Plants use more blue and blue-green light during their early stages, and more red light later on in their life cycles when they begin to flower and produce seeds.
How do I know I’m getting the right amount of light for my seedlings?
When your seedlings need more light:
- Seedlings become elongated and spindly as they stretch towards the light source.
- Seedlings exhibit a pale green or yellowish hue, indicating insufficient light for chlorophyll production.
- There are extended spaces between leaves along the stem.
- Seedling leaves begin to fall.
- Seedlings' growth rate is noticeably slow.
When your seedlings need less light:
- Seedlings show signs of scorching.
- Seedlings display discoloration or brown-tipped leaves.
How many hours of LED light for seedlings?
It is recommended to keep the LED grow lights on for 18 hours per day during the germination and early growth stages and reduce the amount of light to 8-10 hours per day once the seedlings have several sets of true leaves.
Selecting the best grow lights for seedlings is vital for indoor gardening success. LED grow lights, such as the Spider Farmer SF300 and SF600, provide a solution by offering the optimal light spectrum and intensity for different growth stages, from germination to maturity. These lights ensure seedlings develop strong, healthy, and ready for transplanting, overcoming challenges like legginess and slow growth associated with insufficient natural light. With features like energy efficiency, adjustable heights, and full-spectrum capabilities, LED grow lights cater to both small and large-scale gardening needs, making them an indispensable tool for nurturing seedlings indoors.