Most plants need sunlight. If you can’t provide sunlight, at least set up grow lights for indoor plants. Though indoor plants don’t need as many lights as outdoor plants do, they at least need a considerable amount of light.
So, are grow lights necessary for seedlings?
Yes, grow lights are necessary for seedlings. Seedlings come from seeds. Though most seeds don’t need lights to germinate, seedlings need a great amount of bright lighting to be strong, healthy and grow quickly. Without proper lights, they can’t make convert it into energy (carbohydrates).
Hence, providing sufficient light is crucial if you want to ensure proper and steady growth for your seedlings.
Let’s learn about “Are grow lights necessary for seedlings?” in more detail.
Are Grow Lights Necessary For Seedlings?
Seeds convert to seedlings. A procedure named “Germination” occurs when seedlings are coming from the seeds. Roots and leaves start to grow from seeds. However, they don’t need lights during this stage because they grow under the soil.
Once they pierce the soil and come out, they land in a new environment. In this environment, seedlings need a significant amount of light. The more light you provide, the better their growth will be.
So, what is the use of lights for seedlings? Apart from sunlight, seedlings consume oxygen and water. They use these 3 compounds to start the photosynthesis process. Throughout photosynthesis, seedlings transform these compounds into carbohydrates (energy).
Like humans obtain energy through foods, seedlings use these compounds to produce energy. Without sufficient energy, plants can’t produce fruits, and flowers and ensure growth. Higher energy means higher growth.
According to most garden experts, providing 12-18 hours of light every day is necessary for seedlings regardless of their type. However, they also need at least 6 hours of darkness every day.
So, why do seedlings need darkness?
Darkness is necessary for seedlings as their metabolism is affected by it. Plus, they can utilize the already produced energy for their growth purposes instead of producing foods.
Are Grow Lights Necessary To Successfully Grow Seedlings Indoors?
It is not mandatory to use grow lights to grow seedlings inside the home effectively. You can use standard fluorescent lights, which have around 40-watt.
Use two types of bulbs:
These bulbs are affordable. In addition, they have enough power to produce bright lights. Setting up the bulbs above 4 to 6 of the plants is the best spot.
Make sure you keep them on around 12-16 every day to provide sufficient light for the seedlings. You can use an automatic switch to turn off/on the lights for a particular period.
How To Use Grow Lights For Seedlings?
You need some practical knowledge to gain a clear idea of how to use grow lights for seedlings. Here we are sharing some pro tips, which we have learned from garden experts.
When to Install Lights for Seedlings?
The answer is straightforward. As soon as you notice the seeds are sprouting, it’s time to set up grow lights for seedlings.
Don’t wait for all seedlings to sprout. You should install lights when a few seeds start to sprout. Not all seeds grow the same way.
Some seedlings grow fast. As soon you keep them under light, they will react fast, and their growth will increase too. Make sure you provide them with ample lights.
Where to Install Lights for Seedlings?
Grow lights should be installed above the plants from 2-3 inches. Keeping them too far will prevent them from receiving plenty of lights.
Also, you don’t want to keep it too close because the light might be intense if it is powerful. More importantly, keeping lights too close prevents them from covering a large area. So, install grow lights at the perfect spot so that seedlings can receive the maximum amount of light.
Since the seedlings will grow gradually, regularly adjusting the positions of the light is necessary. Make sure the head of the lights should not touch plants’ leaves. Otherwise, it may burn the leaves.
So, the taller the seedlings become, the above you need to keep the lights. To reduce the hassle, using an adjustable hanger is a convenient option.
What’s more, if you notice some seedlings are receiving more lights compared to others, rotate the trays. It ensures equal rights for all.
When to Stop Using Grow Lights on Seedlings?
You can only stop using lights on seedlings if you start to grow them outside. Keeping them grow indoors requires you to ensure sufficient lights every day.
If you keep seedlings all day long outside and bring them at night only, lights will not be mandatory. But if they pass more than 6 hours indoors, providing enough lights is mandatory.
Without lights, plants can’t produce product energy. They may die gradually due to a lack of energy. Ensure lights to ensure growth.
Where Will You Use Your Plant Grow Lights? Do Looks Count?
If the main room of your house is spacious, it is the best place to use grow lights. It makes plants warmer quickly. Additionally, you can figure out your plants’ issues quickly due to the bright lights. They are handy to notice.
So, why use grow lights in your main room? You can choose to grow lights in different colors and designs. Their attractive appearance makes your room more appealing.
However, if you are concerned about the look, setting them up in your basement or utility room is entirely okay.
Should You Choose LED or Fluorescent Lights?
When choosing to grow lights, make sure the lights have a complete source of spectral energy. Since both Fluorescent and LED Lights have full-spectrum lighting, not of them is inferior to choose from.
However, using LED lights gives you more advantages than fluorescent lights. Though LED lights are a little bit pricey, their maintenance costs are almost half. They consume less electricity. So, you will save a few bucks.
More importantly, the lifespan of LED lights is 5 times higher than fluorescent lights. Since LED bulbs generate reduced heat and don’t contain any mercury, they are less risky to use than fluorescent lights. It looks advantageous in the long term.
Should You Rotate Seedlings Under The Lights?
It depends on whether the above-installed lights are capable of handling all seedlings of the entire tray. You should not rotate seedlings if the lights can provide proper lighting for all the seedlings of the tray.
On the other hand, if you think the lights are failing to provide equal lighting for all seedlings, rotating is necessary. This ensures equal distribution of lights.
For example, you keep on the lights for 14 hours every day. Change the side of the tray where more lighting is coming after 7 hours. Proper lighting for all seedlings is achieved.
Mythbusting: Do You Really Need Grow Lights?
Yes, you need to grow lights for indoor plants unless you bring them outside and let them have direct sunlight. Without lights, they can’t continue the photosynthesis process and ultimately fail to produce energy. So, you either provide grow lights or sunlight.
Generally, keeping the lights on for around 14-16 a day is the best approach to ensure sufficient lighting. Some plants may need more, and some may need less based on their species.
Do You Use Grow Lights During Germination?
Usually, you have no need to use grow lights during germination. But immediately after the germination, you may need to grow lights.
Seeds of different types will produce different results. Providing sufficient lights is necessary for some seeds while others don’t need them. Before planting a particular seed, read the product label to find it. Or do some research to learn it.
However, as soon as the seeds become seedlings, adequate lighting is necessary. Since they are in the early stage of growth, they need ample light to produce more energy.
Read More – Can You Plant Seed After Fertilization?
How Do I Know If My Seedlings Are Getting Too Much Light?
Too much of anything is not good. Lights are essential for seedlings. But that does not mean you will give continuous lighting and too much intense lighting for them. Everything has a standard. You should follow them.
Here are the typical scenarios you will notice if the seedlings have excessive lighting.
Should Seedlings Get 24 Hours of Light?
No, seedlings never need 24 hours of light. They only need 14-16 hours of light. Additionally, you have to provide them with a minimum of 6 hours of darkness.
If you provide 24 hours of light, they will continuously produce food. Thus, it will harm them in the long run and weaken their metabolism. So, lighting and darkness are necessary for seedlings to ensure sufficient growth.
Growers have the accessibility to choose to grow lights from several types. Whatever grow lights you choose for the seedlings, make sure it is appropriate for them. Do some research and take expert suggestions before finally picking a particular type of grow light. It is a long-term investment. A wrong decision could lead to disappointment. Hopefully, this post has covered all the crucial details on “Are grow lights necessary for seedlings?”
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