LED Grow Lights for Seedlings: 101 on Grow Lights for Seed Starting

As an indoor grower considering LED grow lights for seedlings, you might wonder if they’re any good, and you have every reason. 

The seedling stage is vital in plant growth, during which they need more light than usual. 

Yet, often you’ll find that the light reaching your plants is inadequate. So are these grow lights safe for sprouting seedlings? 

If so, what are their benefits, and how do you use them? Read on to learn the answers to these questions and more.  

Must You Use LED Grow Lights? 

Granted, you don’t need LED to grow lights for your seedlings. However, often, especially during winter, you may not get enough sunlight indoors or outdoors. 

But remember, seedlings require more sunlight than fully developed plants. 

Thus to ensure proper sprouting or seed starting, you need artificial light, and what better grow lights than LED ones? 

For one, they have several advantages, as we’ll see below. 

And unlike in the past, when they cost a fortune, the cost of LED grow lights has gone down significantly, making them more affordable.

Why Use LED Grow Lights: Benefits of Using LED Grow Lights on Seedlings

Below are some benefits of using LED grow lights for seedlings:

Plants Grow Stronger and Healthier 

Interestingly, LED grow lights make your seedlings stronger than if they were near a window. With the LED lights, it will be as though the seedlings were grown outside. 

Thus, you’ll notice normal-sized growth with well-formed shoots. Also, they’ll have a healthy color in general. With such plants, you can be sure of a higher yield.

(Caption: Strong stems and shoots)

Increased Survival Rate 

Because the growing environment under LED grows lights is manageable, it increases the chances of the seedlings surviving. 

Because there’s sufficient light, you will not need to carry out gap-filling or plant extra plants.

Less Waste

Achieving a higher plant mortality rate ensures you also have less waste. Thus, you’ll rarely need to clean up planting areas from dirt or waste materials.

Convenience 

Undoubtedly, LED grow lights to make things much easier when handling seedlings. For one, the lights provide the exact right amount of lighting. 

So with these lights, you don’t have to worry about monitoring the plants. Neither must you rotate the plant trays to expose them to light from one direction. 

Plants in different layers or trays

(Caption: Plants in different layers or trays) 

Flexibility 

With LED grow lights, you can choose any place in the house to grow your plants. 

That means you need not move your plants to areas with more natural light, such as windows. 

Controllable 

While LED grow lights feature a comprehensive light spectrum, Another great benefit of the lights is that you can control various features to provide the best environment for your plants at any stage, including the seedling phase. 

For example, you can adjust the light spectrum to suit the needs of your seedlings at different sizes.

 LED grow lights allow you to usher your seedlings to the next growth cycle more easily.  

Additionally, the environment ensures you have less need for pesticides and chemicals.

Energy Efficient

Interestingly, LED grow lights have a higher luminous efficacy. Thus, compared to other conventional lighting systems, they consume less energy.

 Also, the bulbs last much longer, and you can expect significant savings on energy costs. 

How to Use LED Grow Lights

The correct use of LED grow lights for your seedlings depends on several factors. The following are the primary factors to consider:

When to Use Grow Lights

When it comes to when to use grow lights, it depends on the type of plant and the season. As far as seedlings go, these only need light once they sprout.

 And during sprouting or seed-starting, a constant temperature is what’s important. 

Therefore, you can start using LED grow lights immediately after germination.

 If you do this as soon as possible, your seedlings will not show any symptoms of inadequate lighting. 

Some seeds are exceptional, requiring you to sow the soil surface (or soil medium) with bright light to stimulate them. 

Therefore, check the type of seeds to ensure you apply light correctly a little before or after sprouting.

How Close Should LEDs Be to Plants

LED grow light distance is another critical factor. Because if you place the grow lights too close, it will scorch your seedlings.

 On the other hand, putting them too far will induce the plants to strain to reach the light. Thus, you’ll notice the seedlings are long and weak. 

If your seed type entails light exposure before the seeds sprout, place the LED grow lights 24 to 36 inches away.

 See, they’re highly vulnerable to light, and placing the lights too close will cause them to dry up.  

However, once the roots fully develop and you can notice sprouting, move the lights closer as it spurs growth. Usually, this is the first two to three weeks of planting. 

When to Stop Using LED Grow Light

Well, don’t rush your seedlings. For optimum results, continue using the LED grow lights until the seedlings are ready for hardening

If you intend to grow the plants outdoors, periodically take the seedlings outside to acclimate them and ensure they’re strong enough for the outdoor environment. 

But if you plan for the seedlings to be indoor plants, always ensure they’re under LED lights. 

That way, you ensure their healthy development.  

How Many Hours of Light

Now seedlings require at least 14 to 16 hours of light every day. So ensure you don’t leave the lights on all day and night.

 Remember that darkness is just as important to the plant as light. See, at night, respiration occurs. 

Also, the plant uses up the energy it produces during photosynthesis for growth and other metabolic processes.  

To avoid forgetting to turn the LED lights on and off at the appropriate time, you might consider installing a timer.

 That way, you ensure your plants get only the light they need, even when you’re not around. 

Have a lighting schedule and ensure it’s consistent with mimicking the day and night light pattern. 

FAQs

What Color LED Light Is Best for Seedlings?

Seedlings require two distinctive light colors, blue and red. For blue light, the appropriate wavelength is 400 to 520 nanometers

Such a wavelength encourages photosynthesis. The red light’s wavelength should fall between 610 and 720 nanometers.

Are LED Grow Lights Good for Seedlings?

Yes, LED grow lights are good for seedlings. That’s because they supplement your seedling light requirements, mimicking sunlight. 

That way, the seedlings don’t grow leggy and unhealthy. See, they don’t have to stretch toward the window or other source of light as they get all the light they need.

How Should High LED Grow Lights Be for Seedlings?

Seedlings are fragile and require you to protect them from intense light. That said, don’t mistake wattage for light intensity. 

See, what matters in a grow light is the amount of light it emits, not the wattage. 

Therefore, position the grow lights 24 to 36 inches away. And once they sprout, move the lights closer, but not too close to dry up the seedlings. 

Conclusion

That’s all about LED grow lights for seedlings. As we’ve seen, these lights are an excellent way of ensuring that your plants get adequate light.

 They mimic natural lighting and are set to the light intensity plants need. 

Moreover, you can adjust the light so your plants get the light they need at different stages of seedling development.