The seedling phase is a very delicate stage of plant growth.
Seedlings need good amounts of light to grow into strong and productive adult plants.
So, during the seedling phase, you need to provide your baby plants with the right quantity and quality of light.
To achieve that you need to choose a suitable grow light. In this article, we’ll show you the best grow lights for seedlings.
Characteristics of the Best Light for Seedlings
What makes light suitable for seedlings? There are two major factors involved:
1. The Right Spectrum
Light comes in various frequencies (colors) that plants interact with differently.
For photosynthesis, plants can only use light in the PAR range, extending from red to blue light on the spectrum (wavelengths ranging from 400 to 700 nm).
But the light preferences of plants change from one growth phase to another.
According to science, seedlings need a lot of blue light. Why?
Baby plants are busy growing their leaves and stems, and blue light plays an important role in that process.
So, the spectrum of your grow light has to be rich in blue light.
On the other hand, red light is also important for your plants.
One study done on artichoke seedlings showed that red light significantly increases the height and the mass of the plants.
But seedlings need red light in smaller amounts than blue light.
Blue and red light are critical for your seedlings, but other frequencies of light can also boost the growth of your plants.
Green light, for example, can increase the mass and height of your seedlings.
The light needs of your seedlings don’t stop there. Your baby plants need small quantities of UV light as well.
UV light can strengthen your seedlings, making them more prepared to receive more intense light when they become flowering plants.
In the flowering phase, the light needs of your plants will change. So, if you start with a grow light that is only suitable for seedlings, you’ll have to switch to another one during the flowering stage.
2. Moderate Intensity
Seedlings need a good supply of light, but they cannot tolerate very intense light.
Baby plants are very sensitive. They can be easily damaged and burned by intense light and heat. This, of course, depends on the type of the grow lamp, its actual brightness, and its distance from the plants.
If you’re using a powerful grow lamp, you can increase its hanging distance to lower its intensity over the growing area. But, as a result, you will waste some energy.
To make growing plants more efficient, you can use grow lights with moderate intensity for your baby plants. There are many lights that have this feature and are suitable for seedlings.
As your plants enter the flowering phase, you need to switch to a high intensity grow light.
That means you might have to use two grow lights, one for each phase.
Best Grow Lights for Seedlings: Your Top Three Options
Here are the best three grow lights you can use for your seedlings.
1. Viparspectra Reflector Series LEDs
Viparspectra Reflector LED grow lights are well known among indoor gardeners.
Many growers use Viparspectra Reflector LEDs to grow seedlings inside.
Those lights are made from a variety of different diodes. This feature makes their light spectrum rich in different frequencies.
That said, Viparspectra Reflector LEDs emit blue light more than any other light frequency, a feature that makes them suited for seedlings.
The devices are very sturdy. They also have a strong heat dissipation system that depends on cooling fans.
You can’t find a better light for your seedlings than Viparspectra Reflector LED.
But, when your plants flower, it’s better if you switch to a more intense light.
There are several models of Viparspectra Reflector series that you can choose from. Those models vary according to the growing space they can cover.
The lights are all very affordable, so they are a cost-effective choice for the indoor gardener.
2. Cool-Spectrum Fluorescent Grow Light
Before the rise of LEDs, fluorescent grow lights were very popular in the gardening community.
Growers still use fluorescent grow lights today, but less frequently than before.
Compared to most LEDs, fluorescent grow lamps have low intensities, which is good for seedlings.
There are two main types of fluorescent lights: tubes and compact lamps (CFLs). Tubes are more suited than CFLs for the cultivation of several plants under one light.
The most efficient fluorescent grow light tubes are labeled T5.
Most fluorescent grow lights have cool spectrums with high Kelvin ratings. Those labels mean that the lamp emits most of its light in the blue spectral range. This is another reason why fluorescent lamps are great for seedlings.
Fluorescent lamps are cheaper than LED devices, but you need an independent fixture to run them.
They also have a shorter life span than LEDs, so you need to replace them more often.
One of the best brands of fluorescent lights is HYDRO PLANET. Those T5 tubes come with a hanging 2-lamp fixture for a good price (check them here on Amazon).
3. Full-Spectrum LED Grow Lights
In case you don’t like switching between grow lights as your plants shift from one phase to another, then full-spectrum LEDs are the perfect choice for you.
Modern full-spectrum LEDs are suitable for all growth phases and are usually very bright.
As we said before, high light intensity may damage seedlings, so you need to be careful to how you use those lamps with your baby plants.
Increasing the distance between plants and the light is one way to avoid impairing seedling growth. But, today, you can do that by dimming the intensity.
Grow lights with dimmer switches can have their intensities decreased to a very suitable level for seedlings.
So, what are the best full-spectrum LED grow lights for your seedlings that have a dimming function? Here are two great choices:
· Spider Farmer LEDs
Spider Farmer grow lights are becoming increasingly popular nowadays.
Those LEDs are very bright and efficient. They draw relatively little amounts of electric power and put out a great quantity of light.
Spider Farmer LEDs have a light spectrum that is very rich in red and blue light. It is perfect for all growth phases, including seedling and flowering.
The devices also have dimmer switches that will allow you to decrease the intensity of the light during the seedling phase.
Spider Farmer grow lights are inexpensive (check the price of the lowest model [SF-1000]).
· VIPARSPECTRA Latest XS1500 LED
Viparspectra latest grow light is one of your best options.
Unlike the Reflector Series, Viparspectra XS1500 has a perfect balanced spectrum that can pull the highest yield from your plants.
Viparspectra XS1500 is made of LM301B Samsung diodes, which are among the best LEDs in the industry.
The device also has a dimmer switch that will give you full control over the intensity of the light.
No matter what grow light you pick for your seedlings, keep a good eye on them.
Your seedlings need a lot of care and attention. In addition to light, giving them the proper amount of food and water is a must.
Enjoy gardening indoors and make sure to share your thoughts in the comments below!