What type of lights should I use to start seedlings indoors?


What type of lights should I use to start seedlings indoors?


Fluorescent or LED Lights

For most home gardeners, a plug-in shop fluorescent or LED light fixture is the perfect type of light to use for seed starting.  When shopping for fluorescent lights, look for high-output, full-spectrum (sometimes called “daylight”) bulbs.  When shopping for LED  lights, purchase full-spectrum fixtures that emit a high number of lumens (at least 3,0000 lumens).  Cost is often an important factor.  When you consider costs remember to factor the cost of the fixture and the bulb.  Fluorescent bulbs dim over time and should be replaced every one to two years, which is a cost that should also be considered.seedlings under lights

Grow Lights

Plants do not use all wavelengths of light equally.  The blue wavelengths of light are needed for good foliage and root growth and the red wavelengths are important for flower and fruit development.  Grow lights provide abundant light in the red and blue wavelengths and very little of the green wavelengths which is why they sometimes look pink or purple in color.  “Grow lights” can be a good source of light for seedlings but are often more expensive and not necessary.   A full-spectrum bulb will provide red and blue wavelengths of light at a level adequate for seedling growth at a lower cost.

Answered by
  • Specialist
  • Consumer Horticulture Extension
Last updated on
March 19, 2024