The Right Plant Grow Lights for Seed Germination

Starting plants indoors is a great way to get a jump on the planting season. Plants started long before the end of cold weather can extended your harvest and bring beauty to your yard quickly.

The controlled conditions of indoor gardening are perfect for successful seed germination. But what if your conditions are less than perfect? A crucial element of indoor gardening is light. The lack of window space (or any windows in a basement) could cancel your indoor growing plans.

If you find yourself "sunlight challenged," you may need plant grow lights for seed germination.

A Full Spectrum Of Light
The color of light is measured in degrees Kelvin (K). Lower K values indicate warmer (more red) light and higher K values indicate cooler (more blue) light. In nature, sunlight promotes seed germination. The sun provides timing cues and energy for seeds to grow.

In terms of color temperature, sunlight is around 6000 K. By contrast, a standard incandescent bulb has a color temperature of 2700 K. A light that provides a color temperature close to that of the sun will best promote seed germination.

Types Of Bulbs
Modern technology has produced a wide variety of light bulbs and each have different properties that make them more or less appropriate for indoor gardening.

  • Incandescent lights. With a low color temperature, incandescent bulbs are inappropriate for plant grow lights. These bulbs should only be used for display or work lighting.
  • Fluorescent lights. Full spectrum fluorescent lights provide an efficient source of light with very little heat. To be most effective, fluorescent lights should be placed close to plants. The cool, even lighting provided by fluorescent lights is perfect for seed germination.
  • Compact fluorescent lights. An upgrade to older technology, CFL bulbs concentrate fluorescent light into a smaller form. CFL bulbs are available in warm and cool color temperatures and make great plant grow lights.
  • Metal halide lights. With a color temperature of 5500 K, metal halide lights are as close to indoor sunlight as you can get. The hot operating temperature of metal halide lights requires that they be placed at a safe distance from plants.
Similar Questions on Ask.com
Related Life123 Articles

Get a jump start on this year's planting by starting your plants from seeds instead of purchasing a more-expensive mature plant during growing season. Starting plants from seeds is easy to do as long as you provide the necessary environment.

Seed germination means that a seed is revived from its dormant state to begin the process of root and leaf production. Seed germination sounds impressive, and it is. 

Frequently Asked Questions on Ask.com
More Related Life123 Articles

Known for their variety and great taste, heirloom garden seeds have been passed down from generation to generation.

When you soak seeds, you allow water to fully penetrate the hull of the seed, nourishing the germ that will bloom into a plant. Seeds will get food from the nutrients in the soil surrounding them once they are planted, but to flourish they need plenty of water.

There is a concept in coaching called seed planting. It means that it takes time for new ideas and suggestions to be embraced. There are clients that take hold of a new idea and run with it, some take a little more time to allow the idea to grow while others can take years before the idea sprouts.

© 2014 Life123, Inc. All rights reserved. An IAC Company