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Goodbye to leggy seedlings

If you’re new to using grow lights you may be surprised by just how close your seedlings need to be them.

It’s close! It’s very very close! We are talking mere inches away because otherwise, it will produce leggy seedlings.

And ain’t nobody got time for leggy seedlings. Leggy seedling = not what you want and not what they want either. Leggy seedlings are stressed seedlings and stressed seedlings aren’t healthy seedlings.

So, what is a leggy seedling… did you just make that up!?

Leggy sounds funny but it’s not made up. The dictionary definition is: “(of a plant) having an excessively long and straggly stem.”

And in our words… it’s a seedling that has a thin, weak stem often due to growing quickly, in response to searching for the closest light source.

So how close? The distance varies as they grow but ideally, we keep our seedlings around 1-3” away from the light.

If your grow light is fixed to a location and you aren’t able to raise or lower the lights… no problem, be resourceful and bring the seedlings to the light. (Verus the light to the seedlings). Grab some books, an empty shoe box, whatever you can find around your house to temporary prop your seedlings up on. As they grow, you can alter the height using other household objects sized accordingly.

Noteworthy notes to note:

  • No Light Needed During Germination
    • Most seedlings do not need light to germinate, however, once they emerge and pop their beautiful little heads out of the soil (after you sing a little bit and do a happy dance) put them right under the light
    • The sooner newly emerged seedlings are to the light, the healthier they will be
  • Get Yourself a Timer!
    • A timer isn’t necessary but it can be really helpful
    • Seedlings can handle up to 16 hours of light – yes, you read that correctly! Seedlings are like some of us individuals who live in cold weather climates… come mid-February we’d be very keen to get that much sun too

Lastly, Are Grow Lights Necessary?

The short answer is yes. You can successfully grow seedlings on a windowsill, we’ve done it! But if you are serious about growing from seed, invest in a grow light. It doesn’t need to be a big thing, just start with one.

seedlings close
yellow petaled flower by elias sorey unsplash

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