Grow Lights for Propagation and Seeding
There is no shortage of grow lights on the market and narrowing the best one down for your specific need can get confusing. There is also a lot of cheap junk passing for grow lighting so buying a reputable brand from a reputable dealer is key.
The reality is if you’re looking for excellent results you need to go with an excellent grow lighting system. This is especially true for seedling and clone propagation which is if you think about – all your future inventory. You can’t afford to cut corners here.
When growing seedlings and cuttings the key is top light production without overheating the stock. Seedlings already dry out quickly and you certainly don’t need your grow lights adding to that.
The stackable grow systems
The absolute best route to go with seedlings are the prefab stack and grow systems which utilize wasted space and are specifically designed for seedlings. Seedlings don’t take up a lot of room and there is no reason to soak up valuable greenhouse space on seedlings when there are other options.
Stack and grows are exactly what the name implies and maximizes unused vertical space.
The seedlings germinate and grow in a wall-space stacked unit. The nice part about these systems is that multiple units can be combined where you’re growing rows of flats stacked six or eight feet high.
The actual brand of Stack and Grow offers many advantages for growing seedlings.
- Extra bright 3′ lights in stackable units
- Reflectors provide 58% more usable light
- Easily adjust lights as seedlings develop
- Modular system where more units may be added
There are completely self-contained stackable systems available that work with both seedlings and with cloning machines.
Fluorescents are ideal for seedlings and cuttings
While LED may be leaving its mark on the grow light market and rendering other light systems obsolete, the florescent is a reliable option when it comes to cultivating seedlings and cuttings.
This is because fluorescents are bright, efficient and easily mounted for even light distribution throughout. T-8 and T-5 are the optimum bulbs for seedlings and a four-foot fixture can provide enough light for up to 5 trays.
When you decide on florescent lighting stay away from the CFL model or you’ll end up with big plants near the center and smaller light depraved ones on the ends of the flats. What you make up for in price you lose in time with a CFL, running around rotating lights all day.
The long tube style eliminates this with even distribution throughout.
Quality counts with LED grow lights
LED grow lights are perfect for seedlings and cuttings as long as you go with decent quality and a reputable brand. Everyone wants to cash in on the LED rage and there are a lot of low-quality cheap offerings on the internet.
Stay away from those because nothing is gained if they aren’t producing enough light to even do the job. Go with a brand known for quality and buy from a reputable distributor but expect to pay for this.
The higher price is well worth it because you’ll have higher production, better quality and the energy savings will easily pay for themselves over time.
High-Pressure Sodium Lights (HPS) also work great for seedlings
If you’re looking for quality and yield HPS grow lights will surely produce that in seedlings and cuttings. They have a long tradition as a favorite for propagation for years. Some growers tend to use a mix of metal halide and HPS to create a mixed spectrum.
The metal halide will produce healthy plants, but yield is somewhat reduced when compared to HPS. Your best bet overall, is to go with a mix of the two.
My view is that 1,000-watt can produce too much heat which can hurt the plants. Make up the same wattage by using a 400-watt/ 600-watt combo that provides considerable more control.
What you’re going for with seedlings and cuttings is consistent, even growth
What you’re looking for in a seedling/cutting grow light system is on that evenly distributes light throughout. It is important to sales to have a consistently sized and developed finished product to offer your customers.
Poor grow lighting is going to lead to some monster plants and some stunted and no grower can afford that.
Today we have the absolute best in cloning and propagation technology and it all adds up to nothing with a poor grow light system.