Ask a Question forum: Type of light for indoor seedlings? Using things around the house.

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Annapolis,, MD
kmcogar
Mar 28, 2018 4:21 PM CST
Im starting a few variety of peppers this year and they seem to be starting pretty slow. Seedlings germinate with no problem, but then they haven't grown much since. At least when I compare them to others post.
So I had a question that had to do with LED lights.

Will any LED light work? I have a couple different options that I'm unsure about. First, I have lighting I used for the back of my TV (https://www.amazon.com/gp/prod...). I don't use it anymore for my tv, so I could put them on my plants. I could only use one color at a time but its better than nothing. Its all 5050 LED lights but i do not know the spectrum or wavelength of LED.

Next I have.... a different item. You may laugh at it, but its LED! It displays RED Blue and Green all at once (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MYH3LI0/). I figured i could put this over my plants for some extra lighting.

The reason I'm looking for options is because its too cold to stick them outside and I don't have a lot of options for getting it light elsewhere. Currently I have them next to a window, but it doesn't get light all day and its been cloudy 80% of the time anyways. They don't seem to be getting the light they need.

Would any of those options work? I'm looking for a cheap way to start giving them light.

Also, any other cheap recommendations would be great!
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Mar 28, 2018 4:44 PM CST
I've been having good luck with LED shop lights from Home Depot. They are not plant lights but the plants like the light just fine.

Edited to add links for one of the LED light I am using.
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Co...
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
[Last edited by greene - Mar 28, 2018 4:49 PM (+)]
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Mar 28, 2018 10:21 PM CST
You are making this way too hard. Any light that has a rating of 6000 to 6500 K will make a good plant light. LED lights are WAY over rated with their red, blue... green? light (green is like putting a plant in the closet).

The difference between incandescent, CFL and LED is the amount of heat generated while producing the right amount of light. Incandescent is the worst and cooks plants without ever providing the necessary light. CFL is next and kinder to your pocket book. LED is the best but way too expensive for my suburban budget. White light contains ALL the color spectrum, not just blue and red, and is a whole lot kinder to the eyes.

It may be that you are starting your spring plants too early. I live in about the same zone you do - the peppers have been planted for a week and are just starting to come up. I start them early because of the added germination time. Tomatoes and eggplants will be next. I'm debating the date (sometime between April 1 and 15 but we seem to be having an early spring).

I always use a plant heat mat (I think reptile heat mats are simular) and have a CFL desk lamp that's 5 or 6 inches above them. The trick is to provide enough light without providing too much heat.



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Name: Sally
central Maryland
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sallyg
Mar 29, 2018 5:29 AM CST
I started my peppers quite early this year- I am near Annapolis- so don't worry about that. Mine are under CFLs, and are just a couple inches tall with about 6 leaves.
Put whichever of your light options you can get closest and seems brightest.
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Annapolis,, MD
kmcogar
Mar 29, 2018 3:43 PM CST
Thanks all. Not trying to overthink it. Just playing around with ideas of my current options. I tend to get into a lot of hobbies and sometimes I spend too much at first. So I am trying to be frugal. I put the red led lights on the plants and also a white led light. They already seem to be responding to them. Better than no light at all! I can't wait to eat some fresh veggies!
Name: Paula
NYC suburbs (Zone 6b)
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Turbosaurus
Mar 30, 2018 12:17 PM CST
I'm a planted fish tank fanatic and we HAVE to rely on artificial lighting- It is the most argued upon feature - more than fertilizers and CO2 gas injection- and no one has a single answer

WHen you are growing plants, you want PAR- but few manufacturers rate their bulbs this way- they use Kelvin temps if you are lucky (usually CFL or MH bulbs are rated this way 6500 is the sweet spot- below 5,000 and over 10,000 range are nearly useless)
the debate between a lot of people a lot smarter than I rages on- PhD botanists vs PhD physicists


Whatever color you see is the one your plant uses least- becasue your eyes are receiving the wavelenths the plant spits out- PLEHH! Yuck! Lol. THe one thing that is certain is more is better and green doesn't help. Theres a lot of scientific evidence about reds and blues - which one encourages foliation vs fruiting- Pot/marijuana growing forums are a great source of information (horray criminals- Opps I mean capitalism! the mother of invention- they really do know what they are doing)

You're not planning to build a light- so use what you got - LEDs cost nearly nothing to run, you don't have to worry about algae- just blast them with light- all you have
Investigate when you're eating your peppers in June.



[Last edited by Turbosaurus - Mar 30, 2018 12:22 PM (+)]
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Name: Dave
Southern wisconsin (Zone 5b)
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Nhra_20
Mar 30, 2018 10:07 PM CST
Marijuana growers sure are the best indoor growers of plants. They really have perfected the art.
Annapolis,, MD
kmcogar
Mar 31, 2018 4:19 AM CST
Lol. Yes I have realized that every time I research growing information it pertains to the devils lettuce. Tons of information related to that. I actually decided to spend $30 and hook up some CFL light bulbs. I got the wire, bulb adapters to split them all for a reasonable price. I did quite of bit of research and found plants need many different spectrums of light. So I plan to run some 100w equivilant CFLs that have 1600 lumens a piece. I'm gonna get the 6500s and 2700s. I read the higher kelvin rating is better for seedlings (blue light) and the lower kelvin is better for flowering. Hopefully I'll have my plants outside sooner than that but the bulbs are cheap, so may as well take care of all spectrums. I plan to have 6 bulbs in my little temporary plant home. That should give me 9600 lumens in a 36w x 18 D x 18h space. I think that will be sufficient for my seedlings. Plus I'm going to have the leds shining on them as well. I want my first year growing to go right!
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
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sallyg
Mar 31, 2018 5:22 AM CST
your tomatoes only need a few more weeks.
next winter though, you might try lettuce and other greens, or herbs
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)

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