Microgreens require the full-spectrum light to grow. When you are growing indoors, and you can’t provide natural sunlight, then using grow lights can help. They replicate the process in the same way as nature will support photosynthesis.
So do grow lights provide heat? Most electric light gives off some heat, and so does some grow lights. However, compared to the regular type of lights used in your home, grow lights are adjusted to support the growing process. How much heat growing lights are producing depends on the kind used. LED lights are generally producing less to no heat, whereas halogen and HID lights can produce too much heat and burn your plants.
Growing microgreens is possible all year round as long as they get to grow under the right conditions. It means providing them with sufficient light and the right temperature. Most microgreens grow best with 12-15 hours of light each day (some even longer) and with a temperature of around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Grow lights can be of help, but you must be careful that they are fit for purpose, so you don’t end up burning the leaves.
Do you need to use grow light?
Using grow light is not a must, but it’s beneficial if you cannot provide the necessary amount of natural sunlight.
The key to successfully growing microgreens is to provide them the right amount of light they need to thrive. Depending on where you place your microgreens in your home, you will have varying levels of natural light. In most cases, we are not able to provide enough sunlight throughout the year, and then we’ll have to boost the light level with grow lights.
You cannot just use any type of lamp that you have at home with the belief that they are enough. You may think that a bright bulb is efficient for plant growth, but microgreens need a full spectrum of light to grow. They need this for photosynthesis and germination. Regular bulbs don’t provide the light required and, there is also the risk that they may cause too much heat and burn your microgreens.
It’s worth investing in quality grow lamps that are efficient and generate the correct light and less heat.
What are the best grow lights to use?
There are different types of grow lights you can use for growing microgreens. We’ll look into the options of using natural sunlight, versus LED and Fluorescent light. These are the most common lights used for non-commercial indoor growing.
Before we look into the different types of light, there are a couple of things you should consider before you go out and invest:
- Where will you place your plants? In your living room, in your basement, or maybe in your kitchen?
- Can you provide an even ray of natural sunlight?
- If you need a grow light, should it be a fixed or mobile?
Microgreens are typically planted in trays, and therefore it’s common to use hanging tube fixtures that are placed right above the greens. As you hang the lights, they will get an even amount of light. You can, of course, also use mobile grow lights if you don’t have a fixed place. such as a shelf, for your microgreens.
Let’s go through the different types of lights.
Even though we are talking about grow light, we cannot ignore the fact that providing natural sunlight is a great option and the cheapest one. Natural sunlight offers the full light spectrum needed for plants to thrive, and it’s for free.
If you are going to rely solely on sunlight, you need to have constant sun and place your microgreens in a window mill or in a space where the light can reach the plants. You should consider giving your microgreens as a minimum 6-8 hours of natural sunlight per day.
We cannot control the weather and hence the amount of light. One day it may be sunny and the other day cloudy. So unless you live somewhere with constant sunny days, using only sunlight may not be enough. You may need some assistance to provide lights.
LED Grow Lights
There are specific LED lights produced for plants. Some versions are especially suitable for seedlings’ growth.
LEDs are popular to use because of their long life and efficiency. Their long life-span also makes them cost-effective. Another reason why they are popular is that they produce far less heat than other lighting methods.
Overall, LED grow lights have a long life span in steady temperatures, they are energy-efficient and produce little to almost no heat. The downside is that they have a higher upfront cost, but in the long run, they are more energy-efficient.
Some options are:
Barrina grows light – This is a full spectrum grow light that you can easily install with the included clips. They are suitable for use in grow tents and for shelves.
EZORKAS Grow Light – This is a mobile solution with a clip you can attach to a shelf. The light has a 360-degree flexible gooseneck made from tubing to keep a fixed position. The metal clamp allows the lamp to be placed anywhere in your home.
Fluorescent light is commonly used for growing microgreens. They have a different composition than LED lights and, they come in two forms: compact fluorescent lights (CFL) and fluorescent tubes.
The more commonly used is the High output T5 fluorescent grow lights.
Fluorescent lights are in general cheaper upfront compared to LED lights. They are also versatile in the sense that they come in numerous types of sizes, shapes, and wattages.
If you are new to growing microgreens and don’t want to invest much upfront, using fluorescent light can be an option.
Below one example of fluorescent light:
Hydrofarm Agrobrite FLT22 T5 Fluorescent Foot – These systems allow you to choose multiple hanging configurations to meet your needs; overhead, vertical, or horizontal. This version provides double the light energy of normal fluorescent systems.
What are the benefits of using grow lights?
As mentioned, if you are not able to provide natural sunlight, using grow lights are great for growing microgreens.
The benefits are:
- They provide the complete spectrum of light evenly across the microgreens.
- You can control the number of hours to provide light. We’d recommend setting a timer to ensure that your microgreens get the right amount of hours of sun and darkness. No matter what types of microgreens you are growing, you need to give them a rest.
- It will provide an even temperature. Grow lights do provide some heat and by having them on you will provide the same temperature throughout the sunlight period.
- It will help your microgreens to grow. Without the correct amount of light, microgreens will not develop properly as photosynthesis will not occur.
Can grow lights cause a fire?
Any technical device, if mismanaged, can become a fire hazard. The same goes for grow lights.
There are numerous factors which you should always be conscious of when using grow lights.
Water & Electricity
You must always be careful when it comes to water and electricity. Don’t water your microgreens so that the growing lights get wet. Most grow lights are not waterproof, so consider how you water your plants.
If the growing lights are malfunctioning they may be a fire hazard risk. If you see a spark or anything which makes you think twice to turn them on, then you should listen to your gut feeling and keep them turned off.
We have written an article around grown tents, and the reasons they may be a fire hazard. This is similar to what can cause grow lights to lid up.
RELATED: Are Grow Tents a Fire Hazard?
Can grow lights be left on 24/7?
Yes, technically you can keep your growing lights on all day and night, but why would you? Your microgreens grow healthy if you can give them around 12-15 hours per day, so you don’t need to have the light turned on longer than this.
Some Final Words
Using grow lights provides microgreens the full spectrum light they need during the entire growth process. However, you have to consider what type of lights you will use to ensure that they fit your indoor conditions and growth ambitions. Using the wrong type of light can instead damage your microgreens as it can provide too much heat and as a result, burn the leaves. This is one of the more common problems when it comes to lights.
If you can make use of natural sunlight, that is a good enough alternative. What is important is that you take into account the environment you intend to grow in and what type of light that environment will require.
If you have a setup where you can install grow lights, then using LED lights is an excellent choice as they are low-energy and, they don’t produce heat that may burn your microgreens.
Do your research and find out what works for you. In the end, your time invested in finding out what works best will provide you healthy microgreens!