Experts and BHG readers answer.
What is the best kind of artificial light to use in a seed starting room?
Yes regular fluorescents will do the trick. Setting up your seed-starting shop requires only two 40-watt, 48-inch-long fluorescent tubes in a shop-light fixture. The bonus? It's also one of the least expensive ways to get started. You can use grow-lights, but they're not necessary for starting seedlings. You also may want to invest in these other devices: a timer, chains to hang the light, and aluminum foil. You can also buy shelf systems especially made for growing plants under lights. Set a timer to automatically turn the lights on for 16 hours per day. That lets you stay out late without hiring a babysitter for your seedlings, and saves energy if you forget to turn off the lights at night. Hang the light fixture from chains so you can adjust the height of the light as your seedlings grow taller. As soon as the seedlings peek above the soil's surface, set the light to 2-4 inches above the tallest leaf. Because fluorescent light is cool, you can even let the seedlings touch the fixture. Drape sheets of aluminum foil over the sides of the light fixture, shiny side toward the plants, to reflect as much light as possible onto the plants.