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How Far Should Seedlings Be From Grow Light? Best Distance

One crucial factor is correctly placing these gardening devices with your plants, as the light source’s intensity can affect their health. How far should seedlings be from grow light? Let’s refer to this article to reveal the truth!

How Far Should Seedlings Be From Grow Light?

In general, you should place seedlings 2 – 4 inches away from fluorescent lights and 16 – 36 inches from high-intensity grow lights like LED lights or HID lights. The distance between your plant and these devices is crucial because they affect the quality and health. Young plants can get burned or stressed if they are too close to this lighting source. But, if they are too far from these gardening devices, they may not get enough light to grow properly and become weak and leggy.

While the ideal distance is essential, other factors can affect the distance between your plant and grow lights:

Type of plant

The distance between your seedlings and this lighting source will depend on your cultivated plant type. Different plants have different light requirements. So it’s essential to research the specific needs of your plants. For example, seedlings that require a lot of light, such as tomatoes or peppers, should be closer to these devices. Meanwhile, plants that require less light, like herbs, can be further away.

The wattage of the grow light

The wattage of your gardening device will also impact the distance between your plant and the lighting source. Higher-wattage lights produce more heat and light, meaning you can place them farther away from your plants. Lower-wattage devices produce less heat and light and should be closer to your plant.

Growing method

Placing your grow light relatively closer to your seedlings is better if you use the hydroponic method. Meanwhile, if you use the conventional growing method, put these lights farther from your plants.

Type of grow light

Type of grow light

You can find various types of grow lights on the market. How do they affect the distance between your plant and your light?

LED grow lights, for example, produce less heat than fluorescent or HID lights, which means you can put them closer to your plants. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s recommendations for the appropriate distance based on the type you use.

How To Measure The Distance Of A Grow Light From Seedlings?

You will need 3 easy steps to measure the distance between these gardening devices and the plant.

  • Step 1: Turn on the device and place it at the recommended distance from the seedlings.
  • Step 2: Hold the measuring tape vertically above the seedlings and measure the distance between the top of the plant and the device.

Note: Ensure that you measure from the highest point of the seedlings to the grow light.

  • Step 3: Adjust the height of the gardening device depending on your results.

How To Place Grow Light For Seedlings?

How To Place Grow Light For Seedlings?

Follow 4 tips to put this gardening device properly so your plants get the light they need to grow healthy.

Choose the right grow light type

The most common are fluorescent and LED grow lights. Fluorescent lights are the most affordable but not as energy-efficient as LEDs. LEDs are more expensive. Yet, they use less energy and last longer.

Determine the placement of the grow lights

If your seedlings are tiny and you have a small indoor area, you can place grow lights directly above them. If you have a larger growing area, hanging the lights from the ceiling or using a stand is better.

Position the grow lights correctly

Ideally, it would be best to position these devices 2 – 3 inches above the top of the plants. Also, seedlings need 12 – 16 hours of light daily, so setting a timer for your device is crucial.

Monitor your seedlings

Once you’ve set up these gardening devices, you must monitor your seedlings to ensure they get enough light. If these plants get excessive light, they may get scorched or wilted. They may become leggy or stunted if they can’t get enough light.


The distance between your seedlings and your grow light depends on various factors, including the plant type, the wattage and the type of these devices, and the growing method. Consider these aspects, and you can ensure your seedlings receive the appropriate light and grow into strong, healthy plants.


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Mike Rastus-Josiah

Mike Rastus-Josiah

Mike Rastus-Josiah is the Master Gardener of Swipe Garden. He has over 30 years of experience in horticulture, plant physiology, and sustainability practices. Mike wants to continue sharing his expertise with inspiring others to explore the wonders of gardening.