indoor grow rack

Adjustable Grow Light Stand: The Best Indoor Plant Light Racks

Last updated June 13, 2020 By Steven Leave a Comment

Can’t you just hang them from the ceiling?

Sure, if you’ve got a large indoor garden in a dedicated space, hanging your grow lights makes sense.

But for a small garden it often doesn’t.

Even more so if you plan to move your plants to different locations.

Then you want a grow light stand. Or a full-on shelf system.

Something that allows you to get your grow lights above your plants no matter where they are.

Unfortunately there are surprisingly few good options. That’s why many people just build their own.

But if you have better things to do with your time, there are thankfully still a few good stands that can make your life so much easier.

I’ve done all the research and found the best, so you don’t have to waste your time on that either.

I’ll begin with a stand only (i.e. no light included) and then give you a few great stands that come with lights. The first three come with LED grow lights and the last three with T5 fluorescent lights.

Grow Light Stands Compared

Here’s a quick summary of my findings. If you’re curious why I chose these stands, you’ll find brief reviews for each below.

Model Verdict Dimensions Light Type Rating Cost
VIVOSUN Light Rack
Check Price
Best Stand Without Light 54.8″ L x 39″ H Fluorescent or LED (light not included) 9.2 / 10 $
Stack-n-Grow LED
Check Price
Best Modular LED Stand 31″ L x 15.5″ W x 21″ H 6500K white LED 9.5 / 10 $$$
Root Farm LED
Check Price
Best Table Top LED Stand 24.4″ L x 12.13″ H x 4.38″ W Red, blue, white LED 9.0 / 10 $$
SunLite Gardens LED Shelf
Check Price
Best 3-Tier LED Stand 51″ L x 14.6″ W x 68.5″ H 6500K white LED 10 / 10 $$$$$
Stack-n-Grow System
Check Price
Best Modular Fluorescent Stand 31″ L x 15.5″ W x 21″ H 6400K fluorescent 9.5 / 10 $$$
SunBlaster SBL1600200
Check Price
Best Table Top Fluorescent Rack 23.2″ L x 3.1″ H x 2″ W 6400K fluorescent 8.7 / 10 $$
SunLite Gardens Fluor Shelf
Check Price
Best 3-Tier Fluorescent Stand 51″ L x 14.6″ W x 68.6″ H 6400K fluorescent 10 / 10 $$$$

Which Grow Light Stand Is Best For Me?

It really depends on the size of your garden more than anything.

Well, that and whether you already have a light.

If you have the light and just need a stand, the first option below is easily the best choice.

After that, take a look at the other options and see which best fits your need. The modular ones allow you to start small and add shelves and lights as your garden grows. The tabletop ones are for a few small plants only. And the large 3-tier systems are for larger gardens.

As for the LED vs. fluorescent question, the answer is simple.

I always recommend LED over fluorescent tubes.

They cost far less to operate (5 times fewer bulb changes and half the power usage) and, while they do cost more, it is not a huge difference. You’ll easily make up for it within a year, thanks to the cost savings of running LED.

Best Grow Light Stands

Best Stand Without Light: VIVOSUN 4 Foot Foldable Light Rack

There are very few grow light racks available without included bulbs. This 4 Foot Foldable Stand by Vivosun is easily the best deal among them. You can also get it with included bulbs, but I would only get this stand on its own.

The included T5 bulbs are not very good. They are fairly dim and don’t last as long as you’d like. If you’re looking for a stand with bulbs included, there are tons of choices. I recommend this one from iPower. It offers the best value for money.

Back to this Vivosun rack.

It is meant for T5 fluorescent bulbs, but works just as well for an equivalent LED bar. If you’ve got a UFO fixture or a panel, it can hold those as well. Obviously, it is not mad to support a massive light, but you can easily hang 15 pounds (8 kg) of lights from it.

The stand is easy to assemble and is foldable, which makes it portable. It is made entirely from stainless steel and measures 55 inches in length and 39 inches in height, while the feet take up 19 inches in depth.

The stand includes the ropes to hang the light. They are attached to a rope ratchet that allows you to easily adjust the hanging height of the light.

  • Stand only, so you can use it with any lights you already own
  • Adjustable hanging height
  • Foldable and portable
  • Low cost
  • Limited light capacity (up to 15 pounds)

LED Grow Light Stands And Shelves

Best Modular Stand: LED Stack And Grow Light System

The Stack N Grow Light Shelves are a great modular system. The unit pictured here is the base unit. It has two shelves and two 3 foot long LED grow lights.

There is also an add-on available that adds another layer with an additional set of two lights to go on top of this one. You can stack up to two on top of this base unit, giving you the option to expand your indoor garden in the future.

The unit is very easy to assemble, requiring no tools at all. It only weighs 7 pounds, but is sturdy enough to hold up to 110 pounds. The unit is 31 inches long, 15.5 inches wide and 21 inches tall.

The two included LED bars emit a 6500K full spectrum white light, that is very similar to the light from a T5 fluorescent bulb, except they last 5 times longer than fluorescent tubes and only use half the power. They also feature a blue spike (additional blue light in the spectrum), to really boost plant growth.

The stack and grow planter is also available with T5 fluorescent lights instead of the LED bars (see below), but I definitely recommend this LED version. It costs slightly more, but will quickly pay for itself through lower electricity costs and not needing to replace the bulbs every year or two.

  • Modular system allows you to add on shelves as needed
  • Included LED bars use half the power and last 5 times as long as T5 tubes
  • Great spectrum for seedlings and vegging plants
  • Not set up for other lights (apart from the included ones)
  • Lights are great for seeding, cloning and vegging, but not ideal for flowering

Best Table Top Grow Light Stand: Root Farm All-Purpose LED Grow Light

The Root Farm 45 Watt LED Stand is the smallest model on this list, but also one of the most flexible.

Not only can you use the stand to position the light above your plants, but you can also use the included hanging kit to hang it above them, when they grow too big for the stand.

The stand legs are also adjustable, which means you can easily raise or lower the light as needed. They can extend up to 16 inches above the surface.

The LED light includes red, blue and white diodes. Most of them are white, which gives you a full spectrum light similar to what you’d get from fluorescent tubes. The added blue diodes give it a boost for seeding and vegging and the red diodes help with flowering.

That said, the light isn’t really powerful enough to flower anything large on its own. It is ideal as a vegging light or to grow seeds. The added red light helps out a lot with that (plants want red during vegging as well, contrary to popular belief). Used for vegging, I give the Root Farm TableTop LED light and stand kit a Grow Light Info rating of 4.5 out of 5.

  • Versatile: comes with adjustable legs and a hanging kit
  • Great color spectrum for seeding and vegging
  • Extremely portable (weighs 6.1 lbs.)
  • Low cost
  • Not powerful enough to flower
  • 16 inch maximum stand height may be too low for many plants

Best 3-Tier Grow Light Stand: SunLite Gardens Heavy Duty LED Shelf System

If you’re looking for something more heavy-duty, the 3 Tier Shelf System from Sunlite Gardens is the best set of grow light shelves on the market. It is not cheap, but is durable and includes 6 LED tubes, making it a great bargain.

This indoor grow rack includes everything you need. It comes with 3 light fixtures and two LED tubes for each one (total of 6), plus watertight shelf trays for each shelf. It also has a set of wheels, making it easy to move to whole unit to a new spot when needed.

The light fixtures are adjustable, allowing you to raise and lower them as needed. The LED tubes are rated for 50,000 hours and emit a full spectrum white light with a color temperature of 6500K. The additional blue light they give you is perfect to maximize plant growth for your seedlings and when vegging.

50,000 hours of use means you won’t need to replace your bulbs for many years. In fact, they last 5 times longer than the T5 fluorescent tubes they replace and also only use half the power to operate (20 watts). This saves you a ton of money in the long run.

The shelf trays ensure no spills drip through to the lower levels. Each tray measures 46-5/8″ (L) x 15-1/2″ (W) x 2″ (D). The whole unit is 51″ (L) x 14-5/8″ (W) x 68-1/2″ (H) and the three shelves combines provide 15 square feet of grow space.

This unit is also available with T5 fluorescent lights instead of the LED lights. That version costs a bit less, but since this LED version costs much less in the long run (far fewer bulb changes and half the power usage), I recommend this version. The difference in cost will easily pay for itself many times over.

  • Includes 3 reflectors and 6 LED bulbs
  • Bulbs use half the power of fluorescent and last 5 times as long
  • Includes watertight shelf trays
  • Set of wheels for portability
  • Strong build for durability
  • 15 square feet of grow space
  • High price
  • Not great for flowering

T5 Fluorescent Grow Light Stands

Best Modular Stand: Stack N Grow Light System

This Stack And Grow Light System is basically the same as the one mentioned above, except it comes with T5 fluorescent bulbs instead of LED tubes. As a result, it costs less, but the operating costs will be higher (as mentioned, I recommend paying a bit more and getting the LED version).

Like the other version, this one begins with the base unit pictured here. You can then add up to two add-on pieces that each features another two grow bulbs and an additional shelf. Combining the snap-together pieces is just as simple as the initial setup and neither requires any tools.

The frame is made from 100% recycled polypropylene. It only weighs 7 pounds, but can hold up to 110 pounds per shelf. One shelf can accommodate up to 72 seedlings.

The base unit comes with two high intensity full-spectrum T5 fluorescent bulbs. They are set in newly designed reflectors that direct 58% more light down onto your plants, for healthier growth and less glare.

The lights are 36 inches long and the unit as a whole is 31 inches long, 15.5 inches wide and 21 inches tall. You can buy height extenders separately that double the vertical space between the shelves, in case you have taller plants, making this one of the most flexible indoor plant grow light stands.

  • Very flexible: add on extra lights and shelves or extend space between shelves
  • Easy to set up and take down, so you can store it away when not being used
  • Lightweight, but incredibly strong
  • Fluorescent lights are much less efficient than the LED lights in the LED version
  • No wheels

Best Table Top Light Rack: SunBlaster SBL1600200 Grow Light Garden

There are a lot of compact hydroponic light stands that include T5 bulbs. Among them, the SunBlaster SBL1600200 is easily the best value on the market.

You’re basically getting a complete little tabletop garden. It comes with two SunBlaster Nanotech reflectors and two high output 6400K 17 watt T5 fluorescent tubes, an adjustable canopy and reservoir base, a raised platform and wicking mat for auto watering and 4 seedling trays.

The raised platform, wicking mat and seedling trays work in conjunction to automatically give your pants the right amount of water. You never need to worry about whether they’re getting enough water or too much. They also ensure proper aeration.

The whole plant stand grow light system measures 23.2 x 3.1 x 2 inches. The powerful lights are great for vegging and seedlings or cuttings, but they are not as good for flowering. The whole system is a bit too small for most flowering plants anyway.

  • Includes everything for a complete garden system
  • High output bulbs are incredibly bright for the size
  • Adjustable height
  • Auto watering system, so plants always get the exact amount they need, when they need it
  • Limited size
  • T5 bulbs are specialized size, so you can’t just replace them with any bulb

Best Indoor Grow Light Rack: SunLite Gardens 3-Tier Stand

The SunLite Garden Indoor Plant Stand With Grow Lights is the same as the other Sunlite Garden model above. The reason it costs less is that this one comes with T5 fluorescent bulbs instead of LED bulbs.

The initial cost might be lower, but the operating cost will be considerably higher. Not only do the T5 tubes use twice as much power (for the same output), but they also need to be replaced 5 times more often. For these reasons, I always recommend paying a bit more upfront and getting the LED version.

That said the fluorescent tubes included here are better than most. They give you a higher output and last up to 10,000 hours. They also use up to 45% less energy than standard T5 tubes (104 watts per fixture, which is still far more than LED)

The fixtures have built-in electronic ballasts to eliminate any buzzing sound. The fixtures are extra wide at 14″, to give a footprint that covers the entire shelf. Despite all that, they weigh only 6 pounds each. Chains make it easy to adjust the height of the lights.

The frame is constructed from powder-coated aluminum and the total dimensions of the unit are are 51″ (L) by 14-5/8″ (D) by 68-5/8″ (H). Three watertight trays are included to protect the lower shelves and your floor from spills. Each of these trays measures 46-5/8″ (L) by 15-1/2″ (W) by 2″ (D). The three shelves combined give you 15 square feet of growing space. Wheels on the bottom make it as easy as possible to move the entire shelving unit.

An adjustable grow light stand is the easiest way to get your light above your plants for a small garden. Unfortunately, there are very few good ones, so you need…

Indoor grow rack

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Note: We’ve recently updated this article to include the latest LED grow light technology in addition to common fluorescent shop lights which can also be used as grow lights. Since this article was originally written, the price of LED grow lights has decreased significantly, making them competitive with or in some cases even less expensive than fluorescent lighting.

Get a jumpstart on the warm and cool weather growing seasons AND grow food indoors year round with this DIY grow light setup.

Nevertheless, we’re able to grow food indoors AND in our yard 365 days per year. Yep, the afternoon after it hit five degrees, we uncovered our low tunnel beds and harvested spinach, kale, miner’s lettuce, chickweed, and cilantro for a salad.

Gardening: An Investment Worth Making

The National Gardening Association estimates that for every $1 you invest into your garden, you get $8 back.

It’s so gratifying to get daily garden harvests like this!

We love helping people learn how to maximize their Return On Investment (ROI) in their garden, get huge yields, and do it all using organic/permaculture growing methods. Of course, organic gardening has a range of benefits that extend far beyond money, as we’ve stated elsewhere.

The highest ROI comes from the stuff you can get or use for free. For instance, most people bag and throw out their fall leaves. However, leaves are an incredible source of free nutrition that you can use to feed your beneficial soil microbes, which ultimately produces more delicious organic food for you. With a couple hours of work, you can get hundreds or even thousands of dollars in return if you use those leaves for your garden.

Some of the other high-ROI things you can do in your garden do require an initial upfront investment of cash. For us, one of the things that has made the biggest difference—and created the highest ROI—is making an indoor DIY grow light system.

Our DIY indoor grow light system. The shelves are lonely in this picture, but for most of the year, they’re full of plants and seedlings.

Three Reasons to Make Your Own DIY Grow Light System

You don’t HAVE to have a grow light system in order to have great gardening success, but it certainly helps. Here are three reasons we recommend serious/more advanced home gardeners make a DIY grow light system:

1. Get a Jumpstart On Each Growing Season

In our Ag Zone, we start our spring and summer seeds indoors in late January through February, then transplant them outdoors after the last frost date.

This gives us (and our plants) a 2-3 month head start on the warm weather growing season. Translation: we get to start harvesting much earlier and for much longer than if we were to direct sow our seeds outdoors once the weather warmed up.

Trays of fall seedlings started indoors in late July/early August under our grow lights will be transplanted outdoors in September.

The same thing is true when we start our fall/winter seeds indoors in July-August, then transplant the seedlings outdoors in September-October. Also, if you’ve ever started seeds indoors without grow lights, you might also realize how hard it is to get enough sunlight through your windows (even south-facing windows) to keep your plants from getting weak and leggy.

2. Grow Food Indoors

There are indoor grow light systems you can use to grow large plants like tomatoes, but that’s not what we’re discussing here. The grow light system we use and recommend is designed for starting seeds for transplanting OR growing smaller plants like lettuces and other greens for indoor harvests.

Using the grow light system in this article, you can easily grow enough greens and/or microgreens to get a nice daily harvest. If you live in a particularly cold climate, this benefit might be especially attractive since it’s more difficult for you to grow outdoors during the winter.

An array of colorful microgreens growing under our indoor grow light system. Microgreens aren’t just beautiful and tasty, they also pack some serious nutrition. You can read our article about how (and why) to grow microgreens here.

3. Improve Seed Germination Rates

We start a lot of seeds indoors and outdoors. No matter where you live, an outdoor growing environment is always going to be a little less “stable” than an indoor growing environment— varying temperatures, soil moisture fluctuations, etc.

You’ll use less seeds and have a higher germination rate by starting your seeds indoors under grow lights. Not to mention, there might be hungry insects that are more than happy to chew down an emergent seedling soon after it punches through the soil surface in your garden—not so when you start your seeds indoors.

No matter how many times we see it happen, we still get a sense of joy seeing seeds germinate – especially if it’s still freezing cold and dreary outside!

You can improve your seed germination rates and plant survival rates by starting your main seedlings indoors, then transplanting them outdoors once they’re 6-9 weeks old. Plus, if you have an edible landscape, more mature plants are more immediately attractive.

How To Put Together Your Own Grow Light System

The grow light system we use has the following benefits/features:

  • Relatively inexpensive and can easily pay for itself in a single growing season.
  • Easy to break down and set up.
  • Made with parts that can be ordered from Amazon or found at large home improvement stores like Lowes or Home Depot.
  • Made with parts you never have to replace (except for the lightbulbs which need to be replaced every 10,000-50,000 light hours depending on manufacturer’s recommendations or visual signs that your plants are getting inadequate levels of light).
  • *Fluorescent bulbs produce 3x more light than incandescents, are energy efficient and non-heating. e.g. they’ll grow your plants without really impacting your energy or heating/cooling bills. (*Since this article was first written, the price of LED grow lights has come WAY down, so we also have LED grow light options listed below. LED grow lights are even more energy efficient than fluorescent bulbs.)
  • Made with adjustable parts so you can raise or lower each row or each light, AND remove or add shelves as needed.

1. The Parts for Your Indoor DIY Grow Light System

Below are the parts you’ll need to put together the exact grow light setup we use. Note: We’re providing info for two different sized grow light setups using the same materials (option 2 is just a miniature version):

  1. Option 1: LARGE Grow Light System – Five shelf system (74-in H x 48-in W x 18-in D). Technically, this system has 6 shelves, but you can’t hang lights above the top shelf, so there are only five shelves to put seed flats on. This LARGE Grow Light System is ideal if you’re growing plants for a large garden/edible landscape or if you plan to start/grow hundreds of plants indoors at the same time.
  2. Option 2: SMALL Grow Light System – Two shelf system (30-in H x 24-in W x 14-in D). Technically, this system has 3 shelves, but you can’t hang lights above the top shelf, so there are only two shelves to put seed flats on. The SMALL Grow Light System is ideal if you’re growing in a smaller garden/edible landscape or if you only plan to start/grow less than a hundred plants indoors at the same time.

Parts you’ll need to purchase and their cost via Amazon ( *please note that prices on Amazon change, sometimes daily, depending on sales and product availability ):

Materials List for LARGE Shelf Grow Light System:

  • 48″ Multi-Tier Steel Shelving Unit (48″L x 18″W x 82″H)/ there are a few product options here:
    • A tall 82″ chrome-colored unit with 6 adjustable tiers and wheels – product link | cost: (*since this is the lowest cost, we’ll use it in our total costs below)
    • Same tall 82″ unit as above (82″), but black-colored – product link | cost:
    • A shorter 72″ high steel unit with 6 adjustable tiers and wheels – product link | cost:
  • 10-Outlet Power Strip – product link | quantity needed: 1 | cost: (it’s a 2-pack)
  • Open Oval Chain (black finish) – product link | quantity needed: 1 ft strips x 20 total strips | cost: (whole roll, 50′) Depending on the lights you get, you may not need the chain since chains are sometimes included with the lights.
  • 20 S-hooks (various color finishes) – product link | quantity needed: 20 | cost: for a 30-pack
  • Zip Ties – product link | quantity needed: we used 10-12 but they come in a bag of 100 (you can never have too many zip ties around) | cost: $6.39
  • LIGHTING: Choose EITHER LED OR Fluorescent Lights. LEDs may be a touch more expensive up-front, but costs are quickly coming down on them and the benefit of having healthier plants may outweigh the expense.
    • LED Lights – These options assume 1 LED light strip per shelf. We’ve included a few options in case one is out of stock:
      • 48″ 64W Full Spectrum LED Light Strip – product link | quantity needed: 5 | cost: per unit
      • 48″ 60W Full Spectrum LED Light Strip – product link | quantity needed: 5 | cost: $45.99 per unit
      • 4 pack – 48″ 40W Full Spectrum LED Light Strips – product link | quantity needed: 1-2 | cost: per unit
    • Fluorescent Lights
      • 48″ Fluorescent Shop Light Housing – product link | quantity needed: 10 | cost: $15.50 per unit
      • 48″ COOL LIGHT Fluorescent Bulbs – two options depending on pricing and what’s in stock:
        • product link | quantity needed: we used 1 cool light bulb in each housing unit, or 10 total cool light bulbs | cost: /ten-pack
        • product link | quantity needed: same as above | cost: /ten-pack
      • 48″ WARM LIGHT Fluorescent Bulbs – product link | quantity: same as above | cost: /ten-pack
  • TOTAL COST: about $350 depending on current Amazon pricing

If you use fluorescent shop lights, S-hooks and chains allow you to hang your grow lights and adjust the distance between the bulbs and the plants as-needed (and as the plants grow taller).

Materials List for SMALL Grow Light System:

  • 3-Tier Steel Shelving Unit (13.11 x 23.15 x 29.90 inches) – product link | cost: (*Note that the reason this unit is so much less expensive than a 5 or 6-tier shelf is that the width and depth are much smaller, so you won’t be able to put as many plant trays on it)
  • 2-Outlet Power Strip – product link | quantity needed: 1 | cost: (it’s a 2-pack)
  • Zip Ties – product link | quantity needed: you’ll use 3-6 but they come in a bag of 100 (you can never have too many zip ties around) | cost: $6.39
  • 24″ LED grow light unit – product link | quantity needed: 2 | cost per unit: per unit
  • Note: You may be able to find fluorescent shop light housing + 24″ warm and cool light fluorescent bulbs at you local Lowes or Home Depot, but those items seem to be very rare now. Plus, that setup will actually cost about twice as much as the LED setup we recommend above.
  • (optional but recommended) Heavy duty shelf wheels | Note: these wheels allow you to easily move the entire grow light shelving system whenever, wherever you want – even when it’s full of seed trays. | product link (4-pack) | quantity: 1 | cost: $19.45
  • TOTAL COST: About $150 before taxes

2. Getting the Proper Bulbs

If you’re getting full spectrum LED grow lights, you can skip this section. If you’re getting/using fluorescent lights, you’ll want to carefully read this section…

As you probably know, light is essential for plant health/growth. Sunlight contains ROYGBIV, the full spectrum of colors of the rainbow that we all learned about in kindergarten.

The two most critically important light spectrums are RED and BLUE light.

  • Red spectrum light stimulates growth and flowering, but too much red light leads to tall, weak plants.
  • Blue spectrum light regulates the proper amount and distribution of plant growth, ensuring that all parts of the plant take on the proper size, shape and density.

The color of light created by each type of fluorescent bulb is determined by its interior phosphor coating. When using fluorescent bulbs, we recommend using a combination of these two types of fluorescent bulbs:

  • “Cool white” fluorescent bulbs offer Y/G/B (yellow, green, blue) spectrum lights for your plants. Cool bulbs have a kelvin range between 5000 – 6000K.
  • “Warm white” provides O/R (orange, red) spectrum light. Warm bulbs have a kelvin range between 2700 – 3500K.

So, install alternating cool and warm fluorescent bulbs into your light housing as indicated in the materials list above and shown in the image below. This way, you can mimic nearly the entire color spectrum of the sun, thus growing healthy seedlings and plants.

Alternating cool and warm fluorescent shop light bulbs. The bulbs don’t actually look red or blue to the naked eye.

3. Other Indoor Grow Light FAQs

Below are answers to the most frequently asked questions we get about our DIY indoor grow light setup:

1. How much indoor light hours do your plants need?

Answer: Each type of plant is a little different, but generally speaking, your edible garden plants will do fine with 10-14 hours of indoor light per day. You can buy a timer if you want or just set an alert on your phone/calendar to remind you to turn the lights on in the morning and off at night. Just like people, plants need darkness/rest, so try not to forget to turn your lights off.

More tips: 1) Plug one power strip into the other power strip so that you can just flip a single switch to turn all the lights on or off. 2) Use zip ties to attach your power strips to the side of your shelving unit AND to keep the power chords neat and organized.

2. How close do you let your plants go to the fluorescent grow lights?

Answer: Keep your plants about 2-3″ from your fluorescent lights. If your plants start looking thin, leggy and weak, move the lights closer to the tops of your plants using your adjustable chains and S-hooks. If the leaves get scalded, move your lights higher (very unlikely to happen unless your plants are directly touching the bulb).

Tomato seedlings being started indoors in February. Notice how close the lights are to the top of the plants – we keep the lights a few inches overhead. If the lights are touching the plants, your plants may get sunburn; if they’re too far away, your plants may become weak and leggy.

3. How often do I have to replace my fluorescent bulbs?

Answer: It depends on the bulbs you buy. Each manufacturer puts the estimated “lamp life” on the specs, which are often 20,000+ light hours. After a few years, if your bulbs are still working but your seedlings seem like they’re not growing as well, you may want to consider replacing them early.

4. What about growing under LED bulbs/lights?

Growing plants under LED bulbs is a little more complicated.

  • Sprouts & young seedlings – For sprouts and seedlings, you’ll want the tops of your plants to be 24-28″ overhead.
  • Growth stage – After your seedlings are a few weeks old, you can lower the LED lights to 18-24″ over the top of your plants.
  • Flowering/fruiting – If you’re growing plants all the way to production (ex. growing strawberries or tomatoes), you’ll want to lower your LED lights to a height of 12-18″ during this stage of development.

5. What trays, cells, etc. should I get and what starting mix should I get/make?

Answer: Since we’ve had comments and emails from this article asking what seed starting trays, etc we use, we’ll quickly provide a bit of info here, then refer you to more detailed articles/videos we’ve created on that topic:

  • Trays – Because we got tired of throwing away flimsy trays after one or two growing seasons, we now prefer these extra strength trays because they’re BPA-Free, SUPER durable, and also created by a local (to us) NC farmer who needed supplies that lasted longer than the current options: 5 pack & 10 pack
  • Heat mat – Essential for getting good seed germination when starting tomatoes, peppers, and other summer nightshades indoors: 48″ x 20″ heat mat & thermostat to control temps
  • More info – We have three free seed starting video classes (plus a free ebook) if you want to get the answers to all your seed starting questions. Plus, we also have a detailed guide showing you how to use Ladbrooke Soil Blocks.

Get a jumpstart on the warm and cool weather growing seasons AND easily grow food indoors year round with this DIY grow light setup.