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Can Grow Lights Burn Plants? [A Quick Guide]

plant growing under grow light

Grow lights are an essential part of any indoor garden. They provide light for plants when there is not enough natural sunlight available. Grow lights come in a variety of different types, including fluorescent lights, high-pressure sodium lamps, metal-halide lamps, and LED lights.

The main concern people have about grow lights is that they may burn the plants. This fear is understandable, as no one wants to see their hard work go up in flames. But can grow lights actually burn plants? And if so, how do you prevent it? Let's take a closer look.

Note: If you’re looking for details on how to hang grow lights from the ceiling in your indoor garden, we have an article dedicated to just that - click the hyperlink!

So Can Grow Lights Burn Plants?

Generally speaking, grow lights cannot burn plants. This is because plants need light for photosynthesis, and without light, they cannot grow. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule.

For example, if you use too much light, or if the light is too close to the plant, it can cause the leaves to scorch. This is usually not a problem, as the leaves will simply grow back. However, if the plant is repeatedly exposed to too much light, it can damage the plant permanently.

Another exception is if you use a grow light with the wrong color spectrum. For example, using a grow light with too much blue light can cause plants to stretch and become leggy. This is because blue light encourages plants to grow taller.

5 Signs that Grow Lights are Harming Your Plants

If you notice any of these signs, it's important to take action immediately to prevent further damage to your plants.

  1. The leaves are turning yellow or brown. Your plants need light to create chlorophyll, which gives leaves their green color. If the leaves are turning yellow or brown, it's a sign that the plant isn't getting enough light.
  2. The leaves are scorched. If the leaves are blackened or crispy, it's a sign that they've been exposed to too much light.This is a good indication that your grow lights need to be moved higher up, or your plant needs to be moved further away from the light.
  3. The plant is stretched out. If the plant is taller than usual and the leaves are spaced further apart, it's a sign that it's getting too much blue light.
  4. The plant is wilting. This could be a sign of several different problems, but one possibility is that the roots are not getting enough oxygen. This can happen if the grow light is too close to the plant.
  5. The plant is not growing. This could be a sign that the plant is not getting enough light or that the light is not the right color spectrum.

How to Prevent Damage from Grow Lights

plants under grow lighting

If you want to prevent your plants from being damaged by grow lights, there are a few things you can do:

  1. Make sure the light is not too close to the plant. The light should be several inches away from the plant to prevent scorching.
  2. Use a timer to make sure the light is not on for too long. Most grow lights should be on for around 12 hours a day. We have a whole article on how long grow lights should be on for here, so I would recommend giving this a read!
  3. Use a light with the right colour spectrum. Blue light is good for encouraging growth, but too much of it can cause stretching. Red and orange light are good for flowering and fruiting plants.
  4. Keep an eye on your plants and look for signs of damage. If you notice any of the signs listed above, take action immediately to prevent further damage.
  5. Be sure to give your plants enough time to adjust to the grow light. When you first start using a grow light, it's important to slowly increase the amount of time the light is on each day. This will give the plants time to adjust and prevent them from being damaged.

Final Words

Grow lights can be a great way to provide your plants with the light they need to grow. However, it's important to be aware of the potential for damage and take steps to prevent it.

Keep an eye on your plants and look for signs of damage, and be sure to use a light with the right color spectrum. With a little care, you can enjoy healthy plants that thrive under grow lights.