20160125A.jpgTo grow seedlings under artificial lights (and the main season for starting seeds indoors begins soon, in March in the Northern Hemisphere), you don’t need to buy pricey bulbs. Fluorescent bulbs designed for horticulture are not only very expensive, but give off proportionately too much red light for seedlings, causing them to etiolate. Instead, try Cool White tubes. These are the least expensive on the market and give off more blue rays than red ones. That’s what gives them their cool appearance (their light has a cool bluish tinge) and it also keeps seedling compact, green and healthy!

Later, when you want to see the flower buds form, you can add a Warm White tube, reasonably priced and rich red rays, to the mix, but never horticultural tubes. And certainly for young seedlings, Cool White tubes are all you need!

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

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