The amount of indoor lighting required for vegetative propagation and seedlings, is there a difference?

Starting new life is always fun and rewarding. Propagation of cuttings and clones is a great way to create another exact duplicate of an already existing plant with desired traits. While germinating seeds is a great way to start with a fresh set of genetic traits that maybe even be more desirable than your current favorite. Both methods of starting a new plants have their benefits. But, do they require the same conditions for optimal growth?

The short answers is NO. Though seeds and clones do like similar environmental conditions, there is one factor that can limit success.

Indoor lighting being the biggest difference that can have the greatest impact.

The amount of light a plant receives usually plays a factor in how fast that particular plant will grow. The general rule of thumb is more light equals more plant. This is great when growing already established mature plants who can handle the increased photosynthesis, but at the earliest stages of life, excess light can lead to stress and other negative effects.

When propagating cuttings more light is not always best. By providing an abundance of light to fresh cuttings without roots, you are encouraging photosynthesis and foliage production as opposed to allowing the cuttings to focus on sprouting roots. With out roots your cuttings will have limited ability to uptake nutrients leading to premature yellowing of the leaves and an overall diminished health of your cuttings. By limiting the amount of light your cuttings are receiving you will be encouraging root growth as opposed to leaf. I use standard dual bulb T12 fluorescent lights and have great success. Once you have roots they are ready to begin receiving nutrients and the light levels can be increased.

 

Unlike cloning, seedlings have never experienced light before. Therefore have a fresh starting point and can handle more light. More light on seedlings will allow for more compact growth with less internodal spacing and faster growth, which are both positives in my book. However, too much light can dry out your medium quickly which usually means death for young seedlings. Depending on your location and ventilation, more light also equals more heat. While heat is great for starting new life, both with cloning and by seed, too much of it can be fatal.

So remember, when starting from a cutting use less light at first and once roots have popped increase the light. But, when staring from seed, start with more light to reduce stretching.

 

 

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