Starting seeds indoors

Asked September 14, 2015, 10:45 AM EDT

I'm planning to start flower seeds indoors, but I don't have these special lights you recommend for germinating seeds, and I don't plan to buy some. Isn't there a way to start my seeds without these artificial lights? You may need to know that I have a container garden on my balcony, not an outdoor or a backyard garden.

Outside United States starting seeds horticulture

1 Response

The reason grow lights are recommended for seedlings is because new seedlings will stretch incredibly to reach light if they do not have enough. This creates weak top-heavy plants that are susceptible to disease and often don't have good mature shape as a result either. So regardless of what you use, you need to supply very bright light for new seedlings (though usually avoid too much heat... most seedlings prefer to grow slightly cooler after the extra warmth used for germination).
If you have a very bright east- or west-facing window (south-facing may be too hot) and turn the pots every day, they may be ok.
If you only have a few seedlings you could borrow a desklamp for a couple of weeks. Or perhaps find an old fluorescent desklamp at a garage sale that would work. Fluorescent is better than incandescent because they run cooler and you can keep the plants closer (within 3" of the bulbs... do that with incandescent and they'll burn)
Good luck