Can grow lights burn plants, is a question that frequently arises in the thoughts of several gardeners and plant lovers. These lights are commonly placed over plants to promote growth and, during the winter months, to provide warmth; however, excessive use of these lights can burn the foliage of plants.

Can Grow Lights Burn Plants

If you are interested in gaining additional knowledge regarding this subject, you should continue reading this guide, as we have provided a more in-depth response to the question further on. 

Can a Grow Light Cause Burn to Plants?

Yes, a grow light can cause burn damage to plants if you place the light close to the plant or if the intensity is too high. It is the heat generated by the bulbs that cause the maximum harm to the delicate plant foliage, making them wilt or discolored.

This would happen for a number of reasons, even though this is the type of light that would encourage the growth of your plant, but it is also one that would harm it. When the light isn’t set properly, it could cause issues that would take some time for the plant to adjust its health again, but it can also be fatal when the matter isn’t taken care of in a shorter time frame, as the damage has been done properly. 

When Does Grow Light Burn Plants?

Grow light can burn plants when the light is too close to the greens, and the intensity is high coming from the LED growing light, moreover, it would also happen when the quality of light you are using is low.

Grow lights have the potential to cause damage to plants for a number of different reasons. These three reasons can damage the plant and cause the leaves to weaken, and it would actually start to leave its impact on the rest of the plant, too, when the plant is left under these conditions for an extended time. 

– Too Close to the Plants

If your plants burn while growing under a grow light, the most likely cause is that you positioned the grow light in a location that was too close to the plants. Grow lights are ones that would give off heat, and this can cause damage to the membranes that line the leaves of your plant and prevent them from absorbing light as efficiently as they should be able to. 

The damage will continue to worsen as time would pass, resulting in the leaves drying out and falling off, ultimately leading to the death of the entire plant. It would also effect the health of the whole plant, and it can damage it quite vastly on a big scale. 

It is crucial to remember that, in contrast, when plants are grown outside, they are kept at a distance from the sun’s harmful rays. This is the way that you would be able to protect the leaves from being damaged by the light; however, excessive sun exposure can also cause the leaves to become scorched. 

Moreover, remember that these lights, like any other source of artificial heat and light, have the potential to kill plants through overheating. For this reason, you should move them further away from your plants to protect them. In the long run, when the plant may be stressed on a prolonged aspect, and it would cause it to deteriorate, and you wouldn’t notice it until it’s too late. 

– High Intensity of the LED Grow Light

Your plants may suffer damage if the intensity setting on your LED lights is too high and left that way for an extended period. Grow lights come in various forms, and most feature tunable settings, enabling the user to modify the amount of light emitted from the device. 

If you have the settings turned up too high, there is a much greater risk that your plants will suffer burns as a result of being exposed to the heat, and this risk increases the likelihood that your plants will be killed. This is because the rays coming toward the plant are high in their intensity, and the chloroplast cannot handle it properly. 

In addition, the plant will probably be subjected to intense heat if you leave your grow lights on for extended periods while positioned over the plant foliage. Therefore, the light bulbs need to be turned off regularly which means that your plants can receive the much-needed break from the light and heat.

– Using Poor Quality LED Grow Lights

Even though the color spectrum from grow light bulbs is beneficial to the growth of plants, using bulbs that are not of high quality can be disastrous for the foliage. Grow lights that are poorly designed can sometimes cause the plants they are meant to nourish to become scorched or their growth to be stunted. 

Thus, what you should do is follow up well upon the plant’re requirements and how it wouldn’t be damaged, before installing a grow light. When you do so, it will give you an idea of potential issues with the product and ensure you completely understand how it operates. 

What Are the Warning Signs of Grow Light Plant Burn?

The warning signs of grow light burn are the leaves turning black on the leaf edges, and starting to drop early. The leaves will look crispy, and the soil will start to dry out quickly, and this is why the growth would be hindered. 

Warning Signs of Grow Light Plant Burn

Several warning signs will be displayed if the grow light damages the plants. If you observe any of these symptoms, you will need to determine the cause of the problem and then modify the amount of light your plant is exposed to. 

When you start noticing these signs, it is not because of the source of nutrients, on the contrary, it is from the source of light that is leaving a complication in the photosynthesis process that would be leaving the plant in a vulnerable manner. On the other hand, in a while, you would start feeling that your plant is not as healthy as it used to be, which is why when you don’t take care of the matter, the warning signs would be on a greater extend. 

– Black Leaf Edges

When the edges and tips of the leaf turn a dark brown or black color, this is one of the earliest signs that a burn has damaged the foliage. This is an indication that the plants are being exposed to an excessive amount of light. 

In addition, the most central portions of the leaf will become pale, and you will see it weakening and losing its original color and strength. This is why the edges would first lose their color, because they are on the thinner scale of the fastest way is for the sides to be harmed the first. Moreover, if this matter continues, you would also see the black color moving forward and covering the center, too. 

– Leaves Dropping Early

In addition to the discoloration discussed earlier, you might also notice the leaves falling off the plant earlier than expected. In most cases, this happens when the burn is particularly severe, or the last exposure to light has been exceptionally long. This is an indicator that the leaves don’t have enough or proper strength to endure their health. 

– Crisp Leaves

The leaves can also become crisp or brittle if they are subjected to an excessive amount of light as well as heat. They perish well ahead due to the environment’s excessive dryness caused by the heat applied. 

You can think of this matter somehow similar to when the plant stays in the sun for a prolonged time, where the leaves that are quite thinner in the texture would be prone to get crispy, this is the stage before they burn. The latter is due to the fact that the chlorophyll content, which is the chemical that gives it the color, would weaken, and start to lose its green pigment, and when it weakens it would crisp up. 

– Soil Dries Out Quickly

Do you need to add water to the soil frequently because it evaporates moisture at an alarming rate? The next step is to examine your grow light to see if it produces the appropriate light levels for your plant to thrive. 

This is surely due to the fact that the soil is placed under the heat emitting light, and it would begin to evaporate the water you have given it. You would see that the water that you are using for irritation is not being enough for the plant, as the roots are asking for more of it, this is because the leaves have become vulnerable, and in the need of more water, to tackle the damage.

– Stunted Growth

Your plants are being put under significant stress, and as a direct result, the foliage hardly ever develops as it should. You won’t see it shooting any new leaves, and growing taller in any way. In plants subjected to excessive heat and light, you might observe growth slowed down or even stopped altogether.

What Distance From the Plants Should LED Grow Lights Be Placed?

High-pressure sodium lights should be positioned at a distance of between two and six feet away from your plants, while LED grow lights should be set at a distance of at least 12 to 18 inches away from your foliage. 

The key reason why is that these lights that are used for growing would lights produce less heat than high-pressure sodium lights, it is possible to position them closer to the plants to nourish them. Fluorescent and incandescent lights produce heat at significant levels and thus need to be placed farther than regular LED bulbs. Moreover, the amount of light and heat that is required by each plant could potentially be different from one another. 

Therefore, it is essential to have a solid understanding of the plant’s requirements, as well as its current stage of growth, whether it be the seedling stage, the vegetative stage, or the flowering stage

Additionally, you need to have a good understanding of the light, so make sure to read the instructions before using it. Which means what you should do is perform routine checks on the condition of your plants because you will need to adjust the lighting distance to accommodate the increased height of your foliage.

– Duration of Keeping it Lit

Your plants require anywhere from eight to ten hours of light per day and a period of darkness daily to rest. For your plants to thrive, they need periods of light and dark. You will likely kill the plant you are attempting to develop if you keep the grow light on for twenty-four hours, seven days a week while tending to it. 

Duration of Keeping Plant Lit

Buying a light fixture that already includes a timer is an excellent option if turning off the light frequently seems like a cumbersome task. In addition, you should be on schedule to shut the light at the right time, and to know when it had enough heat as well.

Grow lights need to imitate sunlight or behave more accurately in a manner comparable to sunlight. Even though the plant will benefit from the color spectrum it is exposed to, a specific distance must be maintained between the plant and the light source to ensure the plant receives the most significant possible advantage.

– Best Wattage 

The best bet to prevent burns regarding growing lights would be twenty to forty watts per square foot. For example, a power output of thirty watts should be able to provide for typically four plants, depending upon the size and reach of the foliage. 

During the vegetative and flowering stages of plant growth, HPS grow light kit can supply the required light for up to six plants grown in a growth tent measuring five by five feet. 


1. Does the Use of Led Lighting Encourage Faster Plant Growth?

Yes, several gardeners have found that making use of an LED grow light can boost plant growth. When providing light, light-emitting diodes, they are superior to any other technology as they produce a unique kind of light that is adored by all forms of plant life. 

It is preferable over more conventional methods, such as HPS lighting, in terms of the rate at which plant growth occurs and the quality of the yield it produces. In addition, remember that red and blue are the colors most utilized in plant growth, and this is because these colors produce the most chlorophyll, which is necessary for photosynthesis. As a result, if you use blue when the plants are in the initial stage, and red when they are in the fruiting stage.

2. What Kind of Grow Light Is the Most Effective?

LED, fluorescent, and incandescent bulbs are the types of grow lights that are the most effective in their respective categories. LEDs produce waves of red and blue light most commonly required for plants. They provide full-light spectrum illumination and are ideal for indoor plant cultivation. 

Their low initial costs, maintenance requirements, and energy efficiencies have contributed to their widespread adoption. The use of compact fluorescent light bulbs is one way to reduce one’s impact on the environment due to their long lifespan, low emission levels, and low energy consumption. 

The incandescent bulb can be utilized to encourage the growth of your plants, and they do not possess quite the same level of light intensity as fluorescent bulbs, but they can function most effectively in environments that have more limited space.


You are now aware that grow lights can burn plants, which needs to be prevented for the long life and health of the foliage.

Let’s review the information covered in the above article in summary below:

  • Burn damage can be caused by a grow light to a plant if it is placed too close to the light or if the intensity of the light is too high. The heat that is produced by the bulbs is what is responsible for the damage that is done to the plants.
  • If your plants get scorched while growing under a grow light, the most likely way to rectify this is to move the plant away from the light.
  • Additionally, If the intensity setting on your LED lights is turned up too high and left that way for an extended period, there is a possibility that your plants will sustain damage.
  • Grow light bulbs emit a spectrum of light that is beneficial to the development of plants; however, if you use bulbs that are not of high quality, this can negatively impact the plant’s growth.

Now that you know that plants grown under grow lights run the risk of being burned; so you must keep a close eye on the amount of light placed over them. You will then be able to easily manage them while they are thriving, giving you the best of both worlds.

5/5 - (5 votes)
Evergreen Seeds