How far should led grow lights be from plants, is a question that you would worry, if you have chosen a LED growing light over fluorescent grow lights for many reasons. It consumes less electricity and even has in-built solar panels for light emission and less heat emission.

How Far Should Led Grow Lights Be From Plants

However, to get all these benefits, it’s crucial to determine how far should LED grow lights be from plants. We will discuss the factors that affect the LED light distance and ways to decide the proper distance. 

How Far Should LED Grow Lights Be From Plants?

LED grow lights should be anywhere between six inches to 24 inches away from the plant.. The higher light the plant needs, the LED lights need to be closer. On the contrary, the less the light intensity of the LEDs, the closer it should be.

It mainly depends on the plant’s growth and flowering stages and also depends on the intensity of the light and plant type. Gardeners living in long night areas use grow lights to help the plant receive ample lighting. Previously, people would use fluorescent or halogen lights for the purpose. However, they are turning towards LED lights for their multiple benefits.

So, at what distance you should keep the LED lights for different wattage capacities? The following grow light distance chart is one that should help you. The chart talks about how the light voltage is 200 to 399W the distance should be 12 to 20 inches, and if they are 600 to 799W bulbs the distance is 30 to 38 inches away, but when it is above 1000, then it should be 36 to 46 inches away. As you see, the wattage capacity of the LED bulbs and their distance from the plants have a direct relation. Hence, you should maintain it strictly for the best growth of the plants.

– Importance of the Distance

When growing your plant you should be alert that it’s only an unofficial rule. Gardeners usually follow it as they have found the proper light distance after years of experimentation. Most expert gardeners and planters suggest that for every one-square foot space, a plant needs 20W to 40W of lights. Thus, you need to keep this light requirement of the plants in mind while placing the LEDs.

Importance of the Distance

Another thing that determines the light intensity and distance is the photosynthesis period of the plant. The longer its photosynthesis period is, the more light it will need. So, placing the LED bulbs closer to it will be helpful.

Do Different Plant Stages Need Different LED Light Distance?

Yes, different plant growing stages need different LED light distances, this means that seedlings need to be six to 12 inches away. The vegetative stage needs it 18 to 24 inches away, and the flowering stage is 18 to 30 inches away to keep it healthy and thriving. 

Plants need different intensities of light at different stages of their growth. It happens because their photosynthesis changes in various growth and idle stages. The need for the LED light will also fluctuate accordingly.

On average, eight hours of natural or artificial light is enough for most plants. In fact, with these lights that help the plant to grow, for about six to 10 hours of lighting is more than enough. During the flowering time, you may increase the light intensity. Also, keeping the grow lights on for 24 hours will hurt the plant’s health. They may suffer from heat burn.

– Seedlings

Seedlings can’t absorb a higher amount of light because of their volume. As a result, you should be careful about choosing the LED grow light distance and intensity for seedlings. On average, seedlings should be six to 12 inches away from the grower lights, and this is how it would help the plant if you also dimmed the LED grow lights to 30 percent intensity.


Sometimes, the light bulbs may not be adjusted or dimmed. At this point, placing the lights far away from the seedlings will be better. Thus, you should keep them 12 to 18 inches away unless you can adjust the intensity.

Conversely, place the lights lower if it has less intensity; and in this case, remember that it is essential if you are using these light with less than 200W capacity. Also, you need to keep adjusting the distance of the LED grow lights, so the seedlings can adjust to them.

– Vegetative Stage

When your plants grow, they can endure more light, because this is the stage when it has to grow well and establish its fruitfulness. By the same token, you must ensure that the grow lights are 18 to 24 inches from the plants. In addition, its intensity should be 50 percent or slightly above it. If you increase the intensity, place the lights slightly away. And for decreased lighting, put them closer.

As a result of the latter, they can accommodate more light due to their increased volume. What you should do is to increase the intensity of the LED grow lights. However, that doesn’t mean you should put the light closer too.

– Flowering Stage

You should maintain nearly full to the full intensity of the LED grow lights at 18 to 30 inches during the flowering stage. The reason for the latter is that during the flowering stage, both plants and flowers need more light, and more energy to have a successful photosynthesis process.

Flowering Stage

Thus, the plants should receive more light during their blooming season. It will ensure better flowering and will increase the yield too.

What Are Some Different Plants and Led Light Distance From Them?

Some different plants and the LED distance from them would change according to the light that you are using and the purpose of the use. If it is for cannabis, or leafy greens and vegetables, or flowering and fruiting reasons, or if the plant is a decorative for the indoors.

We have discussed the distance of LED lights from the plant canopy at various stages of their life. Nonetheless, not all plants will require the same amount of lighting. Hence, the distance of the LED lights for growing will also vary depending on their type.

– Cannabis

Growing cannabis indoors needs proper lighting. Or else these plants will die or yield less cannabis. So, place the light between 16 and 36 inches away from its canopy. Of course, the actual distance will depend on the wattage capacity of the LED. If you have LEDs over 500W, place them at least 24 inches away from the plants, because they need proper heat and the right amount of light coming from these lights.


On the other hand, if you are aiming for cloning cannabis, then you should maintain 14 to 36 inches distance from their canopies. Cloning requires a higher amount of light than seedlings, but remember that if you do not aim to do so, they won’t grow into mature ones.

– Lettuce and Leafy Greens

Lettuce and leafy veggies need a medium amount of light to grow and proliferate. As a result, you need to maintain a medium distance for the strong grow lights for these plants. As you see, you can place the lights seven to nine inches away from the vegetative plant. These distances are ideal for compact grow lights with medium intensity, because naturally when they need sun, they require this amount as well in that case too.

At times, you may use powerful lights for growing the perfect vegetables with the healthiest foliage. This is when you should place the lights 10 to 12 inches away from the foliage to help the green leaves proliferate. Also, note that this distance for lights is for 10W, 20W, and 30W capacity and not more than that.

If you use halogen or regular light bulbs, the distance of these lights from the foliage will increase significantly. Overall, be aware of it while placing the bulbs because they have a huge impact on the growing crops. 

– Flowering and Fruiting Plants

Both flowers and fruit plants need a higher intensity of light. It is essential because plant needs to turn their extra energy into flowers and fruits. So, they need more photosynthesis and so, they require a higher amount of light.

Flowering and Fruiting Plants

Hence, you should place these strong grow lights closer to the fruiting and flowering plants. If you use 10W to 30W LED bulbs, ensure that they are four to 10 inches above the canopy, and it will be great to grow, because of this frequency or voltage is suitable for narrow beam LEDs. You must maintain a distance of two to six inches for the wide beam bulbs. It is crucial because bulbs with wide beams will not concentrate on a specific area.

According to the light distance chart, you must keep the LED grow lights as close as possible. Also, use lenses or optics to enhance the light intensity. If you use LED bulbs without lenses, you must use their higher wattage, but if you fail to do so, the lights won’t work.

– Decorative Indoor Plants

Indoor decorative and ornamental plants, like vegetables, flowers, and fruit plants, only need a little lighting. Overall, you can keep the LED far away from them, most people would aim to maintain these lights 24 to 36 inches away will be suitable for most indoor plants, because indoor plants already don’t require heavy load of lights.

As the rule suggests, it should be three times more than the fruiting, flowering, and leafy plants. So, be aware of such distance maintenance to ensure indoor plants’ proper growth and health. If you place the LEDs too close or far, the ornamental plants might look discolored. As a result, they will look less engaging and attractive than they are.

What Are the Factors That Affect the Distance of Led Grow Lights From Plants?

The factors that affect the distance of the LED light from the plant would be the type of plant you are aiming to grow, if they are low-light requiring plants, medium-light or high level of light requiring plants. Moreover, the wattage capability and the light level of the located area. 

Although we have discussed the average distance of plants and LED grow lights, more is needed. You need to consider different factors before determining the right distance from plants. Or else, you can miscalculate the light spectrum of LEDs and hurt the plants.

– Types of Plants

Different plants need different amounts of light. Hence, you must determine the type of plants and set the grow lights accordingly. Usually, there are three main types of plants depending on the light intensity and requirement. But again, the type of plant has a huge impact, because some they would be very vulnerable when harsh light would possibly harm the leaves.

Types of Plants

For instance, there may also be some plants that would also thrive and grow without LED or fluorescent grow lights. Typically, very low-light plants will thrive even without any grow lights. It includes most ferns, snake plants, lucky bamboo, and many more.

– Low-light Plants

Low-light plants need the least or no light at all. So, they can quickly grow in darker conditions. It includes Chinese evergreen, English Ivy, dracaena, and cast iron. These plants can grow without any light. And plants that need low light for survival are peace lilies, ferns, and many more. So, they can thrive at LED lights far away from them, or not at all.

– Medium-light Plants 

These plants need minimal to medium light. You can expose them to sunlight for four to six hours or day. Alternatively, place them close to your windows and ensure their growth. LED lights should be 18 to 20 inches above these medium-light indoor plants. 

Medium Light Plants

Moreover, you should know that these plants are great for adding greenery and charm to your spaces. These plants include African violet, croton, alocasia, anthurium, and many more. These medium light requiring plants would need a proper amount of light but for a short duration, or they may need a right intensity, but on a longer scale so that they would have the enough amount. 

– High-light Plants 

As the name suggests, these plants need maximum light for survival. So, you must keep the grow lights close to these plants. The LED grow lights should be 12 to 18 inches away from these plants, but this would also have a determining factor whether the intensity of the light is higher or lower, and how long have you been keeping it under this light. 

On the other hand, another factor that you should consider is the window placement, the plants should be at most six feet away. Or else, they will look pale and discolored, because it will be foreseeing a great amount of light that it is being subjected to. The list includes the yucca plant, white bird of paradise, columnar cereus peruvianus cactus, and many more.

– Wattage Capacity of the Bulbs

This factor in determining the LED grow light’s distance from the plants’ canopy is simple. The less wattage the bulb has, the closer it should be. On this note, what is a positive aspect is that the lights will only turn five percent of their light into heat.

Wattage Capacity of the Bulbs

This is the case where you should consider placing them closer to the plants won’t hurt them too badly, or else it may be subjected to a burn.

– Light Level of the Growing Area

The growing area refers to the space where you actually grow the plants. So, the amount of light this growing area receives will also determine the plant’s distance from the grow bulbs, in addition to how lit the place may actually be. Usually, the more sunlight the growing area receives, the further the grow lights can be.

If the space already has bright sunlight, it requires the least LED grow lights. So, a minimal artificial light will do. Conversely, for low-light spaces, you need to install more grow lights. It happens mainly with the north-facing windows. These plants receive the least sunlight directly.


The distance of LED grow lights from plants depends on their wattage capacity, plant type, and growth stage.

Thus, you must adjust the grow lights carefully and regularly check their effect on the plants.

  • Maintaining 12 to 18 inches distances for the plants is ideal. During the seedlings, keep the lights closer to help the seeds grow faster. Also, it will be better in winter when there’s no sunlight generally.
  • Besides the distance, also consider the intensity of the lights. Usually, the lowest intensity should be 30 percent for the medium-light plant. Conversely, you may need nearly full to full intensity for high-light, flowering, and fruit plants.
  • Placing them far away will be useful if you use lenses or optics for the LED bulbs. It is crucial because lenses intensify the actual output.

You should now have a clear idea of the LED grow lights and their placement. So, install them rightly and enjoy the excellent flowers and colors of your favorite indoor plants.


5/5 - (5 votes)
Evergreen Seeds