Advice on grow lights?

julieinFL(10a)April 24, 2014

I just relocated a good chunk of my orchid collection to a stand my husband built me as an Easter gift. The orchids are (I think) arranged based on lighting needs - Catts up top, phals down below, and are getting pretty good natural lighting (southeast exposure). I also just invested in a 4' T5 grow light, which comes on a stand (that obviously won't work with my set up).

My question is - how close to the orchids do I need to have the light in order for it to be effective? I bought it bc the Catts, while growing nicely, aren't blooming/re-blooming, but I don't want to fry my other orchids in the process. My vandas, which are hanging just above, have re-bloomed - so maybe I'm doing something else wrong?

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jane__ny(9-10)

Can you move them outside? Your lanai looks dark. Would work fine for the Phals but not Vandas or Catts. They need strong light.

If they can go outside, I wouldn't bother with lights.

Jane

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 10:13PM
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westoh Z6

As far as the lights, 4"-8" from tops of plants.

Nice benches!

Good luck,

Bob

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 6:46AM
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julieinFL(10a)

Thanks - The photo was taken late afternoon and with an iPhone cam that distorts the lighting bc of the bright light in the background.

As for moving them outside - I can...but as we've entered rainy season here, I'd have a lot of running around to do every time we have a thunderstorm. Where they are now, they're typically protected from the worst of the wind gusts, and I plan to secure them further with wire because we have a toddler and smashed pots don't mix with tiny feet ;-)

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 9:11AM
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jane__ny(9-10)

What is your exposure? If you are getting sun or bright light all day, you should be fine. In your zone you shouldn't need supplemental light. The higher light orchids, could be put outside. If you have any trees, clip hooks on the pots and hang them from a tree or fence.

I would think you could bloom all your plants from natural light unless your space is shaded a large part of the day.

I have a small tree growing outside my patio. I hang a bunch of plants hanging from it. My cat loves to sit on some of them as he climbs the tree. A real PITA!

This is a section of my lanai where I received full sun until 2pm. I have my high light orchids growing in that section. I have put shade cloth over the screening above to prevent burning. I place lower light plants behind these where they receive morning sun. This photo was taken 6 months ago. Since then, there is hardly any room for people on the patio.

Jane

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 12:46AM
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terpguy(7)

Jane you need a nepenthes hanging from that tree :)

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 10:53AM
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tolumniamatt

The T5 lights should be placed right at the cattleya/vanda leaves and 6-8 inches above the phalaenopsis/paphiopedilums.

As for putting the plants outside, I wouldn't worry about the plants getting too much rain - this is their growing season and it doesn't get cold enough where you are this time of year to worry about rot.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 11:12AM
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jane__ny(9-10)

Terp, if you look closely at the first picture, you can see my big Nepenthes! It grows along with the orchids. It has become a monster.

I agree with tolumniamatt, don't worry about the rains. Its Spring!

Jane

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 11:57PM
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terpguy(7)

Oh I see it. Front and center. I missed the tendrils in the end. Coolio

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 1:51PM
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julieinFL(10a)

Thank you! Working on rearranging. I'm not worried about them getting too much rain - but for S FL residents, rainy season means nasty thunderstorms and strong wind gusts that have knocked over some of my orchids even on the patio. I am looking at mounting options for my Catts so I can secure them outdoors.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 9:48PM
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jane__ny(9-10)

Julie, I agree. They get blown around. If you have some trees, you could hang them and they usually survive the winds. The plants on benches get blown.

I try to run out before the storm hits and put my plants on the ground. Safer that way. But some do get knocked over.

Jane

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 11:57PM
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julieinFL(10a)

Jane - thank you! I do have several Catts tied up and established, but my palms got occupied by my Arantheras thanks to Hamlyn Orchids at a recent show in Miami (I tied in 3 Arantheras in January and have since seen about 6" of new growth. One is just growing, the second finished its blooms and has sent out a new spike, and the third finished blooming and has one fully-bloomed spike and one about a week from opening).

As for my new bench - I've since wired my pots - using florist wire - to the bench. We're about an hour from some nasty storms tonight, so I'll be able to test my ties. I'm one of those who got one orchid as a house-warming gift 7 years ago when I moved to FL, and bc of time and proximity to Krome Ave (an evil, but wonderful, place), has been able to affordably grow my collection to 137 between what's mounted to what I have on my lanai (my second, matching bench will be completed this weekend).

I wish I knew how to pack orchids - down here you can get a Phal in spike for $3, a vanda in bud/bloom for $20, and Arantheras for $10.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 8:07PM
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julieinFL(10a)

I should add - not to sell for profit, but when I make my Krome runs I always take orders from friends and neighbors. I would do te same online but I would be too nervous about shipping an orchid in spike/bloom.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 8:11PM
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greentoe357

> The T5 lights should be placed right at the cattleya/vanda leaves and 6-8 inches above the phalaenopsis/paphiopedilums.

Matt, how many T5 bulbs are you assuming are in the fixture? Jane (the OP) did not say how many she has in her fixture, but it has to matter, I think.

I have 2- and 4-bulb 4-foot long fixtures and wonder about the same question: how close to the light to put different orchids. The shelf sizes are 14x36.

Are 1-bulb fixtures per shelf enough for lower-light plants like Phals/Paphs, or do I need at least 2 (or more)?

I also grow hoyas, and they also need a good amount of light in order to bloom - not as much as Cattleyas and Vandas do, but definitely more than what's coming from my shaded windows on an average day.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 9:20PM
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jane__ny(9-10)

I only used lights over the winter. My plants went outside as soon as weather permitted and stayed out until frost. My plants had finished their growths by the time they came in the house. Many were in spike or sheath and getting ready to bloom. The lights assisted finishing their cycle.

If you are going to grow entirely indoors under lights, you would need professional advice. Much stronger bulbs would be needed.

If your plants can go outside you can finish growing them under CFL's.

Again, I used octopus lamps where I could easily adjust the height and strength of the light. I used clamp lights, with CFL's for some of the smaller plants. I did purchase some Wonderlites and used those on plants which needed a boost.

Jane

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 10:16PM
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tolumniamatt

I guess I assumed a two-bulb fixture. 1-bulb fixtures might be enough for phal/paphs but you'd need the leaves next to the bulbs. Two or four bulb fixtures would be ideal. The light is most intense nearest to the bulb.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 7:12PM
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tolumniamatt

Here's a great blog page about indoor lights for orchids.

Here is a link that might be useful: Orchid Karma - Light

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 7:15PM
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