Boosting Window Light

aerides(z6 Manhattan)May 19, 2011

When you're growing in a window that gets morning sun, and you add supplemental bulbs (say LEDs)to the bright sunlight, are the plants getting better light? Or put another way, when you add a less intense light to a more intense light, are you getting brighter light? Do I have a brain? The jury is out.

So if I was going to supplement a morning-sunny window, does it only make sense to use the supplements during the part of the day that the sun isn't hitting the plants, or on cloudy days?

My goal is to change a non-supplemented phalaenopsis-suitable window to a light-supplemented cattleya-suitable (minis, probably) window. Hopefully using LEDs, but I'm brand new to this technology.


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arthurm(Sydney, NSW AUST)

I am light dummy because i do not need them. All i can tell you is that i have three outside growing areas and the two best growing areas of the three get almost all day sun filtered by appropriate shade-cloth and dirty glass screening.

In other words the length is important as is the intensity.

Two much light on Cattleyas leads to washed out lemon coloured leaves. How much is too much? Depends on the latitude and the weather and how much shading you have. Two layers 50% Shade-cloth summer, one layer 50% Shade-cloth winter, does the trick at latitude 33 south.

Over to the light experts.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 7:14PM
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highjack(z6 KY)

You don't need the supplemental light IF and WHEN the sun is shining through the window. If you are home you would turn it on once the sun moved or if it was a cloudy day.

Nice to see you back on the forum Aerides.


    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 6:09AM
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I use T5's over my orchids. They are on a timer and stay on when the sun is on the plants and when it's not.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 7:18AM
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aerides(z6 Manhattan)

Thanks. These responses have re-centered me. I'm a little rusty. It's been a couple of years since I traded in my HID setup for a real kitchen, instead of an orchid room that happened to have a stove and a rusty fridge.

Thanks for the reminder about the importance of duration, Arthur. And Brooke, thanks for the welcome back. I'm never home on weekdays so I should make sure that whatever I use won't burn plants if I misjudge what's going on that day.

I'm a little concerned about heat because quite by accident I discovered that pulling down my white windowshades on the unlit side of the plants makes a very observable, even exciting difference on the health of the few plants I have - so that's definitely part of the new design. But, keeping in the light means keeping in heat as well. But I can add a little fan action for the warm months, which will be fine because humidity tends to be higher in those months as well. Cool.

smwboxer, are T5's the skinny ones? How many are you using per array?

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 4:08PM
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orchid126(z6, NJ)

To boost winter light I get pieces of cardboard as tall as the plants and cover them with aluminum foil and put them on either side of the window frame.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 4:59PM
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