Grow lights

averil(8b)October 2, 2012

Hi folks, Im thinking about setting up a grow light for over the winter months. We will soon be getting only about 8 hours of daylight here and that will probably be dull :(. My seedlings are 4 months old and I wondered if I put them under a growlight for an extra 4 hours a day, would that be a good idea?. I have seen these lights come in all different colours, blue, reds, clear etc and Im not sure which would be the best kind . Any advice would be appreciated as usual

Many thanks

Averil (UK)

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Hi averil,
I used 3 T5 high output Flourescents. They each came with there own fixture. They where close to a window and I placed a 3sided box structure around it which was covered on inside with 'Mylar' (a highly reflective material). My lights came on for 4-5hrs. day (end of day for me).
I wanted to extend the length of daylight hrs. for them.
The Mylar also reflected the light of the day making it quite bright for them.
They where not necessarily that expensive to run.
If you had them inside away from natural light you would have to give them much more artificial light to maintain or grow.
The Metal halide lights are very expensive to buy and run. Some get very hot also.
Not sure if the T5 Flourescents come in the different light spectrums.
I know that the LED lights do.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 9:21AM
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Thanks Charles, I shall pass that on to the other half, because he is the one thats going to set up a little growing box for me. He thinks Im mad but now he can see thats what people do, he is more likely to get on with the job :)
Tks a lot

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 9:58AM
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greenclaws UKzone8a

Hi Averil, yes we are already into Autumn and those horrible long dark evenings are here again. I hate them don't you? We could be doing so much outside!
Regarding the light box, I made a similar one a few years ago. It was lined with thin polystyrene sheets covered with baking foil and it had just a regular light bulb...and it worked a treat. It had one long side missing, in other words it had 2 ends, top, bottom and a back. It germinated some plumeria/adenium seeds and kept seedlings warm and toasty making them grow even in the colder/darker months. I used a simple plug-in 1/4 hour segmented timer from Wilko and it came on from around 5 to bedtime at midnight when I placed the 'missing' front into the box to keep the heat in overnight. As Charles said, during the day the foil/Mylar radiates any natural light that's around.
Gill....also from the UK.
BTW, my d/h thinks I'm mad too but don't worry, we know we aren't!! :D

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 10:55AM
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The HO (T5) fluorescents are your best bet for small seedlings as they don't generate heat and can be placed very close to the plants. I have 16 T5 set ups and 2 1000 watt HID lights. The HID lights are great for mature plants but they generate a lot of heat and must be a minimum of 4' above your plants. You want to run your lights a minimum of 14 hours a day, even if they get sunlight. T5's do come in full spectrum (vegetative/overall growth) and red (fruit/flower). You want blue for vegetative/overall growth. Here's a grow light guide that gives a good description/comparison of each type of supplemental lighting.

Here is a link that might be useful: grow light guide

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 11:05AM
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Thanks for all the advice and help folks BUT I have one more little question he he. If I put them under grow lights presumably they will grow well, so what are the watering requirements during the winter months. Do they get watered as they would during summer months or only sparingly as I would do if not under lights
Ta muchly

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 12:11PM
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Even under lights I decrease the amount of water they get during the winter. Don't allow them to dry out completely but depending on the soil depth I allow the top inch or few inches to dry out. Just make sure they are in a well draining mix and don't hold any perched water. They'll almost always recover from under-watering but not over-watering. You can also mist the foliage. Besides hydrating the plant it will help discourage sucking pest infestations. I always have problems with mealy bugs over the winter.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 1:03PM
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Thanks Karyn, I shall be careful regarding the watering then

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 5:38AM
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I'm thinking of starting a grow light set up in my basement for my adeniums and some orchids.
I know that one poster commented on using T5s for seedling adeniums, but do you think that a T5 or T8 fixture would be adequate for a mature adenium?
How many bulbs do you suggest going with if I do opt for a T5 or T8 fixture?

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 10:23PM
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I use fluorescents for seedlings because they don't generate heat and can be placed close to the plants but they are perfectly fine for mature plants too. The HID lights can cover a larger area but do generate heat. If you are going to use fluorescent lighting go with the T5's. The size of the space you need to light will determine the size of the reflector(s)/bulbs that you need. I use reflectors that hold 2 24" bulbs for my 15 x 30 shelves and 5 bulb reflectors for shelves that are larger. I posted a link to a grow light guide in an earlier reply to this thread. Take a look at it to determine your lighting requirement.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 8:28AM
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