Update on my lighting dilemma...I did it!

OakleyMay 4, 2010

Okay you naysayers, I did it! lol. A couple of months ago I asked a ton of questions about the proper lighting and I was so confused.

I have a setup with gro-lights and I wanted one plant on a table with a desk lamp and fluorescent bulb. Most of you didn't think it would work.

It did! My AV is blooming! Now I can "decorate" with AV's. lol

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larry_b(Zone5/CO)

Congrats! I'm glad you found a solution and can now populate your dark recesses with violets.

Larry

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 9:39PM
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quinnfyre(z7 PA)

That's what I do. Except it isn't just one AV, ha. A quarter of my desk is populated with AVs, lit with a desk lamp. Those blooms cheer me up. Makes it a little harder to work at the desk though : )

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 12:30AM
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Oakley

quinn, what's the wattage on your bulb? I use an equivalent of a 60 watt bulb.

Ironically, the plants under the growlight aren't blooming at all! Can't figure that one out. Maybe they need a desk lamp? :)

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 12:35PM
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quinnfyre(z7 PA)

It's a 100W equivalent, approximately. A 30W CFL. They seem happy with it. Most of them are newly placed there, but the two that are covered in blooms right now are the ones that have always been there, from the time they were babies.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 12:47PM
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socalliegal

I heard recently that you need to have the ultra violet from sunlight and that indoor bulbs don't cut it. I am not sure about the gro-lites, I know they have been around since the 70's and have yet to try them. I found out as a teen that east window's do the trick. Did not have a choice since my desk was in front of an east window. I have recently been more involved with my childhood home and have set half dead AV's from the 99 cent store in front of this window. They are slowly coming back, but the first blooms are miniscule almost miniature, and I know they are not. But this is an experiment for me. So try east window's folks. I have also read articles that stated the same about east windows. Let me know what you folks think about the 'east window' usage.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 7:04PM
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quinnfyre(z7 PA)

East windows are nice for AVs. I've had them there before. I have no windows on the east side of my current house though, so no go for me. The bulk of my AVs are in a south window, covered by a sheer mesh curtain. Once I converted them to wick watering, they've done really well, for the most part. But as far as CFLs not cutting it, I can say from experience that they grow quite well with only fluorescent light. All the ones on my desk, and all the ones on the shelf that only get fluorescent light, have grown well, evenly, quickly, and bloomed faster than my window ones.

What has also surprised me, though, is that a north window can be a great place to grow AVs. I have three in my bathroom window, and while they do grow slower, the growth is extremely even. In fact, my largest AV is one growing in that north window, and it forms a really nice rosette shape. It started out as a smallish starter plant, and is turning into quite the monster.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 9:47PM
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larry_b(Zone5/CO)

Hi socalliegal,

There's nothing wrong with an East window as long as the window is big enough and there is a minimum of shade from trees and bushes. And if one can get a little direct sunlight before 10am, that's even better.

Larry

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 9:50PM
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larry_b(Zone5/CO)

Hi oakleyok,

Can you show us some photos of your setup(s)?

Larry

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 9:51PM
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larry_b(Zone5/CO)

Hi Socalliegal,

People have been growing African violets and other plants with grow lights and just plain fluorescent lights forever. Even cool white light bulbs can be used. Ask Fred here. He grows wonderful plants under cool white fluorescent bulbs.

Larry

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 9:55PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Hi Socialliegal - I second Larry -

1. incandescent bulbs - that's the lights that do not provide the proper spectrum for the violets. Fluorescents do better than an eastern window.

2. AV at work - is a sanity saver. If you have and eastern window - good for you. If the violets that you saved are blooming small - I would disbud them. They need to have some time to recuperate - even they are trying to thank you for saving them - they are still weak.

Looks like our company is going to cram us all in cubicles 8x6'. I will need to buy a grow lamp as Oakleyok did so I can keep at least one.

Cheers

irina

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 12:19AM
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larry_b(Zone5/CO)

Hi Irina,

Here are a couple I have had my eye on:

Intellegent plant light

Mr. Light Desk Top Plant Light with Built-In Tray

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 1:47AM
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quinnfyre(z7 PA)

Do not like the intelligent plant light. It broke for some inexplicable reason. I believe it's the wiring that was faulty; it would go on at first, but it would randomly cut out at odd times, so you were not guaranteed a full timer's worth of light. Not good when you are depending on it to be your plant's light source in a cubicle. Plus you have to find who sells the replacement bulbs, as they are a weird size. Also, it is only a 9W fluorescent. Not to knock it some more, but the tray is also an odd size, which made it annoying to try and fit plant pots into, and the light doesn't stay up without that tray as a base. I vastly prefer putting a CFL in a regular old desk lamp. Easy to replace bulbs, easy to find, and you can fit what you want underneath it.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 2:15AM
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larry_b(Zone5/CO)

quinnfyre,

Fair enough. Thanks for the critique.

I was actually leaning more towards the Mr. Light Desk lamp. It does look a lot more solid.

Larry

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 9:12AM
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socalliegal

Wow so surprised to hear the updates on the bulbs. In the past our AV's always looked like giagantic bushes and no flowers at work. A fellow co-worker that had an AV at home and was suffering from neglect brought it in to me. Right now I have it in it's original 4 in plastic pot from the store and the bottom just barely touching water in a reg coffee syrofoam cup. Temp just to get it's legs back on, so far it's looking good. I put it on top of my file cabinet to get some of the overhead lighting. I don't think the under cabinet desk lights are good for plants. I have a poor rainforest plant (tislandia) under mine full time and it's probably murderous on it, cause all plants need nighttime. I am sorry I digress.

Okay so I am surprised about the lightbulbs. Also the North window makes sense to me, since it's probably next best to the east window. Thanks for enlightening me on the lightbulbs.....!

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 3:16PM
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larry_b(Zone5/CO)

I don't think the under cabinet desk lights are good for plants.

Are they fluorescent? If so, they should work. I have had violets bloom under desk cabinets with fluorescent light bulb fixtures.

Larry

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 5:30PM
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newbienew

My two AV's had no trouble blooming. I used a table lamp with 30W CFL evenings and during the day I stuck them in a north-west window, careful to make sure they didn't burn in the afternoon. The healthier of the two AV's had a fast, vibrant bloom that's only slowly beginning to wither after almost two months.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 3:01PM
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socalliegal

how can you tell if they are flourescent?

    Bookmark   May 10, 2010 at 3:41PM
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leslie_virnig221(52501)

i had 23 blooming in my east window in high school.i just opened the curtains every morning. i top watered them all and no special soil either, i did have a few that grew babies on the leaf instead of at the leafbase though.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2010 at 9:38PM
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