Newbie needs advice for fluorescent bulbs

summer_fashion(z5 IN)September 10, 2010

Could someone out there tell me what is the correct fluorescent bulb to use for my new Hoya plants in the house over winter. I'm so confused about "warm" and "cold" bulbs and the different color spectrums. If you grow your Hoyas under lights could you please also tell me what your set up is and how close to the Hoyas do I put the lights? Also, could you please tell me where to buy these bulbs and are they very expensive? Thank you.

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Hi Summer welcome! I am new to growing Hoyas too but I just went through the lighting delimia myself. I didnt know if we needed the really expensive ones or if flourescent ones would do the trick. So, I first experimented with the less expensive set up and its working great for me.
I purchased a shop light from Lowes. Then I bought the Plant/aquarium bulbs from there also. The light was only $10 and bulbs $10 each also. It is very inexpensive and the Hoyas seem to love it. But I don't know yet if this is enough light for them to bloom...someone else may have to comment on this thats been doing it longer. Hope it helps!

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 6:35PM
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You have two options that are fairly inexpensive and work just as well as plant and aquarium bulbs. First look for bulbs that are labled as daylight, these bulbs have a fairly balanced spectrum and are perfect. I buy these in a pack of two for less than one plant and aquarium bulb. The other option is to use one warm white bulb and one cool white bulb in the same fixture. This combination will give you the blue spectrum (cool) for plant growth and the red spectrum (warm) for flowering. Compact flourescent bulbs are also very useful and they come in many wattages and can be used to add just a little more light here and there by using clamp lamps or pendant fixtures. Compacts are fairley easy to find in daylight so that is your best option for these.
Lights should be on at least eight hours a day but if the plants get little other light from windows you might want to opt for a twelve plus hour schedual.

I have been growing under lights for around ten years and have used all the different flourescent bulbs. I like daylight best because the light is more natural. Keep plants as close as possible to the lights for best growth and flowering.

Hope this helps.


    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 9:04PM
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Thanks Mike. I've wondered if the "fish and aquarium" were worth the extra $ and you clearly answered that question. Thank you.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 11:45PM
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I was just wondering...

When you say keep plants as close to the light as possible, is a few inches too close?

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 12:56PM
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Between six and twelve inches is best but if the plants touch the bulbs they will burn. I just lost two new vines on my Hoya micrantha because they touched a bulb/fixture and cooked. Give the plants enough room to grow without touching the bulbs and you should be fine.
My light fixtures sit twenty three inches above the shelf and the plants grow up towards the light. Because the upper portion of the plants get good light they do well but if you have a short plant it is best to sit them on top of an upside down pot to get them up closer to the lights. The center portion of the bulbs are brightest and the ends are the least bright so adjust your plants accordingly.


    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 1:37PM
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Do hoyas bloom well under lights? I have a huge setup at home with room from over 200 plants and many light fixtures are aiming towards them at the moment...flourescents, warm halogens, warm flourescents and plant lights. I did a combo of all just to make sure. Everything seems happy so far! I would love it if I could get some of my hoyas to actually bloom under lights! Anyone have any personal experience to share? I myself accidentally had a lacunosa bloom under cold flourescent lighting years ago. Was very unexpected!

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 3:21PM
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Sure as long as you are not trying to grow very high light plants like Eriostemma then your plants should bloom. If you don't see blooms then try extending the photoperiod to more than 12 hours. Do you have any natural light or just artificial? Lights are important to extend the naturally shorter day length we experience during the Northern hemisphere winter, by running lights for 12 hours or to extend the day length to 12 hours you can keep plants happy all year long.


    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 11:54PM
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Thank you Mike!

I also cooked one vine because it was touching the fixture.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 4:23AM
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Yes - thank you, Mike. As an avid lurker on the gardenweb hoya forum, I always take your advice when I see you've already answered a question I needed answered, especially since we have similiar weather/indoor growing conditions.

I didn't mean to hijack, but I came to the forum with the same exact question and thought it might be redundant to start a new thread for the same thing...I really am sorry. To answer your question, Mike I expanded my hoya collection in a major way this summer and had most growing outside. Now that I've had to bring them in for the winter I can only fit about 60-75 plants in windows and the rest have to be in the room we are now calling "The Greenhouse" under completely artificial lighting, plastic sheeting hanging over the shelves to keep in humidity and a fan. They all seem extremely happy so far and I love that room now. I'm glad to know that there is a chance for blooms under lights. I wasn't sure because Lacunosa is such an easy bloomer I thought it might have just been a freak occurance. We hope to have a REAL greenhouse in the near future and I can't wait! Although I sort of like being able to walk into the next room to see all of my plants without having to go outside...and now that I know they may bloom indoors I may not be in such a rush ;) What do you do with your plants in the winter, Mike? I'm not sure if I remember seeing a conversation about that...

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 9:00AM
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My plants are on racks in front of the windows but there are others on lower levels that get only artificial light and there is another group that is in a corner and they get only artificial light as well. Many of my orchids get mostly artificial light as well and as long as you remember the change the bulbs, once a year is best if you're growing high light plants and keeping the bulbs on for the entire day. You can play around a bit with different lights but it's easiest to use daylight bulbs, sometimes I add a warm white bulb to try and get plants to bloom by giving them a little more of the red spectrum. I also add extra light by using 13W LED panels with a red/blue mixture and I start some cuttings under on of those panels as well. This is just another way to add more light but with less energy consumption.


    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 10:26AM
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I think LEDs are the only lights I haven't tried yet but I was looking at some the other day as they seem to have more portable strip LED lighting options these days. Might be time to give them a try! Thanks so much for the great info.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 12:34PM
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The strips might now give enough light. I tried the panels alone and they work but they must be very close to the plants. I have spot light types, panels and strips and I like the panels the most. The low wattage ones I have, 13W are only good for supplementing other light or for raising seeds or cuttings, just not powerful enough over the long run. I do grow aquatic plants in my Apistogramma tank, a 30 gallon long with two 13 watt blue/white panels and the plants do well. The more powerful LES's are really expensive but one day I would like to try them out.


    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 1:46PM
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