Plant Stand Fluorescent fixture/bulb help

cajunbadger(9)January 11, 2008

I've read through the posts on building a plant stand and have picked up some great information and ideas. Unfortunately I'm still a bit confused and have to ask a "worn" out question (or three!).


I currently plan on only starting seeds and cuttings. Being on a limited budget, I bought inexpensive shop lights from HD (model 1233, dual 4' T12 bulbs) to be arranged two per shelf.


1) I plan on adding some sheet metal as reflectors. Is there anything else I should/could do? Yes, I know T8 fixtures w/electronic ballasts would be better, but I didn't see any reasonably priced (hint hint).

2) HD had cases of Philips bulbs:

$28 Alto DX 2325 lumens, 84 CRI, 6500K

$20 Alto Plus CW 3200 lumens, 70 CRI, 4100K

$15 Alto CW/RS 2650 lumens, 62 CRI, 4100K

Yes, I'm still confused on the importance of the various ratings - but am I right in leaning towards the Alto Plus CW? Or is there something else better that's reasonably priced?

Shoot - as I write this and revisit some articles, I wonder if I should go back to the drawing board! Thanks in advance for any and all suggestions...

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instead of sheet metal you could just use aluminum foil secured to some cardboard. i just got a new cheap fixture also and today i got some GE sunshine 40W 2250 lumens 90 CRI from lowes. they came in a two pack for $7.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2008 at 6:06PM
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Thanks! I went and picked up the stand at Lowes and checked again...they had some dual 4' T-8 fixtures with reflectors for a good price (closeouts). The ballasts only accomodate 32w (they didn't think T-8's went up to 40w and I couldn't remember) but figure maybe a better buy? Coincidentally, I saw the GE Sunshines in the T-8 size for a good price and wondered! Again thanks and I guess will continue to fine tune...and any suggestions are very much welcomed :-)

    Bookmark   January 11, 2008 at 7:03PM
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Sorry for being so verbose before. The primary question - given the variety of bulbs, I'm not sure what to get. Reading the various posts, my leaning is to a cool white in the ballpark of 3000+K and a decent CRI. In reading the posts and other sites, I'm having a tough time putting together what would be best and am hoping to learn.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2008 at 9:59PM
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I have been using the Philips Cool White Plus 4100K lamps over my seedlings for many years and have no complaints. HD must be stocking a newer model bulb since mine are 2850 lumens, 4100K, 78 CRI, and 20,000 hours.



    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 1:47PM
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tepelus z6a SW MI

I'm curious, for growing seedlings, how important is the Kelvin rating for growing them? I grow aquatic freshwater plants in an aquarium with compact fluorescent bulbs rated at 6700 because it is what is recommended. Is it different for seedlings, or doesn't it matter? BTW, I'm not going to use CF's for starting seeds, I am going with the standard fluorescents.


    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 7:51PM
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First correcting a typo I had above: "cool white in the ballpark of 3000+K" should have read "...of 4000+K."

Rokal, thanks for the advice/input! Lowes has Sylvania cool whites (4100K, 75CRI, 2850 lumens ...going from memory on the exact specs) at a good price which I'll likely buy.

Tepelus, being a novice I'm likely oversimplifying/generalizing what I've read from here and other web sites. If anything has been misstated, I hope folks will clear this up for me (but be gentle *grin*)!

The cool whites (around 4200K) produce a blue spectrum good for plant foliage and seedling growth. The warm whites (around 3200K) have a higher red output which is also used in photosynthesis/growth. The downside of the red spectrum is it can lead to tall, spindly plants. I've read some mention of mixing the two, but sounds like going strictly with cool white is fine.

Lastly, some bulbs have both a standard and a pro/plus variety. The pro or plus are recommended though as someone asked...what makes them pro or plus? Length of life or...?

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 9:14AM
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