Grow Light Setup + Aloe Help

iamcorbinApril 12, 2006

I am completely new to gardening and need some advice with my current setup.

IÂll just describe my current situation:

Last weekend I was at a friendÂs house and they have a pretty large Aloe plant, I decided it would be cool to try and propagate my own plant from the mother. So I split one of the new shoots (the largest of the leaves being about 7 inches, 5 total), I got a very small amount of roots. I decided that keeping it moist would be a good idea (which I now know was a mistake). I wrapped it in wet paper towel around the roots and put it in a ziplock bag. It remained here for over 24 hours until I returned home. After getting home I potted it in regular potting soil with plenty of water (another mistake I now realize). After researching more and learning these mistakes I removed the plant from the pot and let it sit out to dry for 24 hours just sitting on a plate. I then took the plant and repotted it in a mixture 50/50 regular potting soil and sand. It is looking pretty sad now and today I cut off one of the leaves that was getting quite mushy as I didnÂt want the (what I assume is) rot to spread.

I live in the Chicago area and donÂt have any good areas to place the plant near a window. I decided that I wanted to try an indoor artificial lighting setup. I am also interested in attempting to grow some other plants in the same setup. I donÂt have much space to work with as I share a house with 4 other guys and want to have something setup in my room. I found a small shelf that just turned out to be a perfect size at Home Depot. I also found a small 18" fluorescent light fixture and bought a Plant & Aquarium bulb.

Bulb details:

Size: 18"

Light Output: 410 Lumens

Energy Used: 15 Watts

Life: 7500 Hours

Color Temperature: 2700K

I used zip ties to attach the light fixture to the shelf and also put some white paper on the back and sides to emulate the white box setup I have seen others use. So the two things I am wondering is if this plant can be saved after the abuse I put it through and any tips to help it. Also, will my setup provide enough light for this plant? Or any other plants? Improvement suggestions would be appreciated.

The leaves are all drooping now, when I got it they were all close together and standing almost straight up.

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shrubs_n_bulbs(z8/9 UK)

Your Aloe looks to me like it will survive, but I think you're going to lose those large old leaves. Don't even try to save them by watering, the poor thing can't take up much water until it grows some more roots. I don't think your soil mix is ideal. Contrary to popular opinion, sand is terrible for drainage in a pot. 50/50 soil and grit is what you need. Or perlite, but grit is good for aloes because it is heavy and holds the large plant in place.

You don't have enough lights. Not for the aloe anyway. The cactus you have there (does it have one of those fake flowers on it?) actually prefers not to be in the sun and should do well under lights, but the aloe will never give its best without really intense light. Two or four times as much as your 15W tube.

The other problem with that aloe is that it is going to be huge, probably about a foot tall and wide by the end of this summer and ... well, you've seen the parent!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2006 at 10:08AM
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I wasn't planning on watering for quite a while as I have already over watered it so much, because of this should I even worry about repoting in a different soil mix at this point? I was planning on waiting for some substantial growth before watering (is this the correct thing to do?).

Regarding the lights, the light I have fits on the shelf pretty perfectly but doesn't leave room to mount a 2nd (at least not both mounted to the bottom of the top shelf like that). How critical is adding a 2nd? Or are there any other 18" bulbs that would be more powerful that would allow me to get away with a single one.

The cactus I have there was a present a while ago and it has just been sitting in the corner until now. The flowers on it were attached before (don't know if they were real or fake), but fell off. I was thinking about repotting this as it looks like it has potential for more growth (it was just a cheap cactus from Meijer and looks crowded in the small pot and has looked that way since I got it). Would repotting be beneficial?

I understand that the plant will get much larger and plan on repoting in a larger pot at that point and also getting a different setup for it. Like I mentioned though, I was planning on growing some other plants as well (havn't decided what yet) in this same setup. Would I need more lights for most plants I might grow in this setup? ( I know it depends on the plant, but generally speaking...)

Lots of questions, thanks for the help.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2006 at 1:06AM
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Well this is what I just came back from vacation to:

I doubt there is any hope left for this plant, am I wrong?

    Bookmark   April 17, 2006 at 8:43PM
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shrubs_n_bulbs(z8/9 UK)

The central leaf is out of focus, that is the only one that counts. If it is healthy then the plant will live. If it is shrivelled then it will probably die.

The fake cactus flower is a cheap marketing gimmic. You are lucky it fell off, sometimes they are glued on so tight you damage the cactus getting them off. The pot looks a little small but not desperate. You can repot if you like.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2006 at 10:21AM
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bluejean(z6 OH)

Sorry I didn't see this before... have you tried the Cactus forum? I bet they can give you more specific help realting to cacti..

Here is a link that might be useful: Click here: Cacti Forum

    Bookmark   May 9, 2006 at 9:42AM
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