Growing Under Lights - Cacti & Succulents

RamAlaRagJuly 30, 2014

Hi all,

I am new to the forum and new to growing succulents and cacti. My past experience with growing plants as a hobby is mainly gardening, seed starting, vegetables, etc. In a green house. However, I am moving, and I will no longer have the green house, and I am figuring out a grow light set up for my 40 cacti and succulents (Most are small plants, I started with about 15-20, and did some propagating.)

So, my question to all of you. I have done a little research, and I have been pointed toward using a 400w MH setup, such as this:

However, I think in order to be efficient with this kind of a set up, I would build a 4'x4' table, which isn't really the best space wise. (Apartment).

I was originally thinking of using something like this:
Then hanging T5 fluorescents above each shelf. The top shelf would be reserved for the taller cacti.

I wont have much for supplemental natural light. So, they need to be able to grow off of lights alone. Should I go with the MH/HPS (Thinking MH mostly for general growth) set up? Or can I go with fluorescents? Or fluorescents/MH mix? I am a college student, and funds are slightly snug, so buying one MH setup for each shelf would be costly.

Sorry for the long read, thank you all in advance!

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How about this:

4' x 18" metal wire shelving

You can hang at least two and possibly 3 2-bulb fluorescent light fixtures off each shelf, for 4 to 6 bulbs per shelf. Maybe even 8 - Home Depot used to carry a 4.25" wide 2-bulb T-8 fixture for around $15. I'm not sure if they still carry it since I think it is the one that was recalled this past spring. If you can still get those, you MIGHT be able to get 4 of those per shelf - it's a total of 17" in width, that should just barely fit between the posts.

They have another fixture for about the same price but I'm not sure how wide it is.

I have cheap Lights of America fixtures from Valdemart. They are 7" wide so 2 of those will fit. Lowe's carries a 2-bulb T8 fixture for around ummmm ... I think it's $18 or so. It is 5.5" wide, so only 3 of those will fit.

Yes, I am talking about T8 fixtures here. Yes, they're not as glow-y as T5s. But they are much cheaper, and you can overdrive them very easily (if you make sure to get something with a ballast in them that CAN be overdriven). That means avoiding anything that has a magnetic ballast, like the ultra cheap $12 T-12 2-bulb fixtures both HD and Lowe's are selling these days.

Google "Overdriving T8 fluorescents" for details, or I can post some links I have.

T8s are just tons cheaper than T5s so even if you have to cram more of them in there you'd still come out ahead. Especially if you take the leap into overdriving.

Home Despot also has a 48"x18" shelf unit available, it has an extra shelf (6 to Lowe's 5) but it costs more:

Home Despot's 6 shelf 48" wide 18" deep shelving unit

The extra shelf could come in handy.

I know they're narrower by 6", but they're wider by a foot so ... for whatever that's worth. The space I have is only 21" deep so that's my limit. I can put 2 standard size flats next to each other on these shelves and they'll hang over by about an inch on each side. You can fit 4 standard flats on each 48x18 shelf whether you put them along or across the shelves. Seems to me a 21" to 22" width would be ideal for growers, but that's not how they make 'em.

If you can afford the T5s, by all means, go for it. But T8s in overdrive will get you there too.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2014 at 4:27AM
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