Growing canopy inside my garage, have some questions.

newgen(9 Central California)November 25, 2009

I'm building a 6' x 6' x 8' frame to house several plumerias (among other plants) to thrive during the cold months. I'm looking for a 1000-watt metal halide to provide lighting and heat, probably 12 hours/day. I'd appreciate any advice to the following questions:

[1] What to use for coverage? I've narrowed it down to either mylar or the reflective insulation sheeting at Home Depot. I'm thinking that the insulation material is better, since it keeps in the heat as well as reflecting the light, whereas the mylar is mainly to reflect light. Am I right?

[2] Is it a good idea to leave the top (where the lights will be hung) uncovered, for ventilation, or will that be wasting my heat?

[3] Should the plumerias be on the concrete floor, or on a table?

[4] A fan will also be used to provide air circulation, I'm not sure how many hours to have it on, or if it should be on at the same time as the light.

[5] Where do you guys get your lights? The cheapest 1000W MH I found is about $270 at hydrowarehouse, but shipping is at least $90, so I'm looking for some alternatives.

Thank you,

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(2) & (4) I would put a small, ~6", hole with a duct fan blowing OUT on or near the reflective ceiling and put small air entry openings at the bottom. Since you are in California, I don't think that you need much heat. If it is too cold, you can always reverse the direction of the fan. You can connect the fan to a thermostat. Also, I would put the ballast outside.

(5) Get a special MH with extra far red light such as
Eye Hortilux Blue. Otherwise, you should add an extra far red light source.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2009 at 11:39AM
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FWIW, far-red light, if not in the correct ratio to red light, encourages legginess. Most studies suggest you want a 98:100 or 99:100 ratio of R/FR.


    Bookmark   November 27, 2009 at 10:20PM
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FWIW, far-red light, if not in the correct ratio to red light, encourages legginess. Most studies suggest you want a 98:100 or 99:100 ratio of R/FR.

True, but the reason for adding far red light is to increase photosynthesis via the Emerson Enhancement Effect. The wavelengths for peak reactions of this phenomenon and your aforementioned phenomenon do not exactly coincide. There is some evidence that the Emerson Enhancement Effect, or something like it, strongly interacts between opposite ends of the spectrum. On the far red end, it has not been established how far out into infra-red region the effect extends, but I would guess at least 800 nm. At the other end of the spectrum, almost all MH bulbs are very unusual compared to other light sources in that they have a relatively large amount of violet to near ultraviolet light. I believe that is why the Emerson Enhancement Effect (or something like it) is unusually pronounced with MH.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2009 at 12:05PM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

You do know that many types of plumerias are not "Evergreen"?? They will slow down or stop growing for various lengths of times . In most marginal climates this corresponds with cool temps.
Really the only think you need to protect them from is
hard freeze. I learned this on a trip to Costa Rica and noticed several dormant ones . Record low was 58 lol.
Besides they grow MUCH better after a rest. gary

    Bookmark   December 14, 2009 at 6:31AM
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Dormancy is largely an option for plumerias. It is an adaption by them in dry climates. In wet climates, say in Singapore, they bloom all year around. You can see this also in the rubras(variety that can go dormant) that are under street lights in the tropics. They keep their leaves and flower, as long as the heat and water are right.

I have kept my "dormant" plumerias growing thru the winters now for 15 years. They bloom, and are actually stronger for not having to go dormant.

You will notice that most of the problems happen when they are dormant-black tip, root rot. Active growing keeps these issues at bay-esp on Singapores(evergreens) and especially in the colder climates.

The best luck I have had with 1000 watt MH is with the Agrosun. I have not tried the blue bulb yet($$$) but would love to see if it makes that kind of difference.

I would keep the air temp at 70F and have good air circulation.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 12:02PM
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