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Grow Lights???

Posted by Deva33 5... southeast Iowa (My Page) on
Sat, Mar 8, 14 at 13:15

Hello all,

I live in a small 2 bedroom apartment and do not have a south facing window. The best I have is a SE window, but the next apartment building is about 10 feet away, so I don't get as much full sunlight as my succulents would like. Therefore, I am considering a grow light. I also want to try to grow tomatoes and herbs so I think I will need a grow light for that. Has anyone had luck with grow lights? Even if its just to supplement the indirect sunlight.

Thanks,
Deva


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Grow Lights???

  • Posted by avil none (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 9, 14 at 1:12

This is not an official grow light but it is an easy and quick fix for small plants like succulents.

They are $8 at HomeDepot and it's a full 200 watts at 6500k. It's a big bulb at 5 inches but it should fit in any lamp fixture or reflector.

CFL bulb - very little heat.

Not perfect but a quick $8 fix.


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RE: Grow Lights???

  • Posted by Deva33 5... southeast Iowa (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 9, 14 at 17:14

cool. Thanks for the tip!


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RE: Grow Lights???

I used some light for my succulents this winter. Still in a south facing window but with a little added light and it definitely made a difference. Plants growing up instead of toward the window and more compact. Still not the sun but it definitely helped. The lights can be obtained cheaply like the suggestion above. You really don't need anything more advanced than some kind of regular fluorescent fixture "shop lights" which you can get at any big box store or hardware place.


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RE: Grow Lights???

I have only NE or SW facing windows. I want to get some grow lights for a table. It has to be white suspending by chain or a stand alone. However, I can't find one in 24" 4 bulb or 36". I also don't know what wattages I need. Some say 20 watts. Then the T-5's are all in black. Does anyone have a good source? Thanks for your help!


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RE: Grow Lights???

I bought this one for work. I sit in an office that gets no natural light, seems to work ok for 3.99

I want to try this one for 19.99.

I'll prob try the $8 Home Depot bulb first, see how that works out. Thx for the tip avil. :)

Here's a link at lamps plus that has other options.

This post was edited by chicagardens on Sat, May 10, 14 at 9:00


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RE: Grow Lights???

Thanks but I have 45 succulents on a 36" table. Do you think one bulb will do all of that?


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RE: Grow Lights???

I used to have a 48" T8 shop lights on my tank, I upgraded to leds so Im using one fixture for my suc and cacti. My aloes have gone red. So yea, a light fixture will go along way but honestly I dont have much experience. It was my first time using the fixture and it was during winter when plants dont grow much or at all.


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RE: Grow Lights???

NameTaken, Are you saying I can cover all 45 succulents on one bulb? or that I need the 48" fixture for as many as I have?


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RE: Grow Lights???

  • Posted by Deva33 5... southeast Iowa (My Page) on
    Wed, Oct 15, 14 at 13:36

I believe this is the time of year we start questioning grow lights (at least I do!). So, I thought I would bring this thread back to life with some additional info I've found.

Check out this link...
http://www.bhg.com/gardening/houseplants/care/choosing-plant-grow-lights/

Also, I bought this thing last year. It helped quite a bit. I am currently debating if I should buy another of these to get my plants through the winter or something bigger. Still havent decided.

http://www.amazon.com/Hydrofarm-FLCDG125D-Fluorowing-Compact-Fluorescent/dp/B001UV6P9I/ref=sr_1_4?s=lawn-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1413394500&sr=1-4&keywords=hydrofarm+grow+light


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RE: Grow Lights???

  • Posted by rina_ 5a Ont (My Page) on
    Wed, Oct 15, 14 at 16:38

This window is touch over 5' wide. Upper shelve is 8' long, lower 6' (that's what I had). I have 4' fixtures, lower ones are overlapping since the shelve is shorter. I am planning to add more - to double up.
I have also couple of old shop light fixtures that take 2 fluorescent bulbs + 2 regular light bulbs.I use CFL bulbs like avil pictured. I think they are better than regular bulbs - they cost more, but last much longer, are much more efficient and produce more light (high lumens) without heat. You need to have them on for most of the day, so that is important, I think.

I am not sure about tomatoes. They will grow, but would they produce?
Rina


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RE: Grow Lights???

This is my setup for the winter. So far so good. I'm using T5/6500K bulbs. These are 92" long fixtures with six bulbs in each. I have three units and have another unit that I think I may use for more plants.


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RE: Grow Lights???

Nice! Plant heaven


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RE: Grow Lights???

  • Posted by Deva33 5... southeast Iowa (My Page) on
    Thu, Oct 16, 14 at 16:28

those are some wonderful set ups you two! I live in a rental apartment so I do not have the space for what you have there bikerdoc, but Rina's set up might be possible!

I have most my plants on a five tier shelf right now. I was thinking of making some sort of contraption to attach the light to the top of that shelf and just rotating the plants. But I also have two large containers of herbs to figure out. I am thinking about some kind of set up like yours bikerdoc, but on a much smaller scale. I would just use my outdoor glass table that is about 2'x4'. I think all my pants could fit on there and do well. I just need to find the money for the lights!

Do yall think that standard shop lights would be sufficient if I'm on a budget? or should I find a way for one of those set ups I can find on amazon. its about $60-70.


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RE: Grow Lights???

standard shop lengths are all that is needed .. with standard bulbs ... cheap is the way to go ... i dont think many people can argue any benefit from going all fancy.. short of a professional setup ...

the KEY IS ... how close the lights are to the lights source .. aka light intensity ...

one the two pix above.. note how the lower is all one size plant.. allowing the lights to be very close.. and note he has 6 LIGHTS.... and that level of INTENSITY ... is why his plants thrive ... and probably why he collects plants of one shape and size .. lol ..

the latter above ... is dealing with a few tall plants ... but note the lower shelf is more consistent in height.. and has the lights much lower ... just an observation.. is it works.. it works ...

info on working under lights.. is NOT specific to cacti ... see link for a hosta guys journey ...

in your set up.. you have to EITHER... make the lights adjustable up or down.. or the shelves adjustable.. to insure the best intensity you can get ...

this experiment.. does not have to cost a lot of money.. and dont waste such.. on fancy bulbs ... IMHO ...

if after a low investment... you want to upgrade ... then do it... but dont start with a heavy investment ...

ken

ps: yes.. timer.. min.. 16 hours on.. 8 off .. and if your cheap timer has two on/off cycles ... have the lights flick on/ff in the middle of the long off cycle.. some claim it confuses the plants into thinking the lights are on 24 hours ...

pps: your basic shop light at this link is $15 ... you should need NOTHING more than this ... unless your shelf is so wide.. you need to hang two :

http://www.lowes.com/ProductDisplay?partNumber=420866-43921-MXL-102&langId=-1&storeId=10151&productId=4013483&catalogId=10051&cmRelshp=req&rel=nofollow&cId=PDIO1

Here is a link that might be useful: link


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RE: Grow Lights???

  • Posted by Deva33 5... southeast Iowa (My Page) on
    Thu, Oct 16, 14 at 17:11

Thanks Ken! That is very useful information! I have to run to class so I cant read that link right now but I will get to it ASAP.

this might be a little preemptive but... I have read a bit about T5 bulbs. Are those just reguar bulbs are something special. Do you know if they fit into these stardard shop light fixtures?

I think I will set it up with hooks in the ceiling and a chain link to adjust height. Although I would really like to find something that could hold the light without putting holes in my ceiling. Anyone have a solution to that? I was thinking of walking around Lowes and being creative. :-)


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RE: Grow Lights???

  • Posted by rina_ 5a Ont (My Page) on
    Thu, Oct 16, 14 at 17:52

Shop lights are enough. Get as many bulbs as will fit your shelve.
Timer - definitely. I have it set up to turn off for few hours around noon, but on gloomy days leave on for approx. 14hrs (16 is better...)
You may try to use mirror to reflect more light. I have 2 large mirrors (from closet sliding doors) on the basement wall, with shelves in front of them. You could see it if you look really hard at the photo below (the ornamental peppers are there only until I collect seeds...) - not very good photo, but it may give you idea.
You could used different reflective surfaces (even tin foil - but depending where it is it may look weird...) I am just about to spray paint inside of the old shop light with shiny silver paint - it's bit rusty anyway, but will do very well for the bsmt.

And before spending any $$$, try freecycle (if you have it where you live), or craiglist/kijiji. You could get something very inexpensive, even free (like my shoplights, and the wire shelves).

Rina


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RE: Grow Lights???

First, fluorescent bulbs come in many flavors; cool white, soft white, warm white etc. If you search, you will find a better way is to look at the "temperature" of the light. I am using bulbs rated at 6500K or "daylight". The first bulbs were T 12. These bulbs are your typical "shop lights" with a wide connection pin and available in various flavors. Then the T 8's came out that have wide pin but are more efficient. Now you can purchase T 5's that are very slim and have a very narrow pin connection. T 5's can be purchased online (http://www.amazon.com/25-Case-Output-Phosphors-Plusrite/dp/B00CNI6YQ6) in bulk (25 bulbs) for about #3.00/bulb.

The reason my fixtures have six lights is because they are commercial fixtures from a warehouse that I am re-purposing. Any standard fluorescent fixture will work... as said earlier cheap works!!!!!! N.B.: Make sure the fixture you purchase has a ballast to accommodate the lights you will use.

Not all of the plants pictured are the same size, even thought they "look" the same. I have purposely arranged the taller plants on the back table and at one end and angled the lights to accommodate height changes. Currently, I am using a 12 hour on/off period with the lights about 8" ~ 10" from the plants. This is the first year I've grown under lights, so this is a learning experience for me.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fluorescent light comparison

This post was edited by bikerdoc5968 on Thu, Oct 16, 14 at 20:43


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RE: Grow Lights???

Very nice to hear so many people doing this. Love those pics above. This year I will have a t8 and a t5ho. This year light isnt an issue for me but space. All my s&c will go from the balcony to my room. Im very worried as they might not fit in. The plant size also vary so I wont be able to keep the fixure an inch from the plants like last year. I would still like to know how much light is enough, maybe a t8 5" above most succulents is enough and anything closer is overkill. In aquatics we use PAR. For non aquatic, Im not sure, its candles or something. Do you guys measure the intensity with instruments or just assume? Last year my plants went red under the t8, more so than when they were outside. I thought I was actually stressing and killing them with too much light (no sun burns though).


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RE: Grow Lights???

bikerdoc5968
6500K is too-too narrow a range. Add bulb with 2700K. Cool white light does not give the plants to stretch.
Use better LED, special for plants.


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RE: Grow Lights???

My special plant LED, hand made )
Oksana.


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RE: Grow Lights???

  • Posted by rina_ 5a Ont (My Page) on
    Thu, Oct 16, 14 at 21:28

I am no expert in this at all!
I don't measure anything, just figured that lots of light is better than little :-) I am not sure that there could be too much light for the succulents in our location - heat yes (hot bulb close to plant), but not light. As long as they get some sleep too.
Most of the succulent still get etiolated during long winters.
Are you asking about measuring the amount of light? - I believe it's Iumens, (as per wiki: The lumen (symbol: lm) is the SI derived unit of luminous flux, a measure of the total "amount" of visible light emitted by a source.) or candles.

Fluorescent lightbulbs don't emit as much heat so they can be much closer to plants (I did burn echeveria last year with a CFL only about 1.5" away from the plant)
My flouroscents are as close as 2.5" to top of most of the succulents.

Which plants turned red for you because of the lights?

Rina

edited to add photo:
just measured top of haworthia from fluorescent bulb - 1.25"

This post was edited by rina_ on Thu, Oct 16, 14 at 21:33


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RE: Grow Lights???

Lumens per bulb are also something to concider Wattage per bulb (heat) is also the amount of energy they use per hour to displace the heat.

Regardless of what bulb you choose any bulb at any wattage has to circulate as well, heat in mentioned (close) distance or inclosed area will damage a plant and/ or it's foliage in less time than the max suggested 16 hours.


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Too much light can inhibit the growth of plants. CFL are not too bright.
Oksana.


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RE: Grow Lights???

Something I learned from Oks2n2's post is contained in the article listed below. I found it to be an interesting read. Something else I learned is that the type of reflective material can make a difference in the efficiency of your system. Most fluorescent fixtures are semi-gloss or gloss white and this is NOT the most efficient material!

Reflector Materials

Material % Light Reflected
Reflective Mylar 90-95
White Paint 85-93
Semi-gloss 75-80
Flat yellow 70-80
Aluminum foil 70-75
Black Less than 10

So maybe I will be adding some warm white tubes to my system. I want to keep plants compact and don't want flowering.... the Experiment continues!!! What a great learning thread... I feel I'm back in college... well, sometimes I wish I was!!!!

Here is a link that might be useful: Growing Plants Indoors Under Lights


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RE: Grow Lights???

bikerdoc5968
last century.
Do you have no LEDs?


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I do not, because they are much more costly to purchase and replace than what I have. My setup will work just as well for my purposes, since I will only be growing under lights in the winter months. Both the tubes and fixtures were free, and for $65.00 I can get 25 more tubes! I appreciate LED's last a very long time and have other advantages, but from what I've read, you have to replace the entire setup, not just a bulb or light or diode.


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RE: Grow Lights???

bikerdoc5968
are LEDs much more costly?
but they consume much less energy and are more durable than CFL.
My LEDs costed 65$
But my fixtures have an overall length of 80 "

This post was edited by Oks2n2 on Fri, Oct 17, 14 at 15:09


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RE: Grow Lights???

I would stay away from the Utilitech shop lights that ken_adrian linked to. I bought one recently, but ended up taking it back because, as far as I could tell, there is no warranty on it. Nothing listed on the box. Nothing listed online. So basically, you would only be covered by Lowes' return policy (90 days, I believe). I payed a little more for the equivalent from Home Depot since it at least has a 1 year warranty on it.

Also, stay away from the cheap Lights of America shop lights at Walmart. They are absolute junk. I bought three of them. One died in a couple of weeks. Another lasted a little over a month. The third lasted just past Walmart's return period, so I was stuck with it. They have a warranty, but you have to ship it to them, which would cost more than the light is worth. I guess the same would probably be true of the one I got from Home Depot though. Time will tell...

I can recommend the HydroFarm Jump Start Grow Light (http://www.amazon.com/Hydrofarm-JSV4-4-Foot-Start-System/dp/B0001XLSGQ). I've been using one for a little over a year and it is still going strong.


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RE: Grow Lights???

my LEDs have 5 year warranty according to documents.

But producer, who is also the seller, guarantees trouble-free operation for 10 years
http://alled.ru/

This post was edited by Oks2n2 on Fri, Oct 17, 14 at 15:23


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RE: Grow Lights???

LEDs cost more and are not that much less of electric hogs. I think the top LED make is CREE, 1W, 2W and 3W, if I got that right. People make led fixtures with these. I made mine on buildmyled for my aquarium. It was almost $300, I have attached a pic of my custom made fixture. You can get hundreds of leds from ebay in rolls, but those are cheap (quality and price) and have no oomph to grow anything.


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RE: Grow Lights???

In Russia we are probably long gone this stage of the discussions. I just wanted to warn against our mistakes. T5 and T8 have used since the last century and now we change them on the LEDs gradually. CFLs are much worse tubular fluorescent lamps T5 and T8.
NameTaken,
not only Cree. I don't recommend LEDs in rolls. My husband made ​​the fixture of the individual LEDs not Cree.

This post was edited by Oks2n2 on Sat, Oct 18, 14 at 1:39


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RE: Grow Lights???

  • Posted by Deva33 5... southeast Iowa (My Page) on
    Wed, Oct 29, 14 at 21:16

So, I was hoping I would find the cash to purchase the 4' grow light system from Amazon but after getting a ticket for not making a full stop at a stop sign I have given up! SO I had to get creative. I already had one grow light I purchased last year and I'm just going to have to make the best of it. I really wanted to find a way to hang the light without putting holes in the wall or ceiling so I made this stand out of plumbing tubes. It cost me a total of $8.10! Woo hoo! But I do need to go back and get some chain to get the light a bit lower.


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I like it Deva!!!! You just gave me another option!! I NEVER thought about using that PVC pipe!!! Of course I don't have slot of time on my hands lately either lol! That's what I call resourcefulness!!!! ;)


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" But I do need to go back and get some chain to get the light a bit lower."

Short pieces of bent wire coat hanger. Exceedingly frugal.


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That's an awesome idea too grubby me!!!


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Wish I would have read this thread sooner lol, I have bought 5 of the Lights Of America grow lights from Walmart. My echeverias are starting to stretch :( guess i'm going to Lowes today! I have 80 plants in my collection, 2 small upright 4 shelf greenhouses in my basement, back and sides covered with aluminum foil. I'd say a little more than half my collection are echeveria and various other summer growers and the winter growers seem to be doing beautifully. But I am stressing about my lovely Echeverias!


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RE: Grow Lights???

I would stay away from the Utilitech shop lights that ken_adrian linked to. I bought one recently, but ended up taking it back because, as far as I could tell, there is no warranty on it.

==>>> to be clear.. i was not endorsing any given shop lamp ... i simply wanted to show a representative example ...

dev.. good on knowing you have to adjust the height.. but when you lower it down .... the plants on the edges will not be in light .... so.. when budget allows... get a second.. or a longer setup ...

in the meantime.. it gives you a reason to fondle all your plants every day or two ... moving them from center to edges.. so they all get good exposure ...

have fun ...

ken


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RE: Grow Lights???

Deva, What diameter PVC did you use? 3/8", 1/2", etc. I wanted to do this for my 4 bulb, T5 fixture but was worried the PVC would not take the weight. Thanks!!!

Terri


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Lookin good.

Im worried for my aloe. All my other plants are small and manageable, so they are under light. My aloe is 24" across and tall so I cant put it under lights. All the other spaces beside the balcony are taken up by house plants. So Im freaking out on what to do, there just isnt space. The aloe grows year round too, last year I had it under lights and it grew. So I want it to grow during winter as well, so I can repot it during spring. I will try to manage a spot beside the balcony, there is indirect light and maybe 30 min or so of direct, I hope it will be enough. Its right beside the heaters too.


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RE: Grow Lights???

  • Posted by Deva33 5... southeast Iowa (My Page) on
    Thu, Oct 30, 14 at 14:37

hi everyone!

First - I am sorry the picture is upside-down! I posted on my ipad and this forum does not seem to like picture postings from Mac products!

I used 3/4" inch pipes - but for just a few cents more you can go thicker and the thicker you go the more weight it can support. I am already thinking I might do something to give it a little extra support in the middle - or just make it shorter. See how it is bowing? I am concerned it will fall on my plants! It probably wont, but I am a worry wart sometimes.

Thank you for the idea to use wire hangers! I dont have any though. :-( but I assume a little chain cant cost mroe than a few bucks - right?

I am considering purchasing another light - but I dont know when my budget will allow it. So, yes, for now I will have to move them around. I like looking at them and inspecting them for new growth and whatnot. So I dont mind moving them. They are also in front of a window that will provide a little indirect sunlight.

Also, in case anyone is thinking of doing this here is the list of what you will need. I am not totally sure of each pieces real name - so I may edit this later when I get home and look at the recipt.

3, 5' pipes (I used 3/4" but maybe should've gone a little thicker). They were less than $1.50 per pipe and the guy at Lowes cut them for me to the following lengths

4@1.25' (these go on the bottom/base)
2@2.5" (these got vertical)
and 1@4' (the top piece that holds the light)

then the little pieces (they have ends that screw and ends that slip on. I purchased all slip on pieces just for ease)

you need 2 90degree elbows (place one at either end of the 4' pipe, then a 2.5' pipe on either end)
two T shaped attachments (I dont know what these are called - but they will go on the bottom end of each 2.5' pipe, then a 1.25' pipe goes in either end - this provides the support so your stond wont fall over)
I also purchased end caps - they were $.46 and I thought it would look better. but I dont think it matters at all!

I just slipped everything together. I am considering glueing it all together but like the idea of being able to break it down and store it away during the summer.


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RE: Grow Lights???

  • Posted by rina_ 5a Ont (My Page) on
    Thu, Oct 30, 14 at 17:16

Deva

Don't glue them, you would want to take them apart sooner or later. Maybe you can use a wood rod - piece of old curtain rod, or closet rod or something similar for better strenght (again, my favoured freecycle...or purchase from restore or any re-sale store for reasonable price)


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RE: Grow Lights???

Thought I would update my "Growing under lights" experiment. Here are two of the same plant. The one on the left has been under lights since early October, while the other one has been in an east facing window for about the same time. Notice not only the color difference but the leaves on the left plant are growing out not down (somewhat hard to appreciate) as is seen on the right plant.... I guess lights work!!!!! I started with a 12 hour "day" and have been decreasing to about 10 hours.


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Yup, my plants are in the balcony during summer but some dont go as red as when they are right under my t8.


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Blooming my crassula Tom Thumb under bulb with only 6500K at 17/12/2013.


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and same Tom Thumb under plant LED


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RE: Grow Lights???

  • Posted by Deva33 5... southeast Iowa (My Page) on
    Sat, Nov 8, 14 at 0:38

Awesome pics! I especially like that comparison bikerdoc!

I recently purchased a Tom Thumb and I didn't know it would bloom like that. That is awesome. I purchased it without a label & didn't know what it was until that pic. I attached a pic. Is it the same plant?


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And crassula EXILIS ssp. COOPERI


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RE: Grow Lights???

Deva33
most likely. Because Tom Thumb is very prevalent cultivar.


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Tom Thumb is basically a tiny version of String of Buttons. So if your leaves are tiny (less than half of the size of your fingernails) then it should be Tom Thumb


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  • Posted by Deva33 5... southeast Iowa (My Page) on
    Sat, Nov 8, 14 at 13:53

the biggest leaves are about the size of my nail... so maybe its the same? Yours is to tight! Mine must be etiolated. I purchased it for $3 at Walgreens so it wasn't in the best condition. I hope its more like yours soon enough. The new growth is tight.


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