Grow Setup For At The Office?

ShadyStump

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I want to bring a tree two to work. Something to brighten the place up, break up the lines of the boring furniture (one student said we need beanbag chairs and more art on the walls- can't argue) and most importantly give me something pleasant to stare blankly at when things get stressful.

Challenges:
My desk is about as far away from the windows as it gets.
The windows are covered with one-way material so no one can see in (security thing) that cuts the light down allot.
The windows face North.
A fancy lighting system will have all my students thinking I'm growing cannabis, and they'll try to get away with it at school more than they already do.
No will leave the friggin' trees alone. It's a thing, can't fight it.

So, I need ideas for trees that are cheap and easy to care for, a grow set up that looks like office décor and fits on desk, and my total budget maxes out at about $100. If I can make this a thing, I can see about the school giving me a $1000+ to start something for students, but I have to make it a thing first. I've looked into those countertop herb garden type of things, but nothing in my price range that seems like it would adapt well to trees. I was think ficus benjamina or something similar, but I'm not certain.

If any of you have something you've done and want to share I'd love the inspiration, and suggestions are always welcome.
 

Colorado

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There are “grow light” lightbulbs that can screw in to any old lamp.

Get the fancy spectrum lightbulb, screw it into your favorite office lamp, and you should be good to go. 👍🏼

I’d go with ficus microcarpa ‘tiger bark’ or preferred cultivar. Fast and strong grower, will tolerate indoor conditions about as good as any species can tolerate being indoors, and super easy to propagate from cuttings to send home with your students.
 

ShadyStump

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That's actually what I was thinking at the start, but I'd need one for each tree if I had more than one, which is where I got stuck. I'm also hoping to use this as a demonstration to put in for funding for a larger scale setup just for students, and hopefully roll it over into something worth course credit some day. So I guess something scalable was what I was thinking.
That's exactly what I'm doing failing all else, though.

🤔Maybe a shop class type activity some time, and build something with students?🤔
I'll have to check the rules on students and power tools.
 
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PeaceLoveBonsai

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Portulacaria Afra would be another type that should work well.

F7078E0B-F929-4870-BBAB-76BB0995F5F1.jpeg

I did a quick write up about this set up recently and I’m looking to try some others as well.


There’s plenty of bonsai people that will tell you growing trees indoors is sacrilegious, but I say screw it and give it a try.
 

ShadyStump

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The T8 type @Carol 83 uses would be pretty inconspicuous in an office:

View attachment 389016
If we wind up building something, I think this might be the route we take. Thanks!

Portulacaria Afra would be another type that should work well.

View attachment 389017

I did a quick write up about this set up recently and I’m looking to try some others as well.


There’s plenty of bonsai people that will tell you growing trees indoors is sacrilegious, but I say screw it and give it a try.
This really is the thought behind the whole idea.
(BTW, totally unrelated, how are those ThinkPads? Just got word at work they they're phasing out all our old laptops with those. I hear, "meh," on performance, but, "SWEET," on durability.)

However, if you hadn't noticed yet, it was apparently only half a thought before I made the post. LOL
I do love a good brainstorming session, though, so keep throwing ideas out there!
 

hinmo24t

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That's actually what I was thinking at the start, but I'd need one for each tree if I had more than one, which is where I got stuck. I'm also hoping to use this as a demonstration to put in for funding for a larger scale setup just for students, and hopefully roll it over into something worth course credit some day. So I guess something scalable was what I was thinking.
That's exactly what I'm doing failing all else, though.

🤔Maybe a shop class type activity some time, and build something with students?🤔
I'll have to check the rules on students and power tools.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07MV6TFFW/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

they work well, i have two of them
 

ShadyStump

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Came across this from Home Depot. Totally meets the office décor rule, but then that would leave us with putting trees and lights all over the place, here and there. Not a bad idea, just not where I was originally going. Best part, I can pick them up locally this weekend if I wanted to.

But then this might do better with the built in timer, and multiple heads for multiple trees.
 

JackHammer

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Ficus grows well. Sago/ponytail palms, umbrella trees, money trees... basically anything from Wal-Mart or your local big-box. They aren't stupendous for bonsai but they will stay alive.
You could also do succulents. They won't grow much but they probably won't die either.
 

PeaceLoveBonsai

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(BTW, totally unrelated, how are those ThinkPads? Just got word at work they they're phasing out all our old laptops with those. I hear, "meh," on performance, but, "SWEET," on durability.)

Works for me just fine, but I don’t do any heavy computing. As you can see, I have a larger desktop for anything that might need a bit more horsepower.
 

Crawforde

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Toxicodendron often grows in the understory.
if you can keep it going long enough it may have attractive little flowers and berries and and nice bark.
it will probably get left alone too.
or not
But that’s fun too.
 

sorce

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Trust the Science!

I'd hang a LED from the ceiling with fishing line.

Sorce
 

ShadyStump

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Trust the Science!

I'd hang a LED from the ceiling with fishing line.

Sorce
It's a VERY very high ceiling. Like 25-30 feet.

BTW, it was payday, so I decided to stop by the big box garden center on the way home. Ficus benjamina on sale and only three left, so I went for it. Phone doesn't seem to be liking internet right now, so no pics, but asure you it's nothing fancy, though it looks like maybe two in a pot. So maybe I have a backup when I kill the first one. Wouldn't separate them for another month at least, though. Not up for experimenting on something I paid money for.
All I need now is a light. LOL
Until then it lives in my east window. Going to the GOOD garden shop tomorrow, see what they have for lights.
 

Mycin

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resist the urge to get bulbs, they don't offer much coverage. Go for 2-ft fixtures and mount/glue them on the underside of a shelf. I have these in four foot and am very pleased:

 

ShadyStump

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resist the urge to get bulbs, they don't offer much coverage. Go for 2-ft fixtures and mount/glue them on the underside of a shelf. I have these in four foot and am very pleased:

Those are the ones we have at the house! We hung them from the bottoms of the venatian blinds in the back room so we could easily adjust their height, and put all our garden starts on bookshelves by the windowsills. Between the broken sunlight and the grow lights, we had great success.

For in a school, though, I was looking for something a little more nondescript, that wouldn't draw attention, or take up allot of space. At least until I can show I can make this into something I can get the students in on and request that funding.
 

Paradox

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Limit your self to jade plants, ficus, Brazilian rain tree or other tropicals that can be grown indoors.

Make sure you get strong enough lights. Not all "plant lights" are created equal
 

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