Growing in Fluorecent Light

jwrivers

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Hello All!!

I have recently read the article by Jack Wikle "How I ’ve been Growing Bonsai Indoors under Cool White Fluorescent Light" and it was very good. My questions to the anyone that has done this:

1. Are regular 40 watt cool white fluorescent lights ok or should "grow lights", "sunshine" . etc. be used?
2. I have seen 40 watt cool whites with different "lumens"(Light output). Is there a range of lumens or the more the better?
3. Is there anything you can add if you have used indoor lights to grow or start plants.

Hooked on Bonsai!!

John
 
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The article by Jack Wikle is a good reference. Having met Jack and seen his trees, I can say that his results are amazing. I grow my tropicals under cool white fluorescent lights every winter and have had excellent results, even as good as my retusa's fruiting. I buy as high of lums as are available without going to high intensity fixtures and bulbs.

If you are electrically inclined you can buy two fixtures, remove the ballast from one and wire it in series on the other fixture. This will effectively double your light output without the expense of going high intensity. If you are not electrically inclined and need to ask how to do this, please don't ask.

Warning, do not try this at home, electrically shock and/or fire may result from changing the fixture from the manufactors specifications.


Will
 

Rick Moquin

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I have been growing indoors under artificial light for a # of years. I do not use cool white specifically, nor do I use full spectrum either. My set up is two tier, with 2 dble fluorescents per tier. Of which, one cool white, one soft white, one daylight and one full spectrum. The key is the lights need to be on 12-16 hrs a day, 365 days a year ((because of the short summer here, my trops remain indoors all year long) and flourish). The key is to change your bulbs every 6 months, regardless of what the manufacturer says. You will not believe the difference in luminescense. I no longer have the article, nor the link (went to the computer cosmos) with reference to the different type of bulbs. You do not need "full spectrum" as certa8in trees need more blue (cool white) while others need red (soft white) etc.. The 4 different types of bulbs is afactor in a good inddor set up, what the key factor is: leaving them on for 12-16 hrs a day. BTW it cost me $13/month to keep my trops healthy. I spend more in a week on coffee.
 

jwrivers

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Thanks to you both for you knowledge.

Is it possible to get photos of your set up.

A picture to me is worth a thousand words.
 

Simon

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This is the set up I had for the winter 2005/2006.

Is it possible to get photos of your set up.




...







 

Rick Moquin

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Simon,

Welcome to the site. How about posting th einfo on the different light spectrums and what they do. I no longer have it and as you know it went lalalala with the old site.
 

jwrivers

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WOW!!

Thanks for the pics. That was quick!! Are there anymore great setups out there?
 

Rick Moquin

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Simon,

I didn't realize you also had an MH setup, you little bugger, keeping secrets are we :)
 

Boondock

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I don't have any indoor bonsai, I do have a some orchids.

My set-up is 3 shop-lights, each holding 2, 48 inch T-8 bulbs. Thats a total of 6 bulbs. Home Depot has 4ft shop lights for about 8 dollars each. T-8 bulbs are the way to go because they are more efficient generating more LUMENS PER WATT.

If you are serious about indoor gardening, then HID (high intensity discharge) are the way to go. MH (metal halide) for the blue end of the spectrum, and HPS (high pressure sodium) for the red side. The down side is heat buildup and ventilation required to control it.

The new HO (high output) fluorescent lights T-5 produce huge amounts of lumens, but they are sorta pricey.

A mix of soft white, and day light bulbs is important. The target kelvin range should be around 2700 and 6500. So a mix of bulbs in those kelvin temperature is what is needed.

Plants do not use the entire spectrum. They reflect light in the 3000 - 5000, thats why they appear green in our eyes.

As much as I do not like "gardenweb" forums, they do have a forum called "Growing Under Lights" and there are some very knowledgeable people who share information there.

here is a chart showing the activity of chlorophyll and how they use the light spectrum. And a picture showing my lights.
 

Simon

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MH (metal halide) for the blue end of the spectrum

MH Bulb are also available the the Red end of the spectrum.
The one I got are in the middle. see "Sunmaster Warm Deluxe"

The down side is heat buildup and ventilation required to control it.
expensive to buy and consume more energy than fluorescent tube…

I did not try this yet but may get one for this winter :maxlite, HIGHMAX 80W, 5000°K
 

Bonsai Nut

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expensive to buy and consume more energy than fluorescent tube…


While I won't argue with the "expensive to buy" statement, HID lights are considerably more efficient to operate than flourescent tubes (lumens generated per watt of electricity used). You could grow a black pine indoors under a 175 watt metal halide fixture - something you could never do with 4 x 40 watt flourescent bulbs. Also, as others have mentioned, you not only have to consider the output of the bulb, but the spectral intensity of the light generated - how closely the bulb produces the wavelengths necessary for photosynthesis.

There are a LARGE number of hydroponic sites on the Internet that deal with artificial lighting and indoor plant propogation. Here are a few that have a wide selection of lighting options:

Hydroponics.net

Hydrofarm

Plantlighting.com

Discount Hydroponics

If you want to go really insane - try to follow the lighting tecchnology necessary to keep coral reefs alive in captivity. Tropical intensity lighting with very specific spectral requirements. Yet, with the advent of HID lighting systems, not all that difficult today.
 

BigBill

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I have extensive lighting knowledge for salt water reef aquarium. depending on the type of coral you can dropped over $1000 for the lights for one tank... Other than heat buildup MH is the way to go. As of yet I have no indoor bonsai.
 

Boondock

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you guys are correct. When I was doing researching into lighting, my searches frequently lead me to salt water aquarium sites and forums. I registered with 4 of them just to be able to see the photos... and all I can say is WOW !
 

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