Indoor lighting questions!

Cattwooduk

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Looking for a bit of advice regrading indoor lighting as I have never looked into it until now. I'm not looking to create a typical grow-bed kind of setup.

I had a 5' ficus tree in a pot behind my TV in the living room, raised up slightly so most of the tree was visible and it almost reached the ceiling. It's in an alcove between the wall and chimney breast and the room adjoins the conservatory. It was fine and grew nice and bushy over the summer as lots of light comes through from the conservatory, but going into autumn started to drop leaves and it basically wasn't worth saving as I've had bigger things on my plate to deal with so neglected it completely. The inner portion lost all it's leaves and the outer grew very spindly looking for light. It won't back bud on this cultivar so it's now in the bin as it just became a complete mess...

Anyway I want to replace it as it filled the space nicely when it was healthy, possibly another ficus, maybe something like a Ming Aralia, haven't decided yet until I get the light situation sorted.

So, I want to fix up some lights to nurse the new plant through winters, but also have it look aesthetically pleasing. I'm thinking either a wall mounted light fixing with a single LED bulb right in the top right corner shining down on the plant, however I'm not sure if one bulb would provide enough light? Is there a bulb that might be suitable, maybe a higher Watt LED one? I'm assuming that a single bulb in the corner might not be close enough? It doesn't need to keep the plant rocketing along, just healthy enough to get through 3-4 months of winter in it's alcove.

Alternatively I was thinking of a panel (or 2) but mounted vertically on the side of the chimney breast on the right hand side - this way they would be a bit more out of sight as I don't really want a panel hanging from the ceiling in the corner of my living room. The panels would be about 18" from the plant. Obviously I can just easily rotate the plant every couple of days to keep it balanced.

Would either of these options work at all? How hot to the backs of these kinds of panels get? Would there be any issues fixing it to the side of the chimney breast in terms of both heat generated, and actually providing adequate light to the plant?

Looking at something like this

or this

I'm also not sure whether it's better to go for a full spectrum or blue/red style light?

This is the alcove I'm hoping to put a replacement tree in.

Any help appreciated!
PXL_20210105_235239893.jpg
 

hinmo24t

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Looking for a bit of advice regrading indoor lighting as I have never looked into it until now. I'm not looking to create a typical grow-bed kind of setup.

I had a 5' ficus tree in a pot behind my TV in the living room, raised up slightly so most of the tree was visible and it almost reached the ceiling. It's in an alcove between the wall and chimney breast and the room adjoins the conservatory. It was fine and grew nice and bushy over the summer as lots of light comes through from the conservatory, but going into autumn started to drop leaves and it basically wasn't worth saving as I've had bigger things on my plate to deal with so neglected it completely. The inner portion lost all it's leaves and the outer grew very spindly looking for light. It won't back bud on this cultivar so it's now in the bin as it just became a complete mess...

Anyway I want to replace it as it filled the space nicely when it was healthy, possibly another ficus, maybe something like a Ming Aralia, haven't decided yet until I get the light situation sorted.

So, I want to fix up some lights to nurse the new plant through winters, but also have it look aesthetically pleasing. I'm thinking either a wall mounted light fixing with a single LED bulb right in the top right corner shining down on the plant, however I'm not sure if one bulb would provide enough light? Is there a bulb that might be suitable, maybe a higher Watt LED one? I'm assuming that a single bulb in the corner might not be close enough? It doesn't need to keep the plant rocketing along, just healthy enough to get through 3-4 months of winter in it's alcove.

Alternatively I was thinking of a panel (or 2) but mounted vertically on the side of the chimney breast on the right hand side - this way they would be a bit more out of sight as I don't really want a panel hanging from the ceiling in the corner of my living room. The panels would be about 18" from the plant. Obviously I can just easily rotate the plant every couple of days to keep it balanced.

Would either of these options work at all? How hot to the backs of these kinds of panels get? Would there be any issues fixing it to the side of the chimney breast in terms of both heat generated, and actually providing adequate light to the plant?

Looking at something like this

or this

I'm also not sure whether it's better to go for a full spectrum or blue/red style light?

This is the alcove I'm hoping to put a replacement tree in.

Any help appreciated!
View attachment 347952
Monstera deliciosa is my vote. They do well in medium light, wont even need grow lights most likely and will fill all that out nicely
 

Carol 83

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You don't want the red/blue lights in a living area, especially by the TV. I switched to the white lights this year. Easier on the eyes and my plants are doing better with them.
 

Harunobu

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You want to light up just one plant? In that case, you only need to illuminate a very small area.

If you can add 200 micromoles per second per meter squared of photosynthetically active photons, then that will be a very good level of light for a ficus.
I also recommend a full spectrum white light LED. Either 3000k to 5000k in light temperature.

I would strongly advice you to buy only lights that give values for how much micromoles of photons they put out. That way, you know how much light you are buying. And with that, you know how much you are paying for the cost of the panel and the electricity for the amount of photons you are getting.

I don't know of many tiny lights that are efficient and cheap. And that have their light output measured independently. Usually, the good lights are made for at least one cannabis plant.

The technology in the LED panel you list looks dated by about 4 to 5 years. The best designs nowadays are aluminum plates with LEDs fitted underneath. This is the kind of minimalist 'quantum board' approach that may look cheap compared to this thicker plastic housing. But the new designs are superior. Likely also because they have better more efficient LEDs. But not sure if there is such a design out there that is efficent, in the 1.8 to 2.0 micromoles per joule range. But that is what you should try to find. The lowest wattage good LED panel that comes to my mind is the ViparSpectra P1000 100W. But that one gives out almost 800 micromoles per second. But if you just want to illuminate just one plant, say you want to cover at least 20 by 20cm with 300 micromoles per second per square meter, then you only need 12 micromoles per second total. You don't need those 800. That's for when you have a 60cm by 60cm where you want to grow cannabis plants at 400 to 600 micromoles per second per 2m.
That said, this model is dimmable, though.

Your best option may be to buy a normal all purpose white LED bulb with an E27 fitting, and put it exactly on top of the plant (and facing towards the wall as well). Not a panel intended for properly illuminating such a cannabis growing space.
If such an LED is 15 watt and has an efficiency of 1 micromole per joule, and you waste 50% of the light. And say the size of your plant is 10cm by 10cm. Then your plant gets to grow at 750 micromoles per second per m2. (which is way too high). I would say a 5 to 7 watt LED right on top of the plant so only 50% of the light gets wasted (because it does not hit the 10cm by 10cm plant area) would be a good value.

Note, the light you are listing claims to be 1.5 or so micromoles per joules in efficiency. That is pretty good if accurate. And the light levels it gives for a 45 by 45cm and 60 by 60 cm area are pretty much the values you'd want for growing a shade loving indoor plant (though you could check the literature on what people say on ficus, might be an ideal value out there somewhere).

But, you want it in your living room? It will be a big light. It will be alloying for sure. Think about how bright daylight is compared to indoors at night when you watch tv? People who want to boost their house plants with lights inside almost always set it so it is only on when they are not there, at work, or asleep. It would be absolutely terrible to put 50watts of blurple lights in that alcove behind your tv, while watching tv in the evening.
 
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sorce

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What up Feller!?

I don't think light was the ultimate problem.

I feel like heat and not enough water may be.

Sorce
 

Mycin

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I have two similar bulbs and I can’t recommend them. They don’t provide much coverage compared to a light fixture (rows of LEDs).

I have these lights and am very happy with their value. I’m satisfied with the growth im getting although I do not know the PAR:

 

Carol 83

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I have two similar bulbs and I can’t recommend them. They don’t provide much coverage compared to a light fixture (rows of LEDs).

I have these lights and am very happy with their value. I’m satisfied with the growth im getting although I do not know the PAR:

Those are the same ones I have. I'm very pleased with the growth I get with them.
 
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hlg has some nice quality materials.
 

BiscoDrew

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Any thoughts on mercury vapor? I'm trying to figure out how close is TOO close to my plants. (80W ZooMed Basking Lightsx2 for a space roughly 3 feet by 2 feet.
 

Paradox

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Any thoughts on mercury vapor? I'm trying to figure out how close is TOO close to my plants. (80W ZooMed Basking Lightsx2 for a space roughly 3 feet by 2 feet.

Very hot, would not recommend

I use full spectrum florescent bulbs in my indoor set ups. Even with how much cooler those are, my trees burn themselves on them if they grow to touch them.
 

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BiscoDrew

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Very hot, would not recommend

I use full spectrum florescent bulbs in my indoor set ups. Even with how much cooler those are, my trees burn themselves on them if they grow to touch them.
Those look pricey. I guess I should have mentioned that my grow area maintains a temp of around 73 degrees even with the window open to promote circulation. When you say hot are you referring to, pardon the nomenclature, the potential for my plants to get "sunburn" (and can that even happen)?
 

Paradox

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Those look pricey. I guess I should have mentioned that my grow area maintains a temp of around 73 degrees even with the window open to promote circulation. When you say hot are you referring to, pardon the nomenclature, the potential for my plants to get "sunburn" (and can that even happen)?

Not sure what your definition of pricey is but one of those trees cost more than the fixtures and the bulbs together. I think I paid less than $100 for both fixtures together.
The bulbs are just regular full spectrum shop light bulbs I buy in a box of 10.

When I say hot, I mean they are at a high temperature when they are on. I am not talking about "sunburn".
One of my trees regularly burns its foliage on the light, not sunburn, the foliage gets hot from the temperature too close to the light and it kills the foliage.
And that is a flourscent bulb that is a lot cooler than a mercury vapor bulb.

Zoo med basking lights for reptiles are not necessarily compatible with the proper spectrum for plant growth. They are meant to heat reptiles, not grow plants.
 
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BiscoDrew

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Zoo med basking lights for reptiles are not necessarily compatible with the proper spectrum for plant growth. They are meant to heat reptiles, not grow plants.
... Yea I know that.

That particular bulb had the widest range of UV of the bulbs I could find, and thinking the more UV the better, I got it. I also assumed that allowing the leaves to touch the bulb itself was probably not ideal (if that was indeed what you meant by sunburn- seems pretty self evident for those of us with the sense of touch).
 

Paradox

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... Yea I know that.

That particular bulb had the widest range of UV of the bulbs I could find, and thinking the more UV the better, I got it. I also assumed that allowing the leaves to touch the bulb itself was probably not ideal (if that was indeed what you meant by sunburn- seems pretty self evident for those of us with the sense of touch).

This fixture would probably work and would probably be cooler. $17 for the fixture and $30 for a box of 10 bulbs if you go with the flourescent ones but there are LED alternatives listed below the florescent ones

I disagree with "more UV the better". 6500K is the ideal spectrum for plant growth

 

BiscoDrew

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Thanks for the info. Admittedly all I know about indoor growing is what I've heard about cannabis cultivation, and those setups seem to have a reputation for being expensive. Obviously apples and oranges. The above is good to know. :)
 

Harunobu

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More UV is definitely not better. A lamp for warming reptiles may contain more IR. The ratio between far red and far violet can be used to control the way the plant grows. If a plant is in the shade, it should elongate to grow out of the shady spot. More red compared to blue (or IR compared to UV) makes the plant think it is in the shade.
In general, IR and UV do not contribute to photosynthesis (directly).

The photon only has to be in a certain energy range for it to bring the photosystem to an excited state. If it is a higher energy photon, it has excess energy and that energy is 'wasted'. For the same energy, one can produce more red photons than blue photons. So in that sense, it is better to produce red photons. But not all LEDs are equally efficient. I think I remember that blue LEDs are actually more efficient at producing light (and less heat). I think this is the reason why LEDs initially mixed red and blue.
But since there are now highly efficient blue LEDs than can be coated with phosphorus to produce white light, this is no longer an issue. Such a white LED will be full spectrum. Much fuller than traditional bulbs (though some employ the same trick). White light is a broad spectrum by definition, so any white LED should be good for growing plants. If the light is very warm/yellow, it may have many yellow LEDs and a few white ones. And such a light may have a spiky spectrum. Not sure if 6500 kelvin is on the high side or not. White LEDs are usually in the 3000 to 5000 kelvin. One should check how a 6500 kelvin T8 light spectrum looks like, and what that means for the PAR output and efficiency.

A T5 or T8 will probably produce only 1/3rd to half of the light as a similar wattage efficient LED will. Since these lights are bars, you need several in a fitting. And that would be a lot more light than for just one plant.
Non LED lights will be worth it if you only want to illuminate an area for a couple of hours a day. Or if you aren't sure how long you will be using it. If you just want to add 6 hours of light to your seedlings germinating only in March and April, then move them outside, paying for an expensive but energy efficient lamp is not cost effective.
But if you want to run a light for several months each year, running 16 hours a day, then LEDs save you money.

LEDs get about 50 to 60C. So they are warm, not hot. So they can be quite close up to the canopy.
 
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Cattwooduk

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Monstera deliciosa is my vote. They do well in medium light, wont even need grow lights most likely and will fill all that out nicely
Yeah I'd like a Monstera, would probably fit that spot nicely. I wouldn't mind another big Ficus though.

Your best option may be to buy a normal all purpose white LED bulb with an E27 fitting, and put it exactly on top of the plant (and facing towards the wall as well). Not a panel intended for properly illuminating such a cannabis growing space.
If such an LED is 15 watt and has an efficiency of 1 micromole per joule, and you waste 50% of the light. And say the size of your plant is 10cm by 10cm. Then your plant gets to grow at 750 micromoles per second per m2. (which is way too high). I would say a 5 to 7 watt LED right on top of the plant so only 50% of the light gets wasted (because it does not hit the 10cm by 10cm plant area) would be a good value.

Note, the light you are listing claims to be 1.5 or so micromoles per joules in efficiency. That is pretty good if accurate. And the light levels it gives for a 45 by 45cm and 60 by 60 cm area are pretty much the values you'd want for growing a shade loving indoor plant (though you could check the literature on what people say on ficus, might be an ideal value out there somewhere).

But, you want it in your living room? It will be a big light. It will be alloying for sure. Think about how bright daylight is compared to indoors at night when you watch tv? People who want to boost their house plants with lights inside almost always set it so it is only on when they are not there, at work, or asleep. It would be absolutely terrible to put 50watts of blurple lights in that alcove behind your tv, while watching tv in the evening.

Yeah I would most likely set it to turn on from say 10pm - 5am and give it a 7 hour light boost when we're not really in the room. It would still get a few hours of lower light levels therefore a bit of a rest. It's only really going to be during winter as it did totally fine in this spot over the summer months.

I was leaning towards the single E27 bulb fitting in the top corner, then just rotating the plant every few days. I think it would look better than hanging a 'panel' of LEDS on the wall facing inwards at the plant.
Having done the limited reading I did before, I wasn't sure how good the 'full spectrum' lights really were, but if a white light can work well then that's preferable to a blue/red lamp in the room!

What up Feller!?

I don't think light was the ultimate problem.

I feel like heat and not enough water may be.

Sorce

Long time buddy! Have had almost NO time for bonsai since this covid malarky, it's been full on childcare (nursery was closed, then re-opened but can't send the kids to grandparents anymore etc) and working as many hours as I can fit in, then being knackered in the evenings so haven't touched my plants for ages.

I'm sure the issue was light - as I said, the thing grew solidly for a good 9 months then started shedding leaves going into winter.
I know the humidity is fine because I have a couple of Calatheas in the same room and they are far more temperamental to humidity.
Same for water - I've got one of those long 'prong' moisture sensors you stick down into the soil to see how dry/moist/wet it is... I've kept it moist but let it get a bit drier going into winter as growth slows anyway and I know focus don't like to sit in overly damp soil.
Heat - always about 18-21 degrees C in that room, should be perfect!


I have two similar bulbs and I can’t recommend them. They don’t provide much coverage compared to a light fixture (rows of LEDs).

I have these lights and am very happy with their value. I’m satisfied with the growth im getting although I do not know the PAR:

These look good, but I'm not sure how I feel about the aesthetics of them - I'm not running a growing operation or trying to keep a big shelving unit of little trees going or seedlings going. I could maybe get away with just having a one, MAYBE two of them on the wall to the side, but they look a little 'industrial'?

I think I just need to find a decent standard single E27 fitting LED bulb if possible. I reckon it'll be about 1-2 foot above the plant and to one side as the plant will be rotated - I want to get light not just at the top but to some of the side as well to keep it bushy and not just loads of top growth.

Thanks for the replies, certainly helps although some of it I need to read through again when I'm not so tired!
 

Mycin

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A light fixture is about 2-3" deep, easily concealable. Seems like you're set on a single bulb though. Best of luck.
 

JeffS73

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How about a single 11w 1ft T5 full spectrum lamp? Cheap, you could mount it vertically facing diagonally back into the alcove from the front, perhaps something in front to hide it. You'd need to turn the plant, but it would be hidden and the light would be away from you into the alcove . The light is a warm 'acceptable' colour.

 

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