Is this a decent starting grow light?

Karmage

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So I’m wanting to get something better than what I have right now, which is a one grow bulb that goes in a normal lamp and some cheap LED grow lights I got on amazon for 20 bucks. I saw this today at Walmart and they are 4’LED lights. Says it’s sunshune spectrum but I was wondering if this would work?
 

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GrimLore

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Simply stated - yes :) You may want to do another side by side but I have no idea what coverage you need.

Grimmy
 

cbroad

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3,200 lumens are pretty low, would probably only be good for starting seeds
 

butlern

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More than 10,000 lumens (this would be 10,000 lux if the area illuminated is 1 square meter) would be getting in the range of usefulness.

As I recall, the sun shines at 32,000 lux (cloudy day) to 100,000 lux (sun overhead, with no clouds).
 

Karmage

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This currently the setup I have right now but I’m not sure how much lumens it’s even getting. I just put aluminum foil in a box today to try to help reflect the light. Right now i just have a small juniper in there and a brush cherry
 

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butlern

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Looks like a single bulb?

What ever you use, put the light(s) as close to the plant(s) as possible, short of having the light(s) actually touch the plant(s).

Here is an alternative to a cloudy day (30,000 lumens):

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005H1C74O/ref=asc_df_B005H1C74O5399909/?tag=hyprod-20&creative=395033&creativeASIN=B005H1C74O&linkCode=df0&hvadid=198092200243&hvpos=1o3&hvnetw=g&hvrand=18046711981104503973&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9018505&hvtargid=pla-318198540146
 

cbroad

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@Karmage

Without really getting into it, lumens are a function of visible light (for humans) being emitted by a source, so measuring by lumens for a plant is a little dubious. It's not the most accurate, but for us humans it's our yardstick for a light's intensity. Point being, a low lumen output doesn't necessarily mean it's no good for growing plants, but you can bet at 35 watts, your LED light probably doesn't have the juice to produce the energy the plant needs to grow vigorously. I look at it this way, if I know something has a high lumen output, I know it has enough of the actual useful energy for plants.

To be honest, I really don't have much experience with LED grow lights. I could be completely wrong but when I read 3,200 lumens on anything I just think that's such a little amount, but of course we really shouldn't be measuring by lumens...
 

Karmage

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Looks like a single bulb?

What ever you use, put the light(s) as close to the plant(s) as possible, short of having the light(s) actually touch the plant(s).

Here is an alternative to a cloudy day (30,000 lumens):

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005H1C74O/ref=asc_df_B005H1C74O5399909/?tag=hyprod-20&creative=395033&creativeASIN=B005H1C74O&linkCode=df0&hvadid=198092200243&hvpos=1o3&hvnetw=g&hvrand=18046711981104503973&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9018505&hvtargid=pla-318198540146
It’s actually two bulbs
 

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butlern

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yeah, I'm pretty sure those are not doing much, given the low intensity and power output, and given how far away from the foliage the lights are located.

Just be aware, light is subject to the inverse-square law... For example, if the light is 2 inches away from the foliage, and you then decide to move it 4 inches away, the foliage will only be getting 25% of the energy it was getting when the light was 2 inches away. That is why positioning the lights closer to the plant(s) is better. Moving it twice as close will substantially increase (by 4-fold!) the usefulness of the lights.

If you're not looking to invest in better, more powerful lighting, stick with what you have, but get the lights as close to the plants as you can. LED should not be putting out much heat, so that should not be a problem.
 

Microscopic

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Got this from Amazon and my calamondin is doing quite well under it. Although not necessary, a timer is very useful as well.

It’s actually two bulbs
Lol looks like them succulents are having a rave party! I think those lights where meant for succulents even though they don't even need them when grown indoors.
 

butlern

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I think your plants/trees will do best in a sunny window. None of those lights will compare to the energy they received place in front of a bright window!

Do you only have access to north-facing windows (like an apartment)? I think those would still be just as good or better than the lights you have now.
 

Karmage

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I think your plants/trees will do best in a sunny window. None of those lights will compare to the energy they received place in front of a bright window!

Do you only have access to north-facing windows (like an apartment)? I think those would still be just as good or better than the lights you have now.
I only have a 2 small windows facing north which one is behind the bed so sticking them by the window doesn’t really work. I could place them in front of my townhouse but i would be worried about someone messing with them. The back yard is pretty small but does have space but they would all be in the shade the whole time
 

Bonsai Nut

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More than 10,000 lumens (this would be 10,000 lux if the area illuminated is 1 square meter) would be getting in the range of usefulness.

As I recall, the sun shines at 32,000 lux (cloudy day) to 100,000 lux (sun overhead, with no clouds).
I started to write a resource about artificial lighting, but have yet to finish it.

The question is not so much about light intensity, but spectral intensity within the two bands of light that plants use to photosynthesize.

Check out this thread.
 

Solaris

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I found something like this for thirty dollars, but it seems the price got jacked up to $45+. My apple seedlings seem pretty happy with two of them to a shelf, but I also have them only inches above the top leaves. Just about any light will work if you're doing that.
One of the dwarf jades, for example, has decided to cram itself right up onto the light. No harm to it. Same with the seedlings' leaves.

I've also got a pretty potent LED bulb that fits into a standard light socket that I'm using on my succulents. I don't know about its output (allegedly, equivalent to a thousand-watt bulb or something of the like), but it's pretty damn bright. They're happier with that than they have been with anything else since the varmints forced me to bring them inside. They were limping along until I set them up with that, but now they're actually starting to put out decent-sized leaves. (Parenthetically, some sort of rodent likes the taste of dwarf jade leaves almost as much as I do.)
 

tylerwdesign

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I don't have much experience growing any trees for bonsai indoors, but I have been growing carnivorous plants indoors for a few years now. I have been using led planted aquarium lights and they have don't the job just fine. I grow the plants in a 40gl breeder aquarium (48in x 12in x 16in). I use two 3 foot strips that are 1500 lumens and 6500K. I use similar lights for planted fish tanks as well, and the only issue I have had with them is sometimes having to much light. I have also been using cheaper led flood light that are around 4000 lumens and 6500K to start veggies indoors. The plants have done amazing with these after the first few weeks. The down side of the flood light is the area it lights when you put it close to the plants. Again I have no clue if these would work for what you are trying to grow or the size of your grow area, but they have worked for me.
 
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Amazon sells some great 4 ft 4,500 lumen 6500k LED shoplights (brand name is Barrina). I have 6 of these in addition to 6 HO 4ft T5's and 2 2ft 22W LEDs. This is years of culmination however. I started with 3 plants and 2 4ft T5's. I much prefer the LEDs though. I've noticed new growth will literally be touching the diffusers wherever they can (not possible with fluorescents -- too hot). As the technology improves and becomes cheaper, I see more and more options on Amazon than ever before. I still like to search around to see what I can find. In fact, recently I made a lantern with a 17W 6500k LED bulb ($27 on amazon) in the top that I keep one of my favorite mame boxwoods in. It sits on my desk at the office and works off a timer. All of my lights are 6500K because I don't grow any citrus and the flowering trees can flower if they want but I don't actively encourage it. I go for pure growth and small leaves.

Be ready for a fight if you say you're growing bonsai indoors. I can't tell you how many "experts" harp that the trees won't grow inside, that they need dormancy, that they need "wind", that they need "the sweet summer air," that they need "mother earth." Honestly little of it is rooted in science and more often is a result of their aversion to anything different. I grow elms, junipers, maples, boxwood, cypress, ficus, kyoto sport, 3 different redwoods, fukien tea.... to name a few, all with nearly year round growth. And I've been doing it for years. Watch your humidity and possibly invest in a humidifier. God help me it's a stupid hobby......
 

Microscopic

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Be ready for a fight if you say you're growing bonsai indoors. I can't tell you how many "experts" harp that the trees won't grow inside, that they need dormancy, that they need "wind", that they need "the sweet summer air," that they need "mother earth." Honestly little of it is rooted in science and more often is a result of their aversion to anything different. I grow elms, junipers, maples, boxwood, cypress, ficus, kyoto sport, 3 different redwoods, fukien tea.... to name a few, all with nearly year round growth. And I've been doing it for years. Watch your humidity and possibly invest in a humidifier. God help me it's a stupid hobby......
This will be my third year growing anything seriously, and while I have plants growing indoors over the winter (4-4' T5 HO)
it's not anywhere near as well as if it was outdoors. Sure you can keep outdoors trees inside. It won't be as vigorous that's for sure.

In bonsai culture, a tree need to be as strong as possible to endure some techniques applied to it.

You can either move at 1 mile an hour, or 100 mile an hour
 
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This will be my third year growing anything seriously, and while I have plants growing indoors over the winter (4-4' T5 HO)
it's not anywhere near as well as if it was outdoors. Sure you can keep outdoors trees inside. It won't be as vigorous that's for sure.

In bonsai culture, a tree need to be as strong as possible to endure some techniques applied to it.

You can either move at 1 mile an hour, or 100 mile an hour
Likewise, you could plant them in the ground and watch them grow exponentially faster than a bonsai, but that's not really the point. If you're doing indoor bonsai, like I am, your goal is likely to develop smaller trees (mainly shohin and mame). They get ample growth in their training pots and I have no trouble establishing a convincing taper in a couple years time. Sure, I put some trees outside when the environment is ideal (I'd say I put about half outside), but coupling the spring and summer months with an indoor set up for the fall and winter allows me to extend the growth period significantly. And I've literally never seen a tree die because it didn't go into "dormancy." Some go "dormant" (if you can call it that) in January - early February as a result of indoor humidity fluctuations with central heating, but the humidifier largely counterbalances it. Even then, they simply don't experience new growth for 30 or so days. And not to knock a fluorescent-only setup, but LEDs allow you to fill voids you could never accomplish with fluorescent only. They can touch the leaves and provide balance where the light drop off would normally affect lower branches. I have about 60k lux at the tops and 40k lux at the bottoms of the large trees. The small ones on platforms are about 60k lux all over. It's expensive and it's a chore, but it allows me to enjoy my hobby year-round.
 

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