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Ambient light?

This is a discussion on Ambient light? within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Alright, I'm having somewhat of a mental dilemma and I can't find an answer online ...

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  1. #1
    sand_tiger86's Avatar
    sand_tiger86 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Ambient light?

    Alright, I'm having somewhat of a mental dilemma and I can't find an answer online anywhere. So, I grow on a west-facing balcony which means my plants get hit with direct sun from 2:30 in the afternoon until about 7:30 at night (slightly shaded, of course, with burlap). Before that they receive no direct sun at all, not even filtered light, as a roof is over them. It's still sort of bright on the balcony (due it being daytime and all), but like I said, no actual sun hitting them before 2:30. Does the mere ambient light they receive all day until 2:30 even matter? 5 hours and some change of direct sun doesn't seem like a lot, so I'm worried they'll never get enough light. It's not as though I can do anything about it, but I was just curious to know some thoughts and answers about whether ambient daylight is of any use at all.

  2. #2
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    Not knowing how bright the ambient light is, it is hard to say with any certainty, but I would GUESS that any alight is good for your orchids. Even ambient light.

    cheers,
    BD

  3. #3
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    Thanks, Bruce. I'm a total idiot when it comes to measuring light, so I really have no idea how technically bright the ambient light is...I just know that it's a lot brighter than it is at night. LOL That being said, as I mentioned before, they receive absolutely no real sunlight before 2:30. Everything before that time is just light from it being daytime outside...no actual sun hitting them. I suppose it is better than nothing, like you said. Perhaps even enough when coupled with the fact that they receive direct sun the last 5 hours of the day...who knows?

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    PaphMadMan is offline Senior Member
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    I have grown several orchids very well in bright north facing windows, no direct or filtered light at all. Obviously these weren't typical Cattleyas or Vandas, but that indirect light definitely does matter.

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    Kelly, why not invest in a light meter? Betty

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaphMadMan View Post
    I have grown several orchids very well in bright north facing windows, no direct or filtered light at all. Obviously these weren't typical Cattleyas or Vandas, but that indirect light definitely does matter.
    Thanks! Alas, all of the orchids I have outside are Catts, Vandas and Dendrobiums. Basically all high light. But like I said, they do get 5 hours of direct sun...so maybe all of the ambient light+direct sun will be alright for them. No harm in trying?

    Betty - I would, but aren't they a little pricey? Not to mention, I'm not even sure I'd know what I was reading on a light meter.

  7. #7
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    You have posted an interesting question and to be honest I'd like an answer myself. The sun has shifted so drastically here that the spots I had my onc and dens in is now getting the kind of light my phals like. And the only other place I can put the higher light plants is in my plum and neem trees, which now means mounting 15 - 20 plants Is there some way, without a light meter or waiting for the plant to spaz out that I can tell if I am giving them enough light, so my lazy butt dun't have to mount a bunch of orchids?

  8. #8
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    Light meters are not very expensive and very simple to read. You can measure the light each hour of the day, then develop an average for the hours of light and you have the answer. Obviously the reading at 9:00 is less than the reading at 12:00. The meter gives you a measurement in footcandles. Phals like 1500 fc and catts are more like 4500 fc. There are also more sophisticated (more expensive) meters that will measure all day and give you an average automaticly. We can't always change the amount of light in a given location but we cam match the plant to the available light. There are other ways to measure the light by the shadow cast but a meter can give you the true answer.

  9. #9
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    Might be a weird question for those of you who know , but what is a foot candle ?

  10. #10
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