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enough light?

This is a discussion on enough light? within the Semi Hydro / Lights / Greenhouses / Accessories forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Hi, I have a south facing window that doesn't get much sun because we live ...

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  1. #1
    annacello's Avatar
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    Default enough light?

    Hi,

    I have a south facing window that doesn't get much sun because we live up against a mountain on the north side and it's fall here in Vermont.
    I got three flourescent lights with plant bulbs in anticipation of winter, but I'm not sure it will be enough for my renanthara, cattleya and oncidiums. They're all growing fine, but the leaves are dark green. (the oncidium and cattleya are sending up spikes, however). Are there any suggestions for increasing the brightness? More lights? a specific type of bulb?

    Also, how much humidity is too much? I use a basic humidifer on low all the time, but my husband brought his humidity tester from work (he's a temp. controls guy) and the humidity in the room was 85%. That seems like a lot to me.

    Here are some pictures:


    And my phals, blooming like crazy for 3 months now:
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    I think some of the signs of underexposure is darker and also elongated leaves to try to compensate for the lower light...

    80% may be a little high... during photosynthesis, water goes in through the roots and out through the leaves.... which gets harder and harder as you go above 60%, maybe crack open a window a bit?.

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    GrumpyBear is offline Senior Member
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    humidity is measured in a relative sense, air's capacity to hold water decreases with temperature so if the room is colder the same amount of water in the air gives a higher humidity reading (this is also the logic behind that saying 'too cold to snow'). that's why its 85% humidity in your home but doesn't feel sticky and balmy like miami. you can raise the temp and your humidity will go down.
    as for the light, if you're using flouroscent bulbs (which i do) keep them close because light intensity diminishes quickly with distance but flouros are good because they don't get very hot so you don't have to worry about them burning the plants (unless they're touching). i suggest you get a timer if you haven't already, they're really handy.
    i've been meaning to post a thread myself about the different light needs (on average) in lumens by genera. does anyone have this info? i'd done a quick search at one time but didn't put too much effort beyond that. sorry, this is only a mini-thread-hijacking cuz it's still on the basic topic of your thread

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    Thanks. We keep the room about 55, so that's probably why the humidity is so high. Two of my bulbs are darker than the third one, even though they were all sold as "plant lights". They are different brands. I'm kind of confused as to what makes a flouescent bulb a "plant light".

    Anna

  5. #5
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    Hi there,

    I was taught in Hort that plant lights are just a gimmic because they do not really replicate the sun's wavelengths all that much better than regular flourescent bulbs. Now, truthfully, these bulbs may work better for some people, and for some plants, and that's ok! I've been known to deny science to try something just to see how it works with my environment, so who knows? I'm always open minded about these things. They may work, they may not - but I do know they cost more $$ than traditional bulbs, and people have great success with regular fluorescent bulbs (many people on this forum grow under lights, just ask around!) so if it were up to me, I would stick with regular flourescent and keep the cash in my pocket

    The best you can do in your situation is to try to increase the light in that area using bulbs, just as you have done. I think your humidity is fine - most of us would kill for that! I can't keep mine above 60% RH, ever. SO! If I were you, I would make sure the lights are as close to the plans as you can get them...flourescent blub light intensity is known to decrease significantly with distance from the plants, so put them right up to it! I don't think catt leaves will burn if they touch flourescent bulbs, but I don't think I'd recommend it...Clint can probably speak more to that. Fact is, its probably worth trying, and if you get a burn mark or two, its not the end of the world, just pull the flourescent lights up a bit so they aren't touching the leaves.

    Oh! I just thought of something - someone on here uses aluminum foil around their grow area to reflect light back onto the plants...maybe this is something you can consider? Depends on how far you're willing to go

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    Has anyone ever used clamp-on fixtures made by Wonderlite? Do they generate a lot of heat?

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    I have been growing catts under flourescent lights for years. I do have the light right down to the plants, and sometimes the leaves will touch the bulbs. They will burn, depending on how long the bulb is on. I run the lights between 12 and 16 hours a day depending on the season. When the bulbs have been resting against a leaf for 14-16 hours you are likely to get a little burn. It doesn't hurt the plant, tho.

    PS I have some catts that look almost yellow and others that are light green, and still others that are dark green, all growing together. I believe that some of it is just genetics and you should let the plants "do their thing" once you establish that you have covered the minimum light requirements.

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    Thumbs up I Must Be the Alum.Foil Guy !

    lol,If you get a hold of any Hydro store they have a Mylar type wall covering that is much more reflective.They also carry T-5 lights w/reflectors.T-5 lights are much stronger than normal fluroscent lights.These are a little pricey.The set up under the shelf pictured are 23" 18watt T-5 that you can find at mega retailer,for about $10.00/ea.If you need more info.send me a PM and I can give you more details.I hope this helps. Take Care,Rich
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    Last edited by rich63; December 19th, 2008 at 07:56 PM.

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