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How long do I need my metal halide light on for?

This is a discussion on How long do I need my metal halide light on for? within the Semi Hydro / Lights / Greenhouses / Accessories forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Does anyone know the length of time I should have my orchids under a metal ...

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  1. #1
    playtime8978's Avatar
    playtime8978 is offline Senior Member
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    Default How long do I need my metal halide light on for?

    Does anyone know the length of time I should have my orchids under a metal halide lamp, I am guessing less than daylight hours as the light is more intense than the levels over a period of daylight hours , I have a range of them under one at the moment just put up tonight and dont wanna mess these guys up by giving them too much or too little, I am thinking around 8 hours a day average maybe more in summer and less in winter to mimic the seasons light changes. Some are further away from the light that need more shade and some are in the middle and to the side for more light. I am going to have to watch them closely to look for any changes in leaf colour. but an indication of how long I should have the lamp on would be much appreciated. Lastly do orchids need a strict dark period like some plants to thrive? if so this might be an issue as they are in my dining room where my computer is and if the halide isnt on my desk lamp which is a flourescent will be on. Thank you in adavnce for any help you can give me.

  2. #2
    Brutal_Dreamer's Avatar
    Brutal_Dreamer is offline Dreaming with my eyes open...
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    Since I do not grow under lights, I will leave your main question to someone who does. That said, orchids, like all plants, need a rest period and a growth period. Light for day and dark for night. I *think* there are several factors to consider. How close is the light to the plant? Is the plant blooming size or seedling? What type of orchid plants are you growing under the light? For instance a phal will require much less light than a cattleya, etc...

    I look forward to the scientific answer to your question. LOL.

    Cheers,
    BD

  3. #3
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    I have a variety of orchids under the lights and have placed them according to what i am aware of their light requirements the phals and paphs are further out where the dens are nearer the more intense light and the seedlings are higher up ontop of my comp tower, the main thing I am concerned about now i the temps as they all like different temps at the moment the temp is dropping to around 16-18c at night which I am not convinced is cool enough for the dens any way and they are reaching around 20 c on the desk and 25 ish on the top of the computer tower, I have to go out for a couple of hours so I think to be safe I will turn it off and stick the flourescent desk lamp over them with what natural light they get just while I am out as I cant keep an eye on them and dont want sunburn. i am guessing 8 - 10 hours of light jsut unsure with the intensity not varying throughout that time. Scientific answers most welcome lol.

  4. #4
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    smartie2000 is offline Senior Member
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    I'm using halides at 13 hours right now Some people change the time length a bit depending on season.
    Most artificial lights are set 12-16hrs for orchids

  5. #5
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    Thank you smartie, I will see what I can do. My husband doesnt want them on too long because of the electric it uses but I will work on that!

  6. #6
    SheilaJ is offline Junior Member
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    I run mine between 12 and 14 hours a day. I don't think 8 hours will be enough - keep working on your husband. Do turn them off at night. The easiest way is to buy a timer, but make sure it can handle the wattage of your light. A fan will help keep the leaves from overheating.

  7. #7
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    Thank you sheila at the moment they are on on average 12 hours a day sometimes a bit less dependant on when I go to bed but they are doing ok so far. I will see how they go and yes I do need a fan as there is no decent air circulation in here.

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    Hi Carrie, please keep us posted as I am considering using lights too. Ta love...

  9. #9
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    I currently use T-12 flourescent lamps, but I think it is time to move to T-8 high output, or T-5 high output. I got some Vandas in my May order of orchids, so I need to up the lights this winter in my basement to keep them happier and for some of the big catts. I am thinking of expirementing with one 4foot long shelf using led's. The other 4 or 5 shelves will be flourescent, run about 13 hours a day on a timer. There is little to no natural light in the older part of my basement where the 'chids are going next month. The newer part of the basement has a large casement window that my birds are enjoying.

  10. #10
    Ron-NY is offline rothaholic
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by smartie2000 View Post
    I'm using halides at 13 hours right now Some people change the time length a bit depending on season.
    Most artificial lights are set 12-16hrs for orchids
    I agree with this. When I grew under light, I adjusted day length based on the season. Some orchids use change in day length as a blooming trigger. Some are triggered but the short day and others by long days. There also needs to be seasonal temperature adjustments in regards to temp lows. There are some species that need watering changes (there are tropical areas that get the brightest light in their dry season and there is a rainy season when it is overcast most of the time, therefore lower light levels and higher water. Fortunately there are many orchids that are adaptable and will bloom without all this fuss, LOL

    Unless you are on the equator, day length changes throughout the year, so should your timing on your lights

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