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how much light is enough for orchids?

This is a discussion on how much light is enough for orchids? within the Semi Hydro / Lights / Greenhouses / Accessories forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Today i got my T5 light fixture that i order a few days ago, i've ...

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  1. #1
    Raver's Avatar
    Raver is offline Senior Member
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    Default how much light is enough for orchids?

    Today i got my T5 light fixture that i order a few days ago, i've been playing a lil bit with it and i have put most of my plants under it. The fixture is 4 feet long and it holds 8 bulbs. I've been reading the light with my light meter and so far my plant are getting:

    Phals, paphs(mottled leaves) they get between 1700-2000 footcandles
    Neofinetias they get between 2000-2400 FC
    Oncidiums and hybrids they get between 2300-2700 FC
    paph (strap leaves) and phrag they get between 2700-3300 FC
    dendrobium they get between 2800-3300 FC
    Cattleyas they get between 3000-3600 FC
    Vandas they get between 3500-4100 FC

    The lights stay on for 16 hours straight and on top of that they get really bright light and some full some in the morning from like 7-11. If i were to measure this light in the morning they all get about 2000-2500 FC for 4hours plus the light from the T5 fixture.

    Do you guys think this is enought light or not enough or too much or some of them are getting the wrong light????

  2. #2
    bearsmom is offline Junior Member
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    I can't comment on the individual fc readings but it has been my experience that some orchids need a change of day length to set flower buds. I start out with 16 hour days and reduce the day length by one hour every month until my orchids are receiving 11 hours of light in December. In January I begin to add an hour every month until the orchids are receiving 16 hours again. Also I have given up trying to read the fc's and just watch the plants carefully. The leaf color and texture usually are good indicators of light requirements. Some plants when receiving adequate light will show a little red spotting on the leaves. This is something that would require a little research on your part. Hope this helps and I hope I haven't given you errroneous info but this has been my experience. Pat

  3. #3
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    Cjcorner is offline Senior Member
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    Since I am thinking about setting mine in a garage when the temps drop, i've been looking at some lights. I only need to get the panels of led's since I am just going to supplement the amount coming through the windows. I have to say, after doing some research...these things are awful to figure out. Kinda like trying to figure out fertilizer amounts back when I was just starting out. And me so bad with math...i'm so lucky I live in Florida or i'd never be able to do all this. lol Those of you that grow under lights amaze me!

  4. #4
    gardenguysorchids's Avatar
    gardenguysorchids is offline Don't be afraid to color outside the lines
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    Connie, I am with you on the math. I wish I lived in Fla. Figuring the lighting is a big pain for those of us mathamatically challenged! I just go with trial and error. If my orchids are doing well I figure the lighting is correct. If they are not I just add more lighting or reduce it depending on what the orchids need in their natural habitat. So far so good doing it this way for me. As far a light meters go that is just one more thing to confuse and irritate me. LOL

  5. #5
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    orchidlady is offline Senior Member
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    To be honest, a light meter is not required. For some people it gives them joy to determine exactly the light they are giving their plants and compare to what others consider as the ideal. For others, this approach is frustrating and overwhelming. I have grown under fluorescent lights since 1989 and have never used a light meter and am very happy with my plants and how they grow. I watch my plants and modify conditions or which plants I continue to grow based on the response of the plants. My conditions are fairly inflexible, so I need to grow plants that like my conditions. Over the years I have learned which ones do.

    Susan

  6. #6
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    Just curious Byron, what kind of bulbs are you using? I've been using the bulbs that came with my fixtures and it's time for for yearly replacement. I've been looking around and I'm kinda shocked that some of these T5 bulbs can be almost $25.00 each.

  7. #7
    gardenguysorchids's Avatar
    gardenguysorchids is offline Don't be afraid to color outside the lines
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    I use a combination of T 12, T 8, and grow lights. I have found the grow light tubes for under $5 . The others I get at the home improvement stores for a reasonable price. I replace my tubes every October.
    Last edited by Brutal_Dreamer; September 30th, 2010 at 09:18 PM. Reason: vendors removed -see faqs on posting please.

  8. #8
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    Most of the plants are apple green right now but there is a couple cattleyas that are kinda yellowish and one that its getting a dark purple tint to it. I will keep an eye on them to see how they are doing

  9. #9
    bearsmom is offline Junior Member
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    Move the plant with the dark purple tint to the end of the lights. That will cut down on the light that it is getting. I have in the past rigged some shade cloth over small seedlings. Very low tech. Cloth was from fabric store and it was upheld by bamboo shish kabob skewers. Perhaps a little shade cloth over the plants you feel are getting too much light would work. Pat

  10. #10
    Raver's Avatar
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    i'm not sure what kind of bulbs they are but i think they are T5 agrosun full spectrum 54 watts each

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