artificial light

Do-it-yourself projects such as greenhouse or shadehouse builds and related topics.
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lovestocacti
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Nov 04, 2015 1:43 am

artificial light

Post by lovestocacti »

Just got a new ariocarpus and I don't think I will be able to get her as much light as she needs. What is a good small bulb I can use to supplement her light. Was thinking maybe 60w cfl? Any ideas or opinions?
george76904
Posts: 487
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2015 2:01 am
Location: Americus GA

Re: artificial light

Post by george76904 »

No idea of your climate, but most places the plants are dormant this year anyway. Search dormacy in the forum search bar for more info on it. Just a heads up this post would get more views and replies in the cultivation subforum.
DaveW
Posts: 7074
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2012 2:36 pm
Location: Nottingham, England/UK

Re: artificial light

Post by DaveW »

Remember plants are like people, they like to go to sleep for part of the day therefore don't like 24hr lighting since they are used to certain day lengths at different times of the year, even under artificial lighting, or some may not flower.

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http://cactiguide.com/article/?article=article17.php" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://www.cactusinfo.net/artificial_light.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

As George says they should be cool and dormant in winter and not need a lot of light. The problem can be if they are kept too warm indoors and try to grow in winter low light conditions. Only plants from the tropics tend to grow all year.
cjmach1973
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2016 6:09 pm

Re: artificial light

Post by cjmach1973 »

I am trying 6500K 24wt 4ft LEDs with my baby plants and cuttings.. So far none of them are getting leggy.
Ohioman
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 1:05 am

Re: artificial light

Post by Ohioman »

I live in northeast Ohio, where the sky is overcast from early November to early March and my windows face north by northeast and north by northwest. As a result, my plants receive direct sun only for a few hours in the early morning and late afternoon. These windows are about three feet apart on the northern corner of the building. (we had a weird architect, He aligned the building 45 degrees away from the North/South axis.) Since I live on the ninth floor, I get the equivalent of full northern light most of the day, so many shade loving varieties do well enough here. But for the benefit of the full sun plants, I augment the natural light by placing two fluorescent shop lights over each window. Each shop light holds two t-40 tubes with a color temperature of 5000 K. These lights are on a timer set to come on at sunrise and go off at sunset. The timer is reset every month, so the plants get a very short day in winter, and a very long day in summer. In addition, the baseboard heating is turned off in this room during the winter. As a result, in winter the temperature drops down to 62 degrees (F) at night and rises to about 70 degrees during the day. The cacti are never fully watered from October to late March. I do spray the cacti about three times a month, but only enough to clean the stems and lightly dampen the top of the soil, not enough to penetrate more than 1/4 inch into the soil. Between the short day, dry conditions, and cool but not cold conditions, this seems to satisfy my cacti and succulents need for dormancy.
As far as light is concerned, Fluorescent light with a color temperature of 5000 to 6500 Kelvin seems to be ideal. As far as intensity is concerned, you cannot get too much light for most cacti and succulents unless the plants are actually touching the tubes. Even then, the problem is too much heat, rather than too much light. In addition to my shop lights, I add clamp-on reflectors with 100 watt equivalent compact fluorescents over my three Bursera plants, which love full sun, once they leaf out in the spring until it is safe to set them outdoors for the summer. Burseras are deciduous. One way I know that they are getting their needed dormancy is when their leaves turn bright yellow and drop off on late fall. When they bloom in the spring is another indicator. One good way I have found to tell how much light your plants are getting is to buy a light meter at your local garden center. Mine also has a moisture meter built in, but I don't find that as useful as a light meter (its calibrated for plants like begonias and African violets rather than desert plants. According to it, all my cacti died five years ago.).
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