Sempervivum and Jovibarba forum: Anyone with experience with grow lights?

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Name: Jennifer Rockwood
Houston, Texas (Zone 8b)
Jun 17, 2015 8:46 AM CST
Well, I have come to the conclusion that these hot and humid summers are just to much for semps.....I did better than last year with them and have learned so much from everyone and all of the posts here. What I have discovered is that when I put most of my semps outside, they practically melt either from the water in the air or the intense heat, maybe both. Is that going to stop me? Of coarse not! I find that when I keep them inside, they stay nice and firm Smiling the problem I have with that is the lighting. Every place that I have a window ( facing north) is either in a bedroom or my sliding glass door so those are not suitable places for them so I found a nice little nook on my kitchen counter ( I don't cook much) and it has some flouresent lighting under the cabinets. I was thinking of buying some grow lights, I found some that fit but is it even worth it? Are there some that are better than others? I only have to keep them inside until about September and then it starts to cool down and the humidity is much nicer. I know that seems a bit much for some but I love Semps and haven't found another type of plant that I enjoy as much. My sedums are doing ok so they are outside but my semps just fall apart in the summer, they either get burned and need water but then when I give them water, even a few tiny droplets, they get crown rot. Are there any other suggestions out there? Perhaps something I can add to prevent crown rot? I have purchased multiple types of potting soils, perlite,Chicken grit, pumice, sand, etc. so I know the drainage is not the issue anymore like last year. Any help would be very much appreciated

Name: J.C. S.
Kansas (Zone 6b)
Sempervivums Sedums Lilies Garden Ideas: Level 2
Jun 17, 2015 10:38 PM CST
Hey Jennifer, I don't have experience with semps and actual "grow lights", but I do have limited experience with keeping semps indoors using mainly artificial light.

It is possible if they are kept quite dry (very rarely watered), but they will often become etiolated and a bit unhappy. The smaller the semp rosette, the more and the more quickly it will stretch toward the light in an indoor setting. Also, the semps often won't grow in size, they will merely survive.
I've had some in a pot inside for well over a year and another pot full of semps inside receiving very little light for a few months. It would probably take some experimentation as it did for me, but it can be done, especially if it is only temporary.

[Last edited by StaticAsh - Jun 17, 2015 10:42 PM (+)]
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Jun 17, 2015 11:51 PM CST
Jennifer, I did once keep a valued semp under grow lights overwinter. It was in a small pot enclosed in a plastic bag so it had a constant level of moisture for the winter. It survived but did not grow larger until it was placed outside in spring.

I would suggest some more experimentation outside. If you can find a location that remains in constant light shade, that might be the right place for them, especially if you can keep them from getting wet. In the summer, especially in the south, light shade likely still provides more light than an indoor grow light arrangement. Also, consider using a fan to run air across the plants (sheltered from rain and water, of course). That should help with evaporative cooling.

I believe that semp's rosette structure can also function as a dew collection mechanism. The upward pointing rosette leaves allow condensation (dew) to trickle down to the roots of the plants. When the weather is hot and humidity high, a drop in temps in the night causes the plants to water themselves. A fan with moving air should help keep moisture levels down to acceptable levels.

Lastly, if you do decide to water, best do it by hand to the spaces between clumps of plants. I know in my climate, when the weather goes into the nineties, the plants do need to be occasionally but lightly watered or they will dry up if in the sun. The plants in my current semp nursery are not in the sun, but rather in light shade most of the day.

I share a similar problem with you but mine is opposite. During the winter time, I struggle to keep my Rhipsalis collection alive in an environment where the humidity is much too low for them. I always lose a few.

Name: Jennifer Rockwood
Houston, Texas (Zone 8b)
Jun 18, 2015 6:30 AM CST
Oh wow! Thank you so much for all of the input! I am going to experiment a little more like you both said, I did buy a tiny fan for them last year so I will get that out and try it again. My other succulents and air plants are doing great . It's still so muggy here from all of the rain we have had, after that blows through they will be back outside. I noticed inside they dry out a little more indoors so I just ever so lightly mist them in the morning and at night before I go to bed. They seem to be happier but yes I have noticed they haven't grown as much.
Thank You!

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