Plumeria forum: Grow Light System for Starting Plumeria Seeds

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Name: Mary
Glendale, Arizona (Zone 9b)
Region: Arizona Cat Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Plumerias Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Composter Hummingbirder
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Azgarden
Oct 2, 2015 4:09 PM CST
Please forgive me if this has already been addressed. I took the plunge and ordered seeds. Very excited about that. Now I want to give them the best start. I read around on the forums and saw mention of T5 bulbs being good. Have seen a couple of light systems on Amazon with these bulbs, some with 1 bulb and a reflector and some with 2 bulbs but no mention of a reflector. AND recommendations on heat mats? Have read so much and now I need to sort it out. Any wise words would be appreciated. Confused
Name: Gigi
Florida (Zone 9a)
Plumerias Sempervivums Roses Cactus and Succulents Garden Ideas: Level 1
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GigiPlumeria
Oct 3, 2015 12:24 PM CST
Hi Mary, looking at your zone, you might be able to grow your plumeria seeds without grow lights. But you might have to bring them in on south facing sun and not let it go dormant on winter time.

@drdawg may know more about grow lights.
©by Gigi Plumeria "Gardening is my favorite past time. I grow whatever plant that catches my attention." Plumeria Photos http://www.flickr.com/groups/calachuchi_plumeria_/ plant photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gigiplumeria/sets/
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Oct 4, 2015 4:11 PM CST
The lights I use are very powerful and are 4' fixtures with 6 T-5HO tubes. I use these fixtures mainly to supplement fall/winter light in my two greenhouses. A regular T-5 fixture would be fine for starting your seedlings. Though some swear by heat mats, I only use them if I am starting seeds in the greenhouse during the winter months. The temperature in those greenhouses is suppose to stay at 55F and above, but to start seeds, plumeria or any other, I would like to have the heat at least 70F or above. Thus the use of heat mats. It just depends on your growing conditions, Mary.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Mary
Glendale, Arizona (Zone 9b)
Region: Arizona Cat Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Plumerias Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Composter Hummingbirder
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Azgarden
Oct 4, 2015 4:42 PM CST
@drdawg & @GiGiPlumeria Thank You!
Really appreciate the input. Am just looking at something I can use in the house to start seedlings and keep them going thru the winter with enough artificial light and heat to keep them healthy. We usually don't have much winter here, but one never knows. I have seen some 4ft. setups on Amazon with T-5 fixtures that would probably fit my needs. Once it warms up in early spring the seedlings could go outside on the patio. Guess I just need reassurance since I am such a novice. Am really excited at the prospect of growing plumeria from seed now that I have ordered them! This addiction is something else! Smiling
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Oct 4, 2015 4:46 PM CST
I have started seeds in the dead of winter, the last week of December actually. Those were the first seeds I had ever started. They were started in my "office", in front of a easterly-facing window and on a heat pad. I actually kept the seedling (only two) going in that same spot until they could go outside in the spring. They are both huge, handsome plants.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Mary
Glendale, Arizona (Zone 9b)
Region: Arizona Cat Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Plumerias Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Composter Hummingbirder
Image
Azgarden
Oct 4, 2015 5:28 PM CST
That is encouraging! However, we do know you are a Master Gardener. Our windows are all accessible by the cat that lets us live here.....so.....the seedlings will need to be out of jumping range! Think I have just the spot in a nice quiet hallway with a wide cabinet that would accommodate the grow lights and stand. This is all so interesting to me. I was the kid who would grow beans in a jar just to see the roots. I was the teacher (back in the day) who still required all students to have a leaf collection. Thanks for all the knowledge and experience you share. I tip my hat to you.
Name: Gigi
Florida (Zone 9a)
Plumerias Sempervivums Roses Cactus and Succulents Garden Ideas: Level 1
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GigiPlumeria
Oct 4, 2015 6:16 PM CST
Happy growing Mary! I was very skeptical growing plumeria seeds 3 years ago. Now after seeing my first seedlings bloom, I'm now a believer of growing plumeria from seeds.

©by Gigi Plumeria "Gardening is my favorite past time. I grow whatever plant that catches my attention." Plumeria Photos http://www.flickr.com/groups/calachuchi_plumeria_/ plant photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gigiplumeria/sets/
[Last edited by GigiPlumeria - Oct 4, 2015 8:22 PM (+)]
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Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
Seed Starter Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
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DavidLMO
Oct 4, 2015 7:21 PM CST
Hey Mary.

I am gonna be starting Plumeria seeds (~50) in my basement. Prob start in January or so. I need to get a later start than Ken cause of Zone difference and I do not have a real greenhouse - just a pretend one. :-)

I will definitely be using a heat mat(s) cause my basement temp will only be ~ 65. I will also use a plastic lid on the seed trays until I see germination. I do remove them whenever used for a few hours a day. I will remove the heat mats when the seedlings are a couple inches high or I need them for something else. (I start from 500 - 2,000 seeds in my basement over winter.) A good heat mat that fits under a standard seed tray is $ 25 - 30. You can also order thermostats that allow for more control over the temps for ~ $20. I do not think they are worth the expense for most hobbyists. (I mean is really critical to have the temp at 81 rather than 78? ;-) )

I have several banks of flourescents and use natural spectrum light bulbs and I have 2 - 500 watt metal halide warehouse lights. The overall combo keeps the area pretty warm.

I have both humidifier and dehumidifier in my basement so I can control humidity levels. Mostly run the humidifier as from Jan first thru Feb 28 my gas furnace is running a lot and humidity drops big time.

I also run fans over my seedlings.

Good luck. Keep us posted.
Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976
[Last edited by DavidLMO - Oct 4, 2015 7:28 PM (+)]
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Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Oct 5, 2015 6:22 AM CST
Mary, I don't know how you knew that, but being a Master Gardner is just a title. I am no more knowledgeable than the average grower. My knowledge basically comes from doing and I love to experiment.

David, it sounds like you have a nice set-up, an almost commercial set-up in fact. Thumbs up One thing you mention is running fans. That is something that the vast majority of tropical plant growers forget about. It isn't important in the germination but it sure is important when it comes to growing those seedling. Stale, stagnant air can be the death for many plants. Air movement is so important to help prevent fungus, bacterial, and pest problems. I have very little problem with any those things, and I am positive it is only because I run so many fans. I seldom (almost never) use fungicides or pesticides in my greenhouses.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Mary
Glendale, Arizona (Zone 9b)
Region: Arizona Cat Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Plumerias Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Composter Hummingbirder
Image
Azgarden
Oct 5, 2015 9:03 AM CST
Ken, David, Gigi....you are all such a wonderful source of information. It is so nice to have ATP to communicate with people who are willing to share their experience & knowledge. You are all master gardeners IMO! I tip my hat to you.

Thanks for the added info on fans. Would not have thought of it. Do any of you have a preference as to what type of containers you use to start the seedlings and then when you up size the container? Do you use any fertilizers or super thrive or anything?

Thanks again!
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Oct 5, 2015 9:29 AM CST
All my new seedlings go into 4" unglazed pots. I don't have a good reason for doing this. I just don't want my potting soil to retain moisture long-term. I have a feeling my using clay is not necessary, since it appears that most just go right to plastic. Just be sure your media drains well and that there are good drainage holes. I probably leave my seedlings in clay for a couple of months. I will then use a knife blade to go between the clay and media so that the root ball comes out easily. If there are lots of roots, I up-pot to a 1 gal. plastic pot. I use Osmocote in my beginning clay pot media but nothing else. When I up-pot, I will still have Osmacote in the media but will begin to supplement that with a general purpose, water-soluble fertilizer. I dilute this fertilizer by 1/2 the recommended strength and fertilize every 2-4 weeks. It just depends on how much time I have.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Gigi
Florida (Zone 9a)
Plumerias Sempervivums Roses Cactus and Succulents Garden Ideas: Level 1
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GigiPlumeria
Oct 5, 2015 12:19 PM CST
I agree with Ken, you can use what works well for your growing conditions. I prefer starting mine in the jiffy seedling starter mix. If I do communal planting (with 1/2 perlite and 1/2 soil mix) I use the small black plastic pots (I got a few of them from buying annuals). They are more shallow so the water will drain easy and will not rot my seedlings. I plant 10 seeds at a time then, when they have 4 sets of leaves I will carefully transfer them to same size pots but individually and keep them there until springtime or ready for up potting. (I must admit, I am lazy on the up potting part.)

In up potting (1 gallon or bigger depending on the variety ) I prefer those cheap black pots (I clean and re-use them), because I like moving my plants around and they are light when in plastic pots plus I put them on my paver bricks patio for bottom heat. Also, it is easy for me to lift them up to clean the patio. When they are in bloom I put the entire plant in plastic pots in glazed ceramic pots for better display.
©by Gigi Plumeria "Gardening is my favorite past time. I grow whatever plant that catches my attention." Plumeria Photos http://www.flickr.com/groups/calachuchi_plumeria_/ plant photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gigiplumeria/sets/
Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
Seed Starter Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
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DavidLMO
Oct 5, 2015 2:09 PM CST
I start most things in standard seed trays and use seed starting media - 75 % and 25 % perlite. I use the standard seed starting trays cause space is very limited. Fans help seedlings fer sure and I rarely have a problem with damping off unless I keep something too wet. My bad. At 2 - 4 " or 4 leaves, I move stuff to regular plastic pots - 2 - 4 " depending on the type of plant.

Note that for my plumeria, I will likely start them in 4 " pots and go from there.

I use no fertilizer until I pot up. Then I also use Quick Start, Upstart or similar and Osmacote.

Ken - well commercial to an extent. nodding That is why I start so many seeds - 2,000 winter 13/14. I have a business called Pony Express Plants and sell from April - October at a local farmer's market. Nearly 100 % of my activity at ATP is for my personal plants. My city is where the Pony Express started. Also, a main leg of the Oregon Trail. And where Jesse James was shot.

While I am a Master Gardener and a Master Naturalist, my real learning came from being born on a farm and 40 years playing with plants and trying out what ever tickles my fancy. I have very eclectic interests.
Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Oct 5, 2015 2:40 PM CST
We are sort of two peas in a pod, David. If you took a look at my website, you would see a bit of similarity between the two of us. I was never exposed to agriculture of any sort growing up. I had to learn what I know about growing plants after 1970, when I was in my late 20's.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
Seed Starter Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
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DavidLMO
Oct 5, 2015 9:47 PM CST
drdawg said:We are sort of two peas in a pod, David. If you took a look at my website, you would see a bit of similarity between the two of us. I was never exposed to agriculture of any sort growing up. I had to learn what I know about growing plants after 1970, when I was in my late 20's.


I got that impression Ken following your posts and looking over your site (Will likely purchase one of your Celadines next spring BTW). nodding And hey - we both wanted to try Plumeria from seeds. Heh - You are a couple years ahead of me there. I am gonna start mine in Jan or Feb.

While we moved off the farm when I was 9, I worked on farms every summer til I was 21. Mostly gave me an appreciation of nature and growing things.

Me too - I really got in to plants ~ 1975. Aside from some years when I traveled heavily as a consultant and was NEVER home, I have personally gardened for most of the past 40 years. Particularly after 1985 when I met my kindred spirit wife. Big Grin In late November of that year we planted ~ 1,000 tulips. I drove a metal rod into the frozen ground and she dropped in bonemeal and the bulbs.

~~ Back to thread ~~

I think my set up will do well to get the plumeria seeds started. I do hope the OP is being helped - I think there is some good info in this thread.

Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976
Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
Seed Starter Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
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DavidLMO
Oct 5, 2015 9:58 PM CST
Azgarden said:
Thanks for the added info on fans. Would not have thought of it. Do any of you have a preference as to what type of containers you use to start the seedlings and then when you up size the container? Do you use any fertilizers or super thrive or anything?


You don't see much info on Fans. I only use 2 small 10 " diameter clip ons - ~ $20 or so. I move them around every other day or so. If the humidity gets too high and/or the temperature goes too high, I run a big window type box fan.

Regarding Superthrive - Aside from having vitamin B1, I am not sure it does much, though I do use it with root stimulator on my orchids every watering. I figure it can't hurt. nodding

I love the packaging they used to have (they have toned it down) with World Fair metal winners from 1930 or something and huge pics of the creator/founder. He eventually was awarded an Honorary PhD for his work and died in the last year or so at age 100.
Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976
Name: Mary
Glendale, Arizona (Zone 9b)
Region: Arizona Cat Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Plumerias Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Composter Hummingbirder
Image
Azgarden
Oct 5, 2015 11:01 PM CST
Wow! I feel like a sponge. So much being shared here. Love learning and appreciate all the tips.
LOL David. I remember my first purchase of superthrive many years ago and thinking it must be some ancient secret potion and using a magnifying glass to read all of the tiny print.

Being in the desert, I know we have a couple of small fans I can appropriate for this project that won't be needed for a few months.

Gigi I like your idea of doing 10 seeds at a time. I think that would be good since I am a beginner. Maybe give me ideas on how I would do the next batch differently. Ken and David I can't even imagine growing as many plants as you both do. Would love to see any pics of any of your seed growing setups or seedlings you have growing or after you get them started.

We live really close to the big box store and am always going in to buy bags of perlite. I know they must think I'm nuts because I've bought A LOT these past few months to lighten up my soil mix. Do you buy it by the truckload or something? Just wondering because I'm thinking there must be a better way to purchase it.
Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
Seed Starter Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
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DavidLMO
Oct 5, 2015 11:31 PM CST
Haha. Well when we get to the potting mix we can talk about pine bark fines, chicken grit (Manna Pro crushed granite - not oyster shells), oil absorbent material (Diatomaceous earth - NAPA Part Number: NFD 8822) and cat litter (Walmart - Special Kitty only!) Smiling Among other things. Many things other than perlite serve the same purpose. I stay away though from vermiculite except for storing bulbs and tubers.

I try to load up on things when the price is lower and/or on sale - even though I may not need it at that moment, most things last a long time. I still have a bag of pine bark fines and just ordered 6 more bags for next spring.

Right now though, all you need is some seed starter media and perlite.

BTW - when you get to potting soil stage - do NOT buy anything that is water retentive or similar.

good luck Mary - there are lots of helpful people here with lots of great knowledge.
Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976
[Last edited by DavidLMO - Oct 6, 2015 9:16 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #964907 (18)
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Oct 6, 2015 5:59 AM CST
Mary, I now have so many seedlings growing, I don't know where to start on pictures. I only germinated my first seeds in very late Dec. 2013/early Jan. 2014 (two plants Whistling ), but since then, I now have about two dozen plants. They range in size from 4" to 6'. I had to cut those first two seedlings in half in the spring (2015) and now those four seedlings are again 5' tall and multi-tipped. Needless to say, they are really great growers. One plant, germinated in June, 2014, is in full bloom and that inflo. begin forming when the seedling was only 13 mo. old. Apparently that's more than unusual. That plant continues to be in full bloom and (in my eyes) those flowers are beautiful. I have told my wife that it is her plant and she can name it...........still waiting.

Here are the flowers. The pictures were taken on Sept. 24, and there were 8 flowers on that stem yesterday. The fragrance is light and fruity. I can't tell you the fruit though. One of my solarium workers said the fragrance reminded him of a mix of peach and citrus. I am not good describing fragrances.

Thumb of 2015-10-06/drdawg/251af6 Thumb of 2015-10-06/drdawg/49ebb2

drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Mary
Glendale, Arizona (Zone 9b)
Region: Arizona Cat Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Plumerias Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Composter Hummingbirder
Image
Azgarden
Oct 6, 2015 11:08 AM CST
@drdawg I'm sure your wife has the perfect name waiting for your beautiful and amazing prodigy of a plumeria! That is really outstanding work you did with your plumeria and now to reap the reward. I tip my hat to you.

Well, I know I keep saying it, but the wealth of knowledge here is astounding!

OK, so next lighting question. How long should I run the lights? Different amounts of time depending on the growth stage?

@DavidLMO...I have to ask...that list of items sounds like an interesting recipe Confused Is this your potting mix or a part of it? I think I can kind of understand all of the components usefulness except the kitty litter. Of course, I am thinking of clumping litter that our cat uses. Does not seem as tho that kind would be helpful if you wanted drainage. So, I know I'm not thinking right here.

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