Ask a Question forum: Indoor jungle, could this be possible?

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Name: Kevin Langley
London UK
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AmberLeaf
Oct 7, 2016 3:52 PM CST
Hi all. I can't seem to stop myself from thinking about the possibilities of creating an indoor jungle or at least having an indoor tropical garden.

I guess my question is, could one grow tropical plants in large pots using just grow lamps as a light resource with minimal natural light?

I'd really be interested to see if this is possible. I'm currently doing some grow light experiments with some dwarf banana plants which seem to be doing pretty good, it just makes me wonder what I could do on a larger scale.
Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Oct 7, 2016 5:54 PM CST
Of course you can. I would recommend tile or concrete floors and shade plants: palms, ferns, orchids....
Name: Kevin Langley
London UK
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AmberLeaf
Oct 7, 2016 6:34 PM CST
I'm going to go ahead with this, the first thing I need to think about is the cost of how much electricity that I'll be using and how much light I will need to use, then I'd need to determine how safe the light exposure would be and what precautions I'd need to take if I'm planing on spending a lot of time with grow lamps. Also I'll be doing some research into powerful solar panels that run on minimal light that can charge batteries to where my grow lights would get there power from and also work on the best way to get maximum power from a solar panel without any energy being waisted... but for the time being I can run them from mains power until I think of a more energy saving way so the project never stops lol
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Oct 7, 2016 6:43 PM CST
It's a great idea to use solar energy, Kevin because the electricity is surely going to be a big ongoing cost. Tropical plants, even shade plants as Daisy recommended, still need a lot of good light for at least 12 hours per day.

Your profile says you live in London UK - not a terribly sunny place, and as I recall it, there's some air pollution related to a very large city as well. If you live up on the top floor of a hi-rise you'd get better light for your solar panels but the sad fact is that solar panels do need sunlight in order to generate energy.

We had a lady on another plant forum that used to overwinter a lot of tropical plants in her basement under lights and it sure was nothing short of a jungle by the time it was warm enough for her to take her plants outside in spring. She used to be on this site sometimes so I'll try to give her a shout out @joeswife ?? Are you there??
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Kevin Langley
London UK
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AmberLeaf
Oct 7, 2016 7:14 PM CST
I have access to my roof so that part won't be to much of a problem I'd need to also work out how much amps in current I'd be using. 7 amps is doable but anything drawing over 13 amps would start to get costly. The UK indeed isn't a particularly a sunny place although the sun does shine during winter but I guess you'd need heat from the sun as well. It might be that I'd have to use a bit of energy generated from my solar panels along with some mains power and I could also modify an exorcise bike to generate some more electricity to charge some large batteries and keep myself fit in the process. Smiling
Name: Kevin Langley
London UK
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AmberLeaf
Oct 7, 2016 7:27 PM CST
1000 watts is about 4 amps at 240volts a 1000watt SMD grow lamp should be satisfactory for a few large plants or more and would probably use a little less.... ummm I think I'll need to do some math to roughly work out what I'm looking at here in terms of the cost of electricity...
Name: Kevin Langley
London UK
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AmberLeaf
Oct 7, 2016 7:45 PM CST
Maybe I could also grow some vegetables as well that way I save on buying extra groceries which is more money towards the electricity bill I guess there are many ways I could do this besides its not like I can't afford to make this happen but at the same time keeping costs down to a bare minimum is key for this project and if successful maybe it could inspire others.
[Last edited by AmberLeaf - Oct 7, 2016 7:46 PM (+)]
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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
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Weedwhacker
Oct 7, 2016 8:02 PM CST
I agree that it's entirely possible... people here grow marijuana that way, both legally and illegally ... Whistling .

Whether it's economically feasible to grow ornamental plants under artificial lights is another matter.
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Oct 7, 2016 8:04 PM CST
My aunt has a sunken area with skylight windows near their living room. So she has lots of indoor plants there. I remember she also has some indoor lighting for night time, especially if they have guests around. So for your question is it possible to have an indoor jungle, yes it is possible.
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
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ShadyGreenThumb
Oct 7, 2016 8:45 PM CST
Jungle plants need a lot of humidity. Add some humidifiers or misters to your shopping list. Have fun!
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Name: Kevin Langley
London UK
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AmberLeaf
Oct 7, 2016 8:52 PM CST
Weedwhacker said:I agree that it's entirely possible... people here grow marijuana that way, both legally and illegally ... Whistling .

Whether it's economically feasible to grow ornamental plants under artificial lights is another matter.


Coca would be less risky Whistling if only I lived in a place of high altitude lol one can only dream I'd be like the mafia then Green Grin!

Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Oct 7, 2016 8:57 PM CST
I was going to suggest you check out some indoor cannibis wesites. The cannabis growers have figured it out and the rest of us only need follow their lead.
Name: Kevin Langley
London UK
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AmberLeaf
Oct 7, 2016 8:59 PM CST
ShadyGreenThumb said:Jungle plants need a lot of humidity. Add some humidifiers or misters to your shopping list. Have fun!


I'll add those later on in my list but first I'm going to work with what I have. Things like banana plants and palms and bamboo and citrus trees should be good without humidity. Although If I successfully root my mango's then they would definitely need the humidity

Name: Kevin Langley
London UK
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AmberLeaf
Oct 7, 2016 9:02 PM CST
DaisyI said:I was going to suggest you check out some indoor cannibis wesites. The cannabis growers have figured it out and the rest of us only need follow their lead.

In terms of growing cannabis thats going to have to be a no go zone for me unfortunately its not worth getting caught out over, unless there is a legal way of growing it.
[Last edited by AmberLeaf - Oct 7, 2016 9:03 PM (+)]
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Name: Kevin Langley
London UK
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AmberLeaf
Oct 7, 2016 9:12 PM CST
I'd like to grow some catnip thats legal and you can smoke it with good effects Green Grin!
[Last edited by AmberLeaf - Oct 7, 2016 9:22 PM (+)]
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Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
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dyzzypyxxy
Oct 7, 2016 9:24 PM CST
Fruit trees like citrus, mango and bananas need a LOT more light than other plants. They grow in full blazing sun here and also will take years and years to bear any fruit IF and that's a huge IF you manage artificial pollination...

Stick to plants that will grow in shade to begin with. You're much more likely to succeed with them.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Oct 7, 2016 10:00 PM CST
I'm not talking about growing cannibus but using the knowledge that cannibus growers have developed. They have worked hard to figure out the whole indoor growing thing with great results and happily share it. Use the knowledge. That is not illegal.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional interior landscaper
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WillC
Oct 8, 2016 8:02 AM CST
Many plant species can grow under artificial light only. I care for many low light plants in office environments where the plants receive only overhead standard fluorescent lighting 9-5, 5 days per week and they do fine. Other types of light will support species that require more intense light.

Because cost is a concern, I suggest you use LED's because they are far more energy efficient. You will need the lights on a minimum of 8 hours per day. I also suggest that you figure out your lighting first, then get a decent light meter to determine what light intensity you have in various locations. Then, select your plants based on the available light and the light required for various species that interest you. Light is the key factor.

Humidity is a much lesser concern. If you have many plants in a relatively small enclosed space, then the plants and soil will generate sufficient humidity levels for all but a few fern and bog species.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
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Name: Sally
central Maryland
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sallyg
Oct 9, 2016 8:03 PM CST
Farmers get all their light totally free. I can't imagine one could economically produce vegetables or fruit having to buy solar, commercial power, or feed themselves enough to pedal a bike to power lights. And that's after you buy soil and pots.
It's a testament to the deep human urge to cultivate, that people will try to figure out a way to 'cheat nature' and grow plants under artificial conditions.


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Name: Kevin Langley
London UK
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AmberLeaf
Oct 11, 2016 12:45 PM CST
So far its going well, although I've had to start switching off the grow lights at 6pm as its getting darker much sooner now that winter is on its way.

I think my neighbors might be getting a bit suspicious of the purple glow coming from my windows at night even with the curtains drawn so I thought it was best to be safe then risk my door being kicked in by the feds at 2 in the morning just for some tropical plants. I'm also right next to a council estate as well so I don't really want to create any unwanted attention, I am however planing on moving my grow station to another room to where I can cover the windows at night with some black paper or something to stop the glow, that way I can have the grow lamps on 24/7 over the winter time. My Orange trees have improved since I've had them under the grow lamps also my small banana plants are really shooting up now and my bamboo has really taken off. I have other plants but those I haven't yet put under the grow lamps, I have those ones in my kitchen right next to a south facing window where they get natural sunlight.

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