Orchids forum→Growing Orchids Under Lights

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Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
American Orchid Society Judge
Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Growing under artificial light Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
Butterflies Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Cat Lover Birds Bee Lover
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BigBill
Mar 21, 2019 4:06 AM CST
Perhaps this is the one thread that we haven't had but need. I know that in my travels through local clubs, I get an awful lot of questions regarding orchids under lights. Here is my set up.
Thumb of 2019-03-21/BigBill/d52c02
Thumb of 2019-03-21/BigBill/a225c7
Thumb of 2019-03-21/BigBill/9460c3
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My set up features 2, three shelf plant stands featuring T-5 high intensity bulbs. I have been growing this way for 7 months now and I am experiencing wonderful results. Plants have bloomed, buds are opening and more are coming every week.
Even my Cattleyas are now producing buds under the lights. What else am I growing under the lights? Well I have Angraecums, Coelogynes, Masdevallias, Maxillarias, Paphiopedilums, Oncidiums and numerous other types.
I will be posting images, answering questions regarding culture under the lights, and hopefully provide a source of information for anyone wanting to expand on their growing skills.
With my stands, I have 6 growing areas of about 30 square feet total. Underlights, success is all about positioning plants and getting them under the correct light intensity to promote excellent growth and flowering. I will be posting images along the way and answering questions. I welcome all comments and hopefully members of the NGA, both new and old, will pick up some invaluable growing tips!
Pictures WILL follow. BigBill nodding
Rodney Wilcox Jones, my idol!
Businessman, Orchid grower, hybridizer, lived to 107!
[Last edited by BigBill - Mar 21, 2019 4:14 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1932167 (1)
Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
Herbs Annuals Hummingbirder Butterflies Garden Photography Cactus and Succulents
Birds Cat Lover Houseplants Garden Sages
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gasrocks
Mar 21, 2019 4:24 AM CST
I do not grow orchids but do have a lot of house plants under lights in the winter. Please read the entire thread for some ideas on more efficient lights. Gene

The thread "New lights for my plants." in Houseplants forum
Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
Plumerias Orchids Cactus and Succulents Region: New Jersey Region: Pennsylvania Native Plants and Wildflowers
Greenhouse Ponds Keeper of Koi Forum moderator Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Adeniums
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Ursula
Mar 21, 2019 7:16 AM CST

Moderator

Bill, a much needed thread! Thumbs up

Gene, thanks for posting this link, this is super informative too. I half expected to hear crickets chirping in your set up, or should I say drums communicating in the distance.... Smiling

@Boojum, if you are in the neighborhood, you might want to bookmark this thread! I think this is/will come in handy for you!
Name: Glenn Graham
Memphis (Zone 7b)
Plumerias Dog Lover Birds Growing under artificial light Amaryllis Ferns
Region: Tennessee Foliage Fan Houseplants Tropicals Orchids Butterflies
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BBQNBLUES
Mar 21, 2019 8:47 AM CST
I've been wanting a couple of units like Bill's for a long time too. Still debating whether to go with LED or T-5's !

Bill; Do you not need to use Humidity Trays under your Orchids in this set up? or do you have a Humidifier in the room?


Any Light Cart Brand recommendations?
[Last edited by BBQNBLUES - Mar 21, 2019 9:35 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1932296 (4)
Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
Herbs Annuals Hummingbirder Butterflies Garden Photography Cactus and Succulents
Birds Cat Lover Houseplants Garden Sages
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gasrocks
Mar 21, 2019 8:57 AM CST
LED last much longer, weigh less, way more efficient, give off little heat. Only way to go !
[Last edited by gasrocks - Mar 21, 2019 9:00 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1932301 (5)
Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
American Orchid Society Judge
Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Growing under artificial light Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
Butterflies Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Cat Lover Birds Bee Lover
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BigBill
Mar 21, 2019 9:57 AM CST
There is very little heat given off from these tubes!
This set up comes with a 2" deep tray per shelf.
Here is a Cattleya that just opened. It is Rlc. Yen Corona 'Green Genie'. It is a cross of C. Brazilian Treasure X Rlc. Memoria Helen Brown.
This plant is mounted on cypress and has been growing since late September under lights, in the back left corner under a two tube fixture and about 13" below the T-5 tubes. Flower measures almost 3 3/4" across. Ivory white with Apple green sepals, petals flushed heavily with rich amethyst purple especially heavy centrally towards apex of petal. Lip is partially rolled, white side lobes darker amethyst apically, front lobe dark amethyst. Column white blushed amethyst.


Rodney Wilcox Jones, my idol!
Businessman, Orchid grower, hybridizer, lived to 107!
Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
American Orchid Society Judge
Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Growing under artificial light Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
Butterflies Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Cat Lover Birds Bee Lover
Image
BigBill
Mar 21, 2019 10:13 AM CST
Here is another bloomer under the lights.
This little guy used to be called Pleurothallis grobyi, now Specklinia grobyi. This is only the 4th time I think that I flowered this species! Once in New York, twice in Florida and now here. I am a little premature in that the flowers are not open yet.
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This is a real miniature plant with wire thin leaf stems and small canoe paddle shaped leaves that are 5/8" long by 3/8" wide. It grows somewhat moist and shaded. Mine is on tree fern and it followed me from Florida! Whistling
Flowers are very tiny and from creamy white to pale straw yellow. Too small really for me to describe further in detail.
But it is flowering under lights. I am hopeful that it will grow larger given the cooler climate here. It does have a pad of sphagnum moss on the mount.
It was growing with the Coelogynes, shaded by them to a degree and 15" below the tubes.
Rodney Wilcox Jones, my idol!
Businessman, Orchid grower, hybridizer, lived to 107!
[Last edited by BigBill - Mar 21, 2019 10:13 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1932364 (7)
Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
American Orchid Society Judge
Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Growing under artificial light Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
Butterflies Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Cat Lover Birds Bee Lover
Image
BigBill
Mar 21, 2019 10:35 AM CST
Well these came from Gardeners Supply out west. You can google them and look under plant stands.
There has been a price increase since I bought them in August. They were not cheap!
But I wanted a nice, sturdy unit with ample room to house at least 150 plants. Plus it had to look nice where it is in my home in plain view. It could not be ugly. So far, I am very pleased. These use very little energy.
I purchased a 2 shelf unit for my son. So far he is growing orchids, succulents and seeds.
Rodney Wilcox Jones, my idol!
Businessman, Orchid grower, hybridizer, lived to 107!
[Last edited by BigBill - Mar 21, 2019 10:48 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1932385 (8)
Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
American Orchid Society Judge
Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Growing under artificial light Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
Butterflies Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Cat Lover Birds Bee Lover
Image
BigBill
Mar 21, 2019 11:45 AM CST
This little guy is blooming for the second time under lights.


This is Dendrobium Mini Snowflake X Dendrobium Micro Chip. These are both Latouria type Dendrobium hybrids. The flower that you see here is creamy white and the size of a nickel. It currently has two flowers open with 5 more coming on two additional inflorescences.
I have it in sphagnum moss in a plastic pot. It has growths that are between 4-5" in height, multiple leaves per growth, and good roots. The reverse side of the flowers have different degrees of fine amethyst speckling. The lip is tri-lobed and is amethyst speckled on the front side.
All of my Latouria hybrids are growing towards the ends of the fixtures. Several more are beginning to bud.
I have a lot of people tell me that they have trouble growing Dendrobiums like this. For me they like a couple of hours of sun per day. They like plastic pots because I do not feel that they like to dry too much between waterings. Their roots are VERY SKINNY and the sphagnum helps them get the moisture that they require. Thank You!
Rodney Wilcox Jones, my idol!
Businessman, Orchid grower, hybridizer, lived to 107!
[Last edited by BigBill - Mar 21, 2019 11:47 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1932428 (9)
Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
Plumerias Orchids Cactus and Succulents Region: New Jersey Region: Pennsylvania Native Plants and Wildflowers
Greenhouse Ponds Keeper of Koi Forum moderator Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Adeniums
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Ursula
Mar 21, 2019 4:32 PM CST

Moderator

Bill, looking great! Thumbs up
Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
American Orchid Society Judge
Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Growing under artificial light Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
Butterflies Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Cat Lover Birds Bee Lover
Image
BigBill
Mar 27, 2019 6:58 PM CST
This has just opened the last day or so, it is Dendrobium Keiki Chip. It is Dendrobium Micro Chip X Dendrobium Little Atro. This is blooming on a plant that is 5" high, minus the inflorescence.


Flower measures 1 3/8" wide and is a rich creamy white base color blushed Apple green. The flower looks really large on such a small plant. This bloomed underlights before, sometime around Thanksgiving I think. What a sweetie! Angel
The lip is whiter with less green blush with the side lobes having this rich amethyst web like pattern on them. The front lobe also with rich amethyst markings.
Mine is in a 3" pot with straight sphagnum moss.
Rodney Wilcox Jones, my idol!
Businessman, Orchid grower, hybridizer, lived to 107!
[Last edited by BigBill - Mar 27, 2019 7:01 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1936715 (11)
Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
Plumerias Orchids Cactus and Succulents Region: New Jersey Region: Pennsylvania Native Plants and Wildflowers
Greenhouse Ponds Keeper of Koi Forum moderator Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Adeniums
Image
Ursula
Mar 27, 2019 8:36 PM CST

Moderator

Looks terrific! Thumbs up
Bill, you have no problem growing in Sphagnum!
Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
American Orchid Society Judge
Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Growing under artificial light Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
Butterflies Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Cat Lover Birds Bee Lover
Image
BigBill
Mar 27, 2019 8:41 PM CST
Well I bought a book today, Masdevallias-Gems of the Orchid World by Mary Gerritsen.

I previewed it on-line and the description sounds like just what I need. Culture for growing these beautiful plants underlights, CHECK.
It also describes and talks about all the different groups of Masdevallia. CHECK. This could be just what I need.

As a side note, I am starting to lose a few flowers under the lights. I am not sure why. Perhaps too dry, perhaps lights are too intense as the spikes elongate. I just don't know.
I have had a Paphiopedilum spike dry up and a second plant of 2 Coelogyne speciosa had the bud seemingly rot and abort.
It could be overall dryness as my humidity in another room measures 19%. But I'll need to figure this out. Maybe I need standing water in the trays. Maybe I need a small fan to move the air around.
Rodney Wilcox Jones, my idol!
Businessman, Orchid grower, hybridizer, lived to 107!
[Last edited by BigBill - Mar 27, 2019 8:49 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1936777 (13)
Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
Herbs Annuals Hummingbirder Butterflies Garden Photography Cactus and Succulents
Birds Cat Lover Houseplants Garden Sages
Image
gasrocks
Mar 28, 2019 6:20 AM CST
19% is unhelathy for you, your plants and furniture. I run 3 humidifiers during the winter and keep the humidity in my house at 38% to 45%. Less nose bleeds.
Running a small fan is a good idea if you have hot pockets, corners where warm air is trapped. However, fans tend to dry out plants quickly.
[Last edited by gasrocks - Mar 28, 2019 6:55 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1936910 (14)
Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
American Orchid Society Judge
Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Growing under artificial light Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
Butterflies Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Cat Lover Birds Bee Lover
Image
BigBill
Mar 28, 2019 3:44 PM CST
I get it.
But maybe filling these 2" trays with egg crate and keeping water in them will increase the humidity. Confused

Time to buy a gauge!
Rodney Wilcox Jones, my idol!
Businessman, Orchid grower, hybridizer, lived to 107!
Name: Glenn Graham
Memphis (Zone 7b)
Plumerias Dog Lover Birds Growing under artificial light Amaryllis Ferns
Region: Tennessee Foliage Fan Houseplants Tropicals Orchids Butterflies
Image
BBQNBLUES
Mar 28, 2019 3:55 PM CST
BigBill said:I get it.
But maybe filling these 2" trays with egg crate and keeping water in them will increase the humidity. Confused

Time to buy a gauge!
Just buy some Acrylic Replacement Florescent light diffusers & cut to fit the top of each tray. Making your own humidity trays.

Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
Herbs Annuals Hummingbirder Butterflies Garden Photography Cactus and Succulents
Birds Cat Lover Houseplants Garden Sages
Image
gasrocks
Mar 28, 2019 4:00 PM CST
My experience says that trays of gravel and/or water do not really help increase the humidity where needed.
Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
Herbs Annuals Hummingbirder Butterflies Garden Photography Cactus and Succulents
Birds Cat Lover Houseplants Garden Sages
Image
gasrocks
Mar 28, 2019 4:06 PM CST
https://www.amazon.com/gp/prod...

I have 4 of them. Monitors the temp and humidity over the last 24 hours.
Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
American Orchid Society Judge
Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Growing under artificial light Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
Butterflies Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Cat Lover Birds Bee Lover
Image
BigBill
Mar 28, 2019 4:12 PM CST
Well my experience agrees with yours but even if I go from 20% to 30 or 35%, it has to help.
Btw, egg crate is what you call those inserts in fixtures to diffuse light. Like 1/2" squares.
Rodney Wilcox Jones, my idol!
Businessman, Orchid grower, hybridizer, lived to 107!
Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
Herbs Annuals Hummingbirder Butterflies Garden Photography Cactus and Succulents
Birds Cat Lover Houseplants Garden Sages
Image
gasrocks
Mar 28, 2019 6:40 PM CST
I go out of my way to get all the light I can get. Why diffuse it?

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