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Avatar for Nook
Jun 23, 2021 9:42 AM CST
Lacey, WA (Zone 8a)
Hello all! I am fairly new to houseplants, but I've aquired a variety of them that I'm pretty excited about and trying to set them up for success! I just bought a grow light (plug-in pendant style) off Amazon, it's a 15W sansi grow bulb.
I've strung it up over my calathea but I'm a little surprised at just how bright it is! I know that's the whole point, but It's really bright and the bulb says not to use in enclosed luminaries. Would a wicker type shade that's open at the bottom provide enough ventilation and also help shield our eyes from how bright the bulb is? My indoor cat and I are blinded, and the set up is in the bedroom where she lives.
Also have a question as to the height of this grow light. I feel like lowering it makes it easier on the eyes but I don't want my Calathea to get burnt leaves? Could I lower it and have the light on for less time?
Thank you for any and all advice!

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Jun 23, 2021 2:53 PM CST
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
To make this situation safe, your socket needs a fire proof hood (glass or metal) but the socket needs to be porcelain or you will have a melted socket and potentially a fire hazard. Sockets like your current one are plastic and aluminum, very dangerous.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
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Jun 23, 2021 3:58 PM CST
Name: Omie
New York state (Zone 5b)
Beekeeper Cat Lover
Like Daisy said, if you put any kind of shade/hood around that bulb, the bulb heat will rise around the plastic socket and could cause a fire. Don't rig up ANYTHING directly around that bulb... and (omg) wicker?! nooo....
If you want a shade, then it's better to buy a grow light that is made with a shade already designed as part of it. Could be a matter of life and death, actually.
Maybe just turn on the grow light when you are out during the day for an hour or two?
Avatar for Nook
Jun 23, 2021 4:18 PM CST
Lacey, WA (Zone 8a)
Oh wow! Ok, thank you both for pointing that out!😱
I guess I will be returning them, It's definitely not worth the risk! Does anyone have any recommendations for an alternative grow light, suitable for Calathea?
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Jun 23, 2021 4:45 PM CST
Name: Omie
New York state (Zone 5b)
Beekeeper Cat Lover
You have a window there. Calatheas need bright but indirect/filtered light, and no intense sun. Is there a way you could get a longer table or a second table, to extend across the whole window? You'd have room for the cat bed at one end and could position all your plants to get the amount of light they each require. For example I have a long bench spanning my double window, and I position my begonias (which don't like intense sun) behind a few taller plants that do like high sun, ...so the begonias are a bit protected from too much sun by the taller plants. Just a thought.
Avatar for Nook
Jun 23, 2021 5:05 PM CST
Lacey, WA (Zone 8a)
Unfortunately there is a tiny closet with a door that I need to have access to the left of the table pictured. I can center the table a bit like I had it before, but that's it.
I live in Washington state, and while it's bright and sunny out now, come fall/winter we get mostly overcast days. Lots of clouds, or filtered light, I'm just not sure it'll be enough... I'll also be wintering over a Boston, rabbits foot and birds nest ferns. When I bring everything in, it's pretty cramped for light in that window. 😅 But I really appreciate your suggestion! Might work for the time being
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Jun 24, 2021 11:38 AM CST
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
My first thought was a hanging Brooder lamp - just make sure it has porcelain base.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
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Jun 24, 2021 12:57 PM CST
Name: Omie
New York state (Zone 5b)
Beekeeper Cat Lover
Yeah but you mean they should put the grow bulb into the brooder lamp socket, right? Brooder lamps are mainly for producing heat I think.
Avatar for acymetric
Jun 24, 2021 1:06 PM CST
Raleigh, NC
What about the 9W GE BR30 bulb (or something similar)? For a single plant or just a couple it would be plenty of light, I would think you would only need that 15W if you were trying to grow something inside that needed full sun or something. Maybe without the safety concerns as well since the wattage is more typical (in the range of normal house bulbs). That's what I've been using for the last week (I'm just getting started myself, so take this advice with a huge grain of salt until someone else chimes in to agree or disagree) and my plants seem to be loving it. It is pretty bright still (a little uncomfortable, I'm working on ways to shield my living area from the brightness a little bit) but I'm sure not nearly as bad as what you had with the Sansi. You might even be able to get away with a regular houselight bulb.

Edit: Will be following this thread closely, I would like to understand various indoor lighting options better myself as my only window faces a hill covered in tall trees so I get minimal natural light.
Last edited by acymetric Jun 24, 2021 1:08 PM Icon for preview
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Jun 24, 2021 3:41 PM CST
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
The brooder lamps are also used as shop lights. You can put any bulb in them as long as the base is porcelain. I used them for grow lights to spot individual plants at my old house. They worked great. I used this one, rated up to 150 watts.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0002DHODG/

PS: The clamp comes off.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Avatar for Nook
Jun 24, 2021 3:50 PM CST
Lacey, WA (Zone 8a)
Oh a brooder lamp,that's a good idea. When you pointed out that the lamp needs to be ceramic or porcelain I thought of reptile heat lamp fixtures, but I imagine a brooder would be less expensive, and it looks like some come with the guards attached, which is nice.

Ah thanks for joining along acymetric! I'll take a look see at the bulb you're suggesting. I don't want to fry my plants, but I think they will need and appreciate some supplemented light, especially in the fall/winter. Too many plants and not enough windows! 😅

It has been especially warm out, I've got them residing in my catio during the day just to have more space/brightness till I get this grow light thing figured out.

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Jun 24, 2021 4:03 PM CST
Name: Omie
New York state (Zone 5b)
Beekeeper Cat Lover
I can imagine your cat is secretly plotting to arrange 'accidents' for those plants that are usurping their nice catio. Whistling
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Jun 24, 2021 7:46 PM CST
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
@Nook, did you look at the link I attached? The ones I used technically are reptile lamps. I liked them because they were a color other than aluminum. Smiling
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Avatar for Nook
Jun 24, 2021 10:58 PM CST
Lacey, WA (Zone 8a)
DaisyI said:@Nook, did you look at the link I attached? The ones I used technically are reptile lamps. I liked them because they were a color other than aluminum. Smiling


Yes thank you! I was in the process of writing my response when you posted, but I saw it afterwards! Those are the exact ones I was thinking of. I'm glad to hear that they can be used for this purpose. Are there any grow light bulbs/brands you would recommend? Or any that I should stay clear of? Full spectrum LED type seems to be most appealing to me personally, I prefer a white light to really appreciate the plants natural colorations but I'm open to any and all suggestions.
Avatar for acymetric
Jun 25, 2021 6:42 AM CST
Raleigh, NC
Just a quick follow up, the GE bulb is fairly bright but not enough that it's actually bothering my eyes, it turns out what was killing my eyes was my regular floor lamp next to the couch that I had moved slightly. So, bright, but I wouldn't say "too" bright. Looks like this:


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Jun 28, 2021 11:28 AM CST
Name: Wolfenpepper
(Zone 5a)
Wolfenpepper - Wild & Hot
Closer to light does not mean less time turned on. Hours should always be adjusted to match natural daylight hours. Cheapy grow lights like that should maintain 1 foot above foliage to prevent burn and for more even coverage of entire plant. A definite no to wicker as the base of leds contains a transformer that does get warm and needs air circulation or metal hood for heatsink to spread it out.
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Jun 28, 2021 7:33 PM CST
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Nook said:

Yes thank you! I was in the process of writing my response when you posted, but I saw it afterwards! Those are the exact ones I was thinking of. I'm glad to hear that they can be used for this purpose. Are there any grow light bulbs/brands you would recommend? Or any that I should stay clear of? Full spectrum LED type seems to be most appealing to me personally, I prefer a white light to really appreciate the plants natural colorations but I'm open to any and all suggestions.



Your plants prefer full spectrum white light also - the life expectancy for a plant under only red/blue light is about 6 months. Make sure the bulbs are rated for plants (full spectrum). You can move the light up and down to adjust light intensity so better to go for a higher lumen light so you have a choice. Full sun is about 10,000 lumens per square foot but you aren't growing cactus. For your plants, maybe 2000 to 3000 lumens per square foot (a guess).

A word of caution... The advertised light is only available directly under the lights. The further off to the side the less light. Your spot light is going to provide light to one plant and if it gets big enough, the light won't be adequate.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Avatar for Nook
Jun 30, 2021 3:39 PM CST
Lacey, WA (Zone 8a)
Thank you for the update acymetric! Your setup looks real cute, and I appreciate the feedback!

Thank you Wolfensteven! Yes I will not do any wicker near the grow light, I realize now how silly that idea was. A foot above seems like a good plan, thanks for the advice.

Thank you very much Daisyl! I plan on picking up another grow light with an appropriate fixture soon, and I have screenshot your suggestion so I will reference and try to find one within those specifications!
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