Houseplants forum: Indoor grow lights in a dark home....

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NovicePlantGuy
May 30, 2018 1:21 PM CST
Hello and thank you in advance for any suggestions,

The backstory...

My apartment building is getting a scaffolding (with dark netting) for almost all of the summer. I don't have great direct sunlight as it is. I usually leave my drapes open all day. So, I'm anticipating a dark summer in the apartment. I don't think my plants will survive. So, I'm thinking about putting my 6 or 7 house plants in one room and buying a (very simple) grow light with a timer and have it come on most days (and definitely while I'm on vacation). Not sure if this is even a smart idea but if it is...

My questions....

-What is the simplest system that I should buy? (My 1st thought...clamp lamp light w/reflector + Grow bulb + timer)

-What kind of bulb (and wattage) to buy if I'm worried about damage to fabrics/artwork/etc in the room? (I don't have a spare room that I could clear out)

-What length of time of grow light per day would be adequate enough to keep the plants happy for 3 months?

Basically, what's the simplest, least invasive, cheapest, safe, temporary grow light system to keep my plants on life support for the summer?

Again...thank you!
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
May 30, 2018 1:46 PM CST
Welcome. Where do you live? A clamp light in a reflector is not expensive but only covers a small area. 4' x 2 shop lights with regular bulbs can be gotten usually for $10 and does OK. You want your lights on a timer and set for 12 - 16 hours a day, every day of the week. No inexpensive set up will put out enough light to do any damage to the contents of the room. You say for the summer. Most people ask this same question in regards to the winter. Many new LED fixtures out there that can do well, last a long time but have a high initial cost. I winter my house plants under 6500K T5 HO lamps. Can you find a secure place outdoors in the shade for your plants? Gene
[Last edited by gasrocks - May 30, 2018 1:47 PM (+)]
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Profess plant consultant & educator
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WillC
May 30, 2018 1:53 PM CST
LED grow lights are the most cost-effective. Fluorescent tubes cover a greater area for many plants. Incandescent grow lights are too hot and too expensive.

The more wattage the better. Without getting into technical explanations, look for a color temperature that is 5,000+ K.

Keep the lights as close as possible to the plants and leave them on for 8-12 hours per day.

The lights will not cause permanent damage to fabrics, but they may cast a strange color in the room while they are on.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

NovicePlantGuy
May 30, 2018 3:46 PM CST
gasrocks said:Welcome. Where do you live? A clamp light in a reflector is not expensive but only covers a small area. 4' x 2 shop lights with regular bulbs can be gotten usually for $10 and does OK. You want your lights on a timer and set for 12 - 16 hours a day, every day of the week. No inexpensive set up will put out enough light to do any damage to the contents of the room. You say for the summer. Most people ask this same question in regards to the winter. Many new LED fixtures out there that can do well, last a long time but have a high initial cost. I winter my house plants under 6500K T5 HO lamps. Can you find a secure place outdoors in the shade for your plants? Gene


Thank you, Gene,

I live in San Francisco. The outdoor space isn't ideal. There is a small shaded area but it's very windy here (20-25 knot wind almost every afternoon in the summer). Great for sailing...not so much for house plants. But that's a great idea for the smaller succulents or little guys. I could even put up a small wind screen for them.

I was hoping to simply put a couple of the bigger plants next to each other in a corner of a room and clamp a simple grow light on a timer next to them. I figured that plus a little bit of light that comes thru the netting would keep them happy enough while the contraction was happening this summer. But it sounds like maybe the clamp light in a reflector isn't worth the effort, yes? I like the shop light idea but I'd like to be able to move it very easily when people are over or if it's in the way.

Kevin




NovicePlantGuy
May 30, 2018 3:48 PM CST
WillC said:LED grow lights are the most cost-effective. Fluorescent tubes cover a greater area for many plants. Incandescent grow lights are too hot and too expensive.

The more wattage the better. Without getting into technical explanations, look for a color temperature that is 5,000+ K.

Keep the lights as close as possible to the plants and leave them on for 8-12 hours per day.

The lights will not cause permanent damage to fabrics, but they may cast a strange color in the room while they are on.


Thank you, Will...solid advice.

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
May 30, 2018 3:56 PM CST
I winter about 900 house pants in my house. Something like 24 T5 HO light fixtures. But. I will be buying some of the new LED daylight strips this summer and comparing light output. Gene

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