It's cold... it's wet, and I'm ready for this winter to be over with!! Indoors I didn't get any regular BOP blooms this year, strangely enough, but I got something special instead - the White BOP actually bloomed. I never thought I'd see the day one would bloom over winter inside the garage of all places. I noticed it had started before I moved in last fall (which shocked me at the time since it was hidden behind some cannas). But I never expected more blooms over the winter. Such beautiful flowers - makes having these giants well worth the trouble of their size and toting them in and out each spring and fall.
I've been feeling the stems of the ones I left outside... not sure the BOP's made it this winter. But this was a rough winter to test them. The Traveler's Palms might rebound though - they still feel pretty firm down at the base.
I haven't considered doing something like that. I've been begging DH to get me a greenhouse. But, this winter weather is causing me to seriously reconsider. Halides in the garage sound like a better and safer idea.
Here's a few of the threads I had going at the time in 2007. I've made some changes over the years to help with watering, etc - like putting tarps up along the wall, etc (as evident in the BOP photo) - just to help protect the drywall. But overall it's been a very good experience, especially since I cannot build a GH in my current neighborhood.
I run them from about 4:00pm each afternoon until around 7:00am the next morning. So about 15 hours a night, which is probably about average - I've read 12-17 hours is recommended for plants as large as I'm growing. I run them during those hours so they are one while I'm home plus they provide a lot of heat overnight on the cold nights - thus no need for additional heating usually (I use a portable radiator for the really cold nights near the garage door).
Not sure how to define their energy efficiency when referring to them - they do use a lot of power at 1000W each. I did find it helped a little to put each on its own breaker so it doesn't pull so much across a single breaker. There are three pieces to each system - the halide hood, the bulb, and the ballast. The bulbs I have are made for vegetative grown and burn at 7200K (fairly close to real sunlight - just not as strong). You can also get bulbs that are for flowering - or even dual systems that are for both. Taking the plants out in the spring does sometimes result in burns to some leaves - especially on the palms which shows the lack of strength when compared to natural sunlight. I could probably avoid this if I slowly moved them into the sun versus thrust them out into it (even in March the sun is strong enough to burn them it seems). This link below is a good source to read more about lumen(s), PAR, K, CRI, and all the other tech-terms regarding these kind of grow lights: http://www.specialty-lights.com/plantgrow-questions.html#howmeasured
Power/Cost wise I've got to guess... I've never had a winter without them in this home. But if I look at the months in the middle of the summer and assume I use as much energy to heat the home as I do to cool it, I can get a pretty good estimate. I estimate it's about $40-$60 a month for each light. On average over the last three winters it looks like my power bill went up about $100-$150 a month when the lights were on for 15-16 hours a night. Though at times that included the radiator - so it may be as little as $30 a month (which rings a bell back when I first did my estimates at 14hrs a night).
Thank you for all the information and links. I have an enclosed back porch that would really benefit from additional overhead lighting, and I think 1000w would suffice. I could drop my thermostat 1 degree to offset the additional energy consumption. ( I left a BOP outside all winter in a container because I was sick of bringing things indoors. I was ready to trash it, but the lower portion still feels firm. If it returns this summer, I'll definitely take better care of it.) Thanks again.
Wow! I looked at the threads on link you provided and saw the photos. The plants are gorgeous and I love your setup. My husband will never let me have the garage, but we do need a storage building. So, I may be able to convince him to build or buy it large enough to accomodate a plant room vs. buying a greenhouse. Well, at least I know I have options.
I was thinking on this the last few days and it may sound crazy, but I think I may know what's causing them to bloom.
In the winter of 07-08 my normal BOP bloomed, and then did again in 08-09. But this year it didn't, instead my White BOP bloomed. So I started thinking what I did differently and I think it has to do with watering.
The White BOP that bloomed is not my largest white BOP, but it WAS the most under-watered last year. Additionally, I think I watered my regular BOP more than normal last year. So it almost makes me think neglect is what causes them to bloom. The white BOP that I have blooming is in a pot of course and only has about 6.5 months outside in the sun each year. I'm going to try holding back on the water this year, but keep them in good sun, and see if they all bloom next winter. Figure it's worth a shot.
Pretty much. They go out in late March to mid April and I try and give them as much full sun as possible. The one that's blooming got A LOT of sun last year. But then again, so did my other white BOP and it didn't bloom. The only difference I can think of between them was watering. One was near the sprinkler system, the other was not.
Thanks. I kept my BOP in the house this winter. What a big mistake. I did get a bloom, but it dried up before it opened. Some of the leaves also have brown tips. The humidity is too low. It would have been better off in the garage. I'm making plans now to better care for it next winter. Thanks for sharing your ideas and happy gardening.
Keonikale it's not such a crazy idea .. if you consider a plants imperative is to reproduce then it seems quite logical for it to bloom when under stress - I have gotten a number of stubborn plants to bloom by withholding water and stressing it.
wow I love the BOP! I my brought my two in this year (and man that was enough to put my back out!) but I just couldn't afford to heat the GH this year -
I hope mine will finally bloom this year - it will be the 3rd season I have had them and one I got in the asheville roundup was already several years old and had not bloomed (but since I split it for someone Tom I think it was said it could take a few years to recover and bloom)
anyways - the one in the kitchen is topping 8' right now so I'm just thrilled I didn't kill them over the winter with my boredom and constant nattering around them LOL
For those who have these giant BOPs in bloom - do they usually bloom over and over again all year round or do they stop for part of the year? My regular BOP only blooms in the winter. But this White BOP is going crazy sending up flower stalk after flower stalk - I'm worried it's going to bloom itself to death. I went out to check on the blooms and noticed two new ones about to open in the back of the pot. That'll be 6 stalks this winter alone. Weird part is, my other White BOP which is almost the same size (if not larger) hasn't bloomed once. Strange.
Just an update. Apparently White BOP's, like regular BOP's, only like to bloom in the winter (here at least). Mine's got four stalks on it right now, two of which are blooming - two about to open. Not sure if it'll put up any more or not. I have noticed the BOP grew considerably taller after blooming last year. I'm still fairly convinced it's the lack of water (and full exposure to sun all summer) that causes it to bloom - this past year it got a decent amount of water, but not too much. Funny that this one blooms and the other large one doesn't - makes me wonder what's different about them, maybe age. Either way, I'm making sure to put this one back out in full sun soon enough, I hope to get blooms every winter now. Maybe if I'm lucky they'll both bloom next year.
Here's the bloom stalk from this year. Such a beautiful plant.