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Indoor Gardening and Houseplants: Best indoor grow light?

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CindyMzone5
Hobart, IN

November 27, 2012
3:05 PM

Post #9344007

I'm looking for a single fixture (?) grow light on a pole/stand with minimum height of 4.5 feet (or taller). Primarily for my lemon tree that's moved indoors for the winter. It's in my living room at the moment so would like something that looks pretty tidy rather than propping up fluorescent lights. Can anyone recommend a good one?
gasrocks
Portage, WI
(Zone 5a)

November 27, 2012
3:10 PM

Post #9344011

http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1287721/

T5 HO is the only light I use. 6500K. Works well, efficient, little heat. I have 3 different Citrus trees blooming right now. Wonderful.

This message was edited Nov 27, 2012 5:11 PM
CindyMzone5
Hobart, IN

November 28, 2012
7:47 AM

Post #9344592

Thanks for those links! I'll definitely check them out. Going on my Xmas wish list. Limited sun indoors during the winter and I'd like to move it away from the west-facing window to avoid any chill.
My first Meyer lemon is about ripe and it's big. Came with the new plant last spring (but have another one growing from summer flowering) and it was the only one on the tree then so it's gotten plenty of nutrition.
gasrocks
Portage, WI
(Zone 5a)

November 28, 2012
10:12 AM

Post #9344683

What I love about having a lot of lights is I used to live in a small, dark house. Not so anymore. Not a matter of having enough space to have a lot of plants as much as it is to treat the ones I do have well. I even have a bit of room (under lights) left over/available = a hospital for anything needing special short term care. Yes, it does get cold right next to a window, and too dry. I keep the indoor humidity between 40-50% in the winter. Just short of having the windows dripping. Also healthy for me !
CindyMzone5
Hobart, IN

November 28, 2012
1:52 PM

Post #9344790

I checked out some lighting options earlier. Can a single grow bulb (CFL, LED, etc) be used in any standard floor lamp as long as there aren't any flammable parts (like lamp shades) and as long as the floor lamp is rated to handle the bulb? I saw some nice goose-neck models but the prices are a bit much.
I do mist some plants every morning when I open the curtains and the lemon is one of them.
gasrocks
Portage, WI
(Zone 5a)

November 28, 2012
4:03 PM

Post #9344898

I have used 42w CFL twist bulbs in an alumin. reflector lamp (sold at Home Depot as a brooding lamp,) for starting seeds indoors. Works ok but no where near as efficient as T5 HO. How many plants are you trying to favor? 1 or 2 might be ok with a CFL, more? probably not. A CFL unless it is in a reflector designed exactly for that bulb will be hot and not efficient. Cheap way to start (short of T5 HO fixtures) double 4' flourescent fixture from WalMart with daylight bulbs (also from WalMart.) Works well. Pales cmpared to T5 HO but very much cheaper.

This message was edited Nov 28, 2012 6:08 PM
wseaton
Wyoming, MI

November 28, 2012
7:58 PM

Post #9345092

The problem with established plants -vs- starting seedlings is established plants do much better with diffuse lights. Seedlings can be started with a spotlight or halide because they have no under growth to maintain. Tight ligh sources though cause shadows with established plants, and causes problems with lower stems and leaves. Plant basically starves underneath.

CFL has sucky efficiency, but they are a cheap source of firepower. A really big CFL with a really big lamp shade will work better than a bare CFL for the reasons above. I'm just not sure if this is enough for a fruiting tree.

I'd also suggest going with a warmer bulb than a cooler one. More PAR with a warmer one, and you need all the energy you can get. Even with a warm white bulb there isn't enough light above 620nm to cause lanky growth.

Haven't seen any LED options worth a salt because they are typically too compact.
CindyMzone5
Hobart, IN

November 29, 2012
12:12 PM

Post #9345519

I have multiple 2 or 4 ft light setups that I use for seedlings and small plants but wouldn't want them in my livingroom for my lemon tree. I was thinking of a regular household floor lamp style with a light focusing down on the lemon tree. It's the only plant that I'm currently obsessing about indoors. Most of my other indoor plants can take a cool window or low light conditions.
gasrocks
Portage, WI
(Zone 5a)

December 8, 2012
10:22 AM

Post #9353036

Cindy - Did you find a light for your Lemon Tree?
CindyMzone5
Hobart, IN

December 9, 2012
7:44 AM

Post #9353575

Yes, I did. I found one of those lamps as shown in the link you kindly posted. It's got 5 octopus-like arms with white shades. Found it for under $40 at Meijer. DH spent the same amount on 5 full spectrum CFL bulbs. It's quite bright! Had to move my lemon tree out of the window for the Christmas tree so that light will definitely help it. Have it on a timer as well set for 16 hours of light.
gasrocks
Portage, WI
(Zone 5a)

December 9, 2012
8:43 AM

Post #9353628

In a month or two let us know how it reacts to the new light.
CindyMzone5
Hobart, IN

December 10, 2012
12:29 PM

Post #9354802

Will do. 'Course I may be sitting under those lights in another month or two if we don't have another mild winter. :)
Now I just have to figure out how much moisture my lemon tree really wants. If I water once a week, it's pretty dry by watering day. Wondering if it needs more watering than that since I made sure the drainage is pretty good. The leaves aren't yellowing anymore but they just seem not as vigorous as they were when outdoors, even with misting regularly.
gasrocks
Portage, WI
(Zone 5a)

December 10, 2012
4:58 PM

Post #9355057

Citrus are woody trees. If it goes dry, it dies. I'd error on the side of too much water. I know mine under lights get water once or twice a day, but there are many variables invloved.
CindyMzone5
Hobart, IN

December 11, 2012
9:21 AM

Post #9355563

I think I will up the watering to twice a week for a bit and see if the leaf appearance improves and as long as I don't get yellowing leaves again. Poor thing did go through a hot, dry summer and had to rely on manual watering from the rain barrel (if we had rain) or dechlorinated water when we didn't. It did put on new growth but not a lot and it did flower once. Thanks for the tips!
gasrocks
Portage, WI
(Zone 5a)

December 13, 2012
8:26 AM

Post #9357232

Don't assume anything. Don't be afraid to put your finger in the pot and see how dry (or not) the soil is. Just this week I have a Citrus tree that started losing leaves suddenly. Finger in pot says too wet (it is on the same shelf as other Citrus trees that get water twice a day) = water less often. I have lost many plants because the soil looked dry when it was wet and vice-versa.

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