I am trying to winter over a couple of my pepper plants indoors. They have been inside for more than a week and are doing alright. They are sitting in a window, but it is south facing and only gets a reasonable amount of sun. I don't have any other options about where to put these, so I was wondering about a grow light to help out a bit.
I have seen allot of led bulbs for regular lamps that are combinations of red and blue leds. Do these work? i have also seen sodium bulbs and some other types.
What should I get for this? How long would it have to be on per day? Would I have it on in the morning, or afternoon?
Have Home Depot/Lowes cut your shelves...get some eye hooks, ess hooks, and jack chain, and suspend the 2- or 4-light fluorescent shop light kit underneath each shelf... You can install two 2-light kits side x side, or go with a single 4-light kit...
Cinder blocks at HD or Lowes...or, save some $$ and scrounge around for your materials. I just painted my entire light stand to coordinate with the room they're in -- curtains and all, LOL!
No special bulbs necessary. Regular old T12s...works like a charm, although, the Box stores are sort of forcing you to purchase the new T8 or T5 kits, which are much more expensive. I paid $10 apiece for my 2-light kits. Check Craigslist or Freecycle for boards, blocks and shop lights. This doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg...
A picture of mine in action below...
You can set two blocks on top of each other for a wider space between your shelves. For established plants like your bells, I'd recommend leaving the lights on 8-10 hours/day. The fluorescent lights don't draw much on the electricity...
I just built the simple pvc light stand in the following YouTube video...roughly $12 for 2 lengths of the pvc and the couplings.
Instead of the one 4-light kit like mhpgardener shows ($50 at Home Depot), I cut a sheet of plyboard to fit the space, and affixed two of my 2-light kits side x side to the plyboard, then suspended that from the overhead bar. I already have sixteen, 2-light kits - no need to purchase a 4-light kit!
Plants use certain of the blue wavelengths and certain of the reds.
Our eyes see the yellows and greens better.
"Ordinary ol' bulbs" are designed for office, house and so on, where people are using them. They are higher in the yellows and greens, not so much reds and blues.
"Plant bulbs" will be higher in the reds and blues that plants use. If we used them for lighting then they would look sort of dim, and the blend has something of a purple-pink tone. Since they have little or no yellow and green wavelengths the things they light up look weird, not normal color. PAR is a rating that tells you how much of the light the bulbs produce is good for plants. High PAR rating for less watts of electricity is the best lighting for plants. Putting a high quality plant bulb in a rotten reflector is another bad move. Much of the light you are paying for gets scattered away from the plants. Look into the best reflector, too.
I think you could go either way:
The sun provides a lot of the light. Perhaps adding something with a spectrum aimed at people would be just the little extra they need. This would also provide lighting for you in that part of the house.
Maybe the sun is not all they need, in which case I would look into the PAR rating of the bulbs and fixtures you are looking at.
Here is one way to do this on a budget:
Home Depot has some 4' long reflectors that look like shiny diamond plate. These are VERY good reflectors for the money.
Put some bulbs in them (T-8 fluorescent) that will be high in the wave lengths the plants need. Perhaps a 'daylight' and a 'plant' bulb, or a couple of 'plant' bulbs.
Set these up over a 4' long shelf, on chains. Lower the chains when the plants are small, and raise the fixture as the plants grow, keeping it about 3-6" above the plants.
When I've run one for supplement light I usually had it on from just before sunset to 9pm or so. It mostly was based on when I was around to turn it on and when I wanted the room to be dark. I had an awesome petunia with such a set up.
LMHmedchem - Lots of good information here, and for what it's worth I grow seedlings in the spring under regular shop lights with common fluorescent bulbs with good success.
But based upon my experience, since you can put your pepper plants by south-facing windows all winter - I don't think they'll need artificial lights. I've kept a big pot of Maui Purple Pepper plants going for 12-14 years now, on our outdoor deck during the warm months and in the house by a south-facing window during the cold months. They thrive that way, always have, and our house has wide overhanging eaves and large oak trees in the yard to the south, which cut down even more on sunlight reaching the plants.
No, I'm not saying the same pepper plants lived all those years - the individual plants seem to live about 2 or 3 years, then they die and I pull them up. But the plants constantly re-seed from peppers that get dropped on the soil in that pot, so they just keep going. They've never needed any additional light at all.
One thing I've noticed is the cool spectrum shop lites work great for seedling and plant growth and the warm spectrum lites induce flowering and fruit set. That's what I've read, also. But as Ozark posted I have many indoor pepper plants that overwinter with nothing but the sunlight coming thru the windows. If you have a 2 bulb fixture you can always use one of each.
Here are our warm-weather "deck plants", now living indoors for the winter - dwarf lemon tree, pot of rosemary, pot of hot peppers.
They get a little direct sunlight on sunny mornings like today, but not for long. You can kind of see through the windows that our house is shaded by big oak and hickory trees - we live in our own woods.
That pot of pepper plants has been going for years like this with no problems. I know from past winters that the current crop of peppers will dry up and be dropping next month. Then in January the plants will bloom, and we'll have a new bunch of hot peppers, indoors, in March. Those are real welcome as they have good flavor as well as being incredibly hot - I use them to put the "heat" in all kinds of dishes.
I've never found any need to provide extra light to indoor pepper plants, except when I'm raising seedlings in the spring, of course..