I just started a hibiscus hobby with 10 new exotic tropical hybrids. I live in CT where I will need to bring them indoors for a good portion of the year. I would like to set up a grow light in my spare bedroom (which gets really cool in the winter). The man at the Organically Grown store has these supped up expensive grow lights with fans and packs you need to plug them into. A small set up would cost hundreds. Do I need this?? I want my plants happy and beautiful throughout the winter in my home, but at what cost.
Any suggestions? These plants will be tall so unfortunately the shelving I see many of you using will not work here.
Help me set up my indoor lighting?
No, you don't need the fancy setup--just get some fluorescent shop lights from Lowes/Home Depot and use those. You'll have to find some way to suspend them over the tops of the plants--the closer the lights are to the tops of the plants the more helpful it is (indoor lights are much less intense than sunlight, and if they're more than a few inches away from the plants you lose a lot of the benefit of the light).
Also, they'll stay happier during the winter if you can keep them in a warmer room--I don't know how cold your "really cool" spare bedroom gets, but they'll be happier if they're warm. If you're just trying to keep them alive then a very cool room could be fine as long as it stays above freezing, but if you want them to look great, keep blooming, etc then warmer is going to be better.
Really, just shop lights. The man trying to make a good buck said NO! They don't offer the same rays that the grow lights do.?! whatever that means. The room is at 60º in the winter. But I can keep the door open so it gets some of the head coming off of the wood stove and it will be much happier.
He's right that the grow lights have a different wavelength of light vs regular fluorescents...but plants will do just fine with the shop lights. Tons of people around here use them for starting seeds & overwintering things. 60 degree temps ought to be fine for the hibiscus...when you said really cool I was imagining it could be colder than that. I keep my greenhouse set at about 55 and mine do fine, but it typically gets a lot warmer than that during the day so I'm not sure what happens if they're always at 60. They definitely won't die and they should stay healthy looking, I'm just not sure if they'll bloom a lot or not. Mine typically only bloom in the winter when we have sunny days, and the GH gets into the 80's during those sunny days.