Artificial Plant Lighting/artificial lighting
i have 10 potted plants that i need to move into the garage for winter. some are heavy so i dont want to move tnem again untill spring. what type of lighting do i need to install?
There are several ways to set up artificial lighting for your plants. When deciding on an artificial plant light system, keep a few things in mind;
~ Set up the system in a place that is free from hot or cold drafts. A lot of plants are sensitive to drafts. Do not set up a system near a heating/cooling vent or a radiator, near a drafty window or near a door.
~ Avoid setting up a system in a high traffic area. Plant leaves can get damaged from getting brushed up against. Damaged leaves will never heal.
~ It is important to set up the system in a place that is out of reach of children and pets. A lot of plants are poisonous and even plants that are formally listed as non poisonous can cause harm to children and animals if chewed or ingested.
The best kind of lights to use are special fluorescent plant grow lights. You can find them at most stores. You can get ones that come with both the fixture and fluorescent tube together for about $10-$12.
To help cut down on cost, you can combine regular cool white fluorescent tubes with the plant-growing fluorescent tubes. A good ratio for combining them is 1 cool white fluorescent tube for every 2 plant-growing fluorescent tubes.
Fluorescent plant-grow lights do not produce hardly any heat at all. You can set plants very close to the fluorescent bulb. I would recommend setting plants about 4-6 inches away from the bulb.
Another type of light I like to use is a special incandescent plant-grow light bulb. They are harder to find than fluorescent tubes.
If you decide to use an incandescent plant-grow light, be careful that you get a plant 'grow' light and not a plant 'display' light. Plant 'display' lights are designed to make plants look good and healthy but it does not produce sufficient light in the spectrum that plants require to grow.
Incandescent plant-grow lights are not quite as good to use as fluorescent lights. One of the main drawbacks with incandescent plant lights is they produce too much heat. Plants can not be placed closer than 12 inches to the bulbs because the large amount of heat the bulbs produce will burn the plant leaves.
I still like to use them for several purposes. They work well to supplement fluorescent lighting. Also because they are incandescent bulbs they can be put into any kind of lamp. I usually put them in small inexpensive desk lamps and/or floor lamps. That way they can be used anywhere. They can be set up to not only supplement fluorescent plant lighting but can also be set up to supplement lighting for plants anywhere in the house. Incandescent plant-grow bulbs are especially helpful for very large plants, like Majesty palms, that are too big to fit into most artificial plant light systems.
For flowering plants I would recommend using just regular incandescent bulbs to supplement fluorescent plant lighting. Almost all fluorescent lights, including fluorescent plant-grow lights, produces light almost exclusively on the blue/green end of the light spectrum. This is ideal for foliage plants, that only use light from the blue/green end of the spectrum but flowering plants also need light from the red end of the light spectrum to produce flowers. Incandescent bulbs produce light mostly from the red/yellow end of the light spectrum. 2 incandescent bulbs for every 3 fluorescent plant-grow lights should be sufficient.
The general rule for light duration for plants under artificial plant lighting is about 14-16 hours of artificial plant light a day.
I would recommend getting an inexpensive timer. That way plants get the exact same amount of light every day and at the exact same time every day.
I hope this helps. If you have any questions or need additional information please don't hesitate to ask.