Grow Lights

IMG_2501.JPGI have worked on the lighting in my orchid room quite a bit.  It is one of the difficulties of growing inside.  Those who have a greenhouse have a much easier time calculating the overall light falling on their plants, as there are a minimum of corners, shadowed areas and areas of bright sun drifting across the walls.

Initially, I tried to grow with just the three windows — east-facing, south-facing, and west-facing.  But with the design of the house, with the large tree on the south side, the arbors on the east and west sides, and the plants outside, I realized that not enough light was getting in.  Thus, we put in skylights in the room in July, and that increased the light substantially.

I initially had 60% shade cloth covering the skylights, but removed these in late August to again increase the light in the room.

However, it has become clear that there is still not enough light for my orchids, especially in the corners and against the walls.  …and so I have decided to add supplemental lighting and, once again, increase the light available to the plants.

After considerable research, I decided to use Toogod LED strip lights, using 60 5050 LED red-blue LED lights per meter, and will mount them on the ceiling of the orchid room (where they will illuminate the plants on the walls and corners), and on the bottom of the upper shelves, where they will illuminate the plants on the lower shelves.  I will leave the plants in the middle of the room without lights, as they get a substantial amount from the skylights.  The lights should be about 18″-24″ above the plants when finished.

The strip lights have red and blue lights intermixed in a 4-1 ratio.  The blue LEDs (440-460 nm wavelengths) will stimulate growth, and the red LEDs (630-660 nm) will stimulate blooming.  Since this was supplemental light, and I still have the skylights and light fixture in the middle of the room, I decided that the red-blue grow lights would be OK.  I plan to monitor the light in the room, and initially plan to run these mostly in the winter — but we’ll see…

Installation starts next week.

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