q on indoor plants

This might sound like a reeeeeeeeeally dumb question (or possibly OT), but.....
I'm just getting into indoor plants, especially having some at my workplace. Lots of big east-facing windows with miniblinds, flourescent lighting. Do plants need a period of rest, i.e. should I leave the lights on at night and over the weekend? Serious question. Really.
TIA
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Some houseplants are day-length sensitive, particularly with regard to flowering, so generally speaking, it's best to let them experience normal cycles of light & dark. Obviously, you can't always get this right because artificial lighting tinkers with the real thing, but still.....I'd turn off the lights at night. Besides, it's dumb to waste energy.
Be aware that houseplants will sometimes go through an period when they adjust to the light in their new homes, compared with wherever they came from. This can result in the plants looking faded, losing leaves and generally looking ratty. Don't freak out and start poking, watering, feeding, etc. Get yourself a good book:
http://www.powells.com/s?kw=crockett%27s+indoor+garden&Search.x=0&Search.y=0
That's Crockett's Indoor Garden, published about 20 years ago. Great book. The link takes you to Powell's, which has used copies, nice & cheap. Buy one. Do it now.
Another tip: Pots whose dishes are attached can lead to bad watering practices. With some of them, you can't see when they're about to overflow onto the furniture, so you might tend to be skimpy with water. OK for some plants, but not for those that want very moist soil. One solution is to take those pots to the sink, water them until it pours out the bottom, and keep tipping the pot slightly until you're sure no water remains. This works fine unless you develop an enormous plant addiction, at which point you'll be shlepping 800 plants to the sink each week.
So, buy pots and separate dishes for underneath. Make sure the dishes are glazed. Regular clay dishes are porous. There are some nice plastic dish/pot combos around, too, but they're not always easy to find, unless you like the glitzy, shiny stuff.
Good luck, and try to limit yourself to 300 plants in the first month. And buy that book.
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On 15 Oct 2004 11:35:58 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Merle O'Broham) wrote:

Plants need to "sleep" just like animals. You can use a timer set to have the light on for 14 to 18 hours each day, depending on the plant. Some plants need very little light to survive, others (African violets) respond exceptionally well to fluorescent lighting. You can measure the amount of light in a area using a light meter (ask someone into photography.)
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On Fri, 15 Oct 2004 11:35:58 -0700, Merle O'Broham wrote:

They'll be fine where they are without extra lighting. Don't sweat it at all. Be more concerned about them drying out over the weekends if anything.
Tom
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