I've a balcony which gets very little direct sunlight, and the back
gets pretty much none at all. I recently bought some plants and,
surprise surprise, those at the back aren't doing too well. I was
wondering whether I could substitute for the lack of sunlight by
installing a floodlight with a 4000K bulb (and have it switched on a
Google finds me zillions of websites selling "grow lights", which seem
designed for people growing pot in their basements, cost a fortune, and
look like they're supposed to be mounted right above the plants rather
than in the ceiling. Problem is that the balcony is about six foot by
six foot, with a nine foot high ceiling, and the floodlight would have
to be mounted in the middle of the ceiling.
Was wondering if anyone here knew if what I'm trying to do is remotely
achievable and, if so, whether there are any recommendations for
Somewhat offtopic, I know, but the pot-growing newsgroups all looked a
bit cultish for my taste...
Try a pet-shop or aquarists where you can get flourescent tubes that provide
the right spectrum for plants in fish tanks or vivariums.
But I think you might be better off sticking to shade-loving plants.
So you like plastic plants, but not plastic windows??
But your point is very valid. We were at a Chinese restaurant a couple
of months ago, and much of the evening was spent debating whether a
particular plant was real or fake. It turned out to be real, but it took
quite a while to determine this.
I don't prefer them. However, sometimes the choice is between dead flowers,
plastic flowers or no flowers at all.
My objection to plastic windows is one of appearance (and also of
environmental sustainability). If plastic windows actually looked good, with
no visible joins and slender profiles, I woudn't object to them nearly so
I once grew a banana tree indoors from seed using just a standard 80W
flourescent tube for a few hours a day during the winter. In the summer it
went outside once there was no frost danger.
Never got any bananas though.
Firstly, you have a fundamental problem.
Wander round some of the better 'how to grow pot' sites.
Anyway, I have done similar things for other plants, and the basic
problem is that you need a hell of a lot of light.
Onto a 4m^2 patch, well over a couple of kilowatts of light falls
Call it a kilowatt, if the plants are shade loving.
If the plants can deal with half of that, and you use fluorescant tubes
of some sort, then you want around double this in electricity, or
about 30 36W tubes.
On 8 hours/day, you're looking at around 300 pounds a year, on top of
the 600 or so that the bulbs and fittings cost. (the bulbs themselves
For single bulbs that can produce this sort of light, you're looking at
spending 50 quid for the bulb alone. (probably a better idea than lots
of fluorescant tubes)
This is why the pot people use mirrored cabinets, with a light at the
top, to make the most of an expensive light source.
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