Need help with Indoor HID lights

Discussion in 'Orchidaceae (orchids)' started by sainclara, May 9, 2008.

  1. sainclara

    sainclara Member

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    I have about 5 pots of Cymbidium and Phalaenopsis Orchids that are currently not receiving any light in my shaded patio!! Hence I had decided to purchase a Switchable 600W HID light fixture coz I hear they are excellent for some orchids... IN GREENHOUSES that is!! The problem is.... I don't have a greenhouse or a tiny yard to play with!! And since the temperature indoors are suitable for growing these orchids... I came up with a conclusion that I'm just going to hang it up in my bedroom!!! Next to my bed!! :)
    So anyone know anything about hanging a 30 lb light fixture to the ceiling? Anyone encountering the same problem?? I'd love to see what ya'll are doing? Thanks!!
     
  2. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Well, the first thing to look for when hanging a fixture that heavy is the ceiling beams. Use a stud-finder, or better yet, if it's possible go up into your attic and have a boo at the exact placement and spacing. If you're in an apartment this may not be possible.

    If you have wooden beams, here's the process:

    You're going to want something like industrial lag-bolt style hook hangers, with a long-enough bolt length to go right through the support beams and be wingnutted on the other side. (again, if it's possible.) If that's not an option for you, look for gorilla glue (Lee Valley Veritas carries this) and coat your long bolts in it before installing them. Of course, in either case you'll need to drill guide holes into the ceiling joists just a tad smaller than the diameter of the bolts. For this project, you'll need a power drill, a wood-drilling bit just a touch smaller than
    the bore of your bolts, the bolts (I'd use 4 bolts to distribute the weight better), the adhesive, and the fixture. Maybe some chain, if that didn't come with the fixture.

    If you have a cement ceiling (like I do in my city apartment):

    It could be significantly harder to hang your fixture, and you probably want to talk to an engineer about the bearing weight of the ceiling, how thick the concrete is, and how the ceiling was constructed. Try to drive your concrete bolts close to rebar, and coat the whole bolt in high-tensile cement adhesives when you install them. I like high-viscosity binary epoxy for this. For this project, you'll probably want to hire someone with an industrial drill and masonry bits. I have used Makita power drills and drill hammers for this in the past, but it can kill them.
     
  3. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    You might also look for a tall plant rack that would hold the plants and the light, or some creative version of something like that.
     
  4. sainclara

    sainclara Member

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    So I found these "light hangers" on http://www.plantlightinghydroponics.com/reflector-light-hanger-p-1587.html
    so I hope they'll work!?? Thanks guys!! I might even consider that light stand u guys recommended...

    I have another question for u orchid experts out there! Will being 4 feet away from my 600W HPS light be too hot for vandas and cymbidiums?? Should I consider covering the glass cover of my reflector with a piece of greenhouse shade cover?! (the black ones? )
    I'm afraid that strong light will burn my petals... As it is, the flower petals of the earlier blooms are curling backwards!!(Phal but not equestris)
     
  5. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    That's the stuff! That will work wonderfully and is a whole lot less hassle than actually suspending something that heavy from your ceiling.

    Not sure about grow light heat and your orchids - I grow outdoors so I've never needed them. Arcticshawn will know, though.
     
  6. sainclara

    sainclara Member

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    Would u know why my petals are curling backwards? Would it be that there's too much humidity? I just bought a thermometer/hygrometer but it's yet to come in the mail!! My older blooms are starting to all curl backwards one after another! Yiks!
     
  7. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Can you post a pic? It might just be part of the aging process for the blooms, or it might be more serious. Hard to tell without seeing them.
     
  8. sainclara

    sainclara Member

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    Hello!! I have posted some pics with regard to the phal with the curled petals... I hope these pics are clear enough... Check out the oldest bloom... I think I have posted double pictures of that particular flower with the curled petals... side pics and top... Yea u might be right... I think it may just be aging!! :( I've posted a few pictures of the leaves too, on the underside and on top... was wondering if it is normal for them to look so "leathery" and softer than usual?? I have another phal that I just picked up from a grower and they don't look so leathery??
    Also, I was wondering... should I repot this plant again?? I heard it is quite ok for phals to adjust to repotting as long as u don't mess around with in between the roots too much... I feel like my pot is a little too small, and I have too little media!! And as a result the plant is not stable at all!! It's swaying to the side... and I can literally move it about in the media... HELP!!
    U have been sooo helpful lorax!!! I thank u for being so patient with me as u can tell, I am such an amateur at this!
    Thanks again!!
     

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  9. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Re-pot! (but gently) It's not healthy for it to be swaying around in there. That (and the root-stress that it causes) could also be causing the floopy leaf condition.

    The curling on the blooms does look to be the natural aging process, so I wouln't worry so much about it.
     
  10. sainclara

    sainclara Member

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    You know wat?? U're prolly right!!! Will do!! First thing tomorrow morning!! Cross my fingers those blooms will be eh ok! I'll do it in a bigger pot, and will let u know how they turn out! :)

    Thanks!
    Another qn: I recently cut off the flowering stem of another phal... about an inch off the last node from the previous flower... Did I do this right? It doesn't seem to be growing?! I hope I didn't cut off another possible flowering spike?! Yiks!!

    Thanks for all the great advice Lorax!
     

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  11. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    You're also probably OK there - it takes time for the orchid to regenerate itself and put together enough energy to bloom again, so you may not see growth from that node for several months. Then, all out of the blue, it'll sprout and you're off to the races.

    At least, that's how it works with my Epidendrums....
     
  12. sainclara

    sainclara Member

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    Ok... so I repotted my phal this morning.. the one with the floppy leaves...
    And this is how the roots look like?!? The roots look brown and shriveled?! So I cut off most of the dried up parts... there's hardly any white silvery roots left! Is this plant salvagable?? I repotted it and hosed it down (and drained it out) with water (and some fertilizer). I just hope this little baby will be ok!!
    Is there anything left that I should do to revive those roots??
     

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  13. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Sounds like you've done what you can. Now what's left is to wait and hope.

    Where did you get your Phals? If you bought them at the supermarket or a big chain store, they may have been forced to bloom, which often means that the plant dies after it's done. Cruel practice, I think, but it does get them to market faster.
     
  14. sainclara

    sainclara Member

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    Thanks a bunch for all ur advice lorax.. I've been fretting over this little baby of mine all day... And obviously watching over it all the time won't make it grow!! My bf clowns me for talking to my orchids... :) will let u know how they turn out.... P/s: u reply fast!! :)
    and yes... I bot this one from lowes... Never again!!!
     
  15. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    I'm usually here, unless I'm out in the jungle. Hooray for working from home!
     
  16. arcticshaun

    arcticshaun Active Member

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    Hi Sainclara,

    It looks like your on the right track with more light. About your light, is the whole light assembly (including ballast) one piece that needs to be hung or are the ballast and light hood separate?
    Remember that not all orchids require the same conditions year round. Vandas and Phals are usually considered warm growing so they'll enjoy the lights (Phals further away or shaded by other plants, Vandas can probably get fairly close after building up some toerance to the light). I generally move blooming plants away from lights so they last longer (and I can enjoy the view better). Your Cymbidiums are usually considered high light and cool growing depending on the species/hybrid, so when growing the light will help but Cymbidiums generally require cool nights in the late summer and fall to produce buds. I'd be tempted to keep the Cymbidiums on the patio until blooms are done and then grow them under lights for awhile.

    Good luck

    Shaun
     
  17. sainclara

    sainclara Member

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    Hey Shaun,
    Thanx for replying!! Lorax told me u wld be the perfect person to talk abt lights with.. but I didn't know how to find u!! :)
    Yes my lights just came in today.. Haven't put it up yet coz I'm waiting on my light meter to come in the mail too so I don't burn my plants!!
    It's one of those two in one thing with the electronic ballast already built in.. 600W Switchable I think it's the only one put there like that?? Not too sure.. I am thinking I should start out with HPS lights since my phals are in bloom now.. The flowers on my cyms didn't quite make it thru the Houston weather .. And they were my first ones so yeah I didn't know that u had to subject them to colder nights when I first got em:(
    All I'm trying to do now is keep these babies healthy til it gets to the 50s in Houston... which means I have to wait til December for any kind of blooming!!!:(
    As for my vanda, that has a flowering spike on it when I bot it from the grower, do u think 600W is too much heat and light abt two feet away??
    I'm thinking of putting the phals abt 5-6 feet away from the light and the cyms maybe 2-3 feet away?? I'm just afraid the heat will burn the leaves.. If so, how abt putting a tiny piece of greenhouse shade cloth underneath the glass cover of the reflector? I mean if u read the whole convo b/w lorax and I u'd realize I'm super new to this!! Seriously!! Picked up this hobby over a month ago and I am just super obsessed with these beautiful creatures!! The light I bot was literally over a night of impulse so I'm stuck with it even tho I don't have a greenhouse!! Hehe... So I'm trying to make the best of it... Hopefully with the help of the light I can extend my orchid collection!!;)
    Woah... Long msg... Thanks for helping though I really appreciate it!!

    sainclara
     
  18. sainclara

    sainclara Member

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    p/s: CRISIS!!!!!!!

    About 1/4 of my vanda roots got broken off (apparently must've happened a few days ago) and I didn't realize it til today!! I didn't realize it was such a big branch when I decided to try and separate it from the rest of the roots dangling all together...
    The plant is about a foot tall so I hope the remaining roots will do!! :) Any tips on anything extra I should attempt?
    And oh... can I do anything about the broken branch? It's REALLY silvery white and healthy with green tips... I don't wanna throw it away?!!
     
  19. arcticshaun

    arcticshaun Active Member

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    It's no fun to break off healthy roots (or flower spikes) but it does happen to me fairly regularly. As long as your Vanda still has lots of roots it'll be OK. If your conditions are dry try to dunk (in a bucket) or spray your Vanda often espescially as you add more light.
    For lighting the general school of thought is HPS (high pressure sodium) to induce flowering and MH (metal halide) to promote growth. If your Vanda hasn't bloomed yet I'd go HPS until it does and then switch to MH until fall to mimic the outdoor seasons (you can adjust your timer to vary your daylenth as well, but most tropical orchids are based on 12 hour daylength). I'd also keep track of which bulb you are using and for how long as the lifetime of bulbs does vary and they become less efficient later in life. I wouldn't use any shade between the light and the plants (your paying for the electricity) and I think your on track with the placement of your various orchid species under the lights. When you get your light meter you may want to move Phalaenopsis somewhat closer to the light when not in bloom. Or add more plants (especially orchids) to act as a little shade between bulb and leaf surface. I also use a large oscillating fan too move air around the plants (it's the heat buildup on the leaves that's more dangerous than too much light).


    Shaun
     
  20. sainclara

    sainclara Member

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    So I just set up my light... and OMG it's BRIGHT!!! Wat was I thinking?!? I will post some pictures of my orchids in a couple of days once I get em all set up... But GEEZ!! I am still trying to get over the brightness!! I dun wanna add a shade cloth... but OMG!! I'M getting BLIND myself!!
    Question: Will this light discolor my wood on my bed??
     
  21. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Depends on what kind of wood it is, what the varnish or finish is, and how long the light is on it.
     
  22. sainclara

    sainclara Member

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    Say 10hrs... and it's about 6 feet or more from the HPS light... It's dark brown varnished wood... Guess I might have to cover with a blanket or sthg...
     
  23. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Then it won't fade it any more than 10 hours of sunlight a day would, and it will take a long time. Blanketing will protect it, though.
     
  24. sainclara

    sainclara Member

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    So there's my set-up!
    Let me know if I am getting this whole set-up right.... Don't wanna burn my plants or get them too far away from the light either! At the same time, I am trying to look for simplicity too....
    So....
    My 600W HPS grow lights.... and the 3 pots of cyms right below it is about 6800FC away from the light source... waiting for this Houston summer is be done (even though it just barely started)... and trying to prep them for the hopeful winters... where I can actually take em outside at night.
    The vanda u see in the far left corner is hanging about 4500FC away from the light source... Figured out the root tips were getting brown becoz the humidity is significantly lower indoors... So I guess misting the roots several times a day should do the trick?
    And finally my phals sitting on top of the round table with the thermo/hygrometer... about 1800FC away from the light source... Is that too high since one of them is blooming?
    So my new thermo/hygrometer tells me the humidity around the room is about 30%... no surprise?>?! What should I do? Mist the roots more often in the daytime? How about those medium/bound orchids? As it is, I make sure there's floating water underneath their pot... Do I still need to buy a humidity tray? Especially for the cyms that are directly underneath the light source?
    I am thinking I need to water these plants more often becoz of the heat produced by the light... ??

    p/s: Lorax,

    Remember that phal I told u about... the one that I had cut off the bloom right above the last node and u had said it was fine... the end is starting to dry out!! Is it supposed to be like that>? Its starting to get brown down the stem...
     

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  25. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    It happens. Don't worry too much - the plants will produce another spike when they're ready to bloom again. Sometimes it works to get them to bloom again from the same spike, and sometimes it doesn't.
     

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