Has anyone really been far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like?
When I'm planning a grow area I figure 1 T5HO light per 6" horizontal area, now if your trying to light up a deep area like a space that is 12" wide X 48" long X 24" deep, you would need 4 or maybe 6 lights instead of just 2 to reach the ground, unless you were planning on only growing lower light plants down there. The reason I think 2 T5HOs is enough light for 12" of space is from my experiences with them, no you won't end up with red/burgandy Cephs/VFTs at 8-9" but you will get some light reds and good healthy growth, move them closer and you get more color. Here is a Ceph that is approx. 1" from 2 T5H0s (1 daylight 1 actinic, I see no reason to change it ) The close proximity to the fixture does not seem to have any ill effect on the Ceph. I have rarely thought if I only had more light, most of the time its the opposite, this plant is getting too much light I need to move it. Keep in mind I grow more than just CPs, so lots of light is not always my friend.
As for the 2 T5HO providing more light than the 4 T8s well all I can say is with my bulbs/ballasts at the same distance/same plants/same clones the T5 are burning leaves the T8 are not. The colors are darker with the T5s at the same distance, the leaves are smaller with the T5s and lighter green in color (ferns), more purple spots on the orchids with the T5s. All signs from the plants of higher light levels. With all things I could just have a better ballast/bulb combo with the T5s than with the T8s. YMMY.
T5s are supposed to be the "next" standard in lighting so there are/will be the good CRI bulbs out there for atleast 5 yrs, now when they make the next new standard .
U. graminifolia supplies itself silly , and vastly downsizing might be a better way of saying it. 90% or so reduction.
Would this work in terms of T-5 Lighting? Just an example? Would buying off the internet work as well or should I find a Lowe's?
If I could grow a few Lowlanders that would be great! How would I go by closing the bottom rack for them? I spoke to Adnedarn and based on measurements and average pot size, he said a large grow rack like the one I was looking at would possibly hold 33 pots per rack. I would not have that many plants, so, having a lowlander area might be a good idea.
I've always liked N. bicalcarata, I had a moment with a N. bicalcarata at a friend of mines' greenhouse. I was staring at it, I poked the fangs and I actually pricked my finger. The love moment ended and I was then convinced it was trying to eat me.
I may keep it simple and not attempt the lowlander bottom part, and just do that later on when and if I get everything set up. I might not even grow Highlander Neps at all if they really do need a dramatic night time temp drop since I'd only be able to provide smaller ones year-round. But, nonetheless, I'm determined to get SOMETHING going.
I'd only need lights for the top part of the rack at first. T-5's do seem to be expensive. Two 48", according to that site, would be around $70 or so. So, I'd rather not get a ton of them right away. How many would fit on each rack? Four, right? Jeesh, that could be a lot of money on top of the grow rack... Anyone got any cheaper alternatives? It's tempting not to even try to do this because of how expensive and complicated it is.
Or is that four for the entire rack? In which case that's not too bad. Couldn't I only go for two if I'm only utilizing the top rack for awhile? And do I really need a grow rack that can hold 33 plants per rack? It might prove to be too big, and I couldn't utilize all the space, and that definitely ups the price. Are there any somewhat smaller options? It's hard to do this without a visual, haha, I may have to just find a Lowe's or see my friends' or something.
A mediumish four rack one would be nice. Nothing too gigantic, but, four racks, in case I decide to morph the fourth one into some kind of lowland habitat as suggested above, in case. Perhaps 10-15 pots per rack would do well. How many lights would I then need for the entire thing? Three? Four? Five? Two? Haha. Sorry, I'm full of questions and I'm very nervous when making decisions such as these!
Edit: I still do want to do this VERY much, I'm just really nervous. If I say I don't, I do, but, I'm just nervous! Haha. I don't want anything to go wrong.
If you are planning on moving into 2 racks at some point just start out with 2 lights and if you find out that is not enough, you can always use those 2 in the other rack when you design it or just add 2 more lights. Just when you pick these 2 lights make sure you could add 1-2 more lights if you needed too. My plan was always to add another 1-2 lights when I got some more money but I just don't need the extra light so why spend the money?
Yes you can use the aquatic fixtures, but the hydroponics ones are generally less pricey. The bulbs are no were near as pricey either, they don't need to travel through water so they can be of much less quality and your plants could care less. Water really destroys light the further it travels through it, so they make these over priced bulbs to correct for it. The hydroponics places have the normal "plant/daylight" bulbs.
I do have a few of the Current USA T5HO fixtures, they have worked great, I went to another fixtures I found that was a single strip with its own reflector. That way I can place each light were I want it for the best coverage.
Questions are good! Not asking them when have you end up with something that just doesn't work right.
Growing a N. bicalcarata indoor would be a challange, those things get big. I'm bonsai'd things before, but never tried to bonsai a Nep
Another thing to remember is you can use aquariums to keep these guys in. Craigslist does have used ones that can be cheap, if you look long enough. A standard 4 ft. tank would be 55 gallons (48" X 12" X 18") or 75 gallons (48" X 18" X 18"). If you're lucky you'll find a whole 55 gallon setup for under $150 (tank, lights, glass top, double stand, and probably some fishy stuff). Prices do vary, so if there's a fish club near you you can troll there.
Check Minnesota Fish Keepers Forum, as they do have WI members. If you're close to the Twin Cities I can tell you at least one store that sells used tanks at a cheap price, only problem is she's in the Champlin/Anoka area, so it's a bit of a drive from WI.
So, those $35 bulbs are overpriced, you're saying, and I could get them much cheaper? That's a relief. I'd start with two lights and add a third eventually and maybe a fourth. Would they all fit on the top rack or would I put them on all the racks?
I know I can use an aquarium but that would require more than just a stand, right? And I'd be mostly limited to lowlanders in an aquarium, but, I may get one for this purpose some day, I think a medium sized rack with good light, decent humidity [in the basement] and acceptable temps would be fine for now, with 2-3 T5 lights to start out with.
What are some better T5 lights, then? Effective yet cheaper plant ones?
I've seem people actually put lights on the sides of there grow racks, I have not tried this myself but I might someday, if I never needed more light. Right now I have more light than I need. You could really put them anywhere they would physically fit, I've seem some really odd vivariums.
I have a reptile tank (an cheaper version of an aquarium, they won't hold water to the top without breaking) with some plexi-glass for the top with some lights just sitting on the top. It has no stand and the plants don't seem to mind, the wife however......You can adjust things in an aquarium much better than in a growrack, if you want more or less humidity/heat you just need more/less venting/fans/water/whatnot. Again check out the Exo-terra's before you make a choice, you owe it to yourself . They are pricey but nice, you will be looking at this thing ALOT.
I've only used a few fixtures so I'm no expert, I've had good and bad results with all my fixtures. I've yet to have a problem with any of the Current USA ones, but I've read some negatives. The ones I'm using now are Sun Blaze T5 strip lights. I've received a few that were damaged in shipping, but once I got good ones they have worked great.
I might stick with a rack because these terrariums, although more controlled, seem to be a bit more expensive and can hold less plants.
Sorry to double post, but, it has been a few days and I have a few updates on my situation.
As of now, the humidity situation is unresolved, though, it may not be that big of a deal. From what I've yielded, many Drosera are fine with only medium levels of humidity [35-55%], and others can be hardened off rather well [not all, but, many]. Nepenthes are less forgiving, but, there are varieties [that are easier] that can be hardened off and do fine as well. Nepenthes ventricosa and Nepenthes truncata are my choices for this reason. I had a ventricosa, a young plant, growing in a windowsill. It didn't pitcher for awhile but eventually it did. It had the nice temp drop during the winter, but, in the summer it had no temp drop and it did fine. The truncata form I am looking at will be a highlander, but, truncata can be treated as an intermediate as I've heard, which means it will probably be fine without a large temp drop.
Ideally, I CAN make my basement a bit colder at night, not freezing, but, I will be able to, at least for awhile. My situation, obviously, a spacey rack and good lighting, would be best with Drosera and other plants that aren't so humidity sensitive, which there are many CPs [although most are in rather humid environments, many of them can be easily hardened off and do absolutely fine and grow well]. I will continue doing research in order to figure this out, any other ideas would be great in the meantime though.
What are your opinions on my two Nepenthes picks?
I have discovered a huge sun-window on the brightest facing portion of my house, with the same properties as my "magic windowsill" that housed my Cephalotus for nearly two years completely fine. The only problem is, yet again, the evil temperature and humidity. If my mom wasn't so afraid of mold, this would be easy.
Perhaps the basement isn't the best pick. The heater is also down there. Maybe a closet would be better? The temperature of the closet, since unheated, naturally varies on, yes, the warmth of my house, but, also the outside temperature. It's warmer during the day [relatively speaking] and warmer in my house, and at night both would be cooler. It would not be freezing, but, it would be cooler.
I think I'm going to spend tomorrow compiling a list of pros and cons of many locations in my house, and then choose the best one. I think a closet would have less of a chance to develop mold as well, and if I bought a rather advanced [albeit expensive] humidifier, set at 75% or so, it wouldn't be too high so that mold would thrive but the plants would. I could not do this in the basement, since mold is a problem down there as-is, and the basement is a large open area.
My only problem with MY closet is there is a lot of crap in there, and there are shelves in the back [if only the shelves were big, I could just slide a tray under them and use them instead of having to buy a rack!] and it's not a very large closet.
Well, enough rambling. I'm going to solve this, I can do it. I have enlisted the help of my Horticulture teacher at my school. Although he probably doesn't know a lot about carnivorous plants in general, he does know about grow racks, lighting and all that, and gave me some ideas to raise the humidity/temp.
I don't know how handy you are but here is an option, I always thought these looked really nice. Any of the enclosures will for the most part remove the mold concerns, but there is the cost as a trade off.