Help with choosing artificial lighting

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Alessandro G.

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Hello everyone!

I am in the process of creating a small shelf to house my Paphs and Phrags. However, I'm not sure if the lights that I have available are any good for them. I have settled for one of two models of LED lights. They are regular LED panels used for general-purpose lighting. The only difference is power and size. One is 15.5 x 15.5 cm (6.1 x 6.1 inches) and emits 873 lumens, while the other is 20.5 x 20.5 cm (8.07 x 8.07 inches) and emits 1455 lumens. Considering the dimensions of the shelving I selected, the leaves would be approximately 20 cm from the lights (7.87 inches).

I hope that you can help me with this, and many thanks in advance!
 

tnyr5

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As long as they're close to daylight spectrum, and the diodes do not have focusing lenses, they should be fine. You'll have a hotspot directly under the puck to contend with, though.
 

Alessandro G.

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As long as they're close to daylight spectrum, and the diodes do not have focusing lenses, they should be fine. You'll have a hotspot directly under the puck to contend with, though.
Ok I'll check with the manufacturer then! Between the two which one you think makes more sense with Paphs and Phrags?
 

tnyr5

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Without spectral info and a pic of the units, it's pretty tough to say. Lumens don't mean much when growing plants. In general, multiple small sources of light usually work better than one giant one.
 

Alessandro G.

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Here is a picture of the two units, I will also call the manufacturer to ask for spectral info.

Screenshot_20221210-214821.png
 

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I have been growing under lights exclusively for almost 5 years! So my opinion is that you might be creating an under illuminated small space that will not be appropriate for your goals. I have been growing orchids for goodness sake, almost 50 years! Oh my goodness, I am getting old! But anyways when I moved here @69, I was not going to build a greenhouse. But if you like growing orchids now, and anticipate that the lights will help you to grow better plants, you should really build, or purchase, a plant shelf that allows you to expand your collection.
I am an optimistic orchid lover! If those lights are successful, you will out grow the space. Think big, think big.
6FB9EB2F-4A87-403F-B210-40B4F690924D.jpeg
This is my higher light intensity plant cart. It has two fixtures, three T-5 tubes each, 6,500k, 3,000 lumens per tube. Each shelf is 54” wide x 16” deep. A 2” deep plastic tray forms the area for my orchids to sit. Lights are on 10 to 12 hours a day, timer controlled, and the fixture height is easily raised and lowered. Right now the top shelf has Cattleyas, 4-5” below tubes. Other half of top shelf has 2 dozen Phrag. Seedlings 12-14” below tubes.
Bottom shelf has about 18 mature Phragmipediums.
I have 2 additional 3 shelved plant carts! 2 T-5 tubes per shelf. One cart essentially houses 40 novelty Phalaenopsis. The other has Dendrobiums, paphiopedilums and a few other miscellaneous genera.
 
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Hello everyone!

I am in the process of creating a small shelf to house my Paphs and Phrags. However, I'm not sure if the lights that I have available are any good for them. I have settled for one of two models of LED lights. They are regular LED panels used for general-purpose lighting. The only difference is power and size. One is 15.5 x 15.5 cm (6.1 x 6.1 inches) and emits 873 lumens, while the other is 20.5 x 20.5 cm (8.07 x 8.07 inches) and emits 1455 lumens. Considering the dimensions of the shelving I selected, the leaves would be approximately 20 cm from the lights (7.87 inches).

I hope that you can help me with this, and many thanks in advance!
Orchids Ltd has very good LEDs, natural daylight 5,000 K. Also here is one I got that is all inclusive which may fit your needs better. They come in different height variations but this one is what I use for small Paphs and phrags as lights are quite strong. Too bright for large plants, I think. They are stackable if you decide to add on.
 
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The site that you may want to check out for ideas and information is Gardeners Supply. I believe that they are in Vermont.
I will warn you in advance that they are not cheap! Quite possibly out of most growers price range but I have always believed in “getting what you paid for”.
In a greenhouse or in Hades(Florida), I could not grow, nor flower, Phragmipediums. However in a calendar year ending this summer, 59% of my Phrags. Bloomed under lights.
I have no idea of what this year will bring but here are a couple that are in bloom now. A1DDAEEB-199C-4BCC-AB57-C9F2889DB91D.jpeg A1DDAEEB-199C-4BCC-AB57-C9F2889DB91D.jpeg B5CD2999-3237-4596-AACF-104D771C94BA.jpeg
 

abax

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Are you handy with tools? I have a very cheap method of building a light set up, but it requires some
do it yourself stuff. I have three light set ups in my greenhouse to use in the winter. If I remember
correctly, the lumber, wire and sockets and grow lights (from Amazon) cost less than $100.00
 

spujr

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I also had good experience with Botanical LEDs for lights. I saw someone saying positive things about Barrina LEDs, but haven't tried myself. Probably doesn't really matter as long as you get full spectrum and place the lights at the right height and quantity above the plants.

I have nothing against the plant stands you can get online. However, if you are looking for a cheaper option, a simple wire shelving works just fine and shelf height is also adjustable (just not as easy as the fancy ones).
 

dmcmkl

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I have been growing orchids for nearly 30 years. Up until the last couple of years I was growing on racks much like big923cattleya under 4 foot fluorescent tubes and fixtures. My success was to put it mildly quite under whelming. I decided to dig deeper into how I could improve my growing conditions and the results have been remarkable.

The first thing I did was research how to best measure the quality of the light I was giving my plants. I settled on purchasing an Apogee MQ-500 Full Spectrum Quantum Meter. Expensive, yes indeed. However it really showed me how little usable light for growth my plants were receiving. I found excellent information on how to to grow orchids under artificial lighting from the High Desert Orchids website. It was there that I found out how much PAR or Photosynthetically Active Radiation an orchid needs to thrive.

Next I went looking for a light source that could deliver the amount of PAR I needed to grow my plants to their full potential. I settled on LED panels made by Sunraise which I found for sale on Amazon. I found a number of advantages for using these panels over fluorescent fixtures. First of all they are dimmable which means that I could adjust the intensity of the light based on the readings from my PAR meter and thus was not restricted by having to adjust the height of the light above the plant. I could hang the light high over the plants and use the dimming function to adjust the amount of light the plants were receiving. I found that in most cases the lights could be hung over the growing surface the plants were sitting on and when adjusted to the desired PAR value that each light was consuming between 20 and 25 percent of it's rated wattage. In most cases I was using 19- 20 percent less wattage for each growing area then with the fluorescents.

For growing racks with dimensions big923cattleya is using I used two Sunraise Sunraise DQ1000 lights hung end to end. I have one growing area where I have two racks set next to each other. For that area I have one Sunraise Q3000 for the growing area. Unfortunately it looks like Sunraise has either discontinued or is having trouble making the DQ1000 panels. There are, however, other panels available that can be substituted. MarsHydro for instance makes the TS1000W which could be used in it's place.

Here are some pic of my growing area. I grow exclusively under lights in my basement. Apologies if I mess up getting these pictures into the post. Still learning the ropes on how to post to the forum.
PXL_20221111_184937811.jpg PXL_20221111_184958521.jpg PXL_20221111_185045025.jpg PXL_20221111_185101982.jpg
 
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I knew what my electric bills were for 14 months before I turned any lights on. My bill showed the last year of kWh and # of days. We pay monthly in Detroit.
So when I turned the lights on I compared that first month to the same month a years previous. I ignored the $$ difference and just looked at the difference in kilowatt hours used. I divided the difference by 6 tubes. (I figured that became cost per tube) Say I had 20 more kilowatt hours divided by 6 tubes, that’s 3.3 kWh more per tube. Then you multiply that by the cost of a kilowatt hour
Right now I am running about $22 for 18 total tubes per month. That is like a dollar twenty something cents per tube per month. My cost changes ever so slightly month to month since I use 10, 11, and 12 hours days.
 

Alessandro G.

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The site that you may want to check out for ideas and information is Gardeners Supply. I believe that they are in Vermont.
I will warn you in advance that they are not cheap! Quite possibly out of most growers price range but I have always believed in “getting what you paid for”.
In a greenhouse or in Hades(Florida), I could not grow, nor flower, Phragmipediums. However in a calendar year ending this summer, 59% of my Phrags. Bloomed under lights.
I have no idea of what this year will bring but here are a couple that are in bloom now. View attachment 37310 View attachment 37310 View attachment 37311
Amazing results indeed! Unfortunately being in Europe and in a country with up to 30% import taxes buying from the US gets way too expensive for me, that's why I was looking to build them myself, I usually work with microcontrollers and some high-power projects so the electronic side wouldn't be much of an issue, it's the mainly the choice of LEDs that worries me
 

kc6847

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I would second mars hydro for growing orchids, though I'm not sure if they're available in Europe. I've flowered Phrag. humboldtii under the TS600 model around 2ft away from the lights though the tip of the flower stalk was burned off so keep that in mind.
 

Alessandro G.

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I would second mars hydro for growing orchids, though I'm not sure if they're available in Europe. I've flowered Phrag. humboldtii under the TS600 model around 2ft away from the lights though the tip of the flower stalk was burned off so keep that in mind.
I've checked those out, and yes, you can get them here in the EU. Because of the weed industry, every large grow light is overpriced, I found a couple on Amazon, and I think I'll get one for my Sobralias. However, they are too big for the shelving I can fit in my grow area, still thank you for the info!
 
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I have grown my orchids, predominantly Cattleyas, under LED lighting for about 12 years. I have used several different types of bulbs and panels. I think my current favorite is the SF600 fixture from Spider Farmer. This is rated 72 W. It has a full wide spectrum of light.


My growing areas are predominantly 4 feet wide by 2 feet wide and these fixtures work well for the area. About 10 inches underneath the fixtures the PPFD measured with an Apogee MQ 500 full spectrum quantum meter is 360 micro moles/m2/sec, which is as much as a Cattleya needs. Lower light orchids would need to be further away.
 

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