Help and advice for VFT setup


Aza
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Hi all

I have been reading this forum for several weeks now, and have enjoyed reading all your posts and have tried to learn what I can!

I am having some trouble with my plants though.

The set up you see in the picture below is contained on a shelf on my bookcase.

My plants have been there for a few weeks now, however the VFT is turning yellow to black, and my sundews have not got any dew.

They are potted in 6in pots in the correct soil mix, and they are watered with rain water only.

The lighting is provided by 2x 24W T5 Sunblaster lights, which are less than 6 inches above the plants.

The problems I can think of are:

1) Not enough light, as I have no reflectors on the light fittings, which I guess means I am losing a lot of potential light.

2) Poor air circulation. Can this be fixed with something as simple as a fan blowing into the area?

Thanks for any help and advice you can give, I would appreciate it, as I hope to successfully grow these plants!

Let me know if any more images would help.

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photo2cpy.jpg

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A window would give far more light than you can provide with this lighting. If windows are not an option then you will need to buy more powerful lighting.

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Thanks for your reply.

I was under the impression that the T5 lights would do a good job. Not having bought the reflectors yet must make a big difference though?

Unfortunately the only window I have is a north facing one.

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Thanks for your reply.

I was under the impression that the T5 lights would do a good job. Not having bought the reflectors yet must make a big difference though?

Unfortunately the only window I have is a north facing one.

I would think even a north facing window would be giving far more light than two 24W tubes.

You could check this out visually by holding your tube against the glass of your north facing window switching it on. The tube should look dim and ineffective. For a better comparison leaving the tube against the glass put something thick and black behing the tube (just the tube) so that no outside light is enhancing the light from the tube. Now compare the light from the window with light from tube.

Edited by mantrid
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Thanks for the tip. I tried a light up against my window and the light is still blinding to the eyes.

These lights are used by many with great success.

I think I will need to buy the reflectors for the fittings, as I must be losing so much of the light, out the top and to the sides.

I have moved one of my sundews to the window though to see if it improves.

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Lokking at your pics again, could it be that the tube is burning the trap. The blackening seems to be on the larger upright leaf thats closest to the tube. If possible measure the temp at the level of the upright trap to see how high it is

It could also be just natural die back of the older leaves which will happen eventually. None of the new traps seem to be affected.

Edited by mantrid
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The tubes do not run hot, they are barely even warm to the touch.

Another thing is that the traps have been closing with no real reason.

In the pot is one larger VFT and one smaller one.

The smaller one seems to be fine though, with no yellowing.

Would it be wise to trim off the dying traps? Are they wasting the plants energy?

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Hi Aza,

If you were going to stick to using the lighting set up you could also try using reflective backing and sides as well, kitchen foil would help but mirrors would be more effective, both for the plants and visually.

I don't know much about Drosera (All my Drosera haven't even made it out of their seeds yet) but your VFT looks pretty normal, traps die back all the time, I trim the trap at about the stange yours it at now at the earliest and then trim the leaf part later when it is pretty much black. My rational is that they will still contribute to photosynthesis while they have green tissue on them but after they turn black they are useless, unsightly and at worst a mould risk.

My VFTs seem to go through funny stages where more leaves come off together than normal sometimes it happens over a few days and sometimes it seems to happen in one day but they quickly come round with new leaves and look good again!

Having said all this I am something of a novice myself so I recommend that you disregard everything I have just said and just do what the others say!

Tom

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Oh Yeah,

I live in a top floor flat with no south facing windows. When I moved in I new that 'Mr Snappy' would not be happy. However I now keep Mr Snappy and all of his new chums out in yard in a spot that gets direct light for a decent part of the day and they are now starting to colour up nicely. So if you have a similar option available to you it seems the general consensus is that they are better off out in the sun, rain and insects as fat as your VFTs are concerned.

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Thanks Tom :)

I have just bought an extra fitting with a reflector, and also bought reflectors for the current two lights. Hopefully this afternoon I will be able to add reflective material all round the inside. With those upgrades it should make quite a difference in extra light.

I may also add a fourth light in the future if the additions dont do it enough justice.

Time to be patient for a while now and see what happens :)

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Well I took the VFT outdoors now to my parent's garden to make sure they do as best they can.

So I have just stuck with Drosera in my indoor set up.

Unfortunately the tempertature was getting over 90 degrees with humidity down to 30%.

So I added a fan to blow into the are, which has dropped things to 75 degrees and 45%.

Hopefully they will come round now in this set up.

I will post back with an update later when I can see some improvement, or drop in health!

Thanks :)

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Well I took the VFT outdoors now to my parent's garden to make sure they do as best they can.

So I have just stuck with Drosera in my indoor set up.

Unfortunately the tempertature was getting over 90 degrees with humidity down to 30%.

So I added a fan to blow into the are, which has dropped things to 75 degrees and 45%.

Hopefully they will come round now in this set up.

I will post back with an update later when I can see some improvement, or drop in health!

Thanks :)

Watch those VFTs outdoors they will probably get leaf burn on the old leaves when we finally get some sun. So either aclimatise slowly or just let them burn as the new growth will be better adapted, but doing the latter will set them back a while.

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What I do with my VFts is Start them in my west facing window in the morning where they get the first sun, then take them outside before I leave to work and then when I get home I bring them back inside onto an east facing window. This way they have the maximum time outdoors and when they would be in a shadow outside they are inside in full sun (although they are taking their light through the filter of the glass).

I believe this is the best I can give them and they seem to be thanking me for it. All my Dionaea are in a single trough pitcher so this is quite an easy task for me and it gives me a good excuse to look at them every day.

I know that most of the plants in my planter have been grown outdoors before I repotted them but there are a few I don't know about and four I know have been grown indoors for at least a year (Typical form). So far I have had no evidence of leaf burn on any of the plants even on hot days. I am not saying that this is not a problem but I think it is a risk worth taking, especially if you minimalise the risk by gradually increasing exposure to the sun as Mantrid described.

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Thanks for the advice guys, I have been slowing adapting them into full sun light, so hopefully it wont be long for them to start coming around.

I also bought a couple of new VFTs from Homebase as I was lucky enough to find some really nice looking ones.

They had deep red traps so I put they straight outside into full sun.

However the traps seem to be losing the deepness of the red, and the new traps coming up have red leaves.

What does this mean?

It is a little hard to see in the images as the lighting is so different between the shots.

img3288l.jpg

photovtr.jpg

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