Why are my plants so green?


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Just been contemplating my plants (as you do  :dance4:), and comparing them to what they looked like at the beginning of the summer. Whilst I've had good growth on most of them, they are all pretty green, especially when compared to pictures I see around.

 

For example, here is my Drosera Aliciae...

 

151026DroseraAliciae.jpg

 

Compared to a random search for pictures of this plant, mine looks very green. Same goes for my D. Spatulata, etc. They all look healthy and are growing well, but have very little red on them.

 

My guess is that this is due to not enough light. They are growing on a windowsill that gets loads of light, and (if we ever get any sunshine) a lot of sunshine. I know, I live in Manchester, so we aren't exactly tropical, but what can I do to get my plants to look red?

 

If the answer is adding lights, please can you give me some advice, as I'm very confused as to what people use. I see people talking about using T5s, but as I understand it, that just means a tubular bulb of diameter 5/8". It doesn't tell me anything about what kind of bulb is meant. Also, what about LEDs?

 

Please advise what I can do to help my green plants. Thanks.

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If you're after more light then I can wholeheartedly recommend the T5 lightwave by Maxibright. They come in 2'x 2 and 4 tubes, and 4'x 4 and 8 tubes. I can honestly say my 2x4 is almost too much for some of my Nepenthes, but the one Heliamphora among them is thriving with good colour. I'll be putting a Drosera in the enclosure and see how that looks after a few weeks.

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Yep, lack of light is the problem, what direction does the window face, I grow mine on a south east windowsill and they get a lot redder than your aliciae are, but when I put it on a North window that's the color I get, I'm up in Edinburgh. Sorry I have no experience with using lights in windowsills, a t5 is a type of fluorescent I've never used one before, cfl a is a compact fluorescent which I've used above a terranium before and on grow shelves, I've found these great, I used a 125w one to light a 4ft by 2ft by 2ft tank and all my drosera were really red I also grew nepenthes and Orchidioides utrics in the tank. I got the cfl from a hydroponics shop, you can pick one up 1 125w horticultural cfl for between 15 to £30. How long is your window you want to illuminate?

Regards

Mark

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Just been contemplating my plants (as you do  :dance4:), and comparing them to what they looked like at the beginning of the summer. Whilst I've had good growth on most of them, they are all pretty green, especially when compared to pictures I see around.

 

Compared to a random search for pictures of this plant, mine looks very green. Same goes for my D. Spatulata, etc. They all look healthy and are growing well, but have very little red on them.

 

My guess is that this is due to not enough light.

 

 

 

I think your plants are much too green because of two reasons:

- too little light by day

- too small temperature drop at night

 

The required light to provide a good red coloration is proportional to the average temperature your plants get.

For D. aliciae I'd say:

Temperature in summer: 26°C by day, 16°C by night

Temperature in winter: 20°C by day, 10°C by night

The higher the average temperature, the more light you will need for a good reddish coloration.

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If you're after more light then I can wholeheartedly recommend the T5 lightwave by Maxibright. They come in 2'x 2 and 4 tubes, and 4'x 4 and 8 tubes. I can honestly say my 2x4 is almost too much for some of my Nepenthes, but the one Heliamphora among them is thriving with good colour. I'll be putting a Drosera in the enclosure and see how that looks after a few weeks.

Thanks for the reply. They do look good, but somewhat out of my budget at the moment unfortunately.

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Yep, lack of light is the problem, what direction does the window face, I grow mine on a south east windowsill and they get a lot redder than your aliciae are, but when I put it on a North window that's the color I get, I'm up in Edinburgh.

It's a south-facing window. On a sunny day, it gets sunshine from early afternoon right up until sunset. In the summer, this can be about 6-7 hours. It gets a lot of light the rest of time as well. All my other plants do really well on this windowsill.
 

Sorry I have no experience with using lights in windowsills, a t5 is a type of fluorescent I've never used one before, cfl a is a compact fluorescent which I've used above a terranium before and on grow shelves, I've found these great, I used a 125w one to light a 4ft by 2ft by 2ft tank and all my drosera were really red I also grew nepenthes and Orchidioides utrics in the tank. I got the cfl from a hydroponics shop, you can pick one up 1 125w horticultural cfl for between 15 to £30.

It's at this point I usually get confused. People seem to refer to the lights as T5, CFL, etc, without mentioning what kind of bulb. You say you got it from a hydroponics shop, does that limit it to one kind of bulb?
 
Please can you clarify what kind of bulbs you mean. I've seen all sorts of things sold as grow lights, but have no idea what the difference is, nor which would be suitable.
 
I did a quick search for "horticultural compact fluorescent" and found a wide variety of results, from fairly cheap to  :wall3:!! I also searched for "plant grow light" which produced even more results, including LEDs.
 
It looks like CFLs use normal light fittings, in which fixing up a couple of those over the plants wouldn't be a problem. I just want to make sure I'm getting the right thing.

 

How long is your window you want to illuminate?

Well, the whole windowsill is about 2.6m, but I don't think I could afford to light up the whole thing! Most of the plants there aren't CPs, so don't need such high light. My modest CP collection currently occupies about 80cm. I wouldn't even need a fitting that wide, as the light would spread.

 

Thanks for the reply. Any further advice would be greatly appreciated.

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I think your plants are much too green because of two reasons:

- too little light by day

- too small temperature drop at night

 

The required light to provide a good red coloration is proportional to the average temperature your plants get.

For D. aliciae I'd say:

Temperature in summer: 26°C by day, 16°C by night

Temperature in winter: 20°C by day, 10°C by night

The higher the average temperature, the more light you will need for a good reddish coloration.

Thanks for the reply.

 

The plants get a lot of light in the day, it just might not be bright enough. Also, I'm not sure we get the sort of temperatures you mention. We don't often get a consistent 26°C in the summer days, although we would get 20°C in the winter as the heating would be on.

 

I can't do a lot about the temperature anyway, as we don't have the heating on in the summer (usually have the windows open!), and can't get the room any warmer in the winter due to the poor design of the central heating.

 

Thanks anyway. I'm going to look into lighting and see if that helps.

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If you search for CFL 6400K you'll get results for bulbs that emit light which plants can use to photosynthesise effectively.

Thanks, but when I do that, most of the results don't say they are plant bulbs, they look like ordinary house bulbs. Don't I need special ones for plants?

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If you search for CFL 6400K you'll get results for bulbs that emit light which plants can use to photosynthesise effectively.

Thanks, but when I do that, most of the results don't say they are plant bulbs, they look like ordinary house bulbs. Don't I need special ones for plants?

Oops, double post, sorry!

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They are essentially normal bulbs, that fit into either bayonet or Edison screw fittings. The only difference is that when you specify the colour temperature (6400K), it tells you that it's good for vegetative plant growth.

Edited by Amori
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They are essentially normal bulbs, that fit into either bayonet or Edison screw fittings. The only difference is that when you specify the colour temperature (6400K), it tells you that it's good for vegetative plant growth.

So I don't need all these expensive plant bulbs then? Why do people buy them?

 

If I understand correctly, then I could just get a couple of these... http://www.lyco.co.uk/14w-t5-longlast-high-efficiency-g5-daylight.html? They say 6500K, and are pretty cheap. They are only 14W though. Any idea how much I would need?

 

Thanks again. This is all new and exciting stuff!

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Do you have a link to the Amazon page? Also, any idea how this would compare with the one I just linked?

 

Thanks again for all the help.

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If you want to use T5 tubes to cover a wider area then they'll work, as long as you have the fittings and some sort of reflector. I recommend the 24W tubes if you can find them in the length you need, a 2' one costs £3.99 normally.

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6500K is fine too, it's considered a very "blue" light so expect a very white look. I used two 30W bulbs for my Nepenthes until recently, but they did have to be very close to them and with a good reflector.

Any guide as to what wattage is suitable? Obviously, the more the better, but level do I need to make a difference?

 

Also, what kind of reflectors do you use with such bulbs? I have reflectors for tubes, as I use them on my fish and turtle tanks, but I'm not sure what you'd use for these kind of bulbs.

 

Thanks yet again!

 

By the way, please ignore my previous request for the Amazon link, just found them!

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Thanks, those are the sort of things we have on the tanks. I think ours were Arcadia, but they are all pretty much the same.

 

Any thoughts on the wattage? As far as I can see, the wattage goes in proportion to the length, so as I would probably only want 2' tubes, I would only get about 16W per tube. I'd like to know how much I would need to make a difference.

 

Thanks again.

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Hydroponics shops sell 24W tubes in 2' at £3.99 on average. Greens horticulture is a very good company

I had a look at their site, but couldn't see anything that cheap. All the lights I could see were way more expensive. Do you have a link to the products you meant?

 

Thanks again.

Edited by Yossu
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My apologies, they've changed their website since I lasted visited. They're in the T5 lightwave page, in the drop down menu. However, they appear to now cost £5.25 each. My local hydro shop sells them for £3.99 each, and they're really friendly to boot: http://ghedirect.co.uk/lighting/bulbs/t5-replacement-bulbs.html

The only thing I don't know is how much P&P is.

Hope that helps

Edited by Amori
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Thanks for the link. What's the advantage of these over a normal 6400K T5? You mentioned earlier that these were fine for growing.

 

Also, I'm still not sure what total wattage I would need. Any ideas?

 

Thanks again.

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