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Having driven people here mad with my questions about lighting, I decided to try and experiment. Being somewhat skint (spent too much on CPs recently!), I opted for a fairly low-cost option, namely the same CFL 6400K that Amori suggested. At £7.49 each, I could afford two, and see what happens. Although he suggested having about 120W, and this is only 60W, I thought it was worth a try, especially as a first attempt. They are going to get more light this way than they are now, so I can't lose by this!

 

Having looked at the cost of reflective hoods, etc, I decided to go the DIY route, and make my own. I got some stiff cardboard, and fashioned a hood from it, covering the inside with silver foil...

 

151101LightingHood.jpg

 

The whole thing is around 15" wide, and about 8" front to back. I made to fit the (not very big) windowsill on which it will live. As this is a first-try experiment, I wasn't going to spend too much time making it robust, so wanted to keep it out the reach of little fingers, so had to keep it to a size that would fit on my home office windowsill.

 

I then made two T-shaped pieces of wood (from bits I had lying around), and screwed a light holder into each one, putting the hood in between...

 

151101LightingInsideHood.jpg

 

Adding a time-switch, I put it on the windowsill, and added some plants...

 

151101LightingWithPlants.jpg

 

At the back (left to right) are a Nepenthes Bloody Mary, a Sarracenia Maroon and a Heliamphora heterodoxa x minor. Front row (left to right) features a Drosera Nidiformis, a Drosera Aliciae, a Drosera Spatulata and a Heliamphora Minor. Hiding behind the right-hand leg is a plastic cup containing some of the shredded Venus Fly Trap leaves I posted about last week. I put six in this cup, and left the other six loose leaves where they were (on top of the turtle tank), so I can compare results.

 

I know that I'm going to get told off, as it's the time that some of these should be going dormant, but I wanted to try the lighting first. I may remove the sleepy ones and replace them with something else. I seem to have an excess of Drosera Capensis (doesn't everyone!), so I may risk putting one in there over the winter!

 

I'll post back if/when there are any results. I would be interested to hear any comments on this.

Edited by Yossu
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You have got a bit of a mix of plants here. The Sarracenias and the VFT shouldn't really be under lights with the Nep. The temperate CP's need to be allowed to go dormant at this time of year and not put under lights. The Nep will appreciate the lights but some of the other plants shouldn't be under lights at this time of year.

Sorry to sound like an old misery but these plants are very different from each other.

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You have got a bit of a mix of plants here. The Sarracenias and the VFT shouldn't really be under lights with the Nep. The temperate CP's need to be allowed to go dormant at this time of year and not put under lights. The Nep will appreciate the lights but some of the other plants shouldn't be under lights at this time of year.

Sorry to sound like an old misery but these plants are very different from each other.

Don't worry about sounding like an old misery! As I said at the end of my post, I know some of those plants shouldn't really be there at this time of year, but the capensis is expendable, so if it dies, it's not the end of the world, and I'm interested to see if the extra light makes any difference. The VFTs are leaves, immersed in water, not plants in compost, and from what I understand (mainly from this discussion), when you propagate them like this, it's OK to leave them well lit during the first winter. The sarracenia is a prize plant, and I intend to remove it soon, but I wanted to see if there would be any short-term change with the extra lights.

 

However, someone mentioned to me in another thread that S. purpurea don't go dormant. If so, is there any harm in leaving that one under lights?

 

As I said, this is all an experiment, and I'm grateful for any comments, even old misery ones  :laugh2:. You can award yourself "Curmudgeon Of The Day Medal" if you like! (see this link if you've not come across that lovely word).

 

Out of interest, how do I know when my plants are going dormant? With the possible exception of one VFT (not shown in these pictures), all of them seem to be growing as vigorously as ever. I thought they showed signs of dormancy. Mine don't seem to be.

 

Thanks for the reply.

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Love the DIY approach, after seeing the prices of some of the LED light units I dont blame you for building your own lighting. I am soon to be attempting something similar. I have one question though.....where is the hole to insert the key to wind it up when it runs down? :sarcastic_hand:

Edited by Buster
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I read your post again and I did notice that you didn't mean to do this for a long period.

It will do purps good to have a cold spell. They don't seem to do very much during the winter but they still need the cold spell. Purp purps even more so as they come from a very cold part of the USA.

If you kill capensis, then you are an idiot. Actually, it's not impossible, if you let it dry out, so just keep it wet.

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Love the DIY approach, after seeing the prices of some of the LED light units I dont blame you for building your own lighting. I am soon to be attempting something similar. I have one question though.....where is the hole to insert the key to wind it up when it runs down? :sarcastic_hand:

Ah, that's round the back where you can't see it! I didn't want to let on that this was all clockwork.

 

You won't tell anyone will you?  :sarcastic_hand:

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I read your post again and I did notice that you didn't mean to do this for a long period.

It will do purps good to have a cold spell. They don't seem to do very much during the winter but they still need the cold spell. Purp purps even more so as they come from a very cold part of the USA.

OK, thanks for the advice. Maybe I'll leave it for a week or so, and then move it out. Seems a shame as it looks so nice under the bright lights!

 

If you kill capensis, then you are an idiot. Actually, it's not impossible, if you let it dry out, so just keep it wet.

He may look like an idiot and talk like an idiot but don't let that fool you. He really is an idiot.
  -- Groucho Marx

 

Thanks for the reply. Any comments on my other question, as to how I know when they are going dormant? Do I wait for signs, or just move them out anyway?

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From what I have gleaned from this and other sites you need to apply the dormancy period to those that require it because of the temperature/altitude zones they naturaly grow in, not forgetting that within reason'  they can adapt to 'close to' natural conditions (a few degrees either side of those recomended). They may not appear to need dormancy by simple appearance and may not suffer immediatly should you not apply the dormancy but in future seasons they will not grow to thier full potential and will slowly suffer producing deformed and stunted leaves/pitchers/traps or not produce flower/seed and may eventualy die. This subject of dormancy has been one I myself have pondered and have come to the conclusion that apart from following the recomended requirements of the plant, alot of the detail is down to experience. Something we are both lacking as new devotee's to CP's

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From what I have gleaned from this and other sites you need to apply the dormancy period to those that require it because of the temperature/altitude zones they naturaly grow in, not forgetting that within reason'  they can adapt to 'close to' natural conditions (a few degrees either side of those recomended). They may not appear to need dormancy by simple appearance and may not suffer immediatly should you not apply the dormancy but in future seasons they will not grow to thier full potential and will slowly suffer producing deformed and stunted leaves/pitchers/traps or not produce flower/seed and may eventualy die. This subject of dormancy has been one I myself have pondered and have come to the conclusion that apart from following the recomended requirements of the plant, alot of the detail is down to experience. Something we are both lacking as new devotee's to CP's

I think you are right, but I think you are referring more to plants that need dormancy. I was asking about ones that apparently don't, such as S. purpurea. However, based on David Ahren's reply, it sounds like they would benefit, even if they don't strictly need it.

 

Thanks for the reply.

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Hi yossu, are you putting it out in a greenhouse, shed, garage or outside open to the elements? Regards Mark

We have an unheated room at the back of our house, whose roof is polycarbon, so it gets pretty cold in the winter, but gets a reasonable amount of light. Seemed like a good place, as they will be protected from frost.

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I do like a bit of true DIY inventiveness, nice one Yossu hope it does the trick for you :good2:

You might not be so impressed if I admitted that after fiddling with the wire from one light fitting to the other, I sat back to admire my work and realised that I had forgotten to connect the mains wire! I had to open it up and redo that bit!
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  • 2 weeks later...

In case anyone is interested, here is a two-week follow up.

 

I swapped the plants around, following the discussion here, so I now have the following under the lights.

 

Nepenthes Bloody Mary (x2)

Heliamphora heterodoxa x minor
Heliamphora minor 'Auyan Tepui'
Drosera Aliciae
Drosera Madagascariensis
Drosera Nidiformis
Drosera Spatulata
Utricularia Longifolia (sitting next to the water tray, as there isn't room for it directly under the lights)
 

In addition, I have two pots with some of the VFT leaves that I shredded from a B&Q rescue. Although they would normally be going out in the cold, I decided that as they had roots, and so were worth potting up, I'd trying keeping them inside this winter, as the shock of being sold in B&Q (pretty humiliating for a plants I reckon), then being bought by me (ditto), being pulled out of its compost, being ripped to shreds and then being repotted was quite enough for one small plant! As I'm hopelessly new at this, I can happily ignore the rules and write it all down to experience!

 

Anyway, it looks like the experiment is working. Although the Drosera Aliciae looks like it's drying up, carni grower assured me that this is normal, and it does seem to be going red. Even better is the Drosera Spatulata, which retained its dew, and is going even more red...

 

151115DroseraSpatulata.jpg

 

Both Nepenthes Bloody Mary have leaves that are turning red. I'm assuming that this is a good thing, although most of the pictures of these I've seen showed them with green leaves, not red. However, they look healthy, so I guess it's a good sign...

 

151115NepenthesBloodyMary.jpg

 

Finally, having added my two ha'porth (old Yorkshire expression for "small amount") to the discussion about propagating plants by immersion, I decided that as my office is warmer than the kitchen (stays around 22-23 degs C during the day), I would move the immersed VFT leaves under the lights, as they kept getting moved around on top of the turtle tank. I came up with a fairly ingenious way of storing them...

 

151115VftsInTestTubes.jpg

 

I've done this on both sides, so have about 16 test tubes under the lights. I will be interested to see what happens to them. Two of them (from before the B&Q shredding exercise) already have small plants growing, so I'm hoping the others will follow suit.

 

Hope this is of interest to someone. It's been good fun, and a fairly cheap way of experimenting. I'd highly recommend it to anyone!

 

Ta ra

Edited by Yossu
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Thanks Mark. Here are some more pictures...

 

First off is a Heliamphora minor 'Auyan Tepui'...

 

151115HeliamphoraMinorAuyanTepui.jpg

 

And here is my Heliamphora heterodoxa x minor...

 
151115HeliamphoraHeterodoxaXMinor.jpg
 
I'm not sure about those brown marks on the latter, as I don't think they were there when I got it. Any idea what they might be?
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  • 2 weeks later...

 

Thanks Mark. Here are some more pictures...

 

First off is a Heliamphora minor 'Auyan Tepui'...

 

151115HeliamphoraMinorAuyanTepui.jpg

 

And here is my Heliamphora heterodoxa x minor...

 
151115HeliamphoraHeterodoxaXMinor.jpg
 
I'm not sure about those brown marks on the latter, as I don't think they were there when I got it. Any idea what they might be?

 

 

Love your setup :-) your plants look really nice :-D

 

looking at this pic here it made me wonder what heat your bulb is putting out, I was thinking if the moisture wasn't evaporating at a steady pace then maybe you would get this browning affect, even then it could be the skin toughening up or some random pesky bacteria of some kind :-) but hope not and I thought it might be worth the evaporation idea there just incase it came in handy :-) also beware morning chills from the glass when its night time for them.

 

I read that its best when buying a new vft to wait to the following year before dormanting it, but not sure on the other species there :-) im a new grower of vft, im intending to dormant them for the first time from November 2016 to February 2017, but as you are doing there I intend to grow them under a small grow lamp :-)

 

any commons I find I will put in a little Perspex green house thing im building atm :-D im building it so I can mess cutting wood and brick up and stuff but im hoping to get some nice shelves in there and perhaps even try my hand at some of these grow and flower leds I have been seeing about the place :-D

 

please keep us up to date on your progress here, its a real nice clean, lite, efficient setup, these just look like the tweaking phase is all :-p

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Hello,

 

The bulbs aren't really putting out much heat. The temperature under the lights is only very slightly higher than in the rest of the room. It averages between 20-22 degs C under there.

 

The smaller of the two helias (the H. Minor Auyan Tepi) has a new leaf, about 1cm tall, which wasn't there when I got them, so I'm hoping those brown marks are just an adjustment thing on the old leaves. See the picture below for a comparison of the day I planted it, and this afternoon...

 

151129HeliamphoraGrowth.jpg

 

Not sure about growth on the other one, as the pic I took of it when I got it was from the wrong angle, so it;s hard to see if anything new has grown. I think there may be, but I'm not sure.

 

As for the others, the D. Aliciae is improving. I had been worried as the leaves were looking dry, without any dew drops, but the newer leaves are showing dew, so it looks like it just needed time to adjust.

 

My two N. Bloody Mary are looking great. The leaves are very healthy, and turning red, and the pitchers are now bright red instead of the pale pink they were before.

 

The D. Spatulata is my other big success. It retained its dew drops all the way through, and is not mostly red on one side, and the redness is slowly spreading over the rest of the plant(s).

 

The D. Nidiformis doesn't look a great deal different from when it went in, but is looking healthy, so I'm happy with that.

 

My only real disappointment is the D. Madagascarii, which is looking pretty sad. It wasn't a great specimen when I got it, and has never really grown that well. I'm hoping that it might perk up with time, but am not sure.

 

That just leaves the four VFTs, which are looking fine. I'm not really expecting a lot from them at the moment, but as long as they remain healthy, I'm not worried. This was a pure experiment, as it was really the wrong time of year to rip one to shreds, but it was just too tempting an idea to pass by!

 

Out of the VFT leaves in the test tubes, only one has started to grow anything, but as it's only been about two weeks since I put them in there, I can't expect much yet. One has gone quite brown, and I suspect it won't make it, but as they are all in their own test tubes, it's not going to cause any problems for any others, so I might leave it and see, as one of the original ones turned brown, but still has a healthy looking baby VFT growing on the end.

 

I wrapped the whole thing in cling film about a week ago, to see if this would help keep the humidity up. It certainly helps during the evening and night, but doesn't do too much during the day. I'm now looking at a mini humidifier to see if that will help. I've seen some quite cute small ones that float on the water, so could just live in the water tray. I need to work out how to power them, as they are all USB powered, and I need to find the right adapter to be able to plug them into the mains. I also want to put one on a time switch, as I don't think it would need to be misting out water 24 hours a day.

 

Phew, that was a longer update than I intended!

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  • 1 month later...

Hello again.

 

Funnily enough, I'd been thinking about posting a follow-up. Overall I'm very happy with the results. Here are some pictures...

 

The two helis are growing well. Whilst the original leaves still have brown patches, the new leaves are all green and healthy. The H. heterodoxa x minor has loads of new leaves...

 

160124HeliamphoraHeterodoxaXMinor.jpg

 

Not sure how clear the pic is, but there are quite a few new leaves, and they all seem to be growing nicely. My only concern with these two is that the pitchers are always dry. I can put water in them, but it drains out fairly quickly. Not sure if this is a problem though.

 

The H. minor Auyan Tepui also has new leaves, although not as many as the previous...

 

160124HeliamphoraMinorAuyanTepui.jpg

 

Again, the old leaves still have brown marks, and look like they might be dying, but there are enough healthy new leaves coming that I'm not worried.

 

Next up is an aerial view of two Droseras, on the left a D. Alicae and on the right a D. Spatulata...

 

160124DroseraAlicaeAndSpatulata.jpg

 

Both are growing well and looking healthy after an initial setback. The D. Spatulata has more of a red tinge than the D. Alicae, but as both are healthy, I'm happy with them. Given that the D. Spatulata was a tiny stowaway on another plant, I'm even more happy that it's growing well!

 

As I mentioned previously, the two D. Madagascarii were doing really badly. Well, they basically died off almost completely, but are making a nice recovery...

 

160124DroseraMadagascarii.jpg

 

Neither are huge yet, but they look healthy and are growing.

 

Finally for this post, my biggest success stories are my two Nepenthese Bloody Marys. When I got these, they weren't in great condition, and the pitchers were very pale. After two months under the lights, they both look like completely different plants...

 

160124NepentheseBloodyMary.jpg

 

They have both grown nicely, although are still not huge. However, the leaves look really healthy and there are new leaves coming. This pitchers are also looking good...

 

160124NepentheseBloodyMaryPitcher.jpg

 

The only other plant in there is the D. Nidiformis, which as before is doing well, but doesn't look a lot different from when it went in.

 

I bought myself a mini humidifier, to see if that would help things. This was a cheap and cheerful little device I got for £3 (inc P+P) from fleaBay (search for "donut usb mini humidifier" and you'll find loads of people selling the same thing). This has the advantage that it floats, so it sits in the water tray, and is on a timer that come on for 15 minutes every three hours during the day...

 

160124Humidifier.jpg

 

This can knock the RH up to about 80%, although it doesn't stay that high for too long. I wrapped most of the set-up with cling film, to keep the moisture in, but leaving enough spaces to allow free movement of air. Hard to say if it's made a difference or not, but they all seem to be doing OK, so I'm leaving it there.

 

I'm currently trying to work out how to expand this set-up, as it seems to work well, and I would like to put some more plants under the lights. Also, when the sort-of winter we're having has passed, I'd like to bring a few of the not-really dormant plants back in.

 

Hope this is of interest.

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