Fluorescent lights and fluorescent "grow" lights??

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by hisenthlay, Apr 9, 2005.

  1. hisenthlay

    hisenthlay a.k.a. hyzenthlay

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    So, for growing plants inside, is there really a difference between the $7 normal fluorescent bulbs and the $15-$32 fluorescent bulbs for plants and aquariums that are supposed to improve growth?

    I don't want to waste $7 if they don't really help, but I definitely don't want to be suckered into paying more than twice as much for basically the same product.

    Anyone know?
     
  2. mammabooh

    mammabooh Metal melter Supporter

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    I always use the regular cheap ones.
     

  3. Meg Z

    Meg Z winding down

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    The grow lights have a broader light spectrum. You can approximate that pretty well by using one cool bulb and one warm one in each two bulb fixture. Much cheaper!

    Meg
     
  4. Manny

    Manny Well-Known Member

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    It depends on if you are starting plants to be later planted outdoors or if you are going to grow the plants forever under artificial light. If just starting plants then the cheap lights are just fine but if you have a treasured plant that you will always keep inside, African Violets and the like, then the grow lamps would probably be better.
     
  5. Mutti

    Mutti Well-Known Member Supporter

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    On Victory Garden today they said the cheap $1 flouresent bulbs are actually the best for germinating plants; then you can use the grow lites or one warm/one cool bulb in your fixture. Halogen lites are very bright but they give off alot of heat....and the authorities will think you are growing pot! DEE
     
  6. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have used flourescent and grow light bulbs in my fixtures once I get sprouts. (Never did bother with the lights until after germination.) In my experience, the plants under grow lights seem to do much better than the regular flourescents.

    Of course, your mileage may vary.

    :cool: <--- wearing sunglasses to protect my eyes!


    Pony!
     
  7. hisenthlay

    hisenthlay a.k.a. hyzenthlay

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    Thanks, everyone! I guess won't return the 2 grow lights I already bought, but I'll stick with the regular kind in the future--sounds like they both have their virtues.

    Also, does anyone have opinions on the regular (incandescent) grow lights? Are they better or worse than the alternatives?

    Mutti--Are you saying that halogen lamps work too? I have some of those already lying around. I guess I'll plug them in!

    Thanks!
     
  8. Manny

    Manny Well-Known Member

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    The problem with incandescent lights is the amount of heat they give off. If you put them as close to your seedlings as we do with fluorescent lights you will cook them for sure. A lot of problems with seedlings in the house is that it's just too warm for them to grow into sturdy transplants--too much heat causes them to grow fast and not develop sturdy stems.
     
  9. hisenthlay

    hisenthlay a.k.a. hyzenthlay

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    Ohhh... I thought they were supposed to be warm. An earlier thread about starting seeds indoors said something about that, so I'd been keeping mine near radiators and keeping the windows shut so they didn't get chilly. The mesclun are a bit spindly at this point, but I've been thinning them and transplanting by burying them up almost to their leaves. Live and learn. Thanks!
     
  10. Marcia in MT

    Marcia in MT Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It's true that seedlings need to be kept warm -- but warm to a growing plant can be a little cool to us: 60° - 65° is plenty warm. Another problem is light; not enough and that will cause them to stretch, too. If you've replaced your windows with low e glass and double-walled, gas-filled panes, a lot of the sun's spectrum will be missing and that can cause problems, too.

    Lack of light aggraved by high, dry temperatures = stretch.
     
  11. hisenthlay

    hisenthlay a.k.a. hyzenthlay

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    Thanks for the clarification. That's good news about the new windows, at least. I think these ones are ancient--simple single panes, and I swear in the winter I get a breeze from them. Bad for energy efficiency, good for seedlings! Who knew?
     
  12. sylvar

    sylvar Well-Known Member

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    I know I am a little late on this one, but I will throw in my 2 cents.

    The rule of thumb I use is "Do I want this to bloom under this light?"

    If yes, (flowering house plants) then use the grow light. Otherwise I just use the cheapo flourecent tubes.

    Good Luck!

    Shane
     
  13. whiterock

    whiterock Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I use one reg tube and one "daylight" tube.