In spite of my recent indoor citrus tree disasters, I've been inspired to try again, thanks in part to a lovely book on growing tropical plants indoors–more about that book tomorrow. But today, I've got a report on a new LED grow light that screws into any light fixture, making it very easy to use on indoor plants that might be, for instance, sitting right next to the sofa, not tucked away in a separate grow room where any sort of grow light will do.
This is my setup. I've got a Meyer lemon and a Bearss lime sitting in a Food Map container, which is not really intended as an indoor plant stand–it's designed to be filled with soil and actually used as a planter–but I needed a quick way to get these plants up to window height and this worked. (There's usually a couch in front of it, but I pulled it away to show you how the pots were situated.) The Food Map has drainage holes in the bottom, which I covered with duct tape–but of course, the pots are sitting in trays anyway to collect water. (Those two trees are brand new, by the way, which could explain why they still look so good. They haven't put up with much of my abuse yet.)
And here, trained on my poor, bedraggled, nearly-dead calamondin, is an LED light screwed into a regular light fixture. This was sent to me to test by SuperBrightLEDs, which is, as you can probably tell from its name, a company that sells LED lights online. They carry a mostly red bulb that, they say, promotes leafiness, flowering, and budding, as well as a predominantly blue one aimed at "rhizome and vegetation" growth. I went for the red one.
The thing to point out about this light is that, during the day, it does not cast a weird red or purple glow about the room. In this photo I can see a thin stripe of pink light on the windowsill, but if you're just standing in the room, you wouldn't even notice that. I've put mine on a timer so it comes on after the sun is up and shuts off before the sun goes down. Obviously, my poor calamondin would probably prefer longer hours of extra light, but I don't want a weird, purple glow coming out of my windows at odd hours.
I had the light on the two newer, healthier trees at first, and they really did respond. I saw new growth on both of them, and I had to turn them every couple of days to keep them from growing unevenly toward the light. Now I've given it the task of helping to rehabilitate my sad little calamondin.
And now we have one of these LED lights to give to you! If you'd like one, post a comment and tell us what you'd use it for. Extra points for creativity and weirdness.Posted by Amy Stewart on May 4, 2011 at 4:49 am, in the category Taking Your Gardening Dollar.