Taking Your Gardening Dollar

I Am Totally Digging This LED Light (and you can, too!)

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.

Foodmap

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.)

Led on calamondin

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 on May 4, 2011 at 4:49 am, in the category Taking Your Gardening Dollar.
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41 Responses to “I Am Totally Digging This LED Light (and you can, too!)”

  1. Chris says:

    I’d use it to help out bonsai trees druing the winter months. I’ve got only a tiny, west-facing window, so the extra light could really help.

  2. Kristi says:

    This looks great! I do have a lovely orchid that has put up with my abuse for several years, and last year was the first it did not bloom. Also I have been wanting to get a lemon tree myself, and I am sure this would help keep it alive during the winter.

    Beyond that, in its off hours I figure when it isn’t getting a starring role in Halloween decor (cause eerie purple lighting is all the rage) I can stick my kids under it to promote growth of all kinds! :)

  3. Patti Race says:

    While I have lots of plants that would probably appreciate its light, I think I would use it most to bask under myself. Do you think it would be effective for Seasonal Affective Disorder? I live in far northern NY where we have 8 months of winter and rarely see the sun through the falling snow. Maybe I could hold a rosemary (which I have always wanted to overwinter inside but have always been unsuccessful at doing) in my lap while I sit under it like a lizard under a heat lamp. Sounds like a plan to me.

  4. Adam says:

    I have a jade plant that was a gift from a loved one and I absolutely love it—it’s full, glossy, vibrant…until I bring it in for the winter. Because of the narrow, sunless windows in my apartment by the end of winter it looks like a prop from a Vincent Price movie, a potted horror on Gomez Addams’ desk, something Tim Burton would send his girlfriend. Every time I look at it it drops a couple of leaves; sad curled grey tears of reproach. I close my eyes yet I still hear the dry, husk-y crinkle as they hit floor, each one a cry for help.
    Will you help her?

  5. wendy says:

    Totally off-topic but I love your baseboard mouldings and your paint colors. :-)

  6. Melissa says:

    I kill houseplants. I’m horrible and have very little light in my house. Anything would help. Right now, I only have a pomegranate bonsai (which is super cute, but could definitely use more light).

  7. growing agaves in portland oregon they need all the help they can get…hell I might even park myself under it during the cruelest month (january).

  8. Jeane says:

    I’d use it to keep my Avocados happy in the winter. I live at basement-level and my windows just don’t get enough sun in winter. I have three Avocado plants I started from pits and they get so sad and start dropping leaves when the light gets low…

  9. Jen. says:

    Seedlings, lots & lots of seedlings! Can’t you just see the emerging Wicked Plants?!

  10. Benjamin Rodriguez says:

    I grow many odd things in my garden. I strive to find the more useful plants,you know ones you can eat. However, this often means living in Texas would kill it in ten hours in our heat and lack of rain. So, last year I spent weeks building a huge bookshelf to house many plants for the winter inside. Now, I’ve decided to use this area to grow the more sensitive plants I want. I bought a grow light and my friends call it the Sun, so I understand how and why you don’t want your light on after sunset. No need to make your neighbors think you’re running a Red Light District or growing illegal crops. A light like this would really help in my experimenting with what truly works and maybe some day I can have fresh leafy salad greens of marshy plants that are totally healthy and beneficial to me; cause as of now everything dries up cause the winds are so dry no amount of watering can help it survive the outside.

  11. Kelli Rodda says:

    I wouldn’t mind a pink or purple glow about the room. It would inspire me to sing hits such as Aquarius, Are You Experienced, White Rabbit, Tomorrow Never Knows and many more! Oh sorry, slipped into my infomercial personality for a moment.

  12. Laura Bell says:

    Perhaps I could finally grow lettuce indoors during the summer (too hot here to have it outside) and finally enjoy a homegrown summer salad. Use it to revive my zygocacti & African violets, or to keep the orchids my mother-in-law insists are “easy to grow” from dying horrible crispy deaths. So many possibilities …

  13. Nan Roberts says:

    I want mass quantities of basil, especialy in the winter, but any time will do. I live on the Central Oregon Coast, and it is windier and colder and cloudier than Arcata. (I know that is hard to believe, but it is so.) I also want blooming geraniums in the house. They should grow outdoors here in the summer. And if this works really well, maybe I could try nasturtiums in the house. With flowers! Winding their way up the windows to the curtain rods, cascading down, with flowers! But even leaves would be fine. Gradually creeping on and on, a curtain of nasturtiums . . .

  14. cathy says:

    I am a Master Gardener and anything new is a always welcome as we are educators of the public and we like to promote new products. I would currently use it for my newly purchased venus fly traps….would love to see the pink hue among the “traps” of death…

  15. Shane T. says:

    Some plants don’t like the drastic day/night temperature shifts we’re having here on the East Coast right now. This sure would fix that…love you!

  16. I would donate it to a homeless shelter so that they can have a space of gathering to grow plants… keep their mind out of depression using the power of plants!

  17. Beth says:

    I would use it for my african violets, which have NEVER re-bloomed for me. I just keep trying. Someday!

  18. Sue says:

    Fuschias I think. I have been trying to winter them over and they don’t all make it. But the ones that do are wonderful when they put out flowers while there is three feet of snow on the ground. Definitely fuschias.

  19. Angie says:

    Right now, I’d love to shine it on my log wall and attract all the blasted stinkbugs to one location so that I can annihilate their population in my house!!! They’ve eaten my house plants which are now all outside. They are living little brown drops all over my hardwood floors and windows. Ugh! Once I gotten rid of this pestilence. The light will provide much needed relief to my houseplants when they are brought back in this fall, hopefully, sans stinkbugs!

  20. Robyn R. says:

    I would grow my own meyer lemon. I almost bought a lemon tree about 7 months ago because I have the space and light for it right now, but am moving in a month to an unknown location, most likely a dark and dingy basement dungeon with no natural light. Pity me, then send me the light!! ;)

  21. BMarshall says:

    I’d use it to grow gift baby pawpaws in my laundry room–the only place the cats can’t get to. Everyone should have more pawpaws!

  22. Jenn says:

    Ah, too late for my poor variegated ficus. Sigh.

  23. Catherine says:

    Oh, I could use this for starting some seeds,
    Basil, lupine, dill, but no weeds.
    Or I’d use it to keep plants healthy and alive,
    Cyclamen, orchids, violets and chive.
    Or I can lay on a towel and pretend its the sun,
    And I’m on a beach and having fun.
    But maybe I’d finally try a lemon tree,
    Especially if you decide to pick me.

  24. For SAD, Patti, I use a HappiLite, and as many full-spectrum lights as I can get into the house. They do come in fluorescent tubes, as well. They made my outside-light-deficient kitchen so much better.

    I might try those for growing indoor plants–but I have yet to read the specs on an LED grow light. Perhaps they’d help with orchids in a dim, north-facing bathroom, or growing herbs away from the too-hot-in-summer elevated corner above the kitchen sink–with no bugs or slgs.

  25. Christina says:

    I wouldn’t use it. Instead, I’d give it to my mother, a woman who loves the alpine austerity of Northern New Mexico, but whose Southern California-native heart weeps for the scent of citrus blossoms. So badly she misses citrus blossoms. I’d like to be able to give them to her.

  26. Pat says:

    Rosemary, lemon tree, lavender,scented geranium, parsley: you name it, I try to overwinter it indoors during a loooooong Ohio winter. I’m looking for any help I can give these poor light-starved beings.

  27. daniel says:

    Where did you get the cool rolling container?

  28. anne says:

    Here in Oregon we’re having March weather in May, so I’d have a “Chase Winter Away” party for my plants that are still stuck indoors, as well as my seed starts. I’d gather those babies all together in one room at sunset, mix up a little fertilizer cocktail for each plant guest (and a little drinkie-poo for yours truly as well), shine those mother-lovin’ lights (red AND blue!) on a disco ball, crank up the stereo and GO GO GROW Baby!

  29. michele says:

    Very informative information about the lights. The food map container looks good as a planter.

  30. Kat says:

    In our upstairs bathroom, we have some potatoes (red and yukon) in a little pot. The other pot on the shelf has a small lavender plant we started from seed last year and a little volunteer dandelion. The dandelion is quite happy, and is setting seeds, but the potatoes and lavender are still sad. It’s just not nice enough yet to put them outside where they can get real light. This bulb seems like the perfect solution.

  31. Jennifer says:

    I work in a completely windowless office, which is suspended (without windows) over a noisy shipping plant. All day my cubicle plants and I sit without any real light, listening to the beeping of forklifts, and the endless repetition of Meatloaf’s “Two out of Three Ain’t Bad” (I don’t know why, but they seem to play it on the plant floor non-stop). While this light won’t do away with the noise, screwed into my little desktop lamp, it would enable me to grow something with flowers–which might be enough to distract me from the noise (one out of two ain’t bad…)

  32. Mark Fischer says:

    I’d like to use one as a reading light. I’d sit underneath it read a good gardening book and regrow some of the hair on the top of my head that has somehow disappeared over time. I’m not sure which color light to use, the blue for rhizome and vegetation growth or the red for leafiness, flowering, and budding. Any ideas on which one would work best?

  33. Chellie says:

    My 14 year old son has a vine in his room that he calls his zombie plant. He found it at his grandma’s while helping her with some yard work. The post office had used a chipper shredder on a very invasive vine and some if the chunks landed in my Mom’s back yard. This particular chunk was no bigger around than a pencil and only two inches long. Just a short bare stick really. But it had rooted in the middle and sprouted a leaf! 14 year old son spied it and moaned dramatically “It lives, it lives! The zombie plant lives!”. He claimed it as his own and the zombie plant now resides in his bedroom. He is forbidden to ever take the zombie plant outside as I think it would try for world domination. Anyway, I think he’d get a kick out of funky colored lights for his zombie plant.

  34. I would grow my own meyer lemon. I almost bought a lemon tree about 7 months ago because I have the space and light for it right now, but am moving in a month to an unknown location, most likely a dark and dingy basement dungeon with no natural light. Pity me, then send me the light!! ;)

  35. Sarah says:

    I’ve never used light on plants before, this is all a bit new to me. Maybe it would help my struggling blueberry plant, I’m desperate to get a decent crop from it this year.

  36. greg draiss says:

    LEDs are the “wave of the future” Highly efficient and they work. Check out Lumi-Grow with the dimmer switch where you can set how much red and blue your plants get

    The TROLL

  37. Debbie Fitch says:

    I leave my houseplants outside as long as I possibly can in the fall. I listen to the evening news, and if they tell me there’s a frost warning, I go outside in my nightgown, flashlight in hand, and gather up my houseplants. I give them a good shake in case they’re hiding bugs, then bring them inside to watch them slowly wither and die through the winter. This is seasonal affective disorder to me.
    Would this light help?

  38. john in the Redwoods says:

    I would use it outdoors in Willow Creek where 3 of my neighbors grow marijuana. I would put it on a timer so that it would come on sporadically in the early evening and then again in the early morning. The weird glowing light would make them think: a) the Feds were monitoring them; b) space aliens were in the ‘hood; c) that I might have a superior way of growing weed.

  39. Mary Moore says:

    Here in Wisconsin my chilly winter windowsills have consistently killed off the tender tropicals I’ve craved in the dark months. I’ve long thought that grow-lighting my glass-screened, unuseable fireplace might create a safe, cozy and quirky little mini-conservatory (until I win the lottery and my budget welcomes a real one). Tropical diorama, anyone?

  40. Karen says:

    Orchids detest me.
    I adore them.
    Perhaps a little LED love might help me to grow on them.

  41. Looks great! LED lighting is the wave of the future.

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