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  #1  
Old 11-23-2017, 03:30 PM
Manu Manu is offline
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Default Review/Results using IKEA VÄXER LED plant grow bulb PAR30 E26

Alright, it's been a while I’ve promised to share a review of the IKEA VÄXER LED plant grow bulb PAR30 E26,so here it goes.

I used to grow my orchids under natural light in (and on stands in front of) windowsills, until I lost my growing area as it became the room of my second child. I struggled to find an adequate area to relocate them and had no other choice but to switch to growing under lights, which turns out to be a good thing as I have way better results!

When I completed my setup in January 2017, I ordered LED bulbs for plants from ebay, and purchased CFLs to use while I was waiting on the shipping. The lights eventually made it to me (2 months late), but I wasn’t able to stand the purple hue that these lights emit, especially considering this is on so many hours in a day and is in our living room. For that reason, I continued with the CFL bulbs which I must say provided very good results. The CFLs were Walmart E26 Daylight Full Spectrum bulbs (14W). All my plants were growing well under them.

In the transition period from natural light to growing under lights, I sold many of my orchids because of a lack of space/light. In this review, I will focus on the ones I kept throughout this period.

As I was saying, everything was growing well with the CFLs, but one day, as I was strolling in my local IKEA, I saw these Vaxer bulbs, built for horticulture and that did not emit that ugly purplish glow! Instantaneously, I felt like this was a revolutionary light bulb for my needs and a great alternative to CFLs which, let’s face it, are a thing of the past (especially in E26 form). They looked a lot brighter then my CFLs, with a lower Wattage and a longer life. I purchased one, bring it home and tested it out. The verdict was clear, I was switching all my 8 bulbs to these.

With my CFLs, I had to keep the bulbs between 6 to 12 inches from the plants in order to provide 2000 FC to 500 FC (approximately, it’s been a while and would need to switch one out to take the exact measurements). With the bulbs being that close, the light did not cover a large area. In the below picture, you can see how close the CFL bulbs were to the plants.



Thankfully, I built my system in a way that the bulbs height were individually adjustable. You will see in this next picture how much higher I put the Vaxer LED bulbs and how much brighter they look compared to the CFLs.



Now I’ve been told by some OB members that LUX meters are useless to measure the output of LED bulbs, so I won’t provide any measurements from them. I decided to use the approach of using my eye as a meter, starting at a more conservative height and lowering as needed.

I’ll now show you the results of these lights on some of my plants. Once again, I’ll focus on plants I’ve had before and after the setup as a good part of my collection was rebuilt since the switch.

Here, you see one of my favorite (I say that about all my species lol) Phal equestris. This picture is from before the switch, it had recently been re-potted in a basket and had been growing under the CFLs for a few months. During the CFL era, the plant was about 10 inches from the bulb.




This image is the same plant, only few months later. There was not much leaf growth since as it was in bloom all summer long. There was a LOT of root growth. It produced about 200 flowers this summer on a single branched spike. Currently, it looks like it wants to grow 2 or 3 keikis from the spike tips and is sending another spike from the basal keiki. I’m looking forward to seeing how the Keikis will handle the much higher light level at that height. The highest point of the equestris leafs is at 23 inches from the LED bulb. Look at the leaf color vs under CFL, all that at over double the height!



This next image is my Phal cornu cervi ‘’red’’ under CFLs


This CC gave me some trouble getting it to spike, but that is now history. It is building a nice spike and should have some flowers in the next months. What it did not have trouble is pushing out 6 leaves and a lot of roots during the spring/summer. You will notice also how the leafs show signs of much higher light. This one was at 10 inches from the LED vs 6 inches from the CFLs.



Next up is my Phal speciosa var. christiana
CFLs, about 8 inches from bulb:


LEDs, 13 inches from bulb, only few months later, you can see how the color shows much higher light levels and overall growth progress.



Haraelle retrocala, I know many of you grow this one.
Under CFLs, I don’t recall the height, perhaps 12 inches right under the bulb:


Under LEDs, it’s sitting in between 2 bulbs, one is 13 inches diagonally and the under 19 inches. It still grew lots of leaves and roots and currently has 11 spikes, a few open buds and a few more on their way!


This last image shows a view from the top of my lower shelf. You can see how the violacea and lueddemanniana (2nd and 3rd from the left) have very yellow leaves and are I’d think at the higher limit of what they like (like most of my plants) while being around 16 inches above from the plants. I try to provide the maximum light a plant can handle without burning and have had great results so far with this technique. Everything grows and blooms reliably.


The bottom line, these bulbs work amazingly well for me and I would strongly recommend them to anyone. I think you can potentially even grow higher light needs Orchids if you get them closer to the bulb based on the results I’m getting at the specified heights. Another important factor, is plants show no setback under these lights. My plants all come from Taiwan, and even after a 2 weeks of travelling in a dark cold box with limited water/humidity, they bounce right back and start growing and even often sending spikes out or resume flowering on current spikes. I often read about and have experienced orchids just sitting there and doing nothing, well under these lights this doesn't seem to happen.

A bit about my conditions:
The shelves receive no natural light that can be measured using a LUX meter
Temperatures:
Summer: daytime temps 25-35C, averaging around 27C, night time a few (+-5C) degrees less.
Winter: daytime temps from 22-25C, mainly around 23C. Nightime 20-21C.
Relative Humidity: always around 65% if measured near the plants, but can vary from 40-75% (mainly temperature dependant).

Plants grown under these bulbs:
• Phal equestris, bloomed from June to current
• Phal violacea, bloomed from June to October
• Phal lueddemanniana, in spike, bud forming
• Phal lindenii bloomed twice (spring and end of summer)
• Phal amabilis variegated in bloom now, 1 spike with 3 open flowers and 7 more to go, 2nd spike is starting to build buds
• Phal cornu cervi red in spike
• Phal speciosa var. christiana, almost always in bloom or with active spikes
• Phal bellina, bloomed from June to October
• Phal bellina alba, currently in bloom
• Phal pantherina, added in October, growing strong
• Phal stuartiana var nobilis, added in October was not in spike, currently growing a new leaf and a spike
• Phal schilleriana, added in October 2 plants that were not in spike, both are in spike (1 has 2 spikes)
• Phal Sogo Yukidian (V3), in spike (this is my first and last phal hybrid and will be sold this winter to make space for a P. gigantea)
• Aerangis luteoalba var rhodosticta, in flower currently
• Amesiella monticola, in spike
• Psychopsiella (Oncidium) limminghei, was close to dead only a few months ago and now has 6-7 new bulbs growing fast and strong, relocated 8 inches below buld.
• Haraella retrocalla, always in bloom
• Dracula bella, in bloom with multiple growths and spikes.
• Dracula simia, not in spike but is growing well
• Paph spicerianum, multi-growths in spike
• Vanilla planifolia, 6 feet of growth since June.

Killed orchids:
Habenaria Radiata (does this even count?? Lol)

Any questions?? Feel free to ask!

Happy growing!

Last edited by Manu; 11-23-2017 at 08:19 PM..
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  #2  
Old 11-24-2017, 03:38 AM
reptilegrrl reptilegrrl is offline
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I really like the way you have mounted the lights! it looks cute.

I am using the same bulb, but only one, and it is much closer to the plant directly beneath it. It's good to know that you are getting good results even without the lights being close.

I am in the USA and I wrote to Ikea the other day asking that they bring the Vaxer light strips to the USA. I plan to put some strip led lighting on my existing shelves, to grow orchids, and I would be thrilled if I could use the Vaxer ones. As it is I suspect I will end up building my own, because I really hate the pinky-purple grow lights. But I would really rather just buy some.
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Old 11-24-2017, 12:38 PM
Manu Manu is offline
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Another interesting thing I've noticed is they push out spikes even outside their regular blooming season. My violacea finished blooming in October, since then it has fully grown one leaf and is working on a second one. It pushed a spike out in early November. It still has no signs of a bud forming and am suspecting it might stall there and only produce flowers when spring comes... My bellinas are also doing the same at this time. They normally would take a break from spikes from October to April to resume vegetative growth.

Not sure if what I'm experiencing now would be normal for these plants in their natural habitat and perhaps my experience with natural light was what was not normal for these plants that are used to almost equal amounts of light year long?
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Old 11-28-2017, 12:19 AM
Manu Manu is offline
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Adding to the list of successfully grown and bloomed plants is nonetheless then some Catasetinaes. I wasn't sure this would workout, but it did. To be fair, they spent the last month in the windowsill getting some cold nights, but did grow and mature their pbulbs from this past winter till October under my lights. Actually, all 4 plants were squished under only one bulb!! They are just starting their spikes now. So far I have 2 spikes emerging and see many other very swelled nodes. The light bulb was always positioned about 4-6 inches from the leaves, it was hard to keep things even with 4 pots growing at different rates, but with some imagination it worked out well.

---------- Post added at 11:19 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:12 PM ----------

I'm starting to plan an orchidarium room in my basement. I'm renovating the entire floor and will transform existent cold rooms in new growing areas. I'm planning to use my telecom engineering background and experience of IOT to fully automate this new zone. Mist king, RO system, connected to water, with drains in the floors, fans, air exchange, all controllable from my mobile, now how cool is that!!

Last edited by Manu; 11-28-2017 at 12:18 AM..
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Old 11-28-2017, 01:38 AM
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estación seca estación seca is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manu View Post
...I'm starting to plan an orchidarium room in my basement. I'm renovating the entire floor and will transform existent cold rooms in new growing areas. I'm planning to use my telecom engineering background and experience of IOT to fully automate this new zone. Mist king, RO system, connected to water, with drains in the floors, fans, air exchange, all controllable from my mobile, now how cool is that!!
I hope you start a thread and keep us informed on the progress as you build this.
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Old 11-28-2017, 01:55 AM
Manu Manu is offline
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Originally Posted by estación seca View Post
I hope you start a thread and keep us informed on the progress as you build this.
I will definitely post something in the process! Im still in the planning phase, trying to figure out how to make the most of the space. The most complicated part is to build it so it looks nice but to be able to leave with it if I end up selling this place and moving elsewhere one day. I need to build it in a way it can come out of there and be transported if needed... TBC!
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Old 11-28-2017, 08:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reptilegrrl View Post
<snip>As it is I suspect I will end up building my own, because I really hate the pinky-purple grow lights. But I would really rather just buy some.
Reptilegrrl, you might go to your local Lowes or HomeDepot and look for warm white LED floodlights. When I moved out of my greenhouse prior to moving, I used some 17 watt Cree floods, and they were quite good.

I actually bought them for outdoor lighting around my home, but they were too bright!
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Old 12-04-2017, 01:06 AM
chantrelle chantrelle is offline
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Your set looks awesome. I also grow under light, they are T5 light tubes. However, I’d like to get LED grow bulbs to set-up an other growing space.

Basically, I’m very bad at understanding anything that relates to light So, I was so happy to read your post, I was going to run to IKEA in Montreal and copy and past your finding.

IKEA in Canada only have the VÄXER LED grow bulb PAR20 E12, which has only 400 lumen rather than 800.

I’ll call to find out how come they don’t sell the PAR30 E26 in Canada. This is so stupid.

Chantrelle,

Last edited by chantrelle; 12-04-2017 at 01:15 AM..
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Old 12-04-2017, 07:56 AM
Manu Manu is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chantrelle View Post
Your set looks awesome. I also grow under light, they are T5 light tubes. However, I’d like to get LED grow bulbs to set-up an other growing space.

Basically, I’m very bad at understanding anything that relates to light So, I was so happy to read your post, I was going to run to IKEA in Montreal and copy and past your finding.

IKEA in Canada only have the VÄXER LED grow bulb PAR20 E12, which has only 400 lumen rather than 800.

I’ll call to find out how come they don’t sell the PAR30 E26 in Canada. This is so stupid.

Chantrelle,
I'm glad you like it! They did sell the E26 bulbs at Montreal Ikea, that's where I got them... I also noticed they weren't listed on their site anymore, I'm wondering if they still have in store. The US site still has them listed.
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Old 12-04-2017, 08:44 AM
chantrelle chantrelle is offline
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Great ! Then When I’ll go I’ll check it out. Hopefully, it is just one those items they don’t list but will kept carrying.

Thanks for the information

By the way I like very much your Phalaenopsis equestris. I’m planing on getting on (my next buy) hopefully I find one at the Spring Montreal Orchidophiles Expo.

Chantelle,
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