S/H Growing Under Lights
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  #1  
Old 03-03-2010, 07:43 AM
Shawna Shawna is offline
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S/H Growing Under Lights Female
Question S/H Growing Under Lights

Is anyone doing S/H under lights?
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  #2  
Old 03-03-2010, 10:32 AM
terryros terryros is offline
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I grow under lights and all of my mixed collection (about 140 plants of Phals, Paphs, Phrags, and Catts) are in LECA (currently Hydroton). I do not use clear pots because I did not like all the algae growth I got. I use standard azalea pots and each pot sits in a separate saucer. I water/feed frequently, rather than having pots sitting in a pool of solution up above the drainage holes. I want fresh solution going through the mix all the time.

I thik of the LECA as anchoring the plant, giving the roots lots of air, and the watering/feeding process to be the supply of fresh nutrients all the time. I am not relying on upward wicking of solution. Because the LECA does not break down, I do not have to worry about repotting until the plant outgrows the pot. What I needed to learn to be successful was how to keep the plants moist without drowning them. The roots really need air. That will be dependent on your own conditions of temperature and humidity.
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  #3  
Old 03-03-2010, 12:02 PM
Shawna Shawna is offline
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Thank you for this information. I had been wondering about using the hydroton in clay for my catts. When you water are you pouring down from the top or just filling the saucer below?
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  #4  
Old 03-03-2010, 12:30 PM
terryros terryros is offline
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I always water from the top. It is important that fresh water/fertilizer solution is always running through to keep pH and nutrient levels correct and to prevent buildup up salts.
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  #5  
Old 03-03-2010, 02:19 PM
Shawna Shawna is offline
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When planting into the clay pot do you put little hydroton in first & then the plant or put plant in then work the hydroton thru it?
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  #6  
Old 03-03-2010, 11:14 PM
terryros terryros is offline
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I use plastic pots. If you use clay, things will dry out quicker and you will water more frequently. What ever pot, you put a layer of LECA in the bottom, position the plant, and then work the LECA throughout the root zone so it is loosely packed. You don't jam it down and break roots.
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  #7  
Old 03-04-2010, 02:30 AM
weta weta is offline
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Hi, I grow Phrags and Paphs under lights as a supplement to a window. The plants are in hydroton and I dunk the pots about 1-2 times a week to ensure that the whole pot has its chemistry reset - although I have to admit to topping up the odd one here and there with just water to keep things ticking over when the water level gets low. I have found that having a fan blowing across them has helped with evaporation (and air flow to the roots). The lights are only T4 20-40 Watt, so not very strong, but it is only as a supplement.

I use clear pots and have the pots sitting in trays of water, as the ambient humidity is quite low ~30% they seem to be doing well although I do have to battle with algae build up (and the odd collembolla infestation - small insects that love to eat algae). Interestingly enough, those plants with algage almost seem to be doing best - although I do try and flush every 1-2 months to try and combat salt and algae build up.

For me, the biggest challange has been to ensure that ample air is getting to the roots, when I started out I used a mixed grade of Hydroton (Disaster as any air pocket was filled) and then I used a medium grade (bette, but still mixed results) - it is only with the coarse grade that I have any success.

Cheers
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  #8  
Old 03-04-2010, 09:12 AM
terryros terryros is offline
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Yes, it is getting the balance of nutrient solution and air correct for the roots of the plant that is key. In my conditions (higher humidity than weta), the pots need to be able to drain completely after a watering from the top. I have about 1/4 -1/2 inch of solution in the saucers after each watering, which does not cover the drainage holes completely. I have learned how much to water from the top with each plant type and size to achieve this so I don't drown anything. That was the skill I needed to learn. Getting light and temperature correct is great for the plant, but everything depends on roots and that is where the balance of water/nutrients/air has to be right for the particular type of growing media you are using. If I switched to bark or coconut husks or sphagnum, I know I would have to learn this all over again. The LECA is not magic; it just doesn't break down and is chemically pretty inert.
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