While flowering plants need light to grow, it can be challenging to take into account how much light specific plants require. Orchids, for example, are notorious for their delicate leaves and striking colors and therefore require a very particular intensity and frequency of light.
The first factor to take into account is whether your orchids require low, moderate, or high warmth of light to flourish. While Phalaenopsis and Oncidium need low, warm light, for example, Cattleya, Dendrobium, and Vand all perform better in high, warm light.
Choosing the Best Grow Lights
After you choose the type of orchid to grow, you may then move on to constructing the indoor, home garden environment. To do so, you must choose light bulbs that radiate the type of light your flowers need to flourish.
For orchids that require low, warm light, a good choice is compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) that emit about 125 watts over a 2’ x 2’ primary growing area and a 3’ x 3’ secondary growing area. To keep the heat output low, the light should be positioned between 6” and 2’ above the flowers.
For orchids that require moderate to high, warm light, it is best to use high-pressure sodium lamps (HPSs) that emit roughly 250 watts over a 3’ x 3’ primary growing area and a 5’ x 5’ secondary growing area. To keep heat output in the medium range, hang the light 2’ to 3’ above the flowers.
If your orchids thrive in high, warm light, HPS lights that deliver between 400 and 600 watts over a 6’ x 6’ primary growing area and a 10’ x 10’ secondary growing area will prove optimal. In order to maintain a steady level of heat, position the light 3 to 4 feet above the blossoming stems.
For orchids that don’t require warm light, LED lights are a great, environmentally friendly option. Though they cost more per bulb, LED lighting is much more energy efficient as most of their energy use is translated directly into visible light rather than heat emitted from the bulb. Check with lighting suppliers for LED lighting for indoor growers as certain brands manufacture bulbs across a wide light spectrum.
How Much Light Is Enough?
Now that you’ve considered what kind of bulbs and lighting are appropriate for your orchid, it’s best to think about how much light is sufficient to sustain your plant.
As you’re cultivating orchids indoors, many home gardeners suggest setting a timer for your artificial lighting. The required hours vary, with orchids needing 14-16 hours of light during warmer months and 12-14 hours during the winter. Anything over those suggested times will drive up your electricity bill and may actually harm your orchid.
Should I Create a Greenhouse?
As a rule of thumb, your orchid will thrive in growing areas that emulate their natural, balmy tropical environments. With that in mind, separate greenhouses provide the types of lighting and temperature control that tropical plants need to survive and grow.
A greenhouse also helps you cultivate orchids year-round in an environment suited to their highly specific lighting and temperature requirements.
If you’ve started to think seriously growing orchids of different varieties and your grow operation expands by the year, you may want to consider building a separate greenhouse or creating a conversion greenhouse in your home.
Whether you decide to build a greenhouse or carve out space for a makeshift grow area in an extra bedroom, you’ll need the right lights to ensure that your orchids receive the optimal amount of heat and light.
If you need a source for CFL and HPS lights for growing orchids, check out selections as lighting specialists such as Atlanta Light Bulbs, where you can conveniently order items online that you need and explore the vast selection of lighting solutions for around the home, garden, and office.
Growing Awesome Blossoms
Once you decide and sufficiently research the types of orchids you wish to grow, you will be treated to a year-round demonstration of floral beauty regardless of the outdoor weather conditions outdoors.Remember, one of the simplest but most crucial steps in orchid cultivation is choosing lights and positioning them effectively. Enjoy the blossoms!