GE 12" fluorescent t5 light

Discussions about fluorescent, LED and other types of grow lighting for Venus Flytraps and other plants
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GE 12" fluorescent t5 light

by Monarch-puppet » Thu Jun 02, 2016 11:26 am

I have 2 GE 12" fluorescent t5 utility lights and I was wondering if they are suitable for growing my two droseras and some Venus flytraps, they have been by a window in the morning and outside for rest of the day til the sun goes down (trying to acclimate them) but I would like to start growing them inside more so I've been trying to figure out the lighting situation. Thank you in advance for any tips and help

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Re: GE 12" fluorescent t5 light

by cjpflaumer » Thu Jun 02, 2016 3:53 pm

First question, why would you rather grow inside? The drosera would be okay but inside is tough for VFT. The light should be fine assuming you put the right spectrum bulbs, but doesn't sound like a very large growing area. I assume when you say you have 2, they are each single tube?

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Re: GE 12

by xr280xr » Thu Jun 02, 2016 5:36 pm

The drosera would be okay but inside is tough for VFT

I think inside is more tough for the grower than it is inherently for a VFT. VFTs have the same needs indoors as outdoors, you just have to provide it for them. When growers cut corners and only partially meet their requirements is when it's tough on them.

The two important factors for your lights are the spectrum and the intensity. You can judge the spectrum by the color temperature of the bulbs. They need to be 5000 - 6500 K. Usually 12" utility lights aren't in this range, but they do make them so yours could be. The intensity requirement is more of a moving target because the intensity to the plant varies with distance from the bulb. However, it looks like 12" T5s only output around 250-300 lumens. I don't think that's going to be enough to keep your plants happy. If you want a growing area with a 12" length and your light at a distance of 6-12", I'd estimate you'd need a minimum of around 1450 L total which would be 5 or 6 of your tubes assuming the fixture has a reflector.

When I started growing indoors, I found a 4 ft T8 fixture was the most cost effective up front. The bulbs are readily available and cheaper than some of the other less common sizes. I'd recommend spending an extra $20-30 for a quality fixture over, say, a Walmart Lights Of America fixture, which started smoking and burnt out and could've potentially set my house on fire. High output T5 growlights also work well but are generally a little more expensive. I think their benefit is they're more compact than T8s so you can cram more light into the same amount of space. A quality LED grow light is a bigger cost up front, but will pay for itself in energy savings over a fluorescent fixture at a certain point.
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