Grow Light for orchids involves mastering the proper balance of light — both in intensity and duration. Without the right light to photosynthesize, orchids struggle to grow, bloom, and thrive. The best grow lights are LED and fluorescent-LED combos. LED grow lights have become increasingly popular due to their low operating costs, low heat output, soft light, and potential longevity.
While LED grow lights may cost more than traditional bulbs initially, their energy savings overtime makes them a great long-term solution for providing the perfect light for your orchids. With this type of grow light, you can be assured that your orchids will receive optimal conditions for growth as well as appropriate flowering – so you’ll get to enjoy beautiful blooms in return!
Basic Orchid Light Requirements
Taking advantage of the potential in botanology, light fixture industries developed a range of innovative horticultural products – including bulbs specifically designed to mimic the full spectrum sunlight and other forms of non-visible light needed for orchids growing outdoors.
After extensive observation and study, botanical industries discovered a revolutionary new bulb that emitted only two specific colors on the wave spectrum; these hues were found to dramatically stimulate growth in orchids, far more so than any other hue.
The orchid was given a chance to bloom in its most vibrant self, as the red wavelength light enabled it to flower and blue wave light promoted vegetative growth. It’s important not forget that even though these two colors rise from somewhere at the end of spectra are necessary for optimal development, other shades can also contribute significantly towards further nurturance.
A few years ago, the indoor plant scene was revolutionized when a full-spectrum light became available. This provided an entire spectrum of colors that benefited plants more than ever before; orchids and other flowers bloomed with sensational vibrancy!
Nowadays LED lights have replaced this technology due to their impressive output of pure luminescence without accompanying heat – resulting in both cost efficiency along with great aesthetic qualities.
Before I guide you through the technical aspects of each light, there’s some basic science we should explore. This article aims to provide an easy-to-understand overview with plenty of useful details that will help keep your journey towards enlightenment both intriguing and practical.
In order to keep your orchids happy, they need the right amount of light! During winter months provide 12-14 hours of artificial lighting each day. As spring approaches, extend their “sunshine” incrementally until you reach 14-16 hours daily. Don’t want to leave them in the dark while away on vacation? Investing in a timer is an effortless way for you and your plants to get some restful R&R without worry…or wiltings.
Setting Up Your Orchid’s Grow Light
Now that you have the know-how to pick out the ideal grow light for your orchid, it’s time to get down and dirty with some setup! Start by scouring an area near an electrical outlet–it should be large enough so that your chosen lighting will fit snugly.
After selecting a location, grab yourself a compatible stand/hanger from any home improvement store nearby – then just follow the directions included in order set up your handy new accessory. Time to watch those luscious blooms shine bright.
Now it’s time to set up your grow light and make sure you’re giving your orchid the perfect amount of illumination! Plug in that nifty timer so there’s automatic switch-off after 12 hours – this will ensure they won’t get too much sun, even with a powerful lamp right above them.
The Best Grow Cart to use for Orchids
Flora Carts will have your orchid collection blooming in no time! With their multi-shelf design, they provide the perfect environment to help nurture and develop even the most delicate flowers. By utilizing these carts, you can watch as each flower slowly opens up its petals with a flourish of vibrant colors – an ideal solution for any passionate gardener looking to bring beauty into their life.
- The Flora Cart is designed to provide 360-degree access to your orchids. This means that you can easily water, fertilize, and repot your orchids without moving the grow light.
- The Flora Cart has a built-in grow light reflector. This reflector directs the grow light down onto your orchids, which means that your orchids will receive more light than if they grow light was placed on a table or shelf.
- The Flora Cart comes with casters, making it easy to move around. You can easily roll the Flora Cart into another room if you need to.
For versatile, adaptable growing of orchids indoors, the Flora Cart is a simple and affordable solution. The BA3-P2 model features 2 fixtures for optimal growing with less light needed plants such as Phalaenopsis and Paphiopedilums while the BA3-P4 version offers extra power to ensure your high demand blooms get all they need. No matter what type of orchid you plan on cultivating – either way, rest assured that these durable grow carts make caring for an indoor garden effortless.
If you’re looking to cultivate vibrant orchids like Cattleyas, Oncidiums and Vandas in your home, the Flora Cart BA3-P4 with four bulbs is a great option. If unsure of which product best suits your needs however, check out our definitive guide on growing 10 beautiful varieties indoors.
Best Grow light for orchids
1. Cattleya Orchids
The Cattleya orchid is a spectacular sight to behold, backlit with their vibrant hues that reach from pale pastels to deep reds. They are undoubtedly one of the most beloved generas among flower fans, thanks to the eye-catching size and range of color found in these naturally gorgeous blooms.
Growing Cattleya orchids is an aesthetically pleasing adventure. To create beautiful blooms, you’ll need a high intensity grow light that emits at least 2000-3000 lumens! There are no limits to how much sun your plants can soak up – so get out there and start bask in the glow of success with these lovely flowers.
2. Dendrobium Orchids
The gorgeous, fragrant blooms of the Dendrobium Orchid have made it a prized plant worldwide. Nearly 1,200 species belong to this vast genus – giving nature lovers an array of stunning and aromatic hues that can be used in perfumes or aromatherapy applications. Let your nose lead you on a journey through one of Mother Nature’s most impressive floral spectacles.
Dendrobium orchids thrive under bright lights, making them the perfect choice for indoor cultivation. A high-power LED light producing at least 2000 to 3000 lumens will provide these plants with enough intensity and full spectrum of color they need to bloom beautifully in any space.
3. Oncidium Orchids
The Oncidium Orchid, a popular pick for novice gardeners, is native to the Americas and boasts fragrant flowers that bloom during the cooler months. Derived from its Greek name meaning tumor, these blooms require minimal care yet are sure to be show-stoppers in any home or garden.
Those growing Oncidium orchids in their home will be pleased to know that they can receive all the light they need through a variety of artificial lighting options. From direct sunlight and LED grow lights, to fluorescent bulbs with 2000-3000 lumens – this resilient species is sure to thrive when provided the proper care.
4. Phalaenopsis Orchids
Graceful, exotic Phalaenopsis orchids bring touch of Southeast Asia indoors. Known as “moth” orchids for their large and showy blooms in shades of white, pink, purple and yellow – these popular plants are easy to keep at home with proper care allowing them a chance to bloom inside our homes several months out of the year!
Not only that but those gorgeous flowers can stay fresh up two whole months making this unique flower even more desirable.
For those looking to spruce up their home, Moth orchids are an ideal indoor plant choice. With as little as 500 lumens of light from sources such artificial lights, LED bulbs and incandescents, these brilliant blooms can thrive all year round.
5. Epidendrum Orchids
The tropical Epidendrum Orchid is a perennial beauty, with bright yellow and white blooms that add vibrancy to any setting. Not only are these striking flowers easy-care plants, but they also require extra light in order for them to reach full bloom potential – making sure your artificial lights stay on at least 12 hours each day will give you the best results.
6. Vanda Orchids
Vanda orchids are prized among horticulturists for their spectacularly vibrant blossoms. They feature thin, graceful leaves and display a wide palette of color ranging from regal purples to snow-white petals. Renowned as the parent plants in many commercial hybridizing programs, they have helped create an explosion of exotic orchid varieties available today.
Vanda orchids must bask in bright light to bloom, so providing them a grow light with at least 2000-3000 lumens is essential for ensuring their natural beauty can flourish.
7. Paphiopedilum Orchids
Paphiopedilum orchids, otherwise known as lady’s slipper orchids, are popularly found in tropical and subtropical regions of Asia. With their distinctive pouch-shaped blooms ranging from hues of green to yellow and a long flowering season, these spectacular specimens make an excellent addition to any indoor garden – offering both beauty and low maintenance requirements.
If you’re looking to bring a vibrant splash of color into your home, consider growing Paphiopedilums! These orchids are surprisingly low light and will happily bloom using LED lights with as little output as 500 lumens. And if natural sunlight is more your style, these beautiful blooms can also be grown on windowsills for the perfect addition to any room.
8. Miltoniopsis Orchid
Enjoy the beauty and elegance of Miltoniopsis orchids, commonly known as Pansy Orchids. Hailing from Central and South America, these tropical plants thrive in cool to warm temperatures when mounted on cork or tree fern for perfect air circulation. Delight your senses with the sweet scent emitted by some varietals while admiring their vibrant colors – white, green, yellow pink and red.
Growing Miltoniopsis orchids can be surprisingly easy; all they need is 500 lumens of light, which a small grow light easily provides! Enjoy their beautiful flowers without breaking the bank.
9. Brassia Orchids
Add a touch of the exotic to any space with Brassia orchids. Sporting delicate petals reminiscent of spiders, they are native to tropical America and thrive in warm, humid environments found in rainforests. With proper care – bright lights and lots of humidity – these beautiful blooms make an ideal accent for your home or office.
Give your Brassia Orchid the perfect balance of light. These medium-light loving plants prefer receiving an average of 2000-3000 foot candles in indirect sunlight from either an east or west facing window, but can also be supplemented with artificial lighting for 12 to 16 hours a day. Provide protection however – too much direct sun will lead to wilt and wilting leaves.
10. Odontoglossum Orchids
Odontoglossum Orchids are prized among orchid collectors for their dazzling displays of large and vibrant blooms. Native to Central and South America, these exotic beauties come in a variety of colors ranging from delicate white hues to bright yellows, purples, and pinks.
To truly flourish however they demand high humidity levels combined with indirect light intensity – the perfect recipe for creating an eye-catching living bouquet.
Odontoglossum Orchids, though preferring moderate to low light environments similar to other members of their species family might require additional attention in regards to humidity. If you reside in an area with lower levels than ideal for the orchid’s growth, then extra measures must be taken so your plant can blossom and reach its fullest potential.
Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR)
Through photosynthesis, plants have the incredible ability to turn carbon dioxide into energy with the help of sunlight and chlorophyll. Scientists measure this process using a metric called Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR), which is based on light in the visible spectrum ranging from 400-700 nanometers.
By evaluating PAR levels, we can better understand how much light our plant friends need for efficient conversion of CO2.
Light industries have put their knowledge to the test and created a special bulb based on plants’ color preferences. This illuminating duo of red and blue wavelengths is optimal for orchid-lovers interested in accelerating growth rates as it helps fuel photosynthesis, depending on whether its cells are budding or dormant .
In other words: when you want your green friends to reach maximum potential, forget about plain old white light – introduce them to some shades of red and blue.
A combination of red and blue is enough to make any home decor enthusiast shudder. The thought of this virulent purplish-hue invading a cozy space? Unthinkable! As an orchid aficionado, I understand the green hue’s appeal—but my office won’t be succumbing to its spell anytime soon.
Kelvin Color Temperatures and CRI
Have you ever noticed how different light bulbs can make the same colors appear differently? That’s because of the Kelvin scale, which dictates a bulb’s temperature and thus affects its color. This has an effect on something called CRI – short for Color Rendering Index – which determines whether or not our eyes perceive colours authentically.
A higher number indicates that more shades will be accurately presented, making any given space look vibrant and alive.
For a home that is lacking in natural light, it can be tricky to bring the true-to-life sunshine indoors. However, with fluorescent lights and other artificial lighting sources you can get pretty close!
The key is finding your sweet spot – somewhere between 5000K (which mimics sunlight), but also at least 85 on CRI which stands for Color Rendering Index – this helps ensure colors look as they should naturally instead of being washed out or even still appearing dark despite having plenty of illumination.
Now blue spectrum light ranges from 5 thousand all the way up to 6500K helping support root growth , while red spectrums are great for encouraging bud formation around 2 700k . So now its time say goodbye gloom & make those living spaces come alive again just like those sun soaked days outdoors.
To be safe and fulfill orchid light requirements, pick a Kelvin of around 5,000 and a CRI closer to 100 as possible.
Warm 2700 K
Neutral 4200 K
Cool 6000 K
Foot Candles (fc)
Although it may seem complicated, cultivating perfect orchid growth only requires understanding two key concepts: lumens and foot candles. Lumen measures how much light is being emitted from a source; this combined with the measurement of intensity – expressed in foot candles (fc) – allows growers to accurately judge lighting levels for indoor plants.
Foot Candles represent the amount of illumination cast by one candle at a distance of one-foot – on sunny summer days, 10,000 fc can be recorded! With these handy measurements gardeners have all they need to grow beautiful blooms no matter what season.
On a cloudy, rainy day with almost 1,000 feet of dark clouds looming overhead, orchids must adapt to the lack of direct sunlight. Luckily for them there are three categories that can help determine which ones thrive best in this environment: those who love bright sun’s rays; others that prefer more shade and diffused light; and some other species content simply existing in whatever amount of natural radiation is available at any given moment.
Low-light orchids require 1200-2000 fc
Medium-light prefer 2000-3000 fc
High-light orchids thrive with 3000 fc.
Note: Confusing temperatures and lights? Don’t worry! Kelvins measure color or temperature while Foot Candles summarize the amount of light presented. Knowing this can help you avoid mix-ups, especially when dealing with what’s typically listed on industrial packages.
For math people: To get an idea of how much light is in a square meter, convert the foot-candles (fc) measurement to lumens. On average, 1 fc translates to 10.764 lux or 10 lm/sq m – a useful rule of thumb for understanding luminosity!
Your Orchid Will Tell You It’s Light Requirements
Choosing the right light for your orchid can be a delicate balancing act. If you want to ensure that they are in optimal conditions, observe their leaves – if they’re dark green, almost like spinach colouring then it means more light is needed while reddish pigmentation and spotting may indicate that its not lack of lighting per se but other issues such as nutrient deficiency or cold temperature instead. In either case check those out before changing anything
When it comes to caring for orchids, there is no one-size-fits all approach. Doing your research will help you better understand the specific needs of different species – from high light to medium light depending on their parents.
Unfortunately, if placed in too much sun without regular care and attention your beloved flowers may experience irreversible problems like sunburned leaves and overheating! If yellowing green leaves have started appearing then move them quickly out of direct sunlight as soon as possible.
Once the science lesson is out of the way, let’s get to what you’ve been searching for – which type of light will work best with your orchid? With fluorescent, CFL (Compact Fluorescent lamps), HID (High Intensity Discharge) and LED Grow Lights on offer, there sure are lots of options! All you need to do now is decide.
1) The “Idea” Light Bulb, Found in Supermarkets
Incandescent lights look great, but don’t be fooled! Not only do they generate a ton of heat and need to be replaced every few months, half the energy you pay for is wasted on that same heat. So save yourself some money (not to mention time) by avoiding incandescents when it comes to your orchids – their light requirements are much better met elsewhere.
Ditch incandescent lighting for the halogen variety if your other options have been exhausted. This brighter bulb won’t just light up those beautiful orchid leaves, but it will also limit any heat-related stress caused by keeping them too close to the plant—at a cost of some efficiency though.
2) COMPACT FLUORESCENT LAMPS (CFL)
If you’re looking to add some extra light for your orchid collection, consider using a fluorescent bulb. The best setup is 4-12 inches above the plant with shelves no wider than 22″. For beginners just starting out, two bulbs should be plenty – however if moving them into an area without natural sunlight then four might be necessary.
For optimal energy efficiency, place your orchid light no more than half the distance from its top to retrieve powerful illumination. A reflector can be used behind the bulb so that any additional lighting is not wasted – meaning it will shine directly onto your orchid for bright and vibrant petals.
To create the perfect lighting environment, you have to get creative. Mix and match fluorescent tubes with cool or warm tones in any size and wattage that suits your needs- no job is too big or small! If you’re looking for something brighter than life itself.
High Intensity Fluorescent bulbs are a great option but they come at an additional cost: You’ll need a special light fixture just right for them. Let’s find out what hidden gems we can illuminate together.
With a few orchids, you should choose the normal fluorescent 45-60 watt bulb. But if your collection is large enough for its own greenhouse, go with 250 watts and bask in all that extra light.
PROBLEMS: If you really want your orchids to thrive, don’t underestimate the importance of lighting. To create a balanced environment for optimal growth, set up two bulbs – one with a cool temperature (4000K) and another that’s warm (2700K). Mixing it up can make all the difference.
COST: Fluorescent bulbs offer a good value up front, but their long-term cost can quickly add up. With an average lifespan of 1.8 years and maxing out at 5 months for regular lightbulbs, every two year replacement cycle will soon have you reaching deeper into your pocketbook.
MAINTENANCE: Keeping your orchid’s lighting in top shape is essential for its growth and health. Schedule a monthly cleaning to ensure your bulbs are shining as brightly as possible – wipe away any dust, particles, or other debris that can dull the light of even the best bulbs! With regular maintenance you’ll keep their luminescence strong and help them bloom beautifully.
ORCHIDS THAT LIKE FLUORESCENT BULBS: Make the most of natural light when it’s available! If your windows allow soft, morning or late afternoon sun to pour in, these low-light orchids will flourish – but be careful not to expose them direct beams. On cloudy days and during other times where extra illumination is required, fluorescent lights are a great way to give this type of plant all they need.
Light-loving orchids, like Phalaenopsis (Moth Orchid), Paphiopedilum, Militoniopsis (Pansy) and Nelly Islers can thrive in bright shade with the help of fluorescent lights. These low-light plants require abundant but indirect light to protect their delicate petals from sunburns and heat stress. Fluorescents provide just the right amount of radiance for these dainty blooms.
These delicate medium-light orchids offer a stunning beauty, while still being relatively easy to care for. Oncidiums, Miltonias (not the Militoniopsis!), Brassia and Dendrobiums all fit into this precious class of blooms – ideal for sunny window sills with light filtration so that the plant does not become overheated. These particular varieties require 2,000 to 3,000 fc in order to flourish without risk of sunburn.
Artificial lighting is most effective when it’s closer to the source and dimmer in intensity. To make that happen, we suggest using a mix of illuminating Fluorescent or High Intensity Fluorescent Lights for maximum effect.
3) HIGH-INTENSITY DISCHARGE LIGHTS (HID)
Illuminate your orchids’ growth with the perfect spectrum of light: HID lights. Carefully select from three distinct options – each providing its own unique properties to best suit your flowers needs. Whether it’s mercury vapor, high-pressure sodium, or metal halide – you’ll find an ideal way to help these vibrant blooms thrive.
PROBLEMS: Although these lights boast a much brighter intensity than the traditional light bulb, their cost and heat production can be quite high. Furthermore, they don’t always meet desired PAR levels or reach every point of the spectrum – missing out on essential colors at either end.
With HID lights for your orchid, you’ll want to position them according to wattage. A 250W bulb needs a foot away – three feet if it’s too strong! 400W should be between 3-5ft and up to 1000W at ceiling height – but this intense light is sure produce energy bills that are out of this world.
COST: Although energy-saving LEDs may be cost efficient in the long run, their initial purchase price is nothing to sneeze at. Plus, you’ll need to replace them every two years—adding continuous expense and effort on your part.
ORCHIDS THAT LIKE HIDS: Orchids thrive in high light intensity, making brighter bulbs an essential part of their growth requirements.
What is a high-light orchid? Do you crave the beauty of an exotic flower in your home? Consider high-light orchids, like Vanda, Cattleya and Brassavola! They can thrive when exposed to 3,000 fc (or more) of direct light. Do be mindful though – too much sunlight could spell disaster for these lovely blooms! When selecting a Dendrobium species it’s wise to research its parental heritage first – as some require less intense lighting conditions.
To help protect against scorching temperatures always make sure not hot leaves before positioning any potted plants near windowsills where rays are strongest during midday hours.
How much light is too much? Wondering if your orchid is getting the right amount of light? A quick and easy test will tell you! Put your hand in front of the source, about 6 inches above a leaf. If you can easily trace the shadow it casts – success! You have just enough lighting for your orchid. But beware: too much brightness might give an overly-defined outline to its silhouette, while not having enough leaves only a fuzzy shape behind on nearby surfaces… It’s all dependent upon that simple little shade.
4) LED GROW LIGHTS
Good news to all orchid enthusiasts: LED lights offer a variety of spectrums, creating the perfect indoor light conditions for your beloved plants. Plus, they are cool to the touch! This temperature control helps prevent hormonal overstimulation – which can cause pigment redness and other stress responses in orchids exposed to high heat levels. Now you know why making this switch is such great news for any hobbyist growing these delicate beauties indoors.
Orchids have unique temperature requirements. If it gets too hot for them, their stomata close and gas exchange ceases to preserve humidity levels in the environment. As such, you won’t need supplemental fans when using LED lights since they don’t produce heat that can harm orchid cells – unlike HID lighting with its built-in noisy fan component. Remember – whether your orchid will flower has everything to do with recognizing their intricate temperature needs.
For orchids that like cool temperatures, LED lights are the ideal selection. Varieties such as Pleurothallis and Masdevallia require high light but relatively low temperature illumination – something only LEDs can provide.
How long do LED lights last?
Investing in new lightbulbs now can actually save you money over the long-term! Replacing fluorescent bulbs every couple of years for a decade or so pays off as your lighting costs are significantly reduced.
COST: LED lighting is a great choice for your wallet in the long run. At an initial higher cost you’ll save up to 55-75%, depending on who you ask; some have seen even greater savings! Lower operating costs make LED lights well worth their price tag over time, so don’t let yourself be intimidated by any preliminary investments.
PROBLEMS: Have you ever felt the temptation to try your hand at orchid growing? We know it can be daunting—not only is there a significant initial investment, but what if all that effort was for nothing and your plants failed to thrive? Our advice? Start small!
Get an inexpensive light first so that financial commitment isn’t as big of a burden. Over time, gradually upgrade lights to LEDs until you gain more experience in this hobby. Don’t let cost deter you from testing out something new; who knows how much joy could come from cultivating these vibrant blooms.
If this information was of any help or clarified any doubts you had, please mention so in the comments.
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