Welcome to OrchidsForum.com. We are a friendly online community for Orchid Growers all over the world. If you haven't joined yet we invite you to register and join our community. Hope to see you on our forums!

Is artificial light needed?

Discussion in 'Orchid Culture' started by ArtTeacher112, Jan 21, 2017.

Tags:
  1. ArtTeacher112

    ArtTeacher112 New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello All,

    I'll start by saying I'm new to orchids (I've only had them for a year). I have a few cattleyas in my collection. Two I just recently purchased, and another that I have had for a year. The orchid that I have had for a year was blooming size when purchased. It hasn't bloomed. The leaves aren't that nice yellow-green that they should be. There is a part of the leaf that has a reddish color, which could mean a bit of sunburn. Additionally the new cattleya orchids seemed to be lighter in color when they first arrived. The color seems to have darkened - although I could be wrong.

    This is caused me to consider that I might need artificial lighting. I'm in zone 6B, so our winters do limit sunlight. The orchids are also in a SW window. Before buying the lights, I purchased a light meter. During the afternoon (when the light was the brightest) the light meter measured between 3800-4500 footcandles. Mostly within the 4,000 range. However in the morning (around 8:00) it's between 100-200 fc. I know that most catttleya orchids need around 3000-3500 fc. Does this mean 3000/3500 fc consistently? Or the peak light measurement should be 3000/3500 fc?

    If artificial lighting is needed, I was going to purchase something like this: Amazon.com : SunBlaster 13 Watt CFL Grow Lamp 4 pack : Plant Growing Light Bulbs : Patio, Lawn & Garden
    Which lights up to 900 lumens (I don't know the footcandle measurement, though).

    So, do I need artificial light? If so, is the above bulb suitable?

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2017
  2. Ray

    Ray Orchid Iconoclast Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,733
    Likes Received:
    534
    Location:
    Oak Island NC
    I think your light is probably adequate. Most of the time, light level recommendations are noontime peaks.

    Often, when a plant is moved into a windowsill environment, they take a break to adjust before resuming normal growth and blooming.
     
  3. ArtTeacher112

    ArtTeacher112 New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Is there a reason that the orchid I've had for a year hasn't bloomed and the leaves are dark? I did repot it recently, and a lot of the roots were rotted. I'm suspecting this may be the cause?
     
  4. Ray

    Ray Orchid Iconoclast Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,733
    Likes Received:
    534
    Location:
    Oak Island NC
    I like to look at blooming capability as being a matter of "stores of nutrients and fuel."

    Under ideal conditions, a plant will take up the little nutrition it needs, and absorb plenty of water and carbon dioxide, so it can process those through photosynthesis and the follow-up processes, allowing it to expend those stores to 1) keep it alive, 2) grow, and 3) sock it away for safety and for stuff like blooming.

    Anything we do that upsets the apple cart can have an impact that depletes those stores, or at least slows or prevents their accumulation.

    Certainly, the lack of ability to take up water, which is far more important than fertilizer, and/or a lack of sufficient light, will negatively affect the plant's ability - or willingness- to bloom.
     
  5. ArtTeacher112

    ArtTeacher112 New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for your help! I'm hoping I can nurse this orchid back to health.
     
  6. PaphMadMan

    PaphMadMan Member

    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    10
    You don't mention whether you have seen new growth since you got the plants. Unless the plants have had at least one round of new growth from the base with time for it to mature I would not expect flowers.