In early January, I created a post about the different goals I want to achieve this year with regards to my orchid collection. At number one was improving the light quality that my orchids receive. The idea was to help improve their growth and blooms throughout the coming growing season.
This goal came about after I read a post by Josie from Josie’s orchids (please go and check out her blog, it’s awesome!). Josie moved her orchids more indoors for the winter months, but wanted to be able to provide a good amount of light to her orchids. She has used a different light set up to what I have put in place, but after reading it I had one of those ‘lightbulb’ moments. She has since posted to say that her orchids are responding well to having the additional light.
My orchids are currently in our dining room. When we first moved in the room seemed really light and airy to my eyes, and it still is, but with furniture in it, the light levels seem to not be what my first impression was. Most of my orchids are showing signs that they are not getting enough light, so my husband and I decided to do something about it.
“Why not move them to another area of the house?”, I hear you ask. Simple answer; it wouldn’t work for me. In principle, it’d be a great idea, but I’d soon forget to water them because they wouldn’t be in my face everyday. For their own sake, it’s best to keep the orchids where I can see them, so it then reminds me to check them regularly.
My husband and I have hobbies that seem to complement each other, which is great for both of us. He enjoys wood-working and making things, so he came up with the design for the light box that is now up above my orchids. I did some research into the colour lights that would be needed, and we’ve met in the middle.
We’ve had to purchase two different types of lightbulb for this project; a ‘red’ bulb to promote blooms, and a ‘blue’ bulb to encourage growth. The red bulb is the long thin one you can see in the photographs, and the normal looking bulbs are the blue lights.
It took a little time to purchase the parts and get it all put together, but I’m really pleased with this light box. My orchids now have artificial lighting which will be put on in the morning and again in the evening when we get home from work. I’ve placed orchids that require higher light levels closest to the light box, such as my Cattleya to ensure that they are getting the most benefit.
It’s been in place for about a month now, and I can already see signs of new growth. Hopefully, it’ll really help my orchids produce healthier and stronger growths than last year. My Miltoniopsis Herr Alexandre (or Milton, as I call him) is already outdoing his previous pseudo-bulb, so here’s hoping he blooms this year!
With any luck, I will have achieved my second goal by the end of the year…