Hey, thinking about this a lot lately. Obviously having a good spot with the right amount of sun, no strong winds and a good micro climate would be optimal, but let’s face it. Not everyone of us has the perfect garden. For me it’s only a balcony.
So I was wondering if one could substitute the missing sun with a LED Plant Growth lamp.
I even see a couple of benefits over a sunny place.
a ) Direct control over length and brightness of the energy source.
b ) Even for a shade-loving tree the lamp could be used to maximize growth cycles?!
From what I understand a shade-loving tree doesn’t like the intense heat from the sun. A LED lamp on the other hand has no real heat development.
So I figured it could thrive and grow faster while still being kept in a shady place.
What are your thoughts on that?
Years ago…I successfully grew SMALL bonsai in a basement with fish tank PLANT flourescent lights. In the tank to help humidity. (Fungus and aphids / whiteflies was a problem) Decideous and evergreen.
ITS MOSTLY ABOUT LIGHT FREQUENCY. BLUE AND RED. Full spectrums work OK, too.
It’s also about LUMENS, too. Amount of light. Probably above 2 x 1000+. From 2 angles. L E Ds are probably not too expensive on electricity.
It is also about temperatures. Above 70 - 80 is good.
Remember: except for tropicals, they need short amounts of cold winter temps to be healthy.
Light up your balcony with high intensity halide grow lights… works for me. Watch the temps.
Expect visitors. Make shure the local cops know what your up to.
On which side of your home is your balcony located? You can make use of both sun and grow lights if possible.
Timing and positioning the grow lights if using the bulb, or just timing the on/off if using the tube.
A combination might seem like the best idea.
How many hours sunlight do bonsais need? I have mostly conifers.
They probably get about 4hours sun on my balcony on a sunny day.
Oh that is awesome to hear. So it should work with my balcony. It is half sunny though, so I would only use the LED for shady days I assume.
They should fine without…
Winter storage thoughts?!
Yep. Mimic these conifers’ natural environment. Usually full sun out in the open. Almost 360 degree exposure to light from sunrise to sunset. - full spectrum (red, white and blue) when it is shady where they are planted.
You can keep blue light on at night - “moon light” but not sure if it really works.
Good questions. Don’t know yet.
I could put them in a storage unit. Do conifers still need sun in the winter? I guess, right.
Well the LED light would be most suitable then.
What do you do for winter protection?
Shade isnt always bad. When it hits 85F+ here, I put up a shade cloth. 65%, 30% would do. Usually after noon they are mostly in shade. The smaller trees would NOT survive more than 4 hours.
Read the two winter storage posts…
A full spectrum lamp should work as supplemental light for an outdoor tree. It’s an expensive solve, though, depending on electricity costs and whether you’re using LED, fluorescent, or metal halide.
I have no idea whether LED is as good as fluorescent; I know it isn’t as good as metal halide.
I heard really good things about led and my two indoor plants that looked really shady are now good and growing again.
Led shouldn’t be tooo expensive, though everything running 4-8hours a day will cost a lot
The actual cost is mininal.
Do the calculation. Cake…
A 20 watt rated LED light, at $0.30 per kw in Germany, 10 hours per day, that’s about $21.90 electricity use per year. Plus the light. (Get a white/blue frequency LED light rated at 2000 lumens, more than enough light amplitude for plants at 12 inches away.) Will cover 3-6 medium bonsai.
Two 40 watt lamps would run about $88 per year ($7.33 per month.).
Caution: the following involves math. May invoke seizures … I HAD to show the math…
My led shoplight cost $24. Fixture including plug.
The light is labeled for the ‘20 watts’ usage. (Watts is already energy per hour) Watts/ 1000= kilowatts (kw) (0.020 kw used per hour.)
I would say 10 hours a day and 365 days a year. Indoors.
Your electricity bill should LIST kw used and price. Calculate cost per kw. (mine is about $0.08 per kw)
Light labeled kw used per hour x price per kw × hours used per day x 365. My cost per year (0.02 x 0.08 x 10 x 365)= **5.84**. Per light.
Electrical / year + $24 = $29.84, cost for the first year per light… Satisfaction may vary with attitude.
(Please, let me know if I missed something, I was multitasking…)
Now where did I leave my chainsaw…!
LOL. I am full on board with you there.
Amazing. Not that costly as expected. Especially considering that all the other bonsai tools and equipment cost an effin fortune.
So all in all a pretty solid idea for a winter storage. Especially if I only run the system in the frost months (max 3 in germany)
Thanks for the math…
What are you chopping down? Hopefully not a bonsai
I have a 4" circular chainsaw on a angle grinder from Harbour Freight. Meanest thing this side of Freddy Kruger…
Working on a medium size ugly 36+" tall, 6" diam. Norway maple; deadwood and hollow trunk. Mostly because I CAN! Makes quick work of a LOT of wood…
Drills, electric vibrating saw, chisels, maybe a blowtorch, and a side serving of cussing… Who says bonsai-ing isn’t fun?
Kids, don’t try this without ADULT supervision…
Lol. Would love to see how it looks. Sounds like an amazing project.
I have seen this awesome perfectly grown huge pine growing at the lake I live by. It would be a perfect bonsai when cut and sawn. But I don’t think I can Yamadori this one without people noticing.
Bozily Led Grow Lights for Indoor Plants Full Spectrum 300W, Sunlike Plant Growing Light with Timer 12/15/18/24H Auto On Off for Indoor Plants Seedlings,Growing,Blooming and Fruiting Oversized 338Leds https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MLVRNFF/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_1HlJDbTTW98SR
Pretty decent grow lamp. I bought this last year to replace some much older and less powerful red/blue lamps. This one is nice because it has a built in timer, I use to have all my lamps connected to outlet timers. This was definitely an upgrade. I like full spectrum lighting rather than red/blue because the plant’s grow better, look better under the lamp, and it’s easier on the eyes.