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Container Grown Banana Plants This forum is for discussions about growing banana plants in containers.


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Old 03-01-2009, 10:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Lighting?

I recently purchased two bananas online (super mini dwarf cavendish and an ice cream) and am considering getting some lighting for them. I currently have them in front of a south-facing window, so they do get direct sunlight for part of the day. Unfortunately, due to the shape of the building, they only receive direct sunlight for maybe 3-4 hours a day. Will this be sufficient enough for them to grow well? They seem to be doing fine right now and they do receive fluorescent light all evening (5-midnight).

Now, as far as lighting goes, I've been looking around for options. It seems like the best all around lighting is HID since fluorescent lighting is only recommended for starting plants with. I've looked at some 400W metal halide/high pressure sodium light set-ups. They have a metal halide bulb for blue spectrum for vegetative states and the high pressure sodium bulb for red/yellow spectrum for flowering. They are really expensive though (around $200). I guess my question is, do I even need extra lighting, and if so, is it worth the money to buy a MH/HPS set-up? It is a lot of money, but I'm sure I'd use it for years (for bananas or other indoor gardening). Will this make a significant difference in growth rates, or is it just wasted money?
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Old 03-02-2009, 12:19 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Lighting?

Just my opinion, but I think it's a waste of money. I also don't think you need lights on till midnight. Mine get 2-3 hours of south sun & I have a 500 watt halogen (reg) on it from about 4pm till 6:30pm & it's growing fine. If the room stays cool - low 60's, you may not need any extra lighting.
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Old 03-02-2009, 11:38 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Lighting?

Well, the fluorescent lighting is just from having the lights on in my room till I go to bed, so that's not gonna change. Can you please explain the last part of your post?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patty in Wisc
If the room stays cool - low 60's, you may not need any extra lighting.
I thought warmer was better since it's a tropical plant. My room varies from 72-85 depending on whether it's super cold outside and/or I have my heat on (my heat only seems to have one setting....'surface of the sun'...LOL. So if I leave it on for an hour, it gets up to 85 F).
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Old 03-02-2009, 12:17 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Lighting?

I use compact flourescent lights for supplimental lighting to get me through winter. My bananas and palm trees push leaves all winter. The cfl's are a lot cheaper and I built my own light stands using PVC and light reflectors bought from Home Depot.
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Old 03-02-2009, 12:41 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Lighting?

If you have 72-85* temps, I hope you are giving it some humidity as the warm air can be drying.
Plants just seem to know when winter is here so their growth slows down. Some go in to a dormancy even in a heated room. Most plants will not grow in a cool/cold room. If you give your plants that much heat, they will need more light to grow. If they are kept 'cool', they require little light. Cold = slow growth = little light & little water.
EX. If your plants are semi dormant from cool temps & they get too much light, they can suffer WLD (winter leaf drop) & even die (esp citrus).
I have 2 big nanas. One is kept in a sunroom with little direct sun & temps in 50's to 60*. It requires very little water as it is not growing much - semi dormant. The other is kept in a south facing window (only few hours direct sun w/ rm temp 68*) & is putting out new leafs & requires more water because it is growing. That is the plant that gets 500 watt light from around 4 - 6:30. If you want to give "tropical" setting, then your plant will thrive & grow. That means heat, light, humidity. Don't forget, people who live in zones 7, 8 & 9 keep their plants out but protect them from frost by wrapping & even cutting them down.
For a lot of ppl, it doesn't pay to keep the heat & extra lights going all winter. I just let them sleep.
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Old 03-02-2009, 07:29 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Lighting?

Thanks Patty, the little light bulb appeared on top of my head and you just made it clear why my 1st year Dwarf key lime is suffering. Next to the window,formerly unheated/uninsulated north facing glass porch(old) North facing relative in this case,it's the brightest spot in ...............anywhere.... and , I have a 400 wattMH with a light mover in the middle of it. Giving all the attention to my newest bananas and .......... well you get the point. It's going strait to the "luxury area " in the middle.
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Old 03-08-2009, 03:40 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Lighting?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hatfam View Post
I use compact flourescent lights for supplimental lighting to get me through winter. My bananas and palm trees push leaves all winter. The cfl's are a lot cheaper and I built my own light stands using PVC and light reflectors bought from Home Depot.
Hatfam, Would you happen to have pics. of the light stand you build. I would love to see it.
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Old 03-08-2009, 05:09 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Lighting?

What is wrong with fluorescent light? You will just need to get the correct color bulbs for what your plant is doing. In winter I would use blue for growth and put the plants on red right before moving outside of spring, or just move the plant right outside. You can get screw in fluorescent lights now that have the correct grow spectrum , assuming this are the type of light you have in your room. Fluorescent will also consume WAY less power and make way less heat then a HPS or MH type of bulb. I would in NO way ever want to attempt to use a halogen bulb to support a plant. Halogen does not have enough of the correct spectrum of light your plants are looking for so you have to run more halogen's to make your plant's really happy, but halogen is the cheapest and can be purchased almost anywhere. Once you have the correct type of light spectrum plants are looking for it is all about lumens nows. 8x4' T5 fluorescent fixture can be equal to 450 Watt MH.

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Old 03-08-2009, 09:52 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Lighting?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Worm_Farmer View Post
What is wrong with fluorescent light? You will just need to get the correct color bulbs for what your plant is doing. In winter I would use blue for growth and put the plants on red right before moving outside of spring, or just move the plant right outside. You can get screw in fluorescent lights now that have the correct grow spectrum , assuming this are the type of light you have in your room. Fluorescent will also consume WAY less power and make way less heat then a HPS or MH type of bulb. I would in NO way ever want to attempt to use a halogen bulb to support a plant. Halogen does not have enough of the correct spectrum of light your plants are looking for so you have to run more halogen's to make your plant's really happy, but halogen is the cheapest and can be purchased almost anywhere. Once you have the correct type of light spectrum plants are looking for it is all about lumens nows. 8x4' T5 fluorescent fixture can be equal to 450 Watt MH.
True. The T5's are outstanding.
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Old 03-09-2009, 12:28 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Lighting?

Quote:
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Hatfam, Would you happen to have pics. of the light stand you build. I would love to see it.
I will take some pictures
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Old 03-09-2009, 02:13 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Lighting?

In my grow room the only thing I use over the winter is fluorescent fixtures. I use blue spectrum bulbs 6500Kelvin and it's either 2800 or 3200 lumins I can't remember. Just look for the tubes marked daylite, daylite deluxe, or maybe full spectrum. HID/MH lights are great if you are doing production for a nursery but probably more expensive than the average homeowner would want to pay. If your are a hardcore hobbists maybe, but fluorescent is much cheaper.

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Old 03-09-2009, 08:10 PM   #12 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Lighting?

Here are a few pictures of the light stands I built this year.

I used 1 1/4" pvc for the stands. The reflectors are from clamp-on lights you get at hardware store or Wal-mart. I removed the clamp-on part and bolted it to a 3" inside corner bracket. I painted everything white ( to keep wife happy, rather happier). They are all on timers and I used 6500K CFL's.













Mounting the outlet on the base allows me to plug in a humidifier. Saves on cords and outlet space



I am new to all this, so this is my first year wintering palms, hibiscus and bananas. My goal was to nurse them through the winter. My bananas push a new leaf every 14 - 17 days and the palms have all pushed new fronds and spears all winter. I do not have very good natural light but the CFL's seem to do just fine as a compliment to what little natural light I have. For this year at least, I had limited space and had to spread the plants out into 5 different locations. So I had to find a reasonable and cost effective way to get the plants through winter. It has seemed to work for me.

Last edited by hatfam : 03-09-2009 at 08:27 PM.
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