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Re: Growing Pelargoniums under Lights

  • Subject: Re: Growing Pelargoniums under Lights
  • From: maria guzman mirror@3RIVERS.NET
  • Date: Sat, 30 Aug 2003 18:49:55 -0600

>1.  Do you use the special "plant lights"?  If so, which name brand and
>>why did you select that particular brand?
>2.  Do you maintain your fertilizing schedule during the winter indoors?
>3.  How dry do you keep your plants?
>4.  When is your favorite time to start seeds for the next summer?

Diana Pederson, Michigan, USDA Zone 5

Diana:  Currently I'm using aquarium/gro-lights (full-spectrum) in a 4 tube
fixture but when I replace the tubes I'm going to buy cool lights since I
only use them to germinate and grow seedlings until they have a good start.
But if you alternate cool and warm tubes this should give you an adequate
approximation of natural daylight at least for the plants growth and
flowering needs.  There are lots of  opinions on this subject, but the
consensus apparently is that regular fluorescents are fine.  Also cheaper.
If you want to play it safe use full-spectrum.  A bit more expensive.

Is there no way you can put your plants outdoors in summer, or at least on
windowsills?  I must grow indoors year-round since this is Montana and even
summer weather is erratic, in fact it would quickly kill any tender species
like pelargoniums unless I had a sheltered and partly shaded site - which I
don't.  Some species and cultivars are relative sun-lovers, particularly
those with deep green leaves.   But miniatures and dwarfs tend to be easily
burned.  These are the only ones that would do well under permanent lights,
I think.  Faye Brawner told me that pelargoniums will never reach their
potential under artificial lighting, but try for yourself.

I feed 1/4 strength (Peter's 20-20-20) year round and let my plants grow
pretty dry before watering.  I've lost several to blackleg from
overwatering - just what all the literature warns against!  From time to
time I give them very diluted fish emulsion.  Kelp might be good, I haven't
tried it.

With lights you can start cultivars anytime.  The only seeds I know that
don't germinate well in spring or summer are the Hoareas.


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