Dokuja
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Question regarding care for my new Brazilian Raintree.

Hi everyone,

I'm new to this forum, and somewhat new to Bonsai care. I just recently purchased a Brazilian Raintree off of Bonsai Boy and I am wondering how I can best care for it. In the past, I have used their desktop grow-light for my trees, but it didn't work out too well. I don't have a window where the Bonsai will be able to get optimal lighting, so I was wondering what you guys would recommend for alternatives. Basically, what I wanted to know was if I could use a "spot on" lamp above the tree which would clamp onto my desk, etc. In addition to this, I was wondering what type of light bulb I should get for the tree. I want to get the best light bulb possible that will provide the best alternative to natural sunlight for my tree. Although, my budget is limited, so I was hoping you could all keep that in mind. In essence, I was truly hoping that you guys could help me pick out the right lamp and the right bulb to use for my tree. I will use my old desktop grow-light in the meantime for my tree as it will arrive tomorrow, but I need to figure out the artificial lighting situation asap so that I can order it online and be able to provide the best for my new tree as soon as possible. Thanks guys, in advance, for all of your help and advice!

--Dokuja

kdodds
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If you do not have a sunny location near a window, I am sorry to say that a Brazilian rain tree is not your best choice. IME, they like a LOT of sun and tend to remain closed up, and perform poorly, if not kept in or near a sunny window. A better choice would be a Ficus of some sort, or Schefflera.

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bonsaiboy
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I think if you were to use florecent lighting it will do fine. Here is a website that covers growing bonsai indoors. https://www.bonsaihunk.us/cultural.html
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Dokuja
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Thanks for your replies guys, I really appreciate it! I guess what I was wondering now, was if a 125 watt CFL bulb with 6400k output would be suitable? I wanted to place it in a "spot-on" lamp fixture and place it over the plant. Would that be good do you guys think? Also, once I begin to use this lamp, will I still place the tree in the sunlight at the same time as it is under the lamp (it is not currently in direct sunlight)? Or would it be best to remove it from the window and place it on my desk with just the new lamp? Thanks again guys and I look forward to your help and responses!

--Dokuja

alisios
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the more lumens the better.

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bonsaiboy
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Sun and lamp will do best.
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Dokuja
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Hi all,

So I have now set up my bonsai tree. My bonsai is in a Northern-facing window, and in order to help supplement its light intake, I bought for it one of those Agrosun 150 Watt lamps/bulbs (the kind that you can find for sale on BonsaiBoy's website). The lamp is placed about 12 inches away from it on one side, and the window is on the other. I also got a moisture meter for it so that I can make sure that I water my bonsai enough. I have the grow light on for 5 hours a day, I believe from 7 am until 12 pm. I was basically wondering, for how long should I have the grow light on? I heard from a plant nursery near my home that I don't want to shock my tree, or dry him out from the light, and for this reason, I need to slowly acclimate him to the grow light. I started out with around 5 hours, and was going to move up by around 2 hours each additional week. But already, I can see that my tree is becoming drier from the light...what do you guys think I should do? Thanks again!!!

--Dokuja

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Gnome
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Dokuja,
But already, I can see that my tree is becoming drier from the light...what do you guys think I should do? Thanks again!!!
Move the light further away from the plant immediately. Incandescent lights produce more heat per unit of light that they provide. While some incandescents do work they are high intensity units and as such are able to be kept far enough away so as not to desiccate the plants. Conventional incandescents, with their relatively low output, must be kept so far away that their benefits begin to diminish.

The fluorescent light you mentioned earlier would have been a better choice, they produce much less heat than incandescents. They are not as efficient as high intensity (Metal Halide or Mercury Vapor) lighting but they cost much less, don't produce as much heat and work reasonably well.

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6955

Norm

Dokuja
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OK, so I moved the lamp to be about 2 feet away from the tree now. With regards to my other previous questions, what should I do now to ensure the health of my bonsai? ^_^

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bonsaiboy
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Just water it accordingly and feed it during its growing season. For the most comprehensive information on this topic, you may want to consider checking out a book from a library on bonsai.

P.S. The website bonsaiboy.com is not my website, in case you were thinking that.:) We just happen to have the same name.
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Dokuja
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Hahah gotcha, I wasn't sure if it was your site or not lol. Anyways, I guess my last question for now is, for how many hours a day should I have the lamp on my bonsai? Should it be different for the summer and winter? If so, how many hours would be ideal for each season? Thanks again!

kdodds
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Tropical plants receive light for at least 12 hours per day year round. Since it is not going to be possible for you to provide the PAR/lumens per hour that they would receive outside, in the tropics, it seems to me to be a good idea to use 12 hours as a starting point.

Dokuja
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ahh I see, so 12 hours would be good then. Should I slowly increase the amount of hours per day with the grow light so I don't shock the plant? or does that not really happen? Also, wouldn't 12 hours a day with an incandescent dry out my bonsai pretty quickly?

kdodds
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Incandescent? Wow, besides being really low in PAR, the heat they generate compounds the problem of using them. IMO, find a cheap CF desk lamp, it's a much better option.

Dokuja
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Even if it is a incandescent light supposedly made as a grow light? I guess I should have just bought a CFL in the first place...the only problem is...I am returning to college in the fall and they won't allow me to hang anything from the ceiling (as it is a supposed fire hazard), and with all my research on the net, I have not yet been able to find a grow light that is a CFL that has a clamp-on lamp ability (as in the type that is on bonsaiboy.com -- The Agrosun incandescent spot-on grow light). I need something that I can clamp onto my desk, which is by the window where my bonsai will be growing. I don't know about this forum's rules about advertising, and I hate to be a pain, but do any of you know of a site or a product that I can buy online that has this feature? I thought of buying just the CFL bulb that I mentioned in an earlier post and just placing it within my clamp-on lamp, but I realized that this would likely be a fire hazard as the lamp is not made for fluorescents. Any help with this would be very much appreciated. But if all else fails, what would be your recommendations so that I could continue to use my incandescent grow light in a safe and healthy manner for my tree? Thanks again to everyone for all of your help and hasty responses, I truly appreciate it!

--Dokuja

arboricola
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Dokuja;

You can look at some lighting options here.

https://homeharvest.com/

Phil...

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Gnome
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Dokuja,

The CFLs available at your local hardware are a direct replacement for conventional incandescent bulbs, just screw it into the socket. Use two if you can manage it. It would be better to mount them horizontally rather than vertically and some sort of reflector, even if homemade, can only help.

Norm

Dokuja
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Hmm, I see. But for the CFL's from the hardware store (like Home Depot), how do I know if it will be good for a plant to grow with? Doesn't it have to be full daylight spectrum, with a certain heat in Kelvin to be effective? Also, are there any drawbacks to using my incandescent light? I have been using it for 10 hours a day for the past 3-4 days or so and the plant seems to be doing well. Its leaves aren't as dark, and less and less are being shed. They seem to be a lighter green, similar to those from new growth shoots. The darker green leaves seem to be the ones that have been turning yellow though, and then falling off. I also use a moisture meter to make sure that I water my tree properly, and so far, it has not been drying out from the incandescent light (which is approx. 2 feet away from it pointing at an angle overhead)...I dunno, what are your guys' thoughts? ^_^

Dokuja
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hey guys,

I don't mean to be a pain, but I really want to know how to take care of my bonsai in the best way possible. For this reason, does anyone have any idea of what I should do regarding my previous question? Also, basically, I don't have unlimited funds, and since I already bought this Agrosun incandescent grow lamp, I was wondering what I would have to do in order to make it so that I could use it as a sufficient substitute for a CFL grow light. IE, how many hours a day to have it on, how far away to have it from my tree, etc. At the moment, it is on for 10 hours a day and it is nearly 2 feet away from my tree. Thanks so much for your help guys, I really appreciate it!!!

--Dokuja

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Dokuja,

Conventional incandescent bulbs (meaning other than HID) are not ideal in that they need to be so far away, due to heat, that light energy available to the plant drops off dramatically. Can you use it, sure is it ideal, no.

Fluorescents are a little better and there are high output fluorescents that are better yet. HID provides even more energy and, while expensive up front, they are actually more efficient at converting electricity to light energy. I suppose it all depends how much you want to spend, you pay your money and take what you get.

If you really want to use what you already have that is your call, just keep it far enough away so you don't cook your plants and be aware of possible weak growth. Perhaps you can upgrade later.

When my lights are running (winter only, for tropicals only) I keep them on 16 Hrs and off 8 Hrs.

Norm

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Zofiava
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I bought a CFL grow light at either lowes or home depot. It's just like a regular CFL that you can use interchangeably with any light that takes regular bulbs. It just so happens to be a special grow light CFL. I just stuck it in my desk lamp, and aimed it at my plants. SO they DO make CFL lights that are specificially Grow Lights.

Dokuja
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Ahh, I see, Thanks for the update! So, you guys don't think putting a high powered CFL grow light in an incandescent light fixture would cause any problems? IE, a fire hazard???

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Zofiava
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I don't think there are and specifically incandescent fixtures...someone correct me if I am wrong. I think CFLs can go in any socket that fits them.

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