WOW! And I mean REALLY wow... This is an impressive thread, I'm glad I looked first.
I was just surfing around looking for ideas on lighting, and found a treatise on plant lighting at the University of Missouri:
It had a lot of technical info and that's fine, but I also wanted an "Experienced View" of it from people who had "Hands On" personal results with it. My interest in the topic is because I've been watching an Arabian Jasmine responding to a set of flourescent lights in my living room, and noticed that a nearby catnip in a hanging planter had become highly attracted to them also. -It not only looks to be growing towards the fixtures, but it has also become a deeper green in color which got my attention right away.
The lights are sold here and there as replacements for incandescent bulbs (they screw into the same sockets, but have a corkscrew shaped flourescent element) where better energy efficiency is wanted. The labels claim they produce as much light from 28 watts of power, as an incandescent does with 100 watts. They also last much longer - I have one on my front porch that has lasted more than five years now.
Based on the results I'm seeing, I think these are an excellent and cost effective alternative to seeking out and buying dedicated flourescent fixtures with long tubes, not to mention a drawer full of flourescent "STARTERS" and a spare ballast or two... (I've had to maintain a fair sized shop before, I remember it well
This is a typical one - if the image shows - and they seem to come in many types:
The "TRADE NAME' for them is "CFB'S" or Compact Flourescent Bulbs, and they come in many color ranges including "DAYLIGHT", Blue, and Red. The possibilities are wide. Desk or table lamps, spotlights, track lighting, you name it
(And sorry but no - I don't sell these for a living, they just caught my eye. I use them because ordinary bulbs at my house are a crap-shoot. Most burn out in no time at all because of power surges)
So there you have THAT for whatever it may be worth to you.
PS: They ARE more expensive - but they will still be working when a case of regular bulbs is gone
Lastly (?) - for out of the ordinary plants and seeds (like the Jasmine I recently collected) it is helpful to do a direct search on GOOGLE or your favorite search website to turn up specific varieties. I found my "Maid of Orleans" at a place called HotTropicals in florida that I had never heard of before that evening, and the result was very satisfying.
Many seed catalogs have one or two examples of a thing, but if you search for that single type of plant or seeds your options can open up a great deal.
One case in point is "HONEYDEW MELONS". The pickings are a bit slim for that one there... (no pun intended)
In the specific case of my Jasmine plant - I was looking for background information about where it came from originally, what other kinds there were, how to care for it, it's history, advantages in price, how difficult it was rated in terms of growing it, if it would thrive in my area outdoors, and anything else I could find out about it...
Dedicated online searches are very helpful in this way - but then one more thing is needed:
ADVICE from people like you and I who have actually grown such a thing before. For that - this website is phenominal!! I never know what I'm about to learn here
YES Roger - that is a shameless and gratuitous ACCOLADE...