User avatar
mcubb
Full Member
Posts: 51
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 2:44 am
Location: Colorado/Iliinois

A new CFL Bulb Every Month?

So I have a single CFL above my avocado tree in my room. Because trees grow upwards, the bulb must face downwards. Simple logic correct? Well, apparently not for some. This particular bulb burned out after 1.5 months of 12 hours a day. Wayyyyy too early. I brought it back to McGuckins (like Home Depot/ Lowes) and the guy told me CFLs will burn out way earlier if they point down as opposed to upward. I told him since I use it as a grow bulb, (as advertised on the box) i need to to point down because I cannot invert a tree. I asked him for any suggestions seeing as he was the manager in the lighting department. He told me I should use incandescent bulbs for my plants... This was the MANAGER in the LIGHTING DEPARTMENT. Ugh.....

So what are your thoughts? Should I keep using them pointing down as thats my only option? Do you know something I don't? Because 7 dollars every1.5months is a bit much.

Thanks
Tomatoes and Melons under my bed.
Pineapple, Avocado and Apple on my window sill.
All I can do as a student in an apartment.

gumbo2176
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3063
Joined: Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:01 am
Location: New Orleans

Are you growing this tree for an ornamental? Because if it is not a grafted avocado, it is highly unlikely you will ever see any fruit from it. It also takes several years for a properly grafted avocado tree to even start to bear fruit. Also, do you know how large they can get? My wife lived in a house when we first met that had 2 avocado trees in the back yard and those things were at least 30 ft. tall with a canopy as wide as the tree was tall.

Your location is not conducive for growing them outdoors so you are stuck with an indoor plant in the winter months.

I don't have much experience with grow lights since I live in the deep south and can garden outside year round, so I really can't help you there.

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

I think there's something wrong with your lamp and your information.

I have a lamp similar to this:

http://www.target.com/p/5-Head-Floor-Lamp-Includes-CFL-Bulb/-/A-12242007

with aim-able heads that I use for some supplemental lighting on some of the plants I bring in for the winter.

Most of the heads are aimed DOWN (though not straight down, in case that makes a difference). They all have CFL bulbs in them, the squiggly kind. I run the lights all day, most days, unless we happen to have a really sunny day, all through the late fall, winter, and early spring. Turn them off through the growing season. I have now turned the lights back on with the same bulbs in them I used last year, having never replaced any.

If anyone thinks bulbs wear out so much faster if they were straight down than angled down (doesn't really make sense to me, but I don't know), then try changing your set up.. The tree doesn't have to have light from directly above. It needs light on the top surface of the leaves, but that could be from above and to the side.

And no you can't use incandescent bulbs for your plants (as it sounds like you already know)... they give off too much heat, if they are close enough to the plant to make a difference in light, they will burn it up.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

I was thinking about this some more. I have a bathroom light fixture over my mirror. Those bulbs point straight down and I haven't replaced any of them. They don't stay on all the time though, just when I'm in the bathroom.

I did some looking and found this:

http://www.terrapass.com/blog/posts/the-final-word

It does say:

it’s preferable to keep the base of the bulb pointing downward (as in a standard table lamp)

because of heat collecting it sounds like. So it sounds like if there's a way to have your light fixture ventilated so it doesn't get hot around the base, it would extend the light of your bulbs. Is the lamp shade such that you can put some holes in it near the base of the bulb? Can you do without the shade?
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

User avatar
mcubb
Full Member
Posts: 51
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 2:44 am
Location: Colorado/Iliinois

its actually a metal shoplight with a clamp. it has 3 holes punched through near the base. i guess thats not enough however
Tomatoes and Melons under my bed.
Pineapple, Avocado and Apple on my window sill.
All I can do as a student in an apartment.

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

OK, it's probably the metal heats up. My gooseneck lamps that are on all the time have plastic shades. Perhaps you can put some kind of insulation between the bulb base and the metal shade?
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

User avatar
mcubb
Full Member
Posts: 51
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 2:44 am
Location: Colorado/Iliinois

ya i was thinking it might be that. unfortunately its in my room so i cant remove the shade or ill be blasted into eternal daylight haha. what type of insulation would you recomend between the bulb and the metal? im completely at a loss there
Tomatoes and Melons under my bed.
Pineapple, Avocado and Apple on my window sill.
All I can do as a student in an apartment.

Return to “Vegetable Gardening Forum”