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Its time to build a Cephalotus grow space, would love input!

I think its finally time for me to build a grow area specifically for my Cephalotus collection. So hopefully a few others have done this before and can stear me away from problems.

My goal is to provide the best possible conditions for growing Cephalotus indoors under lights within my budget and reason. Any input is always welcome.

What I have to work with:

Funding: A few of my babies, ur Cephs, will be making the ultimate sacrifice to fund this project :-(. So the more this costs the more of them I will lose.

Footprint: So far I can only get either a 12" L X 12" W X 72" H or a 12" L X 30" W X 72" H area, I'm still in negotiations with my spouse.

Lighting: With the odd space I will most likely be using LEDs for the light source. I have used CREE XP-G neutral white LEDs on another area and will likely use them for this as well. I need to figure out the minimum safe distance from the LEDs to the top of the first Ceph, hopefully someone out there will have input on this. That will let me know how many shelves I can have and what lens to get. I have only used LEDs for one setup so I'm really new to LEDs.

Concessions: My wife will have to approve of the rack:-( since it will be in a "guest friendly" area of the house. From talking with her tonight I think the bare minimum I will get away with is the painted PVC shelf. I'm planning to drag her to the hardware store tomorrow for some more research into it. So any suggestions need to look atleast that "clean/good".

First question, does anyone have any hands on experience with PVC shelving. An example can be found here: http://www.tsflowers.com/plantstand.html Provided it was painted it might look pretty nice and would allow for a custom design easily.

All the mass produced plant racks seem really overpriced for what they are. Here is a cheap one http://indoorgardensupplies.com/product/economy-stands/economy-stand-es2-silver-frame-white-trays/ but you generally get what you pay for and I have not been able to find any reviews or additional information about this rack. A few modifications and I think it would look nice and work. Cut the (hopefully) metal bars from 27" down to 12". Buy a second one and stack it on top. Secure the rack to the walls and track down some smaller trays. It can't be that easy, can it?

I'm trying to avoid building a shelf from scratch but I can if nothing else pans out I have made stands from wood before.

That ceph terrarium is the most awesome thing I have seen today.
Both of those setups are really nice but not what I'm trying to do here.

The visit to the hardware store was a bit of an eye opener. From what I can work out to build a 24" X 12" X 72" PVC shelf it would take these materials:

8 X 1" elbows for the top/bottom corners @ 2.05 each
32 X 1" Tees @ .86 each
50 feet of 1" pipe @ 3.38/10 ft

For a surprising total of $60.82. I could probably save 10-20% with the bulk packs and replacing the elbows with tees but I would still need plant trays.

Or I could just buy http://www.buyplantlights.com/sunlighter-plant-stand-sl44.html for $120 with the trays included.

Looks like I still need to do more research.
Looks nice, your Cephs seem happy with the arrangement. I've always tried to use one large water tray instead of a smaller one for each plant. Is this for logistic issues or growing issues?

You also have fans on an open rack do you think this is helpful? I was planning on a test run with a fan to see if it would help any but right now none of my Cephs have fans, the only airflow is from central heating/air.

I'll probably force myself to pick a rack soon, its eating up too much time searching for the perfect one.
the rack in the video came from sams at about 60.00 and has all those open holes , great for attaching all kinds of things , be care ful of electric cords and such though, dont get a shock , i never had any issues just be careful with wiring process and you should be fine .
i liked the t-5's lighting and fairly close to the cephs and it seemed to me the warm lights and a regular misting helped the plants to produce the largest pitchers possible, that is why i used the fans to make sure they didnt get a mold or fungus going, which i never did,
yes a community water tray would prob do fine. i just liked mine that way so i could rearrange the plants on the shelf any way i liked.
  • #10
Got the rack in today.

DSC_0746 by randallsimpson, on Flickr

After about 30-45m of trying to figure out the horrid instructions.

DSC_0747 by randallsimpson, on Flickr

Overall I think it will work just fine, but I would have preferred more vertical supports for the shelves. I put 2 10lb weights on a shelf to see how it felt and everything seemed stable enough. Depending on how it feels fully loaded I many add a few supports.

Now that its here I can get the proper measurements and order the heatsinks for the LEDs!
  • #11
Please do details for us on the LEDs .
Id love to give those a try I.
Do you use those on any of your other plants?
Nice looking shelves. Xpnciv?
  • #12
Please do details for us on the LEDs .
Id love to give those a try I.
Do you use those on any of your other plants?
Nice looking shelves. Xpnciv?

Here are the heatsinks I went with http://www.heatsinkusa.com/1-813/, there are a ton of places to get them. I order 4 @ 22" long, that will be enough to get 2 of the shelves set up. I'll probably wait until next spring and sell off a few more Ceph's to pay for the other 2 shelf's lighting.

I set up a 10 LED bar for supplemental lighting on a windowsill, more to play around with then anything else. I have very mixed feeling about LEDs, if I was to light a 48" area I would go with T5s hands down, but everything else is open to a lot of debate. If you want a ton of light in a small space, LEDs work better than anything else I've seen.

I'm leaning towards http://www.rapidled.com/24-led-plug-n-play-retrofit-kit-dimmable/ for these 2 shelves with a dimmable controller. 6-7 LEDs per heatsink, so 12-14 per shelf.

When I order the next batch of LEDs I will be ordering a http://www.rapidled.com/4-led-solderless-moonlight-kit/, $23 for 4 LEDs, the driver is only 350mA but the driver I have now is at about 30% power so it may be enough for some my needs. They will send any color LEDs you want. There are newer/better LEDs out there now and I'm paying a premium for not having to solder but I'm happy with what I've received from them so far. Still it would be around $40-50 after heatsinks/lens for 4 LEDs with a low powered driver.

T5s seems to send a lot more heat toward the plants. LEDs seem to pass that heat into the heatsink and less toward the plants. I have not done any testing but that's the feeling I get.

That shelf was a little over $120, if I would have had a chance to get my hands on a display model I would not have bought it. Overall I think I will be happy with it thou.
  • #14
Presumably you would swap the LEDs for different spectrum, as the ones in that kit have very little at the 660nm chlorophyll absorption band?

I'm thinking of the neutral white 3.7K-5.3K or cool white 5K-8.3K. Maybe a mix of the two. Any suggestions would be great, I've mainly used bulbs in the 5K range in the past.
  • #15
As I'm sure you are aware, white LEDs are not the most optimised for plant growth, rather red and blue are. Indeed, the efficiencies of using LEDs for plant growth come from selecting the particular wavelengths that plants can use, and omitting those that they cant such as greens. However, for aesthetic reasons most people don't want to see their plants under just these colours, as they will just look black.

If using white then it is best to try to pick those with good peaks in both the red and blue chlorophyll absorption bands and if you can't get these then just mix some red and blue LEDs in with the whites. Most white LEDs have actually got good peaks in the blue spectrum, as they are actually blue LEDs with a phosphor, so sometimes only reds are needed as a supplement.
  • #16
Aesthetic reasons is why I've mainly used whites in the past, but I'm trying to build this rack more towards what the Cephs need than what I want. With that said I've been doing some reading and looking at all those data sheets about the different LEDs over the last few days and my eyes are getting really glossy. I only understand about 1/3rd of whats on there.

From my understanding red spectrum is more for flower/fruit production with blue being leaves/plant mass. Maybe I should have one shelf high blue for smaller growing plants/leaf pull and another red for seed production on the older ones? If I'm understanding everything correctly I am looking for reds spiking in the 660nm range and blues spiking in the 430nm range with white to fill in the rest of the spectrum.

Then there is the whole mess of what light range is good for Ceph coloration, has there even been any testing done?

I'm amazed at how much of the information out there is for growing one very specific plant and its not a Ceph!

Back to reading for me, so much to learn...
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  • #17
I'm amazed at how much of the information out there is for growing one very specific plant and its not a Ceph!

Funny you should mention that. Seems I learned a lot more about what kind of artificial lighting to use for CPs in "those" forums than I ever did anywhere else. Found the info doing my usual google research about the plant lighting subject in general, as I have never grown that "other plant" before. But I totally know what you mean...
  • #18
I think I have a general game plan for the lighting. Since I'm using the solderless LEDs swapping one or two out if I don't like the results is not that big of a deal. I figured I would try 2 different mixes and see what worked best.

From looking at all the wavelength graphs, I can see a benefit from each of the "white" LEDs so I figured a mix of them would be good also.

All the white LEDs are 1500mA max with the Royal Blue @ 1000mA max and the Deep Red @750mA max. Would make wiring more interesting and I might need 3 drivers instead of 2.

WW Warm white, NW neutral white, CW Cool White, RB Royal Blue, DR Deep Red

Layout for one of the shelves.



And the other.



Warm White - 2,600-3,700K Color Temperature

Neutral White - 3,700-5,000K Color Temperature

Cool White - 5,000-8,300K Color Temperature

Royal Blue - 440-460nm dominant/peak wavelength (typical: 447.5nm)

Deep Red - 650-670nm dominant/peak wavelength

See aren't LEDs FUN!

Would love some input from someone with LED experience.
  • #19
I get good colouration using the traditional 4:1 red:blue mix with a few whites thrown in.
  • #20
killer thread guys. ill use this again and again when i give these led things a try . ill have to read through again , as im a little confused, i do have some skills with soldering , high school electronics , but it looks like that isnt going to be necessary , lol.
a pic or two as you get them mounted, and glowing would be greatly appreciated.:hail::hail::hail: