Originally Posted by Bill[_16_]
I am new to these groups and to gardening in general. I live in a
small apartment and have no outside area but I really want to improve
my skills with growing and I want to have more living things around my
place. Bonsai has always fascinated me and I think i am ready to
give it a try. I have started with one of those cheap kits growing
from seeds. I am planning to put this one next to the grow light that
is hooked up to my girlfriends Aerogarden. I know this isn't ideal
but I am not too interested in this particular plant (it's more of a
tester and if it works then I will keep it). I have no outside area,
I have no good window to put the plants on and I don't have a lot of
I would, however like to give it a real try with some other plants.
What I was thinking was to have a few small wall hung shelves to hold
the plants on with small grow lights on each. Maybe the small LED
ones, if they work well. I was also thinking I may need a
humidification system. I live in the L.A. area in Southern
California. I would really like to grow various species from seeds.
I like the small size trees (less than 10") and maybe eventually try
some forest styles with mini-bonsai.
I know that things don't like to grow indoors but it seems there must
be a way. Please if you could give any advice on how to make this
work, I would really appreciate it. I have never been much good at
growing plants and want to learn. I know that bonsai is a bit
ambitious but it is what I am most interested in.
Thank you for the help,
P.S. sorry for posting to multiple groups but i wanted it to get to
anyone that could help.
The major problems in indoor growing are the lack of intense light and a cool dormant period for temperate climate plants. Even if you kept your plant in an unobstructed south facing window, I doubt that the light would be sufficient for many species of woody plants. Most people just don't understand how dark it is in the house, even in front of a window.
Consider that, outside, the light comes from not only the direct sun, but from 180 degrees of sky PLUS all the reflected light of objects in the other 180 degrees. Light from a window is little better than a point source of light. If you measure the light level with your camera (not pointing it directly at the sun, but obliquely to get an average reading) you will find that the level inside is two to three f-stops lower than just outside the window. One f-stop would be half as much light, two f-stops is 1/4 as much light, etc.
From experience I can tell you that most woody plants will perform best at full sun to 50% full sun. I get 50% by growing plants under shade cloth. Less than this amount, performance falls off, and at 70% shade, plants get leggy and problems can begin.
You can correct this by putting your bonsai in the sunniest window of your dwelling, but not too close to the glass or it will experience excessive heat buildup. This light may be too intense for some tropicals that are used to growing on the forest floor, but for most woody temperate climate plants it is still insufficient. Couple this with an overhead fluorescent lamp for these species. Keep the lamp about six inches above the plant. Twin forty watt fixtures are inexpensive to purchase and use. Special bulbs are not necessary. Keep the lamp on 12 hours a day to augment the sunlight. If you lack a window with sufficient light for even low light tropicals, you can safely use fluorescent lamps as outlined above as the only source of light.