Growing under lights

Jane McGary
Thu, 05 Nov 2015 11:04:35 PST
I have no experience growing tender bulbs under lights in winter, since 
at my former house there was a solarium where I could keep many plants 
frost-free. Now I have a small (but very convenient) house, and the only 
place to overwinter plants is in the garage, where a former owner 
installed a tall, sturdy workbench with a fluorescent light fixture 
above it. I recently replaced the common sort of lamp with a modern 
fixture intended for growing plants, purchased from a neighbor who is 
closing down his indoor growing now that his "crop" is legal in shops 
here in Oregon.

I just moved my tender plants onto the bench, but I'm not sure whether 
all of them will tolerate the light level provided. Many are South 
American and South African, both monocots and dicots, and I'm sure they 
will enjoy the bright light, but I also have some of the less hardy 
Cyclamen species. Should I shade the latter? I think Cyclamen persicum 
is probably as light-tolerant as Cyclamen graecum, which grows well for 
me in full sun, but I know Cyclamen creticum grows in woodland. I don't 
know the habitat of Cyclamen rohlfsianum.

I was going to move a pot of Hyacinthoides lingulata (formerly Scilla) 
indoors, but it's doing so well in the unheated bulb house that I left 
it on the covered patio. PBS member Paul Otto recently photographed this 
charming fall-flowering bulb "taking over" a raised bed in his garden on 
the southern Oregon coast, where most winters are relatively mild. I 
have seen leaf damage on it after freezing, but the bulbs survive. I may 
add some next summer to the area under large Douglas firs now planted 
almost entirely to Cyclamen hederifolium, if I don't think a mass of 
blue, pink, and white will be a little vulgar.

Advice on the Cyclamen species will be welcome.

Jane McGary
Portland, Oregon, USA

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