For the past year, I’ve been happily starting seeds and gemmae in my sweet space bucket. But since making The Carnivore Girl my full time gig, I’ve had to step up production. And my Christmas present last year definitely helped! Check out my new set up for growing carnivorous plants indoors!
If video is more your thing, skip to the bottom and watch! I explain pretty much everything that’s written in this post.
Here’s the whole thing at a glance! We’ll start with the big picture and break it down bit by bit.
The main piece is the grow light reflector. It’s suspended from two rafters in the garage. You can put in any bulb with a standard socket.
The lamp plugs into the ballast, which is the power source for the light. This particular ballast can be set to work with 400 or 600 watt bulbs. Clearly, I’m no electrician so I’m not sure how important it is to use the right bulb that matches up with the watt setting on the ballast. But I don’t want to risk getting electrocuted or starting a fire, so I do as I’m told. 😉
Here’s the bulb I’m using. It’s 400 watts, which is the lowest amount compatible with the ballast. Still, this thing is BRIGHT and STRONG! I keep it running for 12 hours and so far, it doesn’t seem like it needs to be on any longer.
For comparison, a single T5 florescent tube is 24 watts. Many growers use between 2-4 bulbs and keep a 16-hour photo period. Four T5’s is still under 100 watts.
So, you can imagine a 400 watt bulb getting pretty hot! so I attached a fan to the flange, and some dryer vent tubing to help funnel out the hot air. Days have been in the 50s F, and under the light has been low 80s, which is perfect! During summer though, this baby may have to take a vacation.
I plugged the fan and ballast into the same power strip, then plugged that power strip into a timer, which is plugged into yet another power strip (The people I’m renting from kind of collect them, which is okay with me!).
Set the timer for 12 hours and there you have it!
Under the lamp right now I have some fresh DC XL leaf pullings (pleeeeease strike!), lots of Drosera omissa x pulchella gemmae, Drosera seeds from Sundews. Etc, and some surprises! 😉
I was actually surprised how quickly I ran out of space in the tray, but I guess I shouldn’t have been, hah.
What’s the shiny stuff? The tray is covered with mylar blankets to reflect the light back onto the plants as much as possible. Mylar is super cheap and all you need is an ordinary glue stick to attach it to anything.
Hope you enjoy checking out my new indoor grow set up! I realize it’s a bit unconventional for carnivorous plants, but it was a fun challenge. I think it’ll suit my needs for the time being.
And I’ll consider the space bucket only semi-retired! I’ll probably still throw a couple things to grow in there.
Did you skip reading and want to watch a video instead? Here it is!
I apologize in advance for my awkward stammering. I think I’m a little better at writing about light stuff than talking about it!
As promised, here are some links to what I’ve shown you:
- Reflector: not exactly the same, but comparable to the one I have
- Ballast: Xtrasun Digital Ballast
- Bulb: Apollo Horticulture 400W Metal Halide bulb
- Fan: 6″ Terrabloom Fan
- Dryer Ducting: 6″ aluminum dryer ducting
- Light timer: You don’t need one any fancier than this, and it has a convenient socket on the side!
- Mylar blanket: The shiny stuff. You can glue this to your tray like I did, or glue them to cardboard which you set up like walls around the tray. Whatever you can do to bounce back that light and make the most of it!
One final tip: Make sure the flange on the reflector, fan, and dryer ducting are all the same size. In this case, everything has a 6″ diameter.
If you have any questions, please leave a comment below! I’m not a lighting expert, but will do the best I can to answer.
Thanks so much for reading AND watching! Til next time!