LED Lighting for Miniature Water Lily - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-28-2012, 10:19 PM Thread Starter
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Location: San Antonio, TX
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LED Lighting for Miniature Water Lily

Does anyone have experience growing water lilies indoors using LED lighting, or have any suggestions for LED fixtures? I plan on starting a new project in October to grow water lilies indoors before the plants go dormant for the winter.

Here is a bit of pre-project info.
In the backyard we have various water lilies growing in half barrels and a large kiddie pool that was converted into a pond by sinking it into the ground. I would like to take a few miniature or small growing varieties indoors. Not the whole mature plants, just some offshoots or smaller starts that I have in propagation.

However because none of my windows receive adequate sunlight to sustain a water lily indoors I would like to setup an LED spotlight or similar LED lighting system.

I have experience with marine aquaria using both MH (metal halide) and T5HO fixtures to grow coral, but would like to try LED lighting for this project. T5HO could be used but are long and will hinder the view of the surface leaves while MH will generate too much heat. Hopefully the directional light produced by LEDs will be intense enough to grow and induce flowers.

The following are the smallest diameter plants (spread) that I currently have. Normally the hardy variety are left unprotected during the winter but the tropicals are moved into a greenhouse to over winter them.
Name - type, color, size
Nymphaea x ‘Dauben’ - tropical, blue, small
Nymphaea x Perry's Baby Red - hardy, red, small
Nymphaea x ‘Helvola’ - yellow, hardy, miniature

This project will include the following:
Lighting - LED
Plants - small to miniature water lily
Aquarium - either 5 gal square 12x12x8 or 13x9 cylinder
Various filters, pumps, aquarium stuff, etc that I have laying around

The LED lights are the first step in documenting this project, so once they are selected and purchased the project will be officially underway and documented accordingly. The lighting options may be purchased as a pre-built fixture or possibly a DIY retrofit kit from a LED supplier.

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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-29-2012, 02:28 AM
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Do those lilies need full sun, partial shade, or full shade? Full sun would be over 1000 micromols of PAR, very difficult to achieve with LEDs.

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-29-2012, 02:59 AM Thread Starter
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Location: San Antonio, TX
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At least 4-6 hours of full sun is best for them to bloom, but I've had great success with them growing and a few blooms in partial sun during the hottest parts of the summer. The helvola blooms with as little as 3 hours, the Dauben about 4 while the Perry's Baby Red takes like 6.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-29-2012, 10:07 PM
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Since full sun is around 1500 micromols of PAR, I don't think you can get enough light from a LED light. It would need to be a DIY light, probably using an array of high power LEDs, closely spaced. That is beyond anything I have seen or tried to design.

Maybe this is a good place for a MH light?

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-30-2012, 05:31 AM
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Are you attempting to winter over your pond plants indoors but in a more natural way or are you looking to make them a permenant indoor feature? Imo if your just looking to keep them healthy through winter I would get a clipon aluminum reflector light put a CFL good for plant growth and keep the water temp cool. Let them throw energy at root and bulb. Maybe hit them with potato fert .5-1-5. When you bring them out this summer they will explode from all the energy they gathered through the artificially "mild winter". I'm pretty sure they do need a semi dormant moment. If they kept bloom all year they would store no energy and die. I give a fake mild winter to my dahlias so they have a massive start when they go back in the ground. I give them enough so they take in nutrition... But not enough so they feel free to use it.
If you want to keep them indoor permanently probably should go with a mh pendant
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indoor, led, water lily

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