Vagetarian wrote:What I really need to know is whether you guys think I actually need supplemental lighting in my conservatory. It is a very bright room with 4 white walls and a 3.5mx3.5m glazed roof. My main concerns are the Colocasia, Ensete v Maurelii, Super Dwarf Cavendish and a couple other tender Musas. Along with various Musa seedlings up to 8" tall and any possible Musa seed that might germinate. I guess the seedlings will have to go in the cupboard I used for the tomatoes this spring.
My two-pen'th is:
If you have some heat, such that plants could continue to grow, and the plants are relatively small (in my case "bought cheap, being grown on for next year"), then I think providing some light to keep them going, and growing, is a good idea. Provided you can afford it (and the cost of Light + Electricity is less than the cost of buying a decent sized plant in the Spring!)
If you are just over wintering then its a bit harder.
Folk here have convinced me that "some light" will keep the plants on tick-over. My worry would be that using "any old lights" may be throwing the wrong sort of light at the plants, so much would be wasted, and having the lights too far away from the plants (i.e. not having enough canopy penetration) could also just be wasting money on energy.
But Dave clearly has good results with just some ordinary fluros (albeit chosen for their light spectrum) and the odd angle-poised lamp to help out individual specimens.
But that apart, any conservatory is going to be "dingy" in Winter. My solar panels collect 10 x less energy in the Winter ... so I reckon that that supplementing the light is a good idea, provided the plants aren't dormant.
I have full blown, costly-to-run, Metal halide in the house for things I am brining on, and am now considering some CFL's in the conservatory and also a heater to keep it above +5C so they can make a little growth over the Winter, NOT go dormant, and be best placed to get started in the Spring.