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I recently got an indoor ficus bonsai and it's doing well. I bought a grow light for it and I put it on a timer, but I'm not sure what the best light timing is for the plant. I'm having trouble finding the yearly growth cycles for a ficus and what they expect so I'm kind of winging the light timing. Right now I have it on for 8.5 hours a day to mimic more of a winter lighting. I was planning on slowly increasing it to 12-13 hours a day over the course of the spring into summer then back down in the winter to 8-8.5 hours. Does this make sense for the tropical plant or am I giving it too little light right now? Does a ficus have a winter dormancy or some sort of winter lull where it doesn't grow as much? If so how do I replicate it? In the summer and spring how much light should I be giving it?

The light I'm using is a 26 W full spectrum light bulb if that helps. Thanks for any help.

  • Are you growing this plant somewhere dark that has no natural daylight at all? – Bamboo Jan 21 at 18:03
  • I live in a basement apartment with no natural light at all, at least none where I want to grow. – Mack Martyn Jan 22 at 19:43
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The amount of light a grow produces is minimal compared to the sun. Each grow light is different some more efficient that others. The amount of light you give also based on whether you plan to give the plant a dormancy period of not. Being a tropical plant it does not require a dormancy period. The reason we normally give them one is because we don't have enough light in winter to provide enough healthy growth.

Since, I have no clue how good your lights are I am going to say you should expect a dormancy period. During the dormant time, your lights should be on for 12-14 hours a day. During the growing period you would run them at 16-18 hours. Both of these times the plant should also be provided good natural lighting as well.

If you have good grow lights you could run them at 16-18 hours a day plus sunlight from the window year round. The window light gives them rays that a light can not provide or provide enough of. Just the difference in the day light outdoors will signal a time of the year change for the plant. During this time, the plant will take a slower period, but not as big a dormancy as they would without the lights. Even inside your house in winter a plant does not go completely asleep because the artificial heating, does not signal the plant to completely shut down. Which is good for a plant that does not have a natural sleep period.

I could go on and on about using grow lights. But this enough to get your started. 12-14 in winter and 16-18 in summer with natural light as well.

  • Great thank you for this. I live in a basement apartment with no natural light so I will up the light amount for my plant. I'll update you on my brand of light bulb when I have a chance. – Mack Martyn Jan 22 at 19:44
  • Is it 26W consumed or 26W equivalent? Not that it matters too much. The quality of the light is the most important and the ultimate cover it provides. 26W is not going to be a very strong light. If you have no natural light and this is the only light they get. They have no clue what time of the year it is. Run the light at 18 hours. See how that works. I would not run it any less. – GardenGems Jan 23 at 9:55
  • Ok great thanks. I'll get full specs and a picture up soon – Mack Martyn Jan 23 at 20:20
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The light I'm using is a 26 W full spectrum light bulb if that helps. Thanks for any help.

26W is the electrical power consumed, while the wall plug efficiency of different light types varies from over 50% to just a few percent. That is a pretty wide range of actual light powers you could be giving your plant, but most likely that is too little light.

What is the light source you are using? How wide of an area is it illuminating?

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