Most houseplants came from a tropical environment. Though they may have been an understory plant in the jungle, many houseplants need more light than we can easily give them in winter. This explains why they become so stretched, yellow and thinly-foliaged indoors.
On a sunny lawn outdoors, the light level may be 10,000 foot candles. On a lightly shaded patio, where tropical plants prosper, foot candle intensity may range from 1000 to 5000. Inside your home, the light level near a window may be only 100 to 1000 foot candles.
PVC LIGHT STAND I was an accomplished builder of Tinkertoy(tm) and Erector(tm) models when I was a kid. As an adult, I’ve found that plastic PVC pipe is just as versatile. You can buy PVC pipe and its fittings from any home improvement store. The fittings allow you to join the pipe pieces in almost any configuration.
The accompanying drawing shows the basic structure. The pipe is easy to cut with an inexpensive (and highly recommended) PVC pipe cutter.
3 – ten foot lengths of one-half inch Schedule 40 PVC pipe
6 – one-half inch PVC tees
8 – one-half inch PVC 45 degree elbows
4 – one-half inch PVC 90 degree elbows
small can of PVC glue
1. Cut the PVC pipe into the following lengths:
3 – forty eight inches
2 – eighteen inches
4 – twelve inches
4 – nine inches
8 – one inch
2. Dry assemble the frame, referring to the photograph (or drawing). Use the one inch pipe to join fittings that are closely adjacent.
3. Working slowly, disassemble each joint and use PVC glue to permanently join the fittings and pipe pieces.
4. Hang a four foot long, two tube fluorescent shop light from the top pipe, using the chain that comes with the light. One cool white tube and one warm white tube will provide the proper light for plant growth.
You can leave your plants under the lights all winter or you can move them under it for a week-long “light vacation” several times.
My PVC light stand may not stop crime and it may not be the prettiest indoor garden accessory you’ve ever seen. On the other hand, the light it provides will be welcomed by your houseplants.