Pandanus veitchii

(Question)

I wrote to you a while ago regarding my Pandanus veitchii plant. It seems to be doing good so far. I have placed it in the corner of my dining room which faces the opposite south side window. I want to make sure it gets more nutrients. I want to buy a bulb so I can screw it into a light socket that is clipped to top my dining room hutch. The only lights for plants that I see are those big florescent lights you have in the office. Do you know where I could find a plant light bulb and if so, what one should I buy? I bought a spot grow light bulb from Sherdian Nursery as they said it was good for growing plants. When I got home I saw that it highlights the beauty of the plant. I called Sylvania and they said it does not help grow the plant but makes it look nice. I paid $17.00 for it and was misinformed.

I hope to hear from you soon.

Thanks

 

(Answer)

Thanks for getting back to us with regard to your screw pine (Pandanus tectorius ‘Veitchii’)–good to hear that it is doing well. Making sure that your plant receives sufficient light during the winter months can be a challenge–there are so many types of light bulbs available, it can be difficult to determine which would be best for your plant. The Spot-Gro bulb that you bought is designed to make plants appear more green–it is basically a tinted incandescent bulb; perhaps you can return it.

Fluorescent lights are the most economical and best choice for houseplants. They are available not only as long tubes, but also as compact bulbs (CFL) that screw into regular lamp sockets; they are cool enough to put close to plant foliage, unlike incandescent lights which give off a lot of heat. To determine which type of fluorescent light bulb to use, one must consider the light spectrum.  For foliage growth, plants (such as your Pandanus) will need blue wavelength light for best results; red wavelength light is needed for flowering and fruiting. [Sunlight has the perfect balance of wavelengths necessary for plant growth]. Light colour is measured on a temperature scale referred to as Kelvin (K). Simply look for the K rating on the CFL package to determine which bulb you should buy; a bluer light will be rated at 5000-6500 Kelvin. That is what you should be looking for at stores such as Home Depot.

For best results, the light should be placed no more than a foot away (20-30 cm.) from the top leaves. If not possible, you might consider using a fixture that can reflect more light onto your plant. Placing a mirror behind your plant would also help to reflect more natural light from your south-facing windows onto your plant.

These are just a couple of suggestions that will improve the light needed for your Pandanus veitchii to continue to grow successfully.