E-mail Ques. Best light to use if you only use one

Hi Dr. Myers
Question: For vegetative stage, is it Ok to just use a HPS 400 watt
light instead of T5 fluorescents? Do the plants need this blue wavelength? It would just be easier to have 1 light for the whole vegetative and flowering phases. Any suggestions?


It is ok to use an HPS, for vegetative, I am doing it for my summer garden right now. A 400 HPS does have enough blue light, it is just that the red/yellow are in the extreme. The problems you may face are 1) it may get hot and 2) There is an excess of red/yellow to blue light with an HPS. Lucky for you both problems may cause plants to grow tall and fall over. I say lucky becasue all you need to do is create a light wind with a fan on the seedlings and plants, and this should help keep the plants shorter.
Even with a fan, I have had some plants get really stretched growing under HPS, I just bend and tie down the plant tops with pipe cleaners or twist ties and that kept the plants from getting too tall because 1)I physically lowered the plant and 2) when you bend the top of a plant supresion hormones made in the top can’t get to the rest of the plant cells telling the branches not to grow. This means the plant will get bushy rather than tall. Some people suggest cutting the tops to get a more bushy plant I prefer to tie down the plants, it has the same effect with less stress to the plant and you get a flower on the main stem which are often the biggest and best...

A T-5 or any fluro. would be better for the seedlings, but if you have to go with one light from start to finish, I say use the HPS and a fan and you will get the best bang for your buck.

Good Growing,

Dr. E. R. Myers


E-Mail Ques. No growth after transplant -- Heat stress

Hello Dr. Myers,
My plants are almost 3 weeks from being transplanted and have not shown any significant growth. They are in 12x12x12 containers. Should I transfer them to 5 gallon buckets?
I am sure that some exposure to high heat slowed their metabolism as well, correct??

Hello, Plants are usually shocked/stressed and don't grow for a day or so after transplant, and even then their roots, which you do not see, may grow for a few days before new leaves etc. grow. Three weeks is definetly too long for no plant growth to occur.
First, I must ask if the plants are getting bushy or growing more branches? Maybe that is why they are not getting taller or closer to the light, how exactly are you measuring plant growth?
I measured a 5 gallon bucket and it is only 12x12x15. If you check one plant and it is not rootbound in the 12x12x12 containers, transplanting to a 5 gallon container is not the solution. Also, high temperatures usually cause plants to grow tall, and have long internode lengths, so that is not the problem either. Do the plants ever get fresh air, is your grow room air tight? Plants do need oxygen too, so if you have the room sealed with high CO2 24hrs a day, they may run out of oxygen? My last suggestion is to check the pH, if it is too high or low, plant growth will be stunted.

I hope this helps, Let me know if you have any more questions

Dr. E. R. Myers


E-Mail Ques. Lighting to induce flowering - strawberry info

Dear Dr. Myers,
I am just wondering how well strawberries grow indoors? Do I have to induce flowering by doing anything or just give them light and nutrients?

I am looking for details like how many hours of light they should get and if I
should keep the soil moist at all times or let it dry out some before
watering again.

Thanks for your question.

Yes, you can grow most anything indoors. The answer to your question depends because strawberries have different flowering habits. You can find "June-bearing" strawberries, which bear their fruit in the early summer and "Ever-bearing" strawberries, which often bear several crops of fruit throughout the season. More recently, research has shown that strawberries
actually occur in three basic flowering habits: short day, long day, and
day neutral. These refer to the day length sensitivity of the plant and
the type of photoperiod which induces flower formation. Day neutral
cultivars produce flowers regardless of the photoperiod. Most commercial
strawberries are either short day or day neutral.

To Induce Flowering -- The june bearing strawberries are short day and will need a longer night cycle than day, 12 hours lights off each day when the plants are big enough that you want to induce flowering should do the trick. Day neutral will flower when they are grown in the right temperature and are big enough. I would recommend 18 hours lights on and 6 off.

Some general info to get you started … You get faster flowering with
shortest number of days when strawberries are kept at about 15-20 degree C
(that is 59-69 F) If your grow room is much hotter or colder than this,
you will have lower or NO flowers.
As far as growth mediums strawberries do best in a loam, and should be
kept moist (not wet). After flowering and once the fruit is swelling the
plant roots should never be allowed to get dry, but when the fruit
begins to turn color minimize water use so that you don’t get fungal
problems on the leaves and fruit.

I hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions
Dr. E.R.Myers


E-Mail Ques. How to water plants properly

Hello Dr Myers,
I got your e-mail from htg supply.com where I buy all my nutrients. My
question is how much water do I use to water my plants and how often do
I water ? I am growing my plants in 5-gal buckets, with 80% organic topsoil and 20%
Miracle grow moisture control soil, with a 600 watt hps bulb. Your help
would be GREAT... Thanks

Hi, Thanks for your E-mail.
For any soil container, you should not water until the top of the soil in the container is dry. It is tempting to give your plants lots of water, especially if it has nutrients, but too much of a good thing is too much.
You should designate one container like a cup to water your plants with (any thing even a 16oz plastic party cup). Then get a container to mix nutrients and water. I reuse 1 gallon milk or OJ plastic jugs to mix up the fertilizer. Then, you just pour the fertilizer/water into the cup and when you water, give each plant one cup full of water. After each plant gets one cup, start over with the first plant giving each container one cup of water again. Keep doing this until you see water come out the bottom of the containers. When water comes out the bottom, don't add any more. -- I have found that if you buy the LID with the 5 gallon bucket, it acts as a nice tray to hold a small amount of excess water when placed on the bottom of the bucket -- {You do have holes drilled in the bottom of the bucket for drainage I assume}
Once you see water coming out the bottom, the soil should be saturated and you may not need to water again for another week or more. You are using water holding soil, so your soil will hold onto the water. Make sure after your first good watering (when water comes out the bottom) you don't water again until the soil on top is dry. Over watering plants is the #1 killer of house plants. A good trick is also to rock the bucket, or pick it up to see if it is light. A heavy bucket is full of water and should NOT be watered.

Good Growing,
Dr. E. R. Myers


Fertilizer use after potting up

Once you correctly p0t up your cutting you still need to treat it tenderly for a week or so. As far as nutrients, once you see new plant growth after transplanting, you can start your regular fertilizer regime. You don’t want to use too much if any fertilizer during the cutting process. Most fertilizers are salts, which can interfere with water uptake, and you do NOT want the plants maximizing their rate of photosynthesis as cuttings, this will cause excess water to be used up by the plant cells and could lead to poor cutting survival.
You can even grow up you new plant and have IT become a new mother plant. However, keep in mind that with cuttings, your “new” plant still will act like it is the age of the original mother plant. This often leads to decreased vigor and yields in plants after many generations. Cloning is NOT the the final step in growing plants, but it is indeed an important one in enjoying growing plants as a hobby.

Good Growing,
Dr. E. R. Myers


What cloning success looks like

I had great root growth after just a couple weeks. I should have potted up the plants a few days earlier then when the picture was taken but the picture looks better with massive roots. (: Besides, I had a lot of grading, so I let the cuttings go a few days too long. It would probably be safer to pot up the cuttings when the roots first start to poke through the starter plugs like the picture in my last blog. No matter how much root growth you see, the new plants are still tender, but they are a lot tougher than the branch you cut off several days ago. You are nearing the end of the cloning process but be mindful that you can still kill the plant if you don’t transplant it correctly.
If you do have massive roots like I did, you want to make sure the roots are growing down when you transplant/pot up your plants. If the roots are shoved in a pot and are pointing up or wrapped around each other they may strangle each other and at the least your plant will use energy for root growth, not flowering and it won’t get the best uptake of nutrients either. You can trim the roots but I don’t. I think transplanting is stressful enough without having some roots amputated. However, when I transplant from a medium to large pot I do break up the root mass but with the starter plugs, you just plop them in the container and you are good to go. When I have cuttings that have a lot of roots, how I like to pot up is to put the plug/plant in a pot with some soil, and then fill in soil about ½ way up and around the plug. Then, a trick I learned is to gently pull the plant / plug up after it’s partially surrounded by soil. This will pull the plant up, and cause the roots to be oriented pointing down, the natural root position. After you pull the plug up pack down the soil and add more soil until the plug is covered.
You should add soil until the starter plug is covered but make sure you, DO NOT bury the plant stem up to the leaves. The stem of most plants will not form into roots, and the stem may rot being moist all the time under the soil.

Good Growing,
Dr. E. R. Myers


Success is achieved

What I really like about the starter plugs, is that like rockwool, you can pull the plug out and look for roots. When using other mediums like vermiculite or soil you can give the stems a “tug” to see if they are rooted. Sadly, I have tugged a plant out of the medium and killed it. The plugs are convenient and easy to use.

Notice the blue cups in the back of the picture? The high output light with the deluxe clone kit is bright enough where I can put a few new plants in cups with soil beside the dome. The new plants in cups get plenty of light and this allows me to give some TLC to the new plants for a week or so until I put them under my HPS for vegetative growth. (An MH would be better for vegetative growth, but I don’t have one) The new plants are fragile, so they should still be misted once daily even outside the dome. With all transplants the plants will not grow for a week or so. Once you see new leaf growth, you can treat the cutting like any other plant. Success!

Good Growing,

Dr. E. R. Myers


REMOVE THE UNDESIRABLES to prevent fungal attack

Some cuttings won’t make it, that’s just a fact. You need to recognize which one’s are not going to make it and remove them. This prevents a place for fungus to grow and spread, and allows you to put a new cutting in the dome a.s.a.p. The plant leaves should remain rigid (maintain turgor pressure). You want rigid leaves because this means the plant cells have enough water. Leaves will wilt/ droop when the cells inside get smaller due to a lack of water. If the leaves start to wilt, or curl over or under, the odds that you cutting will make it go down.

Good Growing,

Dr. E. R. Myers


Spacing to prevent fungus

I am writting this post because I have had a few people write me about fungus and cuttings. If you have a fungalproblem, you may want some space between plants/cuttings. Fungus is your enemy here, the problem is you need a warm moist environment so the plants don’t dehydrate which is also an ideal environment for fungus. If you have had problems with fungus/damping off etc. I think you could try using every other row of the tray. This will allow more airflow between the cuttings/plants. I used every other row for most of the pictures, but if you are NOT having problems, you should have a cutting in every starter plug to get the most from the clone kit.
A warm moist environment is what your cuttings need, and the root warmer will provide the idea temperature for you plants. However, as you know this is also an ideal environment for fungus. The clone kit is sterile when it arrives, but be sure to clean it after each use: use a 25% hydrogen peroxide solution if you had fungal problems last time, otherwise a mild dish soap and water will do to wash beteen cutting cycles. Be as clean as you can and make sure to aerate your chamber each day. In other words, take the dome off for longer periods of time each day. On day two, start taking the lid off for a few minutes. After a week, you should be taking the dome off for an hour or more. You should use your powers of observation to see if the plants look “good” Each grower must decide what “good” is for their plants. In general the plants should not have leaves that wilt. The majority of plants will be ready to pot up (put in growing medium) in a few weeks.
Good Growing,
Dr. E.R. Myers