Plant lighting (my first thread on the forum!)


New Member
Hello there. Cham n00b here. I have been reading a lot of stuff though. Great info, and everyone seems nice.

I am in the process of building a cage and getting all the supplies I will need. Today I had a question I couldn't find an exact answer to. It might be dumb but I like to ask questions if I need to.

So my setup will be in the basement, I have already purchased a couple live plants and hope to pick up another soon depending on the responses I get here.

I was curious if anyone else here has live plants in their basement set ups and if so how do you have the lighting set up? I bought a grow lamp but I wasn't sure if that would be enough. Also, I know this is kind of silly but - should i put the grow lamp on top with the uvb and heat or on the back or side?

I'm sure someone is about to say "it depends on the plants, what did you get/ are you looking to get?"

I got what I believe to be a pretty decent sized dwarf umbrella plant and a small dracaena (im not sure what kind, now im not sure if its safe or not..) - I am considering a hibiscus or something taller (help me out with suggestions for taller plants?) :)

I have read some people buy 2 hibiscus to switch out every so often so one can get more sun, but if I don't have to I'd rather not. That being said I am still open to suggestions for other taller plants.

Anyways. Anyone care to help me out with this. Is a grow lamp in addition to the uvb going to be enough to keep the plants alive in a basement? I hope so.

Thanks everyone!
Hi! and welcome
I dont have a basement (no such luck in these parts) but I do not get any direct sun on my cages. I use all live plants and they thrive really well. I do not use a grow bulb, but have thought about it.

I think if you have the room, maybe place one above your cage, hanging? it would give a broader light displacement without taking up cage top room. Since you will have uv fixture, dripper. unless you buy a double fixture and your cage is deep and wide enough?

Sorry, not being much help am I!

I have wondered if the grow lights are too strong for chams eyes?


New Member
Hey there, you may want to think about hanging a pathos in your setup, they grow fast and in not much time at all you will have some some nice hanging vines in there, I use a dual fluorescent with a reptisun on one side and one of those plant bulbs on the other from home depot and my plants thrive


New Member
What kind of plants do you have? if you dont mind me asking. I just got a couple i could remember.

I will me able to make room, I havent built the enclosure but i will probably measure it out tonight.

I'm glad you mentioned the possibility of it being too bright. If anyone else happens to know, please post a response about that. I would greatly appreciate it!

If it will be too bright maybe ill have to swap out the tube style for more of a normal bulb style to maybe decrease the brightness a little? I am open to suggestions.

I just googled it and didnt find a whole lot of information on this particular topic.


New Member
I looked at the pathos but couldnt remember for sure if it was safe. Thanks! I will probably grab one tomorrow, they look pretty awesome! if you havent had any problems then i think i should be ok too.

thanks guys. sorry for the double post, i didnt see the 2nd reply.


Avid Member
I use a double fixture also reptisun and grow light from lowes. Ficus is also a good tall tree to use along with pothos (which is safe) croton is pretty, very colorful, I usually will put one on the bottom. dracaena , umbrella tree. There is a safe plant list you can use the search engine if you are unsure of a plant that you would like to use. :)
Hey Suzi, I am happy to hear a grow light is ok, I worry about my plants sometimes!. as if we dont have enough to worry about, right??!!

I have been told several times tonite about the double fixture from lowes or homedepot, so much cheaper!
I like the idea of uv/grow light!


Avid Member
I didn't have such a great result with a grow light. I have Scheffleras in my cages and they are all wonderful. But I got a grow light and put it on one and schefflera just got all ugly lol. I now out in another schefflera to see if the same happens. If so, I'm taking that grow light out.

Btw, Scheffleras are by far my favorite. No work at all to maintain them, they take the tons of water required, they do well in low lighting, they provide plenty of foliage and many strong branches for chams to hang on to.


New Member
do they have 24 inch double fixtures at lowes? (or other similar stores) if so anyone got a price range? that would save me a little hassle instead of having 2 but the single ones are already pretty cheap so... not a big deal.

i looked at a massive supposedly safe list earlier. the problem im running into a lot is conflicting information overall. i am just going to keep reading and go with whatever makes the most sense to me.

I have another question that is plant related but I think im going to start a new thread because its not totally related and I want to make sure i get some good responses.

This has been super helpful and reassuring. Glad I joined the forum!
VC, the ONLY plant I have killed is my shefflera! go figure :p
everything else is great and all real, wonder how Suzis do.

I am told tonite they are about 20.00 for the double @ lowes, very reasonable.


New Member
New question, same thread!

This thread seems to be going pretty well so I will hold off on the newthread, tried search but didnt quite find what im looking for

There are so many nice looking plants, its hard to choose between some of them.

My next question is - how DENSE should it be? is it preference? is there a rhyme or reason to any of it (aside from travel up and down of course). I know I need a taller plant yet but I'm wondering if I will also have room for a pothos (i think i spelled that correctly, im still new to plants as well.) in addition to what i already have.

im thinking the enclosure will end up being pretty close to something like 26in wide, 18in deep and like 40in tall. its sort of a weird size probably but im working with a limited space. it could change a couple inches here and there but thats about what im looking at. i MIGHT get smaller a smaller fixture so i can make it closer to 24x18x40 (my current one is longer than 24 inches. grr.) going to lowes and other places tomorrow again to see what i can find.

if anyone knows of a picture that shows something like - this is too empty, this is too dense, this is just right.. that would be incredible. im sure you can go too dense so i just want to be careful.
I think some of it is aesthetics really
for my cages I like lush in the bottom, helps with drainage and humidity, taller in the back, a space for basking, even a little canopy so they have somewhere to go. I just play around with it til I like the look.
I also use small ferns, that I put in my pots of the larger "trees" it fills up the bottom and looks good too. and helps keep them out of the soil/large flat rocks.
just use enough branches and reptivines for them to cruise around all the plants


Avid Member
VC, the ONLY plant I have killed is my shefflera! go figure :p
everything else is great and all real, wonder how Suzis do.

I am told tonite they are about 20.00 for the double @ lowes, very reasonable.

Hi Anne! My double fixture actually only cost me 13.00 at lowes, I have the 48" long one though that goes across two cages, I don't know if they carry the 24" one, if not you can order it. I find the grow lights to work well with some plants but not all, some I switch out to give some outdoor sun, like the hibiscus really prefers the natural sun. My ficus and dracaena do well. I like the way they brighten up the cage, I don't find it too bright I actually find my cage without the grow light not bright enough.
so cool Suzi, thank you!
just on another thread and said you used the grows!.
what are you still doing up??!!!
I purchased the 49" fixture from LLL, but am going to return it for a double I think. My 4' cages seem dark towards the bottom.
wonder if my gardenia wont like the additional light?


Avid Member
Oh how I love gardenias!:) they smell sooooo good! And I have noooo business being up right now! My son has summer camp in the morning and I can't sleep in, haha :eek::p hope your lil one is doing well! I must sign off and go to sleep;)
I have a grow light and I like mind it does a good job, I have a double grow light that fits on top of my large cage, my cage is a 2 by 2 by 4 I just put my chameleon in about 3 weeks ago he is still getting use to it.You need to try one I have 4 flowers in mind. good luck
I have a ficus a croton a pothos another ficus and I have a double grow light on top of my cage and it all works great
so you need to try you grow light good luck
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