A newly developed lamp bulb may make it much more practical to grow many things in the home, including orchids, gardenias, roses, tomatoes and many others that require the daily equivalent of several hours of sunlight.
A product of Public Service Lamp Corp. of New York, it is a 160-watt bulb named "Wonderlite" with built-in reflector based on a special ingredient called "phosphorsol." This new chemical formula creates a full spectrum of light having a strong balance of blue and red. Using standard screw base incandescent fixtures, Wonderlite develops a true daylight color that is closest to sunshine from the light source itself.
According to George A. Elbert, past, president of the Indoor Light Gardening Society of Amercia, and author of several books on indoor light gardening, Wonderlite emits a balanced spectrum of light, so it can make flowering plants bloom as well as maintain foliage plants, even those with high light requirements. Since it fits into an ordinary screw socket, it can conveniently be used in any conventional interior setting. The new lamp gives a color rendition that is nearly perfect, Elbert says. Plants look natural under the light.
The American Museum of Natural History used the lamps during an exhibit with live plants in an area with out sunlight and reported that all plants continued to grow and the orange tree and oleander put out flowers.
Wonderlite has an average rated service life of 12,000 hours and it guaranteed for the first year against manufacturing defect. Priced at $39.95, it is available at the Tropica storesin Bethesda, Landover and Arlington, at Greensleeves Plant Store, Vienna, and at Bittersweet Hill Nursery, Route 424 at Governor's Bridge Road, Davidsonville, Md.
In addition to adequate intensity, plants in artificial light require other qualities. In most cases they grow best with light that conrains a proper balance of blue and red wavelengths.
Light from incandescent-filament lamps contains adequate red but very little blue. On the other hand, carbonarc or fluorescent lamps produce light tha contains relatively much more blue than red. If plants are grown in light from these sources only they could be greatly improved by adding a little light from incandescent-filament lamps.