This blog is about growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area

March 17, 2017

Uplighting your tropical plants with LED spotlights

I've had spotlights here for a long time, which were 20 watt halogens. And just recently I started replacing them with LED equivalents, and the effect is amazing.

The LEDs are exactly the same brightness, and don't dim over distance like the halogens did. Also, the halogens were dangerously hot, and the LEDs don't put out any heat at all. They're sold as "equivalent" because people like me know how to choose based on wattage, so they're as bright as 20 watt halogens, but they only use 4.5 watts, which is amazing.

What that means is that I can add more spotlights along the same line, which is what I've been doing. And I've even put in a few 50 watt equivalents in the Outback, which has never looked so good.

So, if you've been pondering LEDs, I say go for it. The fixtures cost about the same as the old ones (which I needed to replace, anyway), and there's no bulbs to burn out or replace.

By the way, if you're new to using spotlights, here are some stray thoughts:

• Point them AWAY from where people will be. This can be tricky in a three-dimensional space like a yard, so you may need to experiment with placement. You want them pointing up at plants and bouncing soft light back - you don't EVER want them pointing into people's eyes, or your neighbor's windows (or yours!).

• Don't try to do it all in one night. Buy a few, wait for the sun to go down, and evaluate. You may find that you will need less than you had thought, or you may find that you have a dark spot that needs another light.

They look great with palm trees and cycads, set at the base and pointing upwards. The light bounces against walls and gives a soft glow to the yard. If you do it right, your back yard will look like a luxury resort!
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