William, how does your garden grow?


My collection is housed in my one-bedroom apartment, measuring 68 square meters (730 square feet).

Most of my plants live in a 152×91×213 cm (5'×3'×7'), homemade grow tent constructed from PVC pipe and enclosed in Panda film. The tent sits directly in front of a large pair of east-facing windows.

The rest of the collection lives on another east-facing windowsill.


The side of the grow tent against the east-facing windows is covered with transparent plastic, allowing sunlight to enter the tent for the first few hours of the day.

Around noon, two 100 watt Spider Farmer sf1000 LED panels switch on and provide high levels of light to the plants for the rest of the day.

The windowsill plants receive morning sunshine until about 11:00, then indirect light for the remainder of the day.


The entire collection is watered with tap water, except for the Nepenthes and Pinguicula, which get distilled water. The local tap water averages about 80 ppm total dissolved solids with an alkaline pH of more than 8.

Eight Mist King spray nozzles are positioned over the collection, and when activated, thick mist is sprayed onto the plants. The system is fed by a 19 L (5 US gallon) bucket that sits in the bottom of the tent, and is used for irrigation when I am gone for an extended time.

Additionally, a 3.8 L (1 US gallon) tank sprayer is often used to water individual plants.


The ambient relative humidity in my apartment can range anywhere from 40% to as low as 15% in the hot, dry summer. The windowsill plants endure these conditions by receiving ample water during extremely dry periods.

The inside of the grow tent averages 60% RH throughout the year.


A granular, 12N-1P-1K-10Ca-3Mg fertilizer is diluted and applied at a rate of about 75-100 ppm N per week. A 5-1-1 fish fertilizer diluted to similar strength is also used sporadically.

Sensitive plants such as Paphiopedilum and Nepenthes are regularly flushed, however other plants such as large Cattleya are rarely flushed with pure water (although they ideally should).


A 23 cm diameter (9") fan blows air through the middle of the tent against the back wall, providing excellent air circulation for all plants.

The fan switches off to allow the misting system to operate without blowing the water everywhere.


The apartment is usually kept at an average of 23°C (73°F) and 19°C (66°F) at night, but the tent, with its warm lights and proximity to the window, ranges closer to 28°C (82°F) days and 19°C (66°F) nights in the summer, and 24°C (75°F) days and 17°C (63°F) nights in the winter.


The secret to having beautiful, healthy plants, in my opinion, is giving them sufficient attention. I spend several hours every week looking over the collection.

I observe each plant, inspecting anything unusual, and admiring leaves, roots, and growths that are developing well. Appreciating as much as you can about each plant will bring you the maximum amount of fulfillment from growing them.

If I do notice something that doesn't seem quite right, such as a spot on a leaf that wasn't there before, or a misshapen new growth, I look more closely at that plant for a few days to see how it develops.

I find that problems are much easier to diagnose when observed over time rather than looking at them once.