Brazilian Rain Tree

SamFelderJune 28, 2014

Hi everyone,

I am purchasing a small brazilian rain tree with the intention of growing it for a couple years and then turning it into a bonsai. I live in an apt right now (in MN) so I cannot keep it outside for the remainder of this year until I move. Does anyone have any experience with growing these indoors with a grow light (and if so any recommendations on which one)?

Also, after I move and can keep it outside during the *short* summer we have, will there be enough daily sun or will I still have to put it under a grow light for a few hours?

ps - I know I should probably just get something hardy to my area but I really like these trees and have wanted one for a long time!


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No experience with that particular plant, but.... Having grown plants indoors, you will need at least a few hours a day of light from a "HID" lamp. Hid means high intensity discharge. Two types are 1) metal halide and 2) high pressure sodium. Both run hot, are not especially efficient, but are very bright.

Fluorescent lights, even the high end expensive variety, do not produce a comparable amount of light and are not a substitute for sunlight, even at your relatively high latitude.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 9:30PM
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Those two lights mentioned in the last post are absolutely unnecessary and dangerous not just to yourself, but to the trees. The right fluorescent set-up is more than adequate and give as much light as any tree could possibly need indoors or out. I've hesitated to say anything regarding that poster's other notes that have had some questionable ideas in them, but can't not say something now. Please be very careful. Some people have used the lights he talks about, but you must know just how to use them and under what circumstances with which trees, not to mention the expense involved, and they are just not needed, certainly not for B. rain trees, which can be treated like most other tropicals indoors, with high light for many hours a day and using e.g. humidity trays plus a good mix with good drainage.

This post was edited by moochinka on Sat, Jul 19, 14 at 22:49

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 10:46PM
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Fluorescent lights, even the best ones placed very close to the plant, are not bright. Don't take my word for it. Buy a light meter hold it an inch away from bulb, then two inches, then 6 inches then a foot... You will see that they actually make very little light any distance from the bulb.

Only danger from using the hid lamps is that they can get hot, i said that earlier.

Sorry for spreading my questionable ideas ..... Lol. I think if you go the growing plants indoors forum you will see that, far from questionable, they are actually the conventional wisdom.

And I have and have used a 400w hps lamp. Never hurt myself or a plant :)

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 12:58PM
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Not going to get into it with you, but how long have you been doing indoor bonsai?

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 1:24PM
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Four 2' T5 HO daylight bulbs, water tray in the bottom to maintain high humidity, and adding a small fan for airflow soon.

Will be adding some ficus cuttings and a Plectranthus as well, so we will see how everything is doing in a month or so.

After doing some research, it seems that the topic of artificial lighting/indoor bonsai is fraught with fairly polarized debate, though Jerry Meislik ( has a lot of info on successfully growing indoor bonsai with both HID and fluorescent lighting (unfortunately not Brazilian Raintrees though).

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 1:47PM
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    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 1:48PM
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Jerry M. has a very professional lighting set-up and it's not really the kind of thing most of us would do unless we were very experienced - e.g. had lots of long lived bonsai - and relatively well off... you can do fluorescents and get really excellent growing conditions if you're doing everything else properly as well.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 3:04PM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

My Brazilian Rain Tree stays outside in the summer until late fall and I bring mine inside under T-5 lights in upstairs growing area.. It does well and I have had it for three years now.

I use a gritty mix and foliage pro for fertilizer.

It stay outside like others I keep it indirect light since the temps get close to the mid 90's. if I'm home, I'll set it out to get more sun, but when i leave to go on trips. I place in under a tree to protect it from to much sun... And being thirsty!!!

Just thought I would show mine...

Take care,

Laura .

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 2:53AM
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Very pretty!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 7:58AM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Thank you, Moonchinka!!



    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 5:23PM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

For those interested.. Here is a picture of the bloom...

Have a great night..


    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 1:24AM
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Thanks guys,

Laura - Nice! I hope I can get mine to flower, and I will definitely move it outside for the summer next year (slowly adjusting of course).

Lots of new growth over the past couple weeks so I must be doing something right!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 1:51PM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Sounds good, Sam !!

What are your temps now daytime? Night?

Just wondering..

Thank you, as well...


    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 2:30AM
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Avg Hi/Lo for July: 85/61 , Aug: 82/59 , Sept: 73/50

But it's the Midwest so plus or minus 30 degrees on any given day (last year we got 4" of snow in May!).

I know the BRT's don't like to go much below 40.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 10:05AM
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I disagree with winterfell up at the top. I have been experimenting with florecent and HID and flirecent both out preformed HID in lumems, as well as plant health, plant size, and root growth. The HID had more dense foiliage, however that plants under a 250 watt florecent looked great! Just a myth that florecent are not as good or what ever you want to say. But the fact is they run cooler they put out more lumens and build a stronger indoor plant.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 12:29PM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Thanks for the Info , Sam!!!

Those temps sound like your tree would love to be outside for another month or so... I'm sure it would love the natural sunlight it wants. But I understand if you want to wait.. I will bring mine inside when temps get into the lower 50s too!

It's a beauty!!



    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 12:38PM
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400 watt metal halide...................36,000 lumens
400 watt high pressure sodium....44,000 lumens
Flourescent T5-HO........................5,000 lumens

You could use T5-high output, but you would need 6 to 8 bulbs to match one HID lamp. They will run cooler and deliver a higher lumens per watt (HID 52-65 LPW, T5-HO, 80 LPW) i.e. less expensive on electric bill, but replacing 8 bulbs at $20 a pop would chew up that savings, and then some!

That being said, the price of a 8 bulb T5-HO setup as compared to HID would be similar.

I personally would go the HID route, it has a less hassle per dollar.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 10:26AM
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