As with HIDs, you can find CFLs at any local grow shop.
Make sure you have enough outlets and power available in your breaker board for your grow space to comfortably accommodate all equipment. Figure out all pieces of equipment, such as lights, fans, possibly an AC or dehumidifier, and calculate how much power they’ll require. You’ll be running this equipment every day for months, so if you don’t have enough power it can be dangerous. Never overload an electrical outlet.
LEDs (light emitting diodes) are relatively new to the cannabis growing world, compared to HPSs, MHs, and CFLs, but they are quickly proving to be the way of the future. LEDs may be more expensive to buy initially, but they are far more efficient and kinder to the environment and your electricity bill. Some cities even give tax breaks to commercial growers who install or switch to LEDs because they’re better for the environment.
CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) are fluorescent lights similar to what you’d find in a school or office building, but smaller. For growing weed, they are usually called “T5s”—the “T” stands for “tubular” and the “5” refers to its diameter, “⅝”.
Ventilation is also a concern. If you’re growing in a tight space with a light that runs hot, you’ll need to have fans in there, which also take up space. If there’s not enough room for a light and a fan, you may need to invest in a light that doesn’t run as hot, such as an LED. For example, grow tents are usually built tall to allow room for equipment up top, not to grow plants all the way to the ceiling.
CFL lights for growing weed.
These bulbs contain mercury and metal halides, produce a blueish light, and are commonly used for vegetative growth. They require a ballast to regulate the current. In the past, ballasts have been big and bulky, but digital ones are now available.
You can find HID reflector hoods, as well as MH and HPS bulbs at any local grow shop.
Here are a few different HID grow lights at different price points.
Fixtures come in all shapes and sizes and can usually accommodate 4-12 long fluorescent bulbs; a standard size is 8 bulbs. Fixtures usually have a reflective material to bounce light in one direction, down on your plants.
Young and mature plants, or vegetative and flowering plants, respectively, like different types of light, and you can buy grow lights that target each spectrum. Commonly, growers using HIDs will use MH bulbs for vegetative plants and HPS bulbs for flowering. Some LEDs are also designed to target different light spectra.
These HID bulbs usually contain sodium, mercury, and xenon, and produce a yellow/orange light, and are commonly used for flowering plants. Some growers will start plants under MH bulbs and switch them to HPSs when plants go into the flowering stage, using the same hood. These lights also require a ballast.
Consider how often you’ll be growing weed and how long it will take to pay off the initial investment—if you grow once a year, it’ll take a lot longer to pay off an expensive light than if you grow multiple harvests a year.
HID (high-intensity discharge) is an umbrella term under which MH and HPS bulbs fall, which we’ll discuss more below. These types of lamps have a hood that reflects light and bulbs that are enclosed capsules containing a gas, as opposed to bulbs you’d find in your house, which have a filament that heats up.
There are many different kinds of lights out there, so it can be daunting to know where to begin. Here’s a guide to four basic types of grow lights on the market and the pros and cons of each.
LEDs also typically run a lot cooler than HIDs, so you may not need extra equipment to cool down your grow space, and one LED can usually be used for both vegetative and flowering growth. Some high-end LEDs allow you to change the spectrum for each growth stage.
The first thing to consider before buying a grow light is how much money you want to spend. With more states coming online with adult-use legalization, homegrowing is becoming more popular and growing technology is getting better and more efficient all the time.
HIDs have been the standard in indoor weed growing for decades, but LEDs are quickly catching up to them.
How big a light you need will depend on the number of plants you plan on growing, but also on the size of your space. If you’re growing in a closet or a small grow tent, you’ll only be able to fit one small light in there. If you have a wide open basement, you could invest in a bigger light as opposed to two smaller ones.
Here are a few different CFL grow lights at different price points.
For HIDs, light occurs as an arc between two nodes inside the bulb. The gas contained in these bulbs is what makes MHs and HPSs different. HID bulbs are usually more expensive than the reflective hoods that hold them.
One of the crucial elements a cannabis plant needs is light. During photosynthesis, a plant converts light energy into chemical energy, allowing it to grow strong and healthy, and with cannabis in particular, light also fuels bud production.
You can find lights for under $100, but they may be low quality and not produce the right spectrum of light, and you can also easily spend as much as $2,000 for a large, state-of-the-art LED.
Best CFL grow light brands.
New LED grow lights come out all the time, but knockoffs abound. There are a lot of cheap LEDs that don’t produce the right spectrum of light for plants.
There are many types of lights, but below are the four most common you’ll find in a grow room. There are many variations within each of these four types as well, and new lights and technology come out all the time.
Lights have fixtures and bulbs, and some require a ballast. Depending on the type and model, the bulbs or the fixtures can be more expensive. There are a lot of abbreviations, but don’t be alarmed.
Power equals poundage, so if you want big yields you’ll need more wattage. Professional LEDs can start at as little as 200 watts, and go up from there. A high-watt light can double the work of several low-watt bulbs.
Both types of HIDs are usually inexpensive to buy but will eat up electricity. HIDs throw off a lot of light and heat, which the plants need to bulk up and get potent. But, they run hot, contain heavy metals, and ballasts can fail.
Grow lights allow you to control exactly how much light your plants receive, ensuring they get the same amount of light day after day, without the grower having to solve problems with bad weather or cloudy days that happen in an outdoor environment.
When growing outdoors you can harness the power of the sun, but in an indoor environment, sunlight is mimicked through the use of grow light bulbs, which aim to display the same spectrum of light as the sun.
The typical homegrower will only need one or two lights. Most states limit grow amounts to 6 or 12 plants, and one or two lights should be plenty for that. If you plan on running two separate rooms, one for vegetative plants and one for flowering plants, you’ll need two lights.
When looking for clamp light sockets , avoid anything that’s made of plastic (it’s cheap and will break) and try to find something with at least a 9-foot-long cord. You might be surprised at how annoying it is to try to find a way to make a 6-foot cord work.
You can still get at least a couple of ounces off each plant, even when plants are kept short and you will be able to harvest your crop in only 3-4 months.
The reason for this is that marijuana will generally double in height after being switched over to the flowering stage.
The 12-12 light schedule will cause your plants to begin the flowering stage and start focusing on making buds instead of just growing.
The reason for this is that coco coir tends to form natural salts if it the fertilizers just sit in there and never get washed out. Making sure you keep adding water until you get run-off is also a great way to make sure that your plants are draining properly.
By half the final desired height, I mean, if you wanted your plant to achieve a final height of 2 feet, then you would switch your marijuana to flowering when they’re about 1 foot tall, or half of 2 feet.
If you notice that your plant is growing with a lot of space between nodes or otherwise seems like it’s ‘stretching’ upwards, that means that it probably needs more light. Try adding an extra CFL or two or move them closer. If you notice your plant is having any other issues or something doesn’t seem right, check out the Plant Problems and Symptoms Guide.
So, you can see that it doesn’t cost that much to get started growing cannabis with CFLs! After you get going you can expect to spend about $30/month in electricity, supplies, etc. considering an electricity price of The CFL bulbs should always be as close as possible to the plants, yet they need to be far enough away that your marijuana doesn’t grow into the lights and burn its leaves..12/kWh (average cost of electricity in the US). So, if you harvest in 3.5 months, which is the average time, you’ll have spent about a total of $300 – $360 for your entire first grow, including setup, electricity, nutrients and maintenance. After that you can expect to pay about $100/grow since you won’t have to invest in most of the setup costs again.
If you don’t change your schedule to 12-12, chances are your marijuana will just keep growing forever and never make buds.
A Note about Using CFL Lights.
It can be hard to decide what you want to do for you first grow, and this is a really cheap yet effective way to get started with growing and get good results.
You will want to stop feeding your marijuana any nutrients for the last two weeks before harvest to ensure the best tasting bud. Simply feed them plenty of water without nutrients for these last two weeks, but make sure you’re still adjusting the pH so they absorb any leftover nutrients in the coco coir.
As I said before, make sure to feed your marijuana plant with plain, pH’ed water every other watering.
During the ‘off’ period, your marijuana should be in total darkness.
Water your pot with coco coir thoroughly until water drains out the bottom before adding your seeds or clones.
You need about 80w of CFLs per plant to start; I prefer to start with two 40W per plant.
You will want to start feeding your plants with nutrients at quarter strength for the first week, then work your way up to full strength slowly.
These common bulbs are much more efficient than old-fashioned light bulbs (which can’t be used to grow plants) and CFLs don’t use much electricity or produce as much heat compared to some other grow lights.
In order to maximize the amount of bud you get, you will want to make sure you remove any males so they don’t impregnate you females. If they stay together than your females will get pollinated by the males and will end up making lots of seeds instead of buds.
This is really a perfect way to grow your first harvest if you “just want to get your feet wet” because it’s low cost and so forgiving it’s hard to mess up. Plus, you will really learn an incredible amount about cannabis growing by using this method.
Personally, for me, adjusting the lights was one of the most fun parts of growing marijuana using this method because it gave me something to do while I was hanging out in my grow room.
They don’t produce enough light in the non-visible spectrums to satisfy what blooming plants are craving and only marginally produce better results. Beyond that, they are worthless for seedlings and vegetating plants, which is where your plant spends most of its life.
These will never match the light-giving powerhouses that are LEDs and HPS systems, but a well-cared for plant underneath a good CFL system will indeed bear fruit.
Aim to keep the budget low, since if you’re spending more money you should just go for HPS or LED systems, and get some quality day-light spectrum bulbs like Emart 4332004402 Full Spectrum Light Bulb.
The 6500K spectrum isn’t ideal for blooming plants, but it does work. If you get the idea of an absolutely massive grow out of your head and aim for a low budget one, then this is a great choice. Four of these around a plant will work very well for a single small grow, at a very low price.
These work by dipping a bit further into the red spectrum than daylight CFLs, and work slightly better on blooming plants due to this. 2700K bulbs have their place, but we tend to avoid recommending them. This is because it’s additional equipment that isn’t going towards the budget of things in your grow that can make a large difference.
The spectrum of light that a CFL gives off is measured with kelvin, or “K”. The day-light spectrum, which is best for everything but flowering, is between 5500K and 6500K, with 6500K being the bluest and best for vegetative and seedling growth stages.
The amount of heat these give off is so limited that forgoing to use of large ventilation systems is doable, as long as odors aren’t a concern. Put a CFL in a closet with a small reflect and some mylar around the room, and you’ll be surprised by the amount of light they can produce for such a small purchase.
Sunblaster lamps are great for a small growth but lack some of the power of previous entries to the list, however, they do tend to last for a long time. The 6400K spectrum is just a tad off where we like to land for CFL grows, but it does provide a sufficient amount of light needed for a small cannabis plant to grow to its entirety.
Choosing a CFL to grow with is a perfectly legitimate choice, but there are some factors to be aware of when using them. We’ll go over a few of those here:
They’re also a good choice as a supplementary light that can be aimed easily due to them fitting into easily moved light sockets. Aim some of these to the side or underneath a plant that is already doing well via a different type of light and it will add a lot to the growth below the light-blocking canopy on top.
Emarts are our go-to’s for CFLs as the life expectancy is quite good for the price being put into them. These plus a good reflective holder will go a long way to producing some respectable plant.
Alzo‘s full-spectrum light works well if going for a cheaper solution but isn’t ideal for plant growth even when considering that it’s a CFL. The spectrum it’s using looks great visually, but lacks in non-visible spectrum light which the plants need for good growth.
The amount of wattage these bulbs use is almost negligible for most grower’s power bills. Compared to other ways to grow indoors, the amount of energy saved is worth noticing.
You can also spend a bit more and get the Hydrofarm Agrobrite FLCDG125D CFL System for multiple plants.
CFL lights are everywhere, so it seems a bit obvious to use them as grow lights. They’re cheap, low power, run fairly cool, and are capable of producing light of all kinds of colors.
On the bright side, pun-intended, these are bright lights, which come in a 4-pack, and will provide plants with enough light to survive and grow, but at a slow rate.
Emart is offering two full-spectrum daylight bulbs here, for a pretty great price. Two of these will easily handle the growth of a single small to medium-sized cannabis plant, and the price and quality here is good to boot. This won’t be enough for multiple large plants, but using this as something to get into the game is not a bad plan at all.
This is another light that will indeed work when surrounding a plant, but the results will be less than stellar at the end of the day. Recommended if this is what is available, however, there are better purchases to be made even on this list.
It’s still one of the better 2700K bulbs on the market, though, so if you’re determined in using one this is a solid pick.
CFL’s are the popular entry-point into indoor growing, both with cannabis and other plants as well. However, finding the right CFL for growing cannabis can be a bit trying. There is a massive market and a plethora of reviews to go over, and it’s hard to tell what is best to use for any given situation without first-hand experience.
A set of SunBlasters, which come in a 4-pack, can almost certainly have some fairly nice results. However, when compared to the likes of the Emart 4332004402 , there’s a lack of power, which will result in a somewhat stunted plant at the end of the process.
They’re the ideal entry point into indoor growing. They work well enough, though not optimal, and produce consistently worthwhile results. They give off very little heat, what is there can be easily remedied with the slightest bit of ventilation, and work well in small, low-budget spaces.
Small & Low-budget Grows.
Still, it won’t last more than a grow or two and doesn’t work well for seedling or vegetative phases of growth. This is ideal to swap in right as a plant is going to into bloom to get slightly better results, but the extra money paid and effort could probably be spent elsewhere.
It’s still a solid product, just not the best around.
We look for CFLs in this range due to their ability to grow cannabis successfully, and we leave the flowering stages to the more powerful lights that can dive deeper into the lower, red spectrums. There are 2700K CFLs available, but they don’t do a much better job than the daylight spectrum does at the end of the process.
Light spectrums can be an issue with these, as the popularity of CFLs has lent itself to misconceptions on the ideal spectrums to purchase, as not all plants grow the same as cannabis. Let’s take a look at some of the better CFL lights we’ve come across.
There are minor benefits to swapping to one of these bulbs during flowering, as a supplemental, but the extra growth versus effort and expenses isn’t that much. Sticking with the best day-light bulbs throughout the grow is the best way to go about this type of project.
This is a four-pack of day-light spectrum CFL bulbs for an absurdly good price that, combined, will be plenty to grow cannabis into maturity. The Philips T2 Spirals will not last as long as the aforementioned Emart brand product; however, if a single grow is all you’re after, look no further.
This is the rub of a lot of powerful CFL lights, they tend to burn themselves out and don’t last like LEDs. That being said, this is a very powerful light that will give plenty of power to a medium-sized grow all the way to harvest. The reflectors here are sturdy and well built, they do a good job reflecting that light where it needs to go. The Agrobrite is a good middle ground between the likes of more expensive LED and HPS systems, without shelling out the cash needed for those.
For the money, we think this is the best CFL light for growing cannabis.