A guide to growing marijuana with CFL lights

Published Jul 19, 2019 01:46 p.m. ET
iStock / SEASTOCK

Now that it is entirely legal in Canada to have up to four cannabis plants, there are a lot more people who are considering growing marijuana indoors for the very first time. Though cannabis plants are a hardy species that is relatively easy to cultivate indoors, you still need to know what you are doing for the best chance at success. One vital component to a fruitful yield is the lighting, which can be enough to boost or almost kill your plants. Here we will be focusing on CFL bulbs, which are the cheapest, most convenient, and most efficient marijuana grow lights on the market today.

What are CFL marijuana grow lights?

CFL is short for compact fluorescent lights, which is precisely what these bulbs are. They were created to work on the very same principles as regular fluorescent lights, on a much smaller scale. These bulbs have almost entirely replaced old school incandescent bulbs, as they are also much more efficient on electricity. CFL grow lights can be just bulbs or an entire fixture that comes ready to hand and use.

Types of compact fluorescent grow bulbs

There are all different measurements of watts available, but there are only three different kinds of CFL bulbs that you will need to know about if you are just learning how to grow marijuana indoors, and a combination of two of them is necessary to get a healthy yield of bud.

1. Cool white
These CFL bulbs will appear dimmer and put off a lower temperature of light which is not great for the flowering or vegetative stages of a cannabis plants growth, which is why they are not recommended for this job.

2. Daylight
These compact fluorescent grow bulbs are brighter and provide warmer temperatures of light, which are ideal for the vegetative stage of cannabis plants growth. This is why they are mostly used during the earliest growing phases.

3. Warm white
These bulbs are excellent for growing marijuana during the flowering stage, as the heat, it emits paired with warm lighting provides an incredibly useful imitation of the sun.

Who uses CFL grow bulbs?

Though compact fluorescent lights are often thought of as beginner tools for growing marijuana, these bulbs are perfect for even the most experienced cultivators. Which is likely why they are now being used in hundreds of licensed producers grow rooms right across the country.

Why you should consider using CFL marijuana grow lights

  • CFLs come in a wide variety of different watts, shapes, and sizes
  • no fancy fixtures needed
  • emits wavelengths of light that are ideal for photosynthesis (plant growth)
  • efficient on hydro
  • can be placed close to plants without burning leaves and walls without scorching the paint
  • produce less heat than many other alternatives
  • pose less of a fire risk
  • low cost
  • conveniently available

What are the best CFL grow lights?

When it comes to growing marijuana with CFL lights, the most significant thing you will need to pay attention to is the actual wattage. The size that you need will depend on how many cannabis plants you are producing, but to help you out, here are five high-quality CFL light vendors, that can also help with useful advice for beginners.

1. Home Depot
2. Canadian Tire
3. Phillips
4. Morsen
5. Happy Grow Supplies

How many CFL lights are necessary for growing marijuana?

There is no perfect answer to this question, as the amount you need will depend on the number of plants you have, and the space that they are being grown in, but the recommended guideline to stick to is typically around 100 watts per plant minimum.

How to set up CFL lights for growing marijuana

  1. The first thing that you will need to do is figure out where you want to place your cannabis plants. From there, you can decide which types of fixtures will fit into the grow room. Always remember to measure the distance from the plug sockets to where the light will be.
  2. The next thing is selecting your CFL fixtures and or bulbs. This one is a matter of personal preference. As long as you stick to the guidelines of 100 true watts per plant, and a good combination of both bulbs, then you should be ready to go.
  3. Now you will need to install the lights. It is always recommended to keep a minimum distance of six inches from your plants and walls, so keep this in mind when adjusting your hangers.
  4. Install a reflector. Unfortunately, one of the downsides of this marijuana grow bulb is that they throw a lot of light outwards. This can be bright on the eyes, and unintentionally waste precious UV rays that your plants would love. A reflector will run along the outside edges of the light fixture and hang anywhere from 6 inches to one foot on an upwards angle. Just enough to keep the blinding rays out of your eyes, and more focused on the plants, without restricting them.
  5. Now, your grow room is ready to nd the lighting system just needs a simple check and timer installed before using it.

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