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Using CFL lights for flowering


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#1 Canute

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Posted 10 February 2008 - 05:08 PM

I'm a new grower and I was wondering if it is worth using regular compact fluorescent bulbs to flower cannabis? I've read a lot of lighting guides online and their advice varies: some say CFLs will produce almost no buds, some think they might work.

I'm thinking about either:
1. Using a lot of regular house CFLs for the entire grow. This would be cheap and easy to set up.

2. Using CFLs for the vegetative stage and switching to a HPS for flowering. This is far more expensive and a little harder to set up.

So I need to know if there's a way for a beginner grower to get a decent harvest using CFLs. Does anyone have experience with this? I'd obviously prefer option 1 but if it's not going to work then I'll have to go with 2.

Links to good grow guides and lighting guides would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

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#2 frmrboi

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Posted 10 February 2008 - 05:35 PM

Option 1 is do-able with lots of WARM White CFLs (2700K), for veging pure 6500K lights. I prefer a small HPS & my veging CFLs as sidelights over the cfls for flowering. The plants get pretty tall and the cfls just don't cut it then.
SOG flowering with clones & CFLs is very do-able just start flowering as soon as the clones are rooted.

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#3 jetski

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Posted 10 February 2008 - 05:40 PM

whoever said you will get almost no buds with cfl is plainly wrong. however if your expecting yields to be near hps level then your going to be disappointed.

regular household cfls will work just fine. but just remember to keep the plants short and keep the bulbs within a few inches of the canopy. building a framework of cfls around the plant will work well. use the highest wattage and as many as you can use. aim for at least 40watts per square foot of canopy and scrog grows can work nicely as you will need to move the lights less

if your going to use a handfull of small cfls buy this book, its a grow diary and its worth looking at

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#4 Skitzo42087

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Posted 10 February 2008 - 06:21 PM

wal-mart/homedepot/lowes has cfls that compare to 85 wat flood lights 6 bux they have a plastic cover you have to take off the front(look similar to halogens until you get the cover off) but they are pretty large compared to normal cfls and wont dent your wallet like the expensive u shape cfls

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#5 jetski

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Posted 10 February 2008 - 06:27 PM

they compare to 85watt what? what wattage are those cfls? standard household ones over here go for £1 (about $2)each and a fixture for one about 50p
cheap as chips

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#6 Volksman

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Posted 11 February 2008 - 06:23 PM

My only problem with using so many small CFL's is that you've got so many more chords and plugs and lights to deal with. I'd just save a bit and try to purchase a simple light setup. I just recommended to another person the HydroFarm flourescent setup. I think it cost me about $120 total for the light reflector and one light. You can get 125W lights which isn't super huge but enough to get some pretty dang good bud. Then when you flower you can get the warm 125W they sell. I've now done a number of different batches from a unknown Sativa strain that took 17wks to ripen to some Indica (Kish) that took only about 8 weeks to get nice plump resinous buds.

So I'm with Jetski in that flouro's can really do a pretty dang good job. I'd just save some trouble and time and purchase one of the flouro setups. They really aren't that expensive and the bulbs have lasted me about a year a piece with near continuous operation. Then some day when I have the time and cash I'll upgade my whole setup to maybe a 400W HPS but that will entail good ventilation for temp control and a carbon filter.

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#7 jetski

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Posted 12 February 2008 - 01:52 PM

i agree that getting a single 125w cfl with reflecter is a lot easier. i use 3 125watt cfls, 1 6400k and 2 2700k. because they cant suround the plants they are not as productive as using the same wattage with lots of smaller ones surrounding the plants but they are a lot more simple to use and move. and with there being just one plug your have a lot less cords trying to trip you over

hey volksman, how much bud do you usually get from one of your 125w cfls?

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#8 Volksman

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Posted 12 February 2008 - 05:13 PM

Jetski - So far it's depended on what I'm growing but on average I'd say I've gotten around 1+ ounces per plant if I grow em big.

I don't have a scale so that's the best estimate I can give you, but I can say with three large plants I've filled 6 1L glass jugs almost completely full and I'd guess each jug holds about 2oz of fluffy cut bud. So I'd guess my best run was about 10oz in a 6sqft closet with one 125W CFL. Then again those are just my estimates.

Edit: And on my last run I did 8 small plants which filled a little over half the grow room. I also kept them in pretty small pots but I'd guess I averaged a 1/4oz from each small plant and yeilded maybe two ounces overall. Not the best run but it was a set of extra clones I had. So adding it all up I'd guess again around 1oz per plant, maybe more for a good run.

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#9 jetski

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Posted 12 February 2008 - 06:41 PM

10 ounces from 125watts? thats real good. you must be a good grower. i get a lot less than that. 4 ounces is my best from 125watts

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#10 Volksman

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Posted 14 February 2008 - 08:00 PM

Thanks man. I've had a green thumb for alot of years and now it's helping with my new gardening endeavor. Im probably over estimating though because it was all pretty fluffy compared to the compacted stuff I've bought. I'm sure I got over 4oz on my best grow but I did have three 5ft tall plants that I flowered out to 17 weeks and had vegged for a very long time (Some unknown Sativa). Each plant had 7-9 or more 5 inch cola's I bet if I grew out three of the Kish plants I have now I could easily get 10oz that big. I'm working toward my SOG skills right now with clones and after I finish my current set of Thai Lights out I'll try some Kish. That was a while ago too. Initially I couldn't believe the amount and never thought I'd smoke all of it! Mostly gone now though \:\)

I would add that until I've got a scale I don't really know the exact amount. So it's an unconfirmed amount. A good amount though!


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#11 smokeyjay

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 11:19 AM

hey,guys my first time growing and really need some advice...

basically ive got a 1.2m x 1.2m x 2m tent , i have 1 light and 2 125w bulbs one white one red, was thinking of growing 3 plants with these..

i was told to go with auto flower seeds witch i have ordered.

i was thinking of getting some little cfl bulbs or maby getting a 300w dual spec or should the 125w cfl be ok for veg and i should just get another red bulb for the flower ???


any advice would be great......
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#12 the_dank_one

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 07:01 PM

minimum 1x 23-25w 6500k per plant for veg.
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#13 spicesandherbs

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 01:37 PM

I've got nothing against fluorescent lights, but I think fluorescent tubes (i.e. T5s) would work much better and cover a larger area than a CFL.
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#14 Bakedinbc

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 04:12 PM

I've tried flowering with CFL's MANY times with little to no success, CFL's are a little better than Fluorescent tubes because they produce blue floral UV light and are on that side of the spectrum however its a VERY little amount and difference. As I just mentioned in another posting, if your looking for a small efficient set up try vegging with CFL's and flowering with a 400W HPS. As others have already stated before me in this posting, try to maximize you lumens/plant. No more than 4-9 plants/Light.
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#15 Doobie_Brother

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Posted 21 April 2013 - 03:35 PM

I've got nothing against fluorescent lights, but I think fluorescent tubes (i.e. T5s) would work much better and cover a larger area than a CFL.


You may want to use T5s or T8s for seedlings, but go with CFLs for the rest. They are more efficient than tubes because they can be positioned where and how close you wish.

Just my 2cents...
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#16 Bakedinbc

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Posted 21 April 2013 - 06:31 PM

Since posting that comment I've seen what My1952HD and Floger got up too with CFL's and I must completely retract my statement. Clearly there is lots I still don't know about them. I tried flowering with 26w Input CFL's ( Which I believe has a 50w output ) with no luck. However, the 42w input bulbs hes using with a 150w output, coupled with the amazing system he built, seems to be producing absolutely fine results. I would HIGHLY suggest checking it out smokeyjay. -Baked
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#17 my1952HD

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 04:17 AM

You flatter me Baked, thank you... Smokeyjay, I have grown a perpetual grow from late 2011 until recently, using all CFLs, though you can't just walk into your local Homer Depot to get the bulbs that I used anymore. The thread can be found under Grow Rooms titled CFL gro (perrrty nice).

In the thread I try to give my reasons for going the route that I went along with warts and all. I learned a lot about flowering with large wattage CFLs using 65W input, 300 incandescent equivalent Watts output bulbs, as these were the largest bulbs that fit a medium or standard base... and I used twelve of them over 10 plants.

There is also a link to Doobie Brothers multi CFL grow. He uses lower wattage bulbs, but more of them.

Take a look at the thread and if you wish to discuss this further, let me know as I learned a lot and am willing to share... 52.

PS. The bulbs that I used are small compared to the bulbs that one can use if they use the larger mogul base such as this 200 Watt - 8U CFL. That's 200W input with an 850 incandescent Watt output.
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