Compact Fluorescent Light is a good source of supplemental light for a low light condition. One of the most popular light type used is the Compact Fluorescent lamps because of its ease of use, affordability and excellent results. The use of Compact Fluorescent lamps is best for beginner cannabis growers who are not particular with the harvest rate yet.
There are two types of Compact Fluorescent Light: the 2000k/2700k or the 5500k/6500k. The 2000k/2700k is a warm color producing yellowish or red spectrum shade while the 5500k/6500k is a warm color that produces a blueish spectrum. The cool color spectrum is good for the vegetative stage and the warm spectrum is good for the flowering and blooming stage. The main reason why the Compact Fluorescent Light is well known in the cannabis industry because the light spectrum that it gives is similar to the rays of the sun. There are also available Compact Fluorescent Light in the market that is a combination of the cool and warm light spectrum.
Growing Cannabis using Compact Fluorescent Light
Step #1: Know the Basics of Growing a Cannabis Plant
Knowing the basics of cultivating cannabis plant is necessary. The basics of growing a cannabis plant are the foundation to be a successful cannabis grower. At this stage, you need to access whether you are growing indoor or outdoor, what growing method are you going to use and what kind of cannabis plant are you growing, is it for medicinal purposes or for recreational use.
Step #2: Prepare the Things Needed
- Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs for lighting
- Seeds or clones
- Growing medium ( Soil, Hydro, coco coir)
a. Compact Fluorescent Light
You can’t give your cannabis too much light exposure because it may burn your cannabis leaves. Since CFL grow lights give less heat it is best to know the exact light bulb that you will be needing. The applicable Compact Fluorescent Light for cannabis cultivation is within 40-45 watts. Since the Compact Fluorescent Light penetration is poor, it is more efficient to use small bulbs rather than using light bulbs in this way the light rays are effectively spread thought out the plant and that less electricity is consumed.
A first-time cannabis grower may expect a yield of 0.25 g/watt of Compact Fluorescent Light. Compact Fluorescent Light comes in a different light spectrum, but having a higher wattage is more important in having a good cannabis yield. In setting up the light bulbs it is more convenient to use a 2-way splitter or 2-way socket because it is cheaper rather than using individual socket. To effectively save energy, the use of a reflector is helpful to ensure that the light rays are effectively spread.
b. Growing Medium
There are three growing mediums: Soil or Compost, Soilless mix (coco and perlite) and the hydroponics. The use of soil and compost is the most common growing medium because it is the easiest and most convenient way of planting cannabis. It is advisable to use loose and sterilized soil to provide drainage and to ensure that oxygen and nitrogen are well circulated in the soil.
Cannabis plants grown in the soil and compost are known to have strong smelling buds. For soilless medium (Coco coir), you are still able to give the cannabis plant the same nutrients as that of growing in the soil it’s just that you are feeding the plant through water that is enriched with nutrients. Soilless medium is effective in making sure that the cannabis plant is moisturized avoiding over and underwater. The soilless medium also promoted healthy roots compared to other growing mediums.
For hydroponics growing medium, it is where you plant the cannabis directly in the water, the air is pumped for easy transport of oxygen and nitrogen. The cannabis plant grows faster in a hydroponics medium because oxygen and nitrogen is taken by the plant accessible
c. Cannabis Seeds or Clones
There are two ways of acquiring cannabis plant through the use of seeds or cloning. The first way is through seeds, using cannabis seeds is a hassle-free method for first-time cannabis grower. There are three types of seeds: Regular seeds, Feminized seeds, and Autoflowering seeds. Regular seeds contain both male and female seeds that will be bred to produce an offspring.
For Feminized seeds, both female seeds are bred. Only feminized seeds produce flowers that is why feminized seeds are considered as an efficient and budget-friendly seed. For auto-flowering seeds, the seeds will automatically bloom after 2-4 weeks skipping the vegetative stage, this seed is perfect for those who want to have yields faster. Another way of acquiring cannabis plant is through cloning wherein you create new harvest through replicas of the best performing cannabis plants. Before deciding to use clone seeds be sure to have research to ensure that the cloning will be a success because if done properly it will give you a budget-friendly way to create your new stain.
The primary nutrients that are needed by plants to thrive are Nitrogen, Potassium, and Phosphorous. Each stage of cannabis growth requires a specific amount of these nutrients. A lack of these nutrients may result in the nutrient deficiency that may affect the growth and yield of a cannabis plant.
During the vegetative growth phase, the plant needs a high level of potassium and nitrogen while the amount of phosphorus should me in a medium amount. In the flowering stage, a proportionate amount of these nutrients is necessary. There is available N-P-K mixture available in the market to ensure that the available amount of these nutrients are balanced.
Step #3: Setting Up the Grow Space
There are ways on how to set up your own cannabis growth space, you can either grow indoors or outdoors. For indoor grows you can be creative while being efficient. You can grow inside the closet, in a tent or in a box. This growing set-up goes well with Compact
Fluorescent Lighting because it keeps the bright light inside to ensure that the light is directed to the cannabis plant. If you would use these types of growing space an actual reflector is no longer needed because the walls will serve as a reflective wall at these walls will act as a way to exhaust the heat.
Step #4: Plant the Cannabis Seeds
If you have decided what seed to use, it’s time to germinate it by soaking the seeds in tap water for 8-12 hours. All seeds that did not float will sit in a warm temperature to germinate. After 48 hours, the seeds will start to appear. If the roots are a ½-¼ inch long then the seeds are ready to be planted.
Step #5: Use CFL During the Vegetative Stage
If the Cannabis plant is making stems and leaves then it is already in the vegetative stage. Proper lighting is important because it is a phase wherein there is a rapid change in the growth of the cannabis plant. Regular checking and adjusting of the Compact Fluorescent Light are necessary to ensure that the light bulb and the plant are within 4’’ so as not to burn the leaves.
During this stage, learn how to train your cannabis plants to grow short to maximize the use of Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs. The blue light or Compact Fluorescent Light’s cool spectrum is advised to facilitate the vegetative stage.
Step #6: Use CFL During the Flowering Stage
For you to switch to the flowering stage you need to adjust your Compact Fluorescent Light hours up to 12 hours during the day and be sure not to give your cannabis plant any light exposure at night. To ensure big yields keep your Compact Fluorescent Light close to the plant as much as possible but watch out for possible burnt leaves. The red light or Compact Fluorescent Light warm spectrum advised facilitating the flowering stage.
Advantages of using Compact Fluorescent Light
- Uses less energy. Compact Fluorescent Light uses ¼ of energy compared to other light bulbs. It produces less heat so there is no significant increase in your electricity bill. It can also last up to 10,000 light hours making it energy efficient.
- Environmental friendly. Compact Fluorescent Light reduces carbon footprints. There is also a low chance of burnt leaves because of low heat that it emits.
- User-friendly. Compact Fluorescent Light is self-ballasted. It will fit in almost all standard light sockets. It is also widely available, you can easily purchase this bulb in the market.
- Budget Friendly. You don’t have to waste money changing the lights every year because it doesn’t dim or it doesn’t decrease its performance as it age.
Disadvantages of using Compact Fluorescent Light
- It is not effective when growing large set-up because of the heat that it emits. It also provides low yields compared to other lighting setups.
- You have to adjust your Compact Fluorescent bulb at least 1-2 times a week because your cannabis plant grows rapidly.
- It cannot give you a wide, full spectrum as HID and LED do. And it has a shorter life span compared to other lighting equipment.
- Because Compact Fluorescent Light doesn’t penetrate far, you may need to train your cannabis plant if you want them to grow low and flat.
How to Position your Compact Fluorescent Light
1. It is still important to locate the cannabis plant where it can receive sunlight if you do not want to use a lot of Compact Fluorescent bulbs. If you would prefer to grow indoors using a Compact Fluorescent Light choose a cannabis variety that will grow under low-light conditions.
2. Position cool color bulb or 5500k/6500k bulb in an adjustable reflector fixture so that the light rays are properly distributed in the plants leaves. The use of a reflector fixture is also advisable if you would want to train the cannabis plant for more foliable absorption.
3. The number of Compact Fluorescent bulb to be used depends on the volume of the cannabis plant. The position of the bulb should be at least 2-7 inches from the plant. The light bulb rays should shine directly on the leaves to ensure that the growth of plants is uninformed.
4. It is recommended that you record the time where you turn the lights on and off because it is best if you would turn the lights on or off at the same time. For plants that need high-light conditions, it requires at least 18 hours of exposure to light while for a plant that needs low-light conditions it needs at least eight hours of light exposure.
5. Monitor the plants as they grow, adjust the distance of the Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs. Make sure the cannabis leaves do not touch the light. If you notice that the leaves are pale then expose the cannabis plant to light more often. If you notice that the leaves are burnt then move the light bulb farther away from the plant. Plants are also prone to heat stress so it is best to inspect your cannabis plant every day. Yo can avoid plant heat stress by placing cool bulbs closer and warmer bulbs farther.
Every lighting equipment is unique, it just depends on your needs. The Compact Fluorescent Light bulb is known for its affordability and efficiency. The use of Compact Fluorescent Light is convenient for those who want to grow cannabis plant for personal use and for those who don’t want to spend much. But like any other lighting equipment, for you to have a successful harvest you need to use it properly. Even though the use of Compact Fluorescent Light doesn’t give you high yields, it can still be rewarding because it can still offer a lot of advantages that are favorable in the cannabis industry. There are a lot of available options in the market on how to grow a cannabis plant but if you don’t know anything about the basics or if you are not willing to take an extra mile on how to take care of it then it is useless.