Many cannabis cultivators utilize CFL grow lights in their indoor garden. These fixtures are affordable and provide just the right light for nearly any cannabis plants.
Are CFLs lamps suitable for autoflower plants or are there other better alternatives? Let us answer that by taking a close look at the effects of growing autoflowers with CFLs and other grow lights.
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A Close Look at CFL
Compact fluorescent light (CFL) is essentially a small version of a typical fluorescent bulb fixture. This type of fixture produces light by passing an electric current through a tube that contains argon and mercury. The reaction creates an invisible UV light that reacts with the phosphor inside the lamp. This allows the bulb to emit the visible light.
Advantages of CFL
What makes CFL great for any cultivators is its price and availability. This type of lamp costs less than other grow lights. You can even find it in groceries, hardware stores, and even in some convenience stores. The economic benefit of CFL is why they are suitable for beginners or anyone looking to cultivate autoflower plants on a strict budget.
Apart from costing less, CFL consumes less power while emitting light. This leads to cheaper utility bills at the end of the month than using other grow lights.
Another major benefit of CFLs is its low heat production. Certain grow lights produces an incredible amount of heat that they require a cooling solution to prevent damaging your plants. This makes them more expensive due to the ventilation and cooling system that you need for your grow room.
Fortunately, you do not have to buy a vent system to keep the CFL lamps and your grow room from overheating. Not only does this make the light fixture more affordable, but it also makes them versatile. You can install grow lights in small areas such as cabinets or tents.
The versatility of CFL allows you to cultivate your own marijuana stash at home discreetly. With the small size of any autoflower plants, it is easy to set your garden in a small room or box somewhere in your house.
Disadvantages of CFL
Despite the benefits that CFL lamps offer, many professional marijuana breeders still choose high-end grow lights for their gardens despite the costs. This is due to the insufficient light that CFL bulbs emit.
CFL bulbs can only provide a sufficient amount of light for up to three small plants. Moving the bulbs higher up to provide a wide cone of light for more than three plants is not a good idea. The farther the lamps are, the less amount of light your plants can receive. Cultivators that have a wide indoor garden will need to utilize multiple CFL fixtures for numerous plants.
Utilizing CFL on Autoflower Plants
Growing autoflowers with CFLs is feasible even with the inefficient light coming from the bulb. The compact size of your autoflower plants can take in the glow of CFL lamps within a small space.
If you want to make full use of the grow light as much as possible, you want to surround the small space with a reflective surface. This can be some aluminum foil or a mylar insulation material. Installing a reflective hood onto the lamps can also reflect the light across a wide cone area as well.
Since we are growing autoflower plants, you do not need to worry about installing timers to the grow light. Unlike regular plants, auto plants do not need to be exposed to changing daylight to nighttime schedule. Your plants will automatically enter the flowering stage regardless of how much light they are exposed to.
On the other hand, timers can help you maintain the lifespan of the grow lights. it is important to prevent the CFL from running more than 16 hours. Many CFL bulbs overheat when they are left on for 17 hours or more. Extreme temperatures can significantly bring down the lifespan of your lamps. Timers ensure that the lamps shutdown before it gets too hot.
It is important to note that CFL still generates heat. This includes bulbs that emit a color temperature of 6000K or more. To prevent any heat damage on your autoflower plants, make sure there is a three feet gap between the plants and your grow light.
Alternatives to CFL
If you plan on growing several autoflower plants and want better lighting, HID or MH lamps are a good alternative. These grow lights emit a bluish light that can improve the plant’s bud production. The problem with these fixtures is the amount of heat they produce. You will need a good ventilation system to bring in cool air to the lamps and draw away the heat.
A more powerful alternative is a LED grow light. The light they produce has a piercing effect that ensures nearly all parts of your autoflower plants receive a proper exposure. Apart from costs though, LED lights can also produce a significant amount of heat. The grow light still requires a sufficient ventilation system to keep them cool and prevent your plants from overheating.
CFL is a great entry point if you plan on cultivating your own marijuana strain without investing too much money and effort. The lights are versatile and cost-efficient.
With the use of CLF and autoflower plants, you can produce your own stash of recreational or medicinal herbs. Marijuana is always a great alternative to alcohol or even tobacco when you need to take the edge off. As Nick Offerman had said “Cannabis is possibly the best intoxicants. It has been proven, to be much less harmful than alcohol when used on a regular basis.”