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Can Compact Fluorescent Lights Be Used For Growing Plants?

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Imitating the art of nature, grow lights are a true blessing for indoor plants. These are adequate substitutes for natural sunlight that help plants in photosynthesis. As plants depict versatility when it comes to their sunlight requirements, an adaptable technology can help your house plants grow and flourish efficiently.

Yes, compact fluorescent lights can be used for growing plants! These lights are one of the most cost-effective options, favoring a wide variety of plants. With optimum energy efficiency, CFLs give off soft and pleasant light. Their easy availability and simple operation make them a preferable choice among hobbyists and beginner gardeners.

What are Compact Fluorescent Lights?

Among incandescent bulbs, CFLs, and LED bulbs; the CFLs emerge as the first choices for small gardening setups.
They are an upgrade of the classic incandescent lamps. These give off less heat, take less wattage, and last longer than their predecessors.

These inexpensive lights come in a variety of shapes and sizes. On top of that, CFLs are easy to mount and do not require any professional assistance.

The Science Behind CFL Bulbs

They operate with the help of compact folded tubes that contain argon and mercury. When the current runs through the ballast system, these gasses excite and react, emitting ultraviolet light. The internal part of the bulb is coated with a special fluorescent paint, which absorbs the UV light, giving off soft and cool white light.

Fluorescent Lights Advantages and Disadvantages Advantages and Disadvantages

Let’s compare!

Advantages  Disadvantages
1. Inexpensive Incorporates hazardous content
2. Easy to mount Requires special disposal
3. Highly energy efficient Takes about thirty seconds to three minutes to achieve maximum brightness
4. Longer life span Multiple bulbs are needed to achieve the desired light intensity
5. Widely available If the bulb breaks, the small amount of released mercury can be dangerous to health.

Types Of CFL Bulbs

Every plant has a unique light and temperature requirement in the entire growing cycle. On the basis of color temperature, these bulbs have been classified into two major types:

  1. Soft White
  2. Daylight

However, a combination of both variants can create an ideal light spectrum for your indoor garden.

Daylight (5000K-6500K)

Plants require more heat and light at the beginning phase. In the vegetative period, a plant is growing at its maximum speed, proceeding quickly towards the flowering stage.

The daylight bulbs give out the most heat. Hence, the system helps in strengthening the stems, leading to a stronger and healthier plant. It is better to place your plants close enough to the light source at the vegetative phase.

Cool White, Bright White (3500-4100K)

These middle-range bulbs do not complement any of the growing stages. Their intensity is less for the vegetative phase and higher for the flowering stage. However, you can add 1-2 of them in your light spectrum.

Warm White, Soft White (2700-3000K)

The flowering phase is the most beautiful and delicate of all. Therefore, you must compliment your flowering plants with this soothing and warm range.

How to Use Compact Fluorescent Lights for Growing Plants

How to Use Compact Fluorescent Lights for Growing Plants

Encouraging blooming, CFLs have been assisting home gardeners for decades. These supplemental lights provide a precise wavelength and secure the plants from seasonal damage.
Using CFLs is simpler than you think!

1. Choose Location

Although CFLs are an adequate substitute, your plants still need a little bit of natural sunlight. Hence, place your plants near a window or a place that receives some sunlight daily.

2. Select Your Plants

Each plant has a different daily light integral. For a year-round blooming experience, select plants with low light requirements.

3. Place the CFL Bulbs

You may need a couple of CFLs to achieve the desired intensity. “Cool White” versions work best. Place the CFLs in adjustable fixtures. As they emit less heat, placing them too close would not damage your plants. Also, using a reflector will help you in achieving optimum focus.

4. Adjust The Light

Ensure that each leaf of every plant is enlightened. For best results, the CFL grow lights should be only 2 to 6 inches away. As the plants start growing, they will eventually reach the light source. However, it is essential to maintain some distance to secure your plants from damage.
Note: If the leaves start burning or turn brown, increase the distance!

5. Set the Timer

The artificial growing environment must not disturb the biological clock of your plants. Therefore, set a timer and operate the lights at the same time every day.
In the case of low-light plants, set the timer for eight hours or more. On the other hand, plants with high-light requirements must get about eighteen hours of artificial light.

6. Monitor Your Plants

Inspect your delicate buddies regularly. You can increase or decrease the timings, distance, and intensity accordingly.

Wrap Up

Creating your spectrum sounds attractive. Doesn’t it? However, it can be a headache for beginners.

Luckily, the CFL fixtures also come pre-assembled with the right combination of CFL bulbs to save time and effort. What are you waiting for? Shop for the best one and bring out the gardening beast!

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