Each additional plant needs an additional container, coco and 5 more CFLs and light sockets, for an additional setup cost of about $100/plant.
Startup Cost: Around $300 to get started
(materials listed here)
You’ll likely need to add CFLs a little as a time while your plant grows, but by the time the plants are flowering, you definitely want more light than your original two bulbs to get your plants to produce lots of bud. Light is what gives your plant energy, and the more energy it gets, the bigger buds it will grow.
You need about 80w of CFLs per plant to start; I prefer to start with two 40W per plant
Cheap to get started
This grow tent is 2’ x 4’ x 5’, which is a good starting tent size that can be upgraded with bigger grow lights later. The inside walls of a grow tent are specially made to reflect the light from grow lights onto your plants.
Compact fluorescent light bulbs do contain a small amount of mercury, and mercury can be dangerous. On the plus side, manufacturers have drastically decreased the amount of mercury they use in CFLs and are trying to reduce that amount even further.
Speaking of LEDs, which is better? LED lights have quickly become quite popular with indoor cannabis growers, and with indoor gardeners in general. Aside from being useful in growing devil’s lettuce, LED lights can be useful in growing regular lettuce, along with kale, herbs, and other consumable plants.
We’ll get into the shifting legal landscape of CFL bulbs in a minute, but generally speaking, CFL bulbs are still pretty easy to find at local hardware stores and even grocery stores in most states.
Compact fluorescent light bulbs use a combination of argon gas and mercury vapor to produce light. When exposed to an electric current, the argon and mercury combination generates an invisible ultraviolet light. This light hits a fluorescent coating on the inside of the tube, and voila, visible light.
Can you still buy CFL bulbs?
To summarize the pros of CFL bulbs, they are:
CFLs were originally developed to replace incandescent bulbs, which are not all that energy efficient. Compared to incandescent bulbs, CFLs last 10 times longer and generate much less heat (which is actually a good thing for indoor cannabis grows). Thanks to LED lights, they’re no longer the most energy-efficient option, but they do require less wattage to deliver the same amount of lumen output as incandescent bulbs.
The answer depends on where you live. As of this writing, the fate of CFLs is unclear due to some backtracking by the Department of Energy around efficiency requirements for light bulbs that were supposed to come into effect back in 2019. The matter is currently being litigated and, much like cannabis laws, there is a patchwork of regulation that varies by state.
What is better, LED or CFL bulbs?
Whether you’re a minimalist just looking to grow some cannabis in your window or an enthusiast looking to invest in a more fleshed-out system, chances are you already know how important light is for your plants. (And if you don’t, the answer is very!)
Compact fluorescent light bulbs have lots of pros for the novice grower: ease of use, minimal investment, and decent efficiency. That said, they do carry some minimal risk, are less environmentally friendly than other options (like LEDs), and will cost more in the long term.