If you are searching for the right grow lights for your autoflowering cannabis plants then you might consider autoflower CFL grow lights. There are only three popular types of grow lights for marijuana: CFL, LED and HPS. Of all the three, CFL is still the most widely used, find out why this is so and why many think CFL has a better advantage than other types of lighting by reading this short guide.
Why use CFL lights on Autoflowering Cannabis
More and more cannabis growers convert from their old lamps to a bright CFL lamp. However, some remain unconvinced. They assume that CFLs are inefficient because of their light output per watt. Some experience cultivators think that this quality of light will only grow very small plants and hence will reduce their yields.
Fluorescent lights have a higher photoactive radiation index compared to HID lights, therefore, no matter how bright and how hot HID lights, these are still inefficient.
Meanwhile, there are several areas along the spectral scale that cannabis uses light. Take green light and yellow light, these are rarely used. Compared to HPS lights that give off yellow light, CFL emits red or blue depending on the type of bulb that you are using. These colors will be able to create the same yields or maybe improved yields.
Different CFL Lights and Efficiency
You can find CFL lamps in various shapes, wattages and lumen outputs. But not all of these have similar efficiency ratings. Shapes of the bulbs are either spiral or tubed bulbs.
CFL bulbs nowadays have a longer and thinner shape while spiral bulbs are shorter although wider. With a lot of options for you, you need to select the bulb that’s perfect for your needs.
About efficiency ratings, a bulb with a tube or spiral shape is not an issue because the wattage is a more important component and usually the most calculated of all the values is the lumen per watt ratio of the bulb.
For instance, a 42 W CFL bulb provides 2700 lumens. You need at least two of these to improve light plus to get the best yield per bud. Meanwhile, cannabis plants require anywhere from 5000 to 10000 lumens per square feet of growth. It’s a must to measure your growing area to find out how much light you need for your plants. If your growing area is 10 square feet, therefore, you need 20 CFL bulbs for the best lighting solution for your plants.
Where to Place your CFL Lamps?
Usually, growers just place these around the growing area to get the best results.
About CFL Colors
Do you know that cannabis plants will grow better if you take advantage of the different CFL colors? These plants actually require different types of light during their different phases of growth. During the seedling to the growing stage, plants will grow better when exposed to more blue light. But during the flowering stage, plants will grow better and develop better buds when exposed to more red lights. Cannabis plants may use all the colors in the light spectrum except green.
Color and Temperature
What about CFL colors and temperatures? Is there a right color temperature for cannabis plants?
There are two color and temperature categories measured in degrees Kelvin or K. One is the 6500 K for plants that are still in their seedling and growing phase. For the flowering stage, 3000 K to 4000 K bulbs will suffice. Take note that these bulbs will have different colors, therefore, these will give plants more diverse light.
The Many Advantages of using CFL Lamps on Autos
- CFL lamps are ideal for growing autoflowering cannabis and other types of marijuana plants however you may need to install a lot of these lamps inside your growing room. These lamps must be installed around the room as well as around your plants to get the best results. CFL has low amounts of heat so you can place this near your plants but make sure to maintain a distance of 2 inches from the top most plant part too.
- CFL lamps are more affordable than LED and HPS lamps. Most hardware stores have CFL bulbs, therefore, you can easily replace one in case it burns out.
- CFL bulbs can fit in E27 bulb sockets and these sockets are easy to find from local hardware stores.
- CFL lamps may be purchased in different color temperatures. Therefore you will be able to find a bulb that will fit the growing or flowering phase of your plants.
- CFL lamps have high PAR efficiency, therefore, these will stay cooler compared to HID bulbs. You can use several lamps and still your growing area will remain cool.
- CFL lamps are cheaper to use compared to HPS bulbs that are too hot. You don’t need to worry about costly electrical bills even if these bulbs remain powered on during the day.
- CFL lamps are never going to lose style. More and more users prefer this lamp over others possibly because of its retro appearance.
A Few Disadvantages of Using CFL Lights
CFL lamps have a few drawbacks. CFL lamps come with higher wattages and are inefficient compared to bulbs with lower wattages. To get the most out of using this type of plant, use several bulbs along the different areas of the growing room. And of course, CFL lamps last for only a few years compared to LED bulbs with a longer lifespan.
Consider the Following Factors when using CFL on Autoflowering Lights
- The distance of the bulbs to your plants
Install CFL bulbs near your plants but maintain around 2 inches between the tips of your plant and the bulb. Depending on the size of your growing area, decide where to place the bulbs where they can be used most efficiently.
- How many lamps do you need
You must never use just one large CFL bulb in the middle of the room. This is not the best way to install your lamp even other forms of lighting. This will only light parts of the plants found along the top of the canopy.
The best practice is to install several bulbs on top, at the bottom and along the sides of the plants to get the best results.
- Use a timer to automate CFL lamps
A timer will let you automatically power off your lamps as well as other appliances at a certain time of the day. A timer will save you power and will also help you follow certain lighting schedules to maximize the growth of your plants. Autoflowering plants don’t need lighting schedules though but timers can still help make a growing room more efficient.
- Prune your plants well
Remove large fan leaves to allow light to penetrate the inner sections of the plant. Autoflowering plants usually have short, dense structures and therefore the inner sections of the plant may develop moisture and become too humid. Pruning will help reduce moisture and improve humidity.
- Consider energy-efficient lamps for more savings
You must insist on using energy-saving CFL bulbs that are available in the market. These should be your choice if you are planning on using a non-stop 24-hour lighting or 20/4 light/dark schedule. Energy-efficient bulbs will let you light your growing room without using so much power.
Safety when using CFL Grow Lights on Autoflowering Cannabis Plants
Indeed plants are unable to tell us if they have had enough light or they lack light. But expert growers say that plants can if only humans were too sensitive to notice.
Cannabis plants may actually tell you that it needs light. A plant deprived of good lighting will tell you by stretching. Some plants can stretch to double its height in an effort to reach a faraway light source. If your plants are stretching then there might be something wrong with your lighting arrangement. Keep CFL bulbs near plants, at least two inches away from plants to get the best results without burning your plants.
And if cannabis plants can tell you that it needs light, it can also give you a hint that it has had too much. Sometimes growers install too many CFL bulbs or lamps inside a very tiny growing area.
This is not just bad to your plants but may also cause severe burning of the tips of the leaves of your plants. So if you are growing autoflowering plants under CFL and you see burning of the leaves or folding of the leaves, adjust the position of your lamps or remove a few lamps.
A good way to find out if your room and lamps are too hot is to hold your hands against the light. If you feel hot, your plants will feel hot as well. But if you feel cold, your plants may already be freezing so take your time adjusting your autoflower CFL grow lights.