CFL Grow Light Cannabis Grow Setup & Tutorial

Updated Jan 24, 2021

by Nebula Haze

CFL lights being used to grow cannabis

See More Growing Setups

CFL Grow Setup (For Short Spaces)


About This Setup

CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lamps) are what most people used for standard household lighting up until a few years ago. Although they’ve mostly been replaced by the household LED (which can be adapted for the same purpose), they can still be used as a starting grow light for growers who are hesitant to buy a dedicated grow light. You can get these bulbs almost anywhere, and pretty much any of them will work or an entire grow in a pinch. Their wide availability is a huge part of their (former) popularity in the indoor growing world.

You probably won’t need an exhaust fan for cooling in this setup, but if you don’t have an exhaust fan you can’t use a carbon filter, which means you won’t have a great way to prevent smells from leaking outside your grow space.


Cost Estimates

  • Total Setup Cost: $471.00
  • Estimated Monthly Electricity Cost: $27-59/month (based on $0.12/kWH to $0.25/kWh – see breakdown)
  • Total Cost for Entire First 4-Month Grow (Setup + Electricity): $707 ($353-707/ounce)
  • Total Cost for Second Grow (Nutrients + Electricity): $266 ($133-266/ounce)

Summary of what you need for this CFL grow setup

Example of everything on the shopping list for the CFL cannabis setup

CFL Grow Journal Examples

The following grow journals feature setups that are similar to this one (though some growers may use more or fewer CFLs) – see what to expect when growing cannabis with CFLs!


Complete Grow Supply List

This cannabis grow room setup list includes all the supplies you need to get to harvest.

Grow Light

  • CFL Grow Lights (at least 200W)
    • Start out in the vegetative stage with at least 160 actual (not equivalent) watts of daylight CFL bulbs.
    • In the flowering stage, you’ll want to add a minimum of 80 watts of soft white CFL bulbs. If you want to add more bulbs, add them during flowering for the most value.
    • The light emitted by CFLs won’t go far, so it’s usually a good idea to have more of them and keep them all within 4-6 inches from your plants.
    • Cost: ~$77

  An example of a 40-watt daylight cfl bulb A 40W soft white cfl bulb
40 watt CFLs in daylight spectrum (left) for the vegetative stage and soft white spectrum (right) for flowering

Grow Space

Plant Pots


General Hydroponics Flora trio - includes all your base nutrients! General Hydroponics CaliMagic Cal-Mag supplement
General Hydroponics Flora Trio and CaliMagic

Other Supplementary Items

Estimated Cost: $471 plus the cost of seeds

Check Out Different Grow Setups!

Examples of Similar Setups

CFL grow lights being used with improvised reflectors

Some growers use a reflector that’s been made for CFLs

Example of cannabis plants growing under CFL grow lights with a dedicated reflector

There are lots of ways to configure CFLs depending on the size and shape of your plants

CFL bulbs without reflectors in a haphazard arrangement

Example of a grow tent with CFL grow lights being used with splitters

A great example of someone keeping CFL lights close, but not close enough to burn them!

Example of CFL-grown cannabis buds near harvest

Example of big cannabis buds grown under CFLs

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