by Nebula Haze
CFL Grow Setup (For Short Spaces)
- Average Yields: 1-2 ounces
- Recommended 1-2 plants
- Grow space is 2’x2’x4’ or larger
- Learn more about growing cannabis with CFLs
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 Although they’ve mostly been replaced by the household LED (which can be adapted for the same purpose), they can still be used as a starting grow light for growers who are hesitant to buy a dedicated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.
- 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
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!
- First Timer CFL Bubbleponics Grow – 5 oz in 3 months
- CFL Dresser Microgrow in Pictures – Clone to Harvest – 2.69 oz
- $200 CFL Microgrow – 1.02 oz (this grower cut some corners!)
Complete Grow Supply List
This cannabis grow room setup list includes all the supplies you need to get to harvest.
- 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
- Grow Tent Recommended Sizes
- Exhaust Fan
- Although an exhaust fan isn’t absolutely necessary for this grow, it’s great for expelling heat and makes it so you can use a carbon scrubber which is strongly recommended.
- Learn more about choosing and setting up an exhaust fan.
- Recommended: 4″ AC Infinity CLOUDLINE series of inline exhaust fans. These run quiet and have the ability to turn the speed way down if necessary.
- Budget choice: Vivosun 4″ Fan – 203 CFM (good cheap fan but runs loud)
- Cost: ~$55-120
- Carbon Scrubber
- If you don’t hook up a scrubber to your exhaust fan, your tent will rapidly fill the surrounding area with a pungent weed smell!
- Recommended: 4-inch TopoLite Carbon Filter, 4″ x 10″ version
- Cost: ~$45
- Growing medium: Coco coir, soil or hydroponics for advanced growers
- Recommended containers: Smart pots or Air Pots between 2 and 5 gallons (here’s the brand I use)
- Recommended Soil: One 1.5 cu ft bag of Fox Farm Ocean Forest will fill 4 x 3-gallon fabric pots
- Recommended Coco: One 50L bag of Mother Earth coco potting mix will fill 5 x 3-gallon fabric pots
- Cost: ~$70
- Most nutrient systems will come with at least one bottle for vegetative and one for bloom. Many nutrient lines carry 3 bottles or even more!
- Whether it’s on the bottle or online, most nutrient lines come with a schedule. Use the schedule at half-strength in the beginning as the recommended strength is typically too high for cannabis.
- Learn about different nutrient lines we recommend
- Recommended Base Nutrients: General Hydroponics Flora trio (use at half strength) + CaliMagic (use at full strength)
- (Optional) Bloom Supplement: General Hydroponics Floralicious Bloom
- Cost: $50-100
Other Supplementary Items
- Get your seeds – $5-12/seed (on average, can be more or less depending on the breeder)
- 24-Hour Timer (to put your grow lights on a timer so the plants get a day and night period on a schedule). Why do cannabis plants need to be on a day/night schedule? What about autoflowering light schedules? – $10
- Water containers (I personally use a 3-gallon or 5-gallon water jug to mix up nutrients, but anything can work) – Much cheaper at Wal-Mart ($5-15) than online!
- Thermometer/Humidity Monitor with a probe so you can keep track of the temperature inside the tent – $15
- PH Test Kit – Prevent potential nutrient deficiencies by testing the water pH: https://www.growweedeasy.com/ph – $15
- Measuring spoons for measuring out your nutrients (many people already have these) – $10
- Learn about other cool growing tools
Estimated Cost: $471 plus the cost of seeds
Examples of Similar Setups
Some growers use a reflector that’s been made for CFLs
There are lots of ways to configure CFLs depending on the size and shape of your plants