Fluorescent Grow Lights

by Robski

I'm utilizing a closet for my plant (4'x 3') and it gets hot in there. My hygrometer is showing 85 degrees and 60% humidity. Utilizing one intake fan, exhaust fan etc.. also I'm using a humidifier which adds to the heat but in very small increments. I'm using 2 sets of T5's. My question is: are there any other lights I can use besides HPS or any high output light or high electrical consuming lights? I would prefer to use regular light bulbs, colored light bulbs, or a combination maybe. And can you please be specific so I can purchase these before I start growing. My mother plant is approx. 3 ft - 3 1/2 tall. I currently have 2 clones growing. What can I use that will give me strong enough lumens without using those super high energy consuming light bulbs? Thanks for your expertise and time!

Answer: Robski- most plants (even light-loving ones) can be grown healthy as clones, seedlings, and small plants in the vegetative state (15 inches tall or less) under regular 4 foot long fluorescent shop lights. This is true because it takes much less light energy for a plant to grow healthy in the vegetative stage than it does to grow properly during the flowering stage.

If you want to use regular fluorescent lights for vegetative growth, I have two tips. First- when you go to buy bulbs for your light fixtures, you will want to choose the bulbs with the highest lumen rating. Second- the lights need to be placed very close to the plants....about 3 inches from the tops. Regular fluorescent light looses its power very quickly with distance. If your veg plants get much taller than 15 inches, you will need a stronger light source to keep supporting their healthy growth from top to bottom- such as the T5's.

For flowering / fruiting plants, regular fluorescent light is just not enough. The minimum you need is T5 light. Unfortunately, there is no way to produce lots of intense light for flowering plants without using a moderate amount of electricity and without producing heat in the grow room. The more light you use (a 600 W HPS, for example) the more electricity you use and the more heat you produce.

So, for the time being, your best solution may be to stick with your T5 lights (at least during the flowering stage). My only other suggestion would be to check out a compact fluorescent light in a horizontal reflector, which is likely to be just as expensive as another T5 light. Hope this helps, and Happy Growing!

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