Growing Autoflowers with CFL Light Only: Is it Effective?

Growing Autoflowers with CFL

Growing autoflowers under CFL can provide a cost-efficient means of providing light to autoflower plants. The light from this type of grow light does not produce as much heat as other fixtures and is cheap to replace when needed.

However, can you rely on using just CFL light to give you the best possible yields out of your autoflower plants? Let us answer that question by taking a look at how effective the CFL autoflower growth method is.

Mechanism of Growing Autoflowers under CFL

Compact fluorescent light (CFL) works differently from conventional or incandescent bulbs. While old lamps utilize a filament to produce light, CFL uses argon and mercury vapor gases instead. When electricity interacts with the two gasses, they deliver an invisible light that reacts with the fluorescent coating on the inner walls. This coating produces the light that shines onto your autoflower plants.

Light Efficiency of CFL

To understand the efficiency of CFL, we need to know the photosynthetically active radiation (PAR). This is the waveband or wavelength of solar radiation from the sun, which plants can utilize. The ideal range is around 400 to 500 nm, which is a bluish to green light. On the other hand, higher wavelengths of yellow to orange hue light are usable during the flowering stage of an autoflower plant.

The light coming from CFL has a good PAR index by producing a bluish light. This means that your plant can utilize the majority of the light from the fixture and there is minimum light wastage. You can even adjust the PAR of your lighting with CFL bulbs that emit a low color temperature. These bulbs emit a yellowish to an orange hue that is suitable for plants within the flowering stage.  

If CFL offers better wavelengths that are sufficient for plants, why do some breeders utilize expensive grow lights such as HID? The answer comes down to the number of plants to cultivate. CFLs are not ideal for commercial gardens that are housing many cannabis plants.

Fluorescent lights are limited to the number of plants it can illuminate. You will need multiple bulbs peppered around the room to ensure all plants get the right amount of exposure. HID grow lights are ideal if you have many autoflower cannabis plants in a small area.

On the other hand, the CFL autoflower grow light method is feasible if you are cultivating up to three plants within a small area. This can be a grow cabinet or tent. With the right reflective surface on the walls, you can make sure all of your auto plants get the right amount of light.

CFL bulb’s limited light output is also not suitable for tall Sativa plants. You will need reflective surfaces around the growing area in order for the light to reach the bottom foliage of tall plants. Fortunately, this is not a problem with autoflower plants because of their small size.

Additional Aspects of CFL

Apart from providing a sufficient amount of light for growing autoflowers under CFL, CFL fixtures have other beneficial features such as its low heat production. While the bulbs can get hot and requires a modest distance from your autoflowering plant, the fixture does not require a cooling system.

Without a cooling system, CFL lights are versatile enough for various gardens. All you need is a bulb socket in the place where you want to cultivate your plants. You do not need to consider additional room for ducts and cooling units.

CFL is also an affordable solution to lighting your garden due to the economical price of the bulbs. Even the installation of the fixture is not that costly since nearly anyone can do it. You just need to find the right position that allows the lamp to cover all of your autoflower plants.

The lack of a ventilation system also allows for discreet cultivation. With a CFL powering a grow cabinet or tent, you can place your indoor garden nearly anywhere in your house.

While still in the subject of affordable solutions, CFL does not consume as much power as other grow lights. This is just for the energy that the bulb consumes. Since you do not need a cooling system with the CFL fixture, you are not burning extra power for your indoor garden.

Replacement of the bulbs is also not a problem due to the availability of the lamps. You can easily find these bulbs in supermarkets, office supply stores, and even convenience stores. On the other hand, you need to find specialty stores that sell light fixtures if you need a replacement for an HID or MH setup. While you can order a replacement online, it can take days to receive it.


To conclude everything by answering the question at the beginning, CFL lights are suitable for cultivating autoflower plants. The light fixture is great for beginners who want to try their hands at producing their own stash due to the grow light’s affordability.

Given the medical and recreational nature of marijuana, you will find many uses for your own stash. It can help you discover yourself more while consuming it. As the late Hugh Hefner attested, “Smoking has helped put me reach into my realm of the senses.”


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