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Growing Weed With CFLs – What Growers Need to Know

In the past, we’ve covered how to grow train your plants to grow short and how you can maximize your space when choosing an auto-flowering or photoperiod strain, I’d like to share some tips for growing with the cheapest marijuana grow lights that fit in extremely small spaces. CFLs!

What are CFLs?

CFL stands for “compact fluorescent light” and even though these lights can be found at any hardware or grocery store, they actually give off a really great light spectrum for growing marijuana.

Never get CFLs confused with old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs.

Benefits of growing with CFLs

CFLs are easy to find in grocery and home improvement stores

Suited to very small grow spaces

CFLs are a great option if you.

Must grow in a very small space (computer case, cupboard, or tiny closet)

Plan to grow 1-2 plants

Want to harvest a few ounces of buds

Are willing to check on your plants at least once every few days (you will need to adjust the CFL grow lights relatively often since they’re kept very close to plants)

CFLs are not well suited for growers who want this.

Pounds of buds per plant

Large grow tent

Refuse to learn [how to train plants]

Can’t tend plants regularly

“Baby Pic”

Here’s a picture of one of my very first grow with CFLs.
-Nebula

How Many CFLs Do You Need To Grow Marijuana?

There are lots of formulas that growers can use to determine how many CFLs they will need.

For example, some growers recommend that you go by the amount of lumens (light) produced, or by the total wattage of your lights.

However, I think a simpler approach is much more effective, and will result in better yields for you.

Simply follow these principles with CFLs to get great yields every time:

All parts of the plant should be within 8-10” of a CFL bulb (CFLs should be kept 2” away from the tops of your plants

Any “shadowy” areas need another bulb

More bulbs = better results (You want to surround your plant with as many bulbs as possible because the penetration of CFLs is poor; in other words, more small CFLs is more effective than a few big CFLs)
Real-life Example: 7 x 26W CFLs (at 182 watts total) that are spread in an array around the plant will be more effective for growth than 1 x 200W CFL, even though they use less total electricity.

More lumens = better results (you can’t really give your plant too much light when growing with CFLs, more is better)

In the flowering stage, make sure that buds get direct access to intense light & keep CFLs as close to buds as possible without burning them (this will dramatically increase yields with CFLs)

The size and shape of your plant is going to have the biggest effect on how many CFLs you’ll need, and that’s why no “formula” is going to be accurate all the time. Any formula is just a rough estimate.

What if I’m still not sure how many CFLs to get?

You can use this formula to get started with planning your grow space, though I recommend using the guidelines above once your plant has actually started growing.

4,000+ lumens/sq foot (more is even better) – lumens is the measure of light as perceived by the human eye, and this number will be listed on the CFL bulb packaging

Example of Estimating Number of CFLs Needed For Your Grow Space:

Multiple width x length of your grow space to determine the sq feet.
Let’s say your grow space is 2’ x 2’ = 4 sq feet

Multiple the sq feet of your space by 4,000 lumens to determine the total lumens needed for this space.
So 4 sq feet x 4,000 lumens/sq feet = 16,000 total lumens for that space

Divide this number by the lumens produced by each bulb
If you’re getting 42W CFLs which are rated at 2,650 lumens apiece, that would be 16,000/2,650 =

This number is the minimum number of CFLs needed for your space
That means in this case you’d start with 6 (or more) 42W CFLs

Remember, this formula is just an estimate, and you will get the best results if you also follow the guidelines listed above.

Tip for maximizing the light to your plants: Use the power of reflection to minimize light loss. Cover your walls with reflective mylar or paint them with flat white paint. Utilize reflectors to aim more light where you want.

What Color CFLs Should I Get? (CFLs and Light Spectrum)

When you’re buying CFLs, they come in different “colors.” Some are more orange/yellow, some are almost blue, and others almost look like daylight.

The truth is that all CFLs will work for growing, but some are better than others.

6500k colored bulbs (Cool White or Bright White)
Best suited to Vegetative Stage

By using the 6500k colored bulbs during the vegetative stage, you’ll be giving your plants more blue light, which helps plants grow short and bushy.

2700k colored bulbs (Soft White)
Best suited to Flowering Stage

The soft white 2700k colored bulbs have more reds/yellows that will help your plant produce potent buds.

Will a 5500k photography CFL bulbs work for growing? I know you’re supposed to get 6500k colored bulbs in the vegetative stage, and 2700k colored bulbs for flowering.

I have a 150w 5500k photography bulb which looks identical to other bulbs rated 5500k specifically sold as “grow bulbs” so could this be used for growing?

Any CFL will work for growing marijuana. I’ve used 5500k photography CFL bulbs in the past and they work great.

As far as spectrum is concerned, blue (6500k) encourages shorter vegetative growth, red/yellow (2700K) encourages longer/taller vegetative growth and flowering.

The 5500k bulbs are in between. However, they can all be used successfully in all stages of growing.

How much light (wattage) will have a much greater affect on your results, and more light/wattage is better with CFLs. It’s almost impossible to give plants too much light with CFLs.

For example, I’d rather have 2 x 150W 5500k bulbs than 2 x 100W 2700k bulbs for flowering. The increased light intensity will help your plants more than getting the exact right color spectrum.

The increased wattage will give you more return on yields than getting the proper spectrum.

What next?

I’m still not sure which grow lights to get. You may be interested in this discussion on the pros and cons of CFLs vs HPS grow lights for a small space: http://growweedeasy.com/cfls-vs-hps-grow-lights

I want to see a real CFL grow in action! Show me a CFL dresser microgrow with lots of pictures: http://growweedeasy.com/entire-microgrow-pictures-week-by-week

I’m definitely choosing CFLs. if you know you’re ready to get started growing with CFLs, click here to view my step-by-step tutorial on growing weed with CFLs in coco: http://growweedeasy.com/easiest-grow-method-cfl-coco-coir

I’m thinking about choosing HPS grow lights instead. Help me pick out the right lights and teach me how to set them up: http://growweedeasy.com/hps-grow-lights-setup

Start Growing with CFLs Today!

These CFLs are proven for growing marijuana. They also make great supplemental lighting.

CFLs are available everywhere… giving you a cheap & stealthy way to start growing weed in a cupboard, computer case, or small closet. Learn how…

Easy Beginner Grow Cannabis Guide w/ CFL Grow Lights | How to Grow Marijuana

Table of Contents

This easy indoor hydroponic cannabis grow guide uses common CFL bulbs as grow lights and forgiving coco coir as a growing medium. It’s designed for the beginner as a cheap and easy way to introduce yourself to growing marijuana.

Growing weed doesn’t have to be hard!

Startup Cost: Around $300 to get started
(materials listed here)

Maintenance Cost: $50/month

Yields to Expect: 1-3 ounces/plant (if you follow the directions in this tutorial)

Time to Harvest: An average CFL cannabis grow takes about 12 weeks from seed to harvest. Some strains (like auto-flowering cannabis strains) can be ready as soon as 8 weeks from seed. With other strains, you may need 14 weeks or more to get to harvest (learn how to get to harvest sooner). Strain choice is very important when it comes to timelines! Learn how to find the right strain.

Recommended For: People who want a super-cheap, super-easy grow style.

Don’t be fooled just because it’s easy. Even though I was a complete beginner when I started, I ended up getting 6.2 ounces of dried buds off my very first cannabis plant from my very first grow, which I grew using this system! (Pics below). That is an unusually lot of cannabis for a CFL grow, and took using a LOT of bulbs, but if you read through this whole tutorial you’ll learn step-by-step how you can do it, too.

It helps to use a high-yielding strain (Northern Lights is great because it’s high-yielding, tends to grows short, and is low odor).

I also train my cannabis plants to take advantage of the great light that CFLs produce within 2-8″ of the bulb.

These results are not typical for your first try unless you’ve put in a lot of extra research and really watch and tend to your plants throughout your grow. Which brings me to my next point.

This method is not for everyone!

That’s because growing weed with CFLs isn’t the highest yielding method. It doesn’t get the most yields for the electricity, it’s not suitable for a large grow, and it’s not going to work if you aren’t willing to watch over your plants closely throughout the grow.

But it’s super cheap, super easy, and if you just need a few ounces of bud every few months, it may be the perfect “low-maintenance” way for you to grow weed!

I think it would be safe to assume that even a beginner can expect to get 1-3 ounces of dried buds per plant if you just follow these instructions. Even if you mess up (and you will), you’ll still get at least that if you can get your plants to harvest.

Here’s a pic of my very first grow using this method!

You will be growing your marijuana plants indoors in a soil-less medium called Coconut Coir (often called coco coir, or even just coir). Coco coir is a natural fiber made from the husk of coconuts that naturally stimulates the roots of plants and is forgiving when growing marijuana.

For feeding (water plus nutrients), you will hand-water them whenever your plants get dry and you will provide them with all the nutrients they need right in their water.

For lights, all you need are some cheap CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lights) like the ones you get from your local hardware store.

These common bulbs are much more efficient than old-fashioned light bulbs (which can’t be used to grow plants) and CFLs don’t use much electricity or produce as much heat compared to some other grow lights.

For a stealth marijuana grow inside a tiny space, nothing can beat CFLs as marijuana grow lights.

Because CFLs have a short light range (8-12 inch max), this tutorial works best for growing plants that are kept shorter than 3-4 feet. You want to focus on training your plants to grow wide instead of tall.

That means you will choose either…

  • A compact grow when you keep your marijuana plants small and harvest often (great choice for beginners who want a quick harvest) OR
  • A controlled grow where you allow your plants to get bigger / wider, but you maximize the CFL light range by training your marijuana plants to grow short and bushy. This is a great choice for growers who don’t mind waiting a few more weeks in order to get a bigger harvest.

You can still get at least a couple of ounces off each plant, even when plants are kept short and you will be able to harvest your crop in only 3-4 months.

This system reduces many of the problems associated with an indoor soil grow, and is also much easier than almost any other hydroponic style grow.

It is a great way to learn about how marijuana plants grow and after doing one harvest yourself, I guarantee that you will start getting millions of ideas on how you want to do your next grow.

Pros of Growing Marijuana with CFL Grow Lights and Coco Coir

  • Cheap and easy to start
  • Cheap and easy to maintain even for a complete beginner
  • Forgiving way to learn how to grow weed
  • Perfect for growing 1-2 plants
  • Get 1-3 ounces/plant (harvest yields depend on the strain, how big you grow your plant ,and the light intensity you provide to the buds during the flowering stage)
  • High quality bud since the plant is fed hydroponically
  • Suitable method for a very small grow space
  • Can be used with any strain of marijuana, whether starting with seeds or clones
  • If you ever upgrade down the road, you’ll still be able to use all this equipment for seedlings and vegetating marijuana plants; this setup is easily turned into a dedicated vegetative chamber

Cons of Growing Marijuana with CFL Grow Lights and Coco Coir

  • CFL grow lights are not cost effective when growing more than 1-2 flowering marijuana plants at a time, if you’re growing more than a handful of plants, you’ll probably want to invest in a LED Grow Light or LEC grow light to supplement your light intensity. Learn about the various marijuana grow lights you can add if you want to really ramp up your yields (instead of just trying to add more CFLs).
  • Hand-watering plants is simple, but can be a pain if you have a lot of plants OR very small pots (which need to be watered more often)
  • You have to adjust your CFL bulbs 1-2 times a week, as your plants will be rapidly growing into them
  • For best results and to be able to harvest several ounces/plant with this method, you will need invest your time to learn how to keep your marijuana plants short with basic marijuana growth control techniques

This is really a perfect way to grow your first harvest if you “just want to get your feet wet” because it’s low cost and so forgiving it’s hard to mess up. Plus, you will really learn an incredible amount about cannabis growing by using this method.

I used this technique for my first grow, and even though I made a lot of mistakes, my plants produced great buds.

What you will need

  • Marijuana Seeds or Clones
  • High-quality hydroponic nutrients which are designed for growing marijuana hydroponically. Any quality cannabis nutrients made for hydroponics will work well as long as you also use a Cal-Mag supplement. I personally use the General Hydroponics Flora trio plus Calimagic (a Cal-Mag supplement) for growing in coco coir. This is a tried and tested nutrient system for any type of hydroponic growing. You can actually follow the nutrient schedule on the bottle because it’s formulated for plants like cannabis, just start at half-strength. Here is the exact nutrient schedule I’m using right now from them (pdf). I also recommend Fox Farms Hydroponic Liquid Nutrient trio since that’s what I exclusively used with good results on my first grow. Learn more about different cannabis nutrients.
  • Pots to plant your marijuana in. Learn all about cannabis growing containers. Since you want to keep plants relatively small when growing cannabis with CFLs, you’ll generally want smaller containers (1-3 gallons each) for your plants. If you do get bigger containers (5+ gallons), you should still start your plants in smaller containers until they outgrow the current one and need a larger pot.
  • Coco Coir Potting Mix. You can buy done-for-you Coco Coir potting mixes online or at hydroponic garden stores, which can be used immediately just like regular soil. But the cheapest and most widely available type of coco coir for growing comes in brick form. Here’s a tutorial showing you how to hydrate coco coir bricks into a nice fluffy soilless coco mix that your plants will love.
  • CFLs (Compact Florescent Lights). You want at least two 40W ‘daylight’ CFLs to start (note: a 40W CFL is the same as a 150W incandescent equivalent, don’t let them trick you). You’ll be adding more CFLs as your plant grows and needs more light. You should plan on getting around three more 42W ‘soft white’ CFLs for the flowering stage. CFLs are found everywhere, in stores and online. For growing cannabis, I like bulbs close to the 40W range because they are a small, manageable size but still produce a lot of light. By the time your cannabis is flowering (making buds), basically the more light the better. When it comes to CFLs, you pretty much can’t give your plant too much light. It’s optimal to use ‘daylight’ (6500k) colored bulbs for the vegetative stage and ‘soft white’ (2700k) colored bulbs for flowering, because this more closely matches what the sun is doing in summer and fall, but you can use any color spectrum CFL during any stage of life and your cannabis will grow well. The total amount of CFL wattage you give your plants is much more important than the color spectrum of the bulb. Learn more about how many CFLs to use for the yields you want.
  • Enough light sockets for all your lightbulbs – they’re about $5 apiece at my hardware store, and a few bucks more online. Sometimes they also come with some sort of clip you can use to clip your lights anywhere. A 4-way splitter is a great way to get more sockets in a small amount of space for less money.
  • A timer to make your lights go on and off when you want. You can get a cheap mechanical one or spend more for a nice digital one, and they’re found in hardware stores or online. The timer I use cost less than $10 and has served me well for years. You don’t necessarily need a timer to start growing, but you will need one by the time you start flowering your plant (about a month in).
  • pH Control Kit: This contains pH Up and pH Down (to adjust pH of your water) and a simple strip test. Another option for testing pH is a fancy (and more expensive) digital pH tester though my plants did just fine with the strip test that comes in the much cheaper pH Control Kit. All hydroponic stores and some gardening stores with sell pH Control Kids. You will want to adjust your water so it’s around 5.5-6.0 pH when you water your plants. How do I check and adjust the pH of my water?
  • (Optional)Grow Tent: If you don’t have a good growing space, you can easily buy one that’s perfect for growing cannabis! A 2’x2’x4′ Grow Tent is great for small spaces. If you have more space, a larger model such as a 2’x4’x5′ Grow Tent will give you a lot more flexibility as far as accessing your plants and being able to arrange your lights. You can also use a 2x4x5 with bigger grow lights such as a 250W HPS or even a 400W HPS, so you’ll have the ability to upgrade your grow down the road. I always recommend getting the biggest grow tent size you can fit, as you’ll always wish you had more room! Learn more about using grow tents for growing weed.

Estimated Total Cost for Growing One Plant

  • Seeds or Clones – Free – $10+/plant (learn how to get marijuana seeds in the US)
  • Nutrients –General Hydroponics Flora trio plus Calimagic (a Cal-Mag supplement) – $55
  • Coco Coir – $20 for a done-for-you bag of coco mix, or about the same for a coco coir brick + perlite. (learn how to rehydrate a coco brick)
  • Container – 2 or 3-gallon pot – $1 – $8
  • CFLs
    • Two 40W ‘daylight’ CFLs for the vegetative stage – $20
    • Three 42W ‘soft white’ CFLs for the flowering stage – $35
  • Light sockets – you need a light socket for each of your CFLs. They usually cost less than $10 each, and you can get cheap 4-way splitters to be able to use less sockets/cords for even cheaper. For five sockets (to account for your five CFLs), it will run less than $50.
  • Light Timer – An average timer costs about $10 though some digital ones can cost $30 or more
  • pH Kit – A complete pH kit costs $10 – $30

Total Startup Cost for One Plant: $201 – $258

Each additional plant needs an additional container, coco and 5 more CFLs and light sockets, for an additional setup cost of about $100/plant.

Important! If you plan to grow more than 2-3 plants, I highly recommend upgrading to a small LEC, LED or HPS grow light as you will get a better “bang for your buck” than with CFLs as far as yields for electricity. An LEC, LED or HPS will yield 2-4 times as much bud as you would get with CFLs for the same amount of electricity. CFLs are much better suited for just one or two plants, or for growers who want to “dip a toe” in growing without investing too much.

So, you can see that it doesn’t cost that much to get started growing cannabis with CFLs! After you get going you can expect to spend about $30/month in electricity, supplies, etc. considering an electricity price of $0.12/kWh (average cost of electricity in the US). So, if you harvest in 3.5 months, which is the average time, you’ll have spent about a total of $300 – $360 for your entire first grow, including setup, electricity, nutrients and maintenance. After that you can expect to pay about $100/grow since you won’t have to invest in most of the setup costs again.

Spend about $300 and Harvest 2+ Ounces From One Plant!

2 ounces (

60 grams) per plant of bud retail value: You may get even more but a reasonable estimate for someone who follows the directions is to harvest at least two ounces of dried bud from each plant. At $10-$20/gram (prices around here), two ounces of cannabis is equal to $566 – $1133 which is worth much more than the money you need to put in to get started. And the amount you spend will go down each grow, while your yields will likely go up. Plus, you don’t have to go anywhere to get your buds! I got a total 6.2 ounces of dried buds off my first cannabis plant I grew using this system (pictured below in flowering section) but to get those kinds of results you need to train your plant and invest in more CFLs as the plant get bigger to make sure there aren’t any shadowy areas.

After your first grow, you will only need to get more plants, more coco coir, and more nutrients which will significantly bring down the start-up costs for subsequent grows.

Remember, you can start out with fewer lights and light sockets (start with 2 per plant), and will only need to get more as your plants get bigger. The great thing about all of the items needed for this technique is they can all be used in future grows, even if you decide not to continue with this method. For example, even if you end up getting more powerful grow lights eventually, you will always be able to use the CFLs for starting out new plants, or for adding additional side lighting.

A Note about Using CFL Lights

You need about 80w of CFLs per plant to start; I prefer to start with two 40W per plant

This is what I use for each plant:

  • Two 40W ‘daylight’ CFLs to start
  • When the plant starts budding, I recommend adding at least an additional three 42W ‘soft white’ CFLs for the flowering stage. You can add even more if you have the space. More light = more bud when it comes to CFLs in the flowering stage.

These lights are easily found at the store or online. You can get lower or higher wattage bulbs, but I like bulbs close to the 40w range because they produce a lot of light, but are still a small, manageable size.

You’ll likely need to add CFLs a little as a time while your plant grows, but by the time the plants are flowering, you definitely want more light than your original two bulbs to get your plants to produce lots of bud. Light is what gives your plant energy, and the more energy it gets, the bigger buds it will grow.

More Light = More Bud
(up to a point)

It’s optimal to use ‘daylight’ (6500k) colored bulbs for the vegetative stage and ‘soft white’ (2500k) colored bulbs for flowering, but you can use any color CFL during either stage and your plant will grow well. The color spectrum of the bulb is not nearly as important as the total wattage.

Instead of just plain sockets, you may decide to get some heavy duty clamp light sockets which you can use to power your light bulbs. These light sockets have a reflector built in and are able to clamp to most anything.

When looking for clamp light sockets, avoid anything that’s made of plastic (it’s cheap and will break) and try to find something with at least a 9-foot-long cord. You might be surprised at how annoying it is to try to find a way to make a 6-foot cord work.

To maximize the light your plants are getting, you can use a 2-way or 4-way splitter plus a light socket extender to fit more bulbs per each clamp light socket (without the extender, they might not fit inside the reflector).

Setting up more than one bulb per socket can often be cheaper than buying an individual light socket for each light, especially if you buy online. It also is really convenient for arranging around your plant.

An incredible CFL grow light setup by grower iskraiskra

How to get started

Optionally fill the first couple inches of your pots with perlite for extra drainage, and then fill the rest of the pot with coco coir.

Note: Perlite can often be found in garden stores or the garden section of places like Home Depot and Lowes. I normally advise against all things Miracle-Gro, but their 8-quart bag of perlite is okay for this tutorial if you can’t find anything else. But remember, never use Miracle-Gro time release soil or their standard nutrient formula! But their perlite is okay.

Water your pot with coco coir thoroughly until water drains out the bottom before adding your seeds or clones.

Set up your lights so that they can start around the height of your pots and eventually be raised to the final height of your plant (2-3 feet depending on your marijuana strain and how long you let your plants stay in the vegetative stage).

Once you have everything set up as described, simply add your marijuana seeds or clones and set up your lights so that they’re about 4 inches away to start.

Watering Schedule

You will want to start feeding your plants with nutrients at quarter strength for the first week, then work your way up to full strength slowly.

I recommend following the instructions exactly as provided by the nutrients.

For example, if you are using Fox Farms Hydroponic Liquid Nutrient trio, just follow the feeding chart that comes with the bottles and water your plant with nutrients every other watering.

When not using nutrients, make sure you still pH your plain water before your feed your marijuana!

This is important! Water your marijuana plants until you get at least 20% extra runoff water out the bottom.

Then don’t water your marijuana plants again until the top of the coco coir starts feeling dry.

This will start out with you watering the plants every couple of days, and may end up with you watering them once a day towards the end of the marijuana flowering cycle.

This bears repeating, you want to ensure that you have about 20-30% extra run-off water come out the bottom of the container every time you water your plants.

The reason for this is that coco coir tends to form natural salts if it the fertilizers just sit in there and never get washed out. Making sure you keep adding water until you get run-off is also a great way to make sure that your plants are draining properly.

As I said before, make sure to feed your marijuana plant with plain, pH’ed water every other watering.

This will greatly help reduce the amount of salt buildup and prevent nutrition problems from occurring. If your marijuana shows signs of drooping, chances are you are over or under-watering.

In order to prevent over or under-watering, make sure you water thoroughly every time, and wait to water again until the top inch of coco coir feels dry.

Vegetative Period

After your plants have grown accustomed to their new environment (after a couple of days for transplanted clones, or when your seeds grow their second set of leaves) then you will want to move your CFLs so that they are about an inch away from the plant.

CFLs lose a lot of light the further away they are and their light is almost useless once the plant is 6-8 inches away.

Your biggest task when growing your marijuana will be adjusting the lights.

The CFL bulbs should always be as close as possible to the plants, yet they need to be far enough away that your marijuana doesn’t grow into the lights and burn its leaves.

If you check on your plants constantly, you can keep the lights closer. If you’re going to be away for a while, you should move the bulbs away to give your marijuana some growing room.

Personally, for me, adjusting the lights was one of the most fun parts of growing marijuana using this method because it gave me something to do while I was hanging out in my grow room.

As a beginner, I always wanted to keep checking in on my marijuana plants all the time, and adjusting the lights gave me something I could do to satisfy that urge. You may also want to rotate your plants every day in order to provide the evenest amount of light from all sides.

Your marijuana can’t get really get too much light from CFLs and the only thing you need to worry about with the CFLs is burning your plants if they get too close.

Basically, if you put your hand where your plants are closest to the light, and the light feels too hot to be comfortable, then the light is too close. If your hand just feels warm, but not hot, then your plants are at the perfect distance. I generally kept my CFL bulbs 2-4″ from the leaves during the whole grow.

If you notice that your plant is growing with a lot of space between nodes or otherwise seems like it’s ‘stretching’ upwards, that means that it probably needs more light. Try adding an extra CFL or two or move them closer. If you notice your plant is having any other issues or something doesn’t seem right, check out the Plant Problems and Symptoms Guide.

Flowering Stage

When your cannabis plants are about half their final desired height, you will change them over to the flowering stage so they start growing buds.

By half the final desired height, I mean, if you wanted your plant to achieve a final height of 2 feet, then you would switch your marijuana to flowering when they’re about 1 foot tall, or half of 2 feet.

If you wanted your marijuana to grow to be 5 feet tall, then switch them to flowering when they’re at a height of 2.5 feet.

The reason for this is that marijuana will generally double in height after being switched over to the flowering stage.

To initiate the flowering stage, you will switch your light schedule so that your lights are on for 12 hours a day, and off for 12 hours a day.

During the ‘off’ period, your marijuana should be in total darkness.

This light schedule will trick your marijuana into thinking that the days are getting shorter and fall is coming.

The 12-12 light schedule will cause your plants to begin the flowering stage and start focusing on making buds instead of just growing.

If you don’t change your schedule to 12-12, chances are your marijuana will just keep growing forever and never make buds.

After switching to 12-12, you should start noticing your plant making its first sex organs after a week or two. Females will grow white hairs and males will start growing grape-like balls.

In order to maximize the amount of bud you get, you will want to make sure you remove any males so they don’t impregnate you females. If they stay together than your females will get pollinated by the males and will end up making lots of seeds instead of buds.

Unless you have a reason to keep males (for example breeding), you probably want to just kill any male plants because they won’t make any usable bud anyway.

When growing with CFLs, it becomes harder and harder to fully illuminate the plants as they get bigger and grow more branches. You will maximize the total amount of buds you get by keeping the plant smaller (and therefore easy to bathe in light), and then harvesting more often since your plants will be ready to harvest much sooner.

As the plants get taller and start blooming, you may need to get a couple more CFLs to light them from the sides. Basically if you see any dark or shadowy areas that are more than 6 inches from a CFL, then you should get another CFL to plug in that ‘hole.’

Towards the end of the flowering cycle, as your marijuana approaches harvest time, you may notice that some of the oldest leaves start turning yellow and falling off. This is totally normal and is a sign that your plant is taking nitrogen out of the leaves and putting them into the buds/flowers.

You will want to stop feeding your marijuana any nutrients for the last two weeks before harvest to ensure the best tasting bud. Simply feed them plenty of water without nutrients for these last two weeks, but make sure you’re still adjusting the pH so they absorb any leftover nutrients in the coco coir.

I usually stop feeding my cannabis nutrients and start feeding them water when about 75% of all the pistils (hairs) have turned dark and started curling in towards the buds.

Harvesting

Please view the Harvest tutorial for more information about when and how to harvest your plant. This guide will tell you exactly what to look for as far as determining if your cannabis is ready for harvest.

Basically, you’re waiting for your cannabis flowers (which are initially covered in straight white hairs) to darken and curl in. When the buds are ready to harvest, nearly all the white hairs/pistils will have turned orange and curly.

Final Thoughts

When using this method, I’ve found my cannabis to be really resistant to issues or problems, especially considering this method was the one I used for my very first harvest and I had no idea what I was doing when I started.

Over the course of my first grow I made several mistakes, including dropping a light on one of my plants and accidentally burning some of the leaves on the lights. Every time something happened to a plant, it seemed to take it in stride and just keep growing.

Despite all my mistakes, I still got 6.2 ounces of dried buds off my first plant grown with this grow method!

I really like this technique for a beginning cannabis grower because it’s a really good way to get a feel for how plants grow and how the cannabis plant grows in particular.

It can be hard to decide what you want to do for you first grow, and this is a really cheap yet effective way to get started with growing and get good results.

After having one successful grow under your belt, I guarantee that the whole process will start making more sense.

Even if you end up eventually moving on to other types of growing systems, you will be able to use many of the materials from this system with your future grow.

If you end up using this technique or have any other thoughts or comments I’d love to hear from you!

This easy indoor hydroponic cannabis grow guide is designed for the beginner as a cheap and easy way to get started with growing cannabis. Anyone with $300 and a closet can grow up to five plants!