How to Grow Plants With CFL Lights


Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) are great for growing plants indoors. Unlike metal halide bulbs, CFLs produce virtually no heat. CFLs are energy efficient and are ideal for the hobbyist gardener or plant enthusiast who has a handful of indoor plants. Since CFLs fit easy-to-operate light fixtures, no extra electrical wiring is needed---they simply plug in to regular electrical outlets.

Step 1

Purchase a grow light fixture and compact fluorescent grow light bulb. The light fixture should have a reflective backing to reflect the light back at the plants. The bulb should give off most of its light in the red and blue spectrum.

Step 2

Pick a spot to grow your plants. If growing small potted plants or seedlings, place a small table or shelf to put the plants on. Keep it within a few feet of an electrical outlet so your CFL grow light has easy access to power.

Step 3

Plug your CFL grow light in and set it up over the plants. Ideally you'll want to keep your grow light within 12 inches of the plants.

Step 4

Have the light on for 12 to 16 hours a day. This is easier if you have the light on a timer.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't set your plants up next to a heat vent. The constant hot, dry air can be damaging to the plants.

Things You'll Need

  • Grow light fixture
  • CFL grow light bulb
  • Small table or shelf
  • Automatic timer


  • Wayne Schmidt's Fluorescent Plant Lighting Page
  • Indoor Gardening Guide: Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs
  • Express Light Bulbs: Compact Fluorescent Grow Lights
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