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growing marijuana with t5 lights

Growing marijuana with t5 lights

As far as color temperatures go, different plants have different light requirements, so I can only suggest a general guideline, which is to start with 6,500 Kelvins bulbs when plants are in the vegetative stages of growth. This is approximately the color temperature of light on a summer day. Otherwise, use 3,000 K bulbs when plants start to flower. This color temperature is warmer (more sunset-like), with a red tint to it, so it will best suit blooming plants.

To use T5 grow lights properly, there are a couple of things you need to know that will determine how successful you will be at growing under these lights. The first thing is how to choose the right T5 fixture and the right bulbs.

Light cycles tend to differ based on what plants are being grown under artificial lighting. For example, there are 12/12-hour cycles, 18/6-hour cycles and even 24/0-hour cycles of light/dark periods. To find the right cycle for your plants, I suggest either researching the needs of the variety of plant you’re growing, or basing your cycle on what the approximate light cycle would be if the plants would be growing outdoors during their season. Typically, more light means faster growth, which results in bigger plants and bigger yields no matter what you are growing.

Setting Up the T5 Lighting System

Bulbs: When it comes to choosing bulbs, there are even more options to choose from. Bulbs not only come in different energy varieties, but also in different color temperatures. When choosing between normal output (NO), high output (HO) and very high output (VHO) bulbs, I recommend going for the middle ones. HO bulbs are the best of both worlds—they are efficient, yet long-lasting, and will provide super-bright light for your plants.

The most common T5 grow lights are 2- or 4-ft. long and have 1, 2, 4, 6, 8 or 12 bulbs per fixture. If you are thinking of growing only a few small plants, you might get away with having a 1- or 2-bulb set-up that is 2- or 4-ft. long, but if you want to grow a whole bunch of plants, you will have to invest in an 8- or 12-bulb set-up that is 4-ft. long. This larger size will cover a lot of plant mass without using too much electricity.

Choosing the Right T5 Grow Lights

Plants tend to drink more water in different stages of growth, but just like humans, they need more water the hotter your growroom gets. This is why you need to install a ventilation system if your grow lights make the room too hot, and why you need to closely monitor how much water the plants need by checking their soil humidity level every couple of days.

T5 fluorescent grow bulbs. – preedee anantuntikul / Shutterstock

Growing marijuana with t5 lights

Now that you know all this detailed information about T5 fluorescent tubes you can make an educated decision if they are good for your setup but you should also know that they are perfect for autoflowering plants in small to medium places. They produce small amounts of heat and are very efficient. Autoflowering plants usually stay small and that is perfect for fluorescent tube growing as you need to get those plants as close to light bulbs as possible to get the maximum light intensity. Usually, the plant canopy should be a few centimeters from the bulb! You can also mount these fluorescent lights on the side walls to get more light to side branches and lower branches and get an even bud formation all over the plant not just at the top of the plants!

Fluorescent tubes are exactly the same as CFL (compact fluorescent lights) but they have been around way longer.

For a number of years the old T12 bulb fixtures were considered standard when lighting large areas with decent efficiency, but as good as these T12 lights were, they were not good for growing plants and that includes cannabis. They had a relatively low lumen per watt ratio and their only advantage was the low temperature.

All the fluorescent tubes are gas discharge lamps that use electricity to excite mercury vapor. This vapor creates excited mercury atoms and when they bump into the bulb’s outer coating then the coating (usually Phosphor) starts to glow!

T5 bulb life spanT5 cannabis grow

Autoflowering marijuana needs a certain amount of light to grow and produce buds but not all light is equal to the cannabis plant.

High output T5 tubes are basically the same as the regular T5 fixtures but they have higher lumen output and higher input currency that make them more usable to cannabis growers but that also makes them more inefficient! These HO bulbs usually have double Watt input and almost double-lumen count but they also need special ballasts so you can’t fit a High output fluorescent tube in a regular T5 socket! If you are considering T5 lights for your autoflower or regular cannabis grow you should know that these High output bulbs are the most common used T5 grow lights but you can grow weed with regular bulbs more efficiently! With T5HO bulbs you won’t get that 100 lumens per watt but you can get up to 80-90 lumens per watt and in the long run you will lose some money but you will need fewer bulbs to illuminate the same amount of autoflowering plants!

Lux is the measurement of light that is shining to the surface (one meter) at any given time!

T5 fluorescent tube autoflower growWhat are fluorescent tubes?

Fluorescent tubes can penetrate as much as HID lights if they match the HID lamp in their lumen output and this means that 16000 lumens from 150 W HPS light would penetrate as much as 16000 lumens from fluorescent tube lights but the fluorescent T5 tubes give you the added benefit of spreading the light across all the pants if you mount them on the sides and on the ceiling!

Fluorescent light Lumens output is the total amount of light that the bulb emits in all directions and because this light is emitted 360 degrees around the bulb many growers will introduce some kind of reflectors or reflective materials to better utilize the light that is coming out in the wrong direction.