In 2020, there is all but a trace left over of this one great growing system.Today, the company is publicly listed and traded on pink sheets under the name GrowLife Inc, but their stock ticker remains PHOT, a relic from the Phototron days. They continue to operate within the cannabis space but Phototron brand seems to be dead once again (at least for now).
Phototron was delivered in multiple boxes marked "agricultural research equipment" and when fully assembled the systems stands about 3 feet tall. For lighting, it uses U-shaped fluorescent bulbs and your grow takes place in a peat moss mix. During the first vegetative growth stages, lights are on for 18 hours per day. This encourages maximum growth of the plant since it's enjoying the "long summer days". After a couple months, as your plant is ready to flower, you switch the light to 12 hours on and 12 hours off. By changing the light timing, this switches the plant into the flowering period to produce that buds that you're looking for.
For all the excitement during the 90s, the revival is a quiet one. GrowLife shares a few press releases and creates a video tutorial series showcasing the Phototron and how to grow, complete with the 1990's vibe.
It's November 13, 2012 and the Phototron is officially back. With the resurgence of cannabis legalization in the USA, GrowLife, the parent company, releases a statement that they are making the product available again with new, optional LED lighting to dramatically improve crop yields. The original 330-Watt model is to retail for $479 USD with the 980-Watt LED model selling for $999 USD. Both version significantly higher than their previous $199 USD price point. When adjusted for inflation, the original system would only have been $364 today.
The Revival – Phototron’s Comeback
Phototron was truly the first home grow box. A pioneer in the world of weed that peeked its head out in the 1980s and quickly became a household name.
Over the years, Phototron would launch numerous models including the original Phototron, Phototron 2, Phototron 2000 and Phototron 3000 XS. Overall, the design remained simple and similar. A six-sided enclosure with tube lighting and windows on each side. In fact to grow weed without hermaphrodites, you'd have to cover the windows to darken the grow chamber. It really was never perfect for cannabis. but whenever you heard someone owned one you always wondered what they were growing.
1. They were too early. It's 2020 and cannabis legalization still has a long road ahead. Back in 2012/2013 there simply weren't enough states legal yet for any form of mass adoption.
The Early Days: The Birth of the Grow Box
By 1992, the Phototron 3 had launched and claims continued to increase. Phototron was now guaranteeing that you would triple the grow rate of any plant! (Although in the same ad the guarantee that you'll double your growth).
In fact sales took off and it wasn't long before Pyraponic Industries, the company manufacturing Phototron Grow Box, claimed sales of $100 million dollars to over 150,000 satisfied customers worldwide. That's a lot of indoor gardening!
my dad and i grew with one of these once. they work alright. not the best thing in the universe, as it doesn’t allow for much space. it’s kind of 50/50 as to whether it will work well. i don’t care much for the lack of lighting which you will inevitably encounter. don’t plan on growing anything on the sativa side. this unit pretty much limits you to growing indica strains. in my opinion, not the best thing out there for growing weed. roses, yes. herbs, yes. pot, no. with as much as these things cost, you could assemble a much better system and have much better results.
I have been feeding the plant Superthrive only daring a couple drops in a gallon of water, but have yet to use distilled water. Lighting this Phototron came with are (6-24 Biax Lamps and 6-55 Biax Lamps, 36,000 Lumens) rather than previous models U type. Frankly I’m glad as it made things so easy to assemble that I didn’t need help and had it together quickly. This Phototron came with a ventilation panel intended to keep temperatures inside between 70-90 degrees according to Pyraponic Industries (although the thermostat only reads up to 80). I’ve had to keep panels up during the heat wave to give additional ventilation, and hold panels in place with large paper clamps along the edges as recommended by the manufacturer. I’ve considered buying more ventilation panels, or fans which can be wedged beneath one of the panels. I’m also trying to figure out best way to block light from keeping me awake as it’s located in my bedroom, one of the only locations I could keep it away from prying eyes. If anyone has ideas for this I’m open to suggestions. So far I’ve thought of using either mylar or black out curtains!
It’s working great 22 days into 12/12. Check my grow journal