Are CFL the best to use for seedlings?

I am thinking about setting up some type of cfl bulb with socket Y adaptor to get 2 bulbs, maybe 2 42 watt 6500k bulbs. Is this over kill for seedlings that have just sprouted? I have a 900 watt LED but think that may be too strong intitially. As always, appreciate any comments and suggestions on a cheap setup… Also may use this as secondary setup for clones etc in future

I use CFL almost exclusively for seedlings. They are good light sources, cheap (relatively) and can be put close to the seedling without burning it. I have a board that I fabricated that has three holes for sockets and on the sockets I placed a “Y” adaptor that makes it six CFL’s.

A lot of people use the LED and keep it a long ways away. I think, for me anyway, it is easier to use the CFL’s. You almost cannot burn the plants with CFL’s.

I also have the 2700K flowering lights. I used to use CFL to grow exclusively when I could not afford the LED’s that I use now. I believe the CFL’s would be excellent for clones. Jerry


I love clfs for seedlings. Right now I’m using my LEDs and it’s a pain, so next time cfls for me. I was trying the led way

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I like t5’s myself

@TxGrowman, @Donaldj, what wattage are you folks using in the sockets? When would you move the plant to the led in the tent ?@Givemefire, my plan is to use a 900 watt led, what issues are you having with the led’s your using? just thought a 900 watt(actual 418w) may be too much early in the plants life

using dual 21 watt tubes in 3’ fixture

@Donaldj, thx for info… Do you use for entire veg growth or just for seedlings, clones etc?

For CFL I use 100 watt. I would move to LED as soon as their is 3-4 families (5 & 7 fingers) and it looks healthy. Some go earlier but I have never had problems as far as grow delay. Follow LED instructions for distance and remember this is their first intense light. I would add distance at first if you have not used LED before. Better to be too far away than to burn them.


@TxGrowman, thx for reply… When you say 100 watt, are you saying the 23 watt equivalent ? I was going to buy a 12 ft socket, with a 4 bulb adaptor and buy a 4 pack of 45 watt cfl bulbs at 6500k, these bulbs are not cheap as the 4 pack is 35 bucks for 4 bulbs. These cfl’s are 45 watts or 200 watt equivalent… If your buying 100 watt bulbs, that’s a cha ching!

I have different aged plants, so stretch was big, now I use 2 3" net pots to create shade. This is working I just miss the ease of cfls, just plug in and that’s that. I just setup closet and working the bugs out and next time I’m using cfls with canopy for seedlings

@Givemefire, good luck with your setup. I am brand new, actually have never grown anything, appreciate your feedback

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I’ll help when I can. Great group of growers here. Learned tons here. Ask and ask

Yes the 23 watt. They are not that expensive when you consider I still have the ones that I used two years ago. I fixed up a board that has 3 holes across and a “Y” connector or each socket for total of 6 - 23 watt bulbs or a total of 138 watts. I grew an entire grow on CFL. I did the veg and then changed the bulbs to 6 -23 watt bulbs at 2700K and finished the grow.

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@TxGrowman, thx for the info… Would the higher wattage be overkill in your opinion? I can buy the full spectrum 26 watt or a little higher as well

If you are just using it to get the seedlings started, you might be just as good with 23 watt.


@TxGrowman, thx Jerry, that is exactly what I’m gonna do. I will just use the cfl setup for seedlings into young plant then I plan on using the LED when plant gets established. Thank you for your opinion!

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Not a problem, glad I could help !

@TxGrowman, just curious as to what you use to catch water from under the fabric pots. I was thinking of using some type of rack so the bottom I the pot can breathe. I need to be able to catch the runoff in something to test ph. Any info appreciated

@Zombo I actually bought the shoe Trays and they’re also plant trays but they work great got 10 of them on Amazon for like four bucks

@Hogmaster, thx Hog… I did a search on Amazon and they show rubber mars for hoes but thy are like 15-20 bucks… Do I have right item?