Can You Use Regular Fluorescent Lights to Grow Plants

(Last Updated On: January 3, 2021)

Often people ask me Can I Use Regular Fluorescent Lights to Grow Plants? let me explain in details, actually Fluorescent light has spontaneous usage in residences, offices, or shopping malls. The brighter approach provokes anyone to find it better than other lights on the queue. These lights were once on top and recently replaced by LED lights.

However, these classy light sources are still ideal for those who have a tight budget and want the best arrangements for their microgreens.

What is a regular fluorescent light bulb?

Heating the gas inside a fluorescent tube/bulb with the help of electricity and turning the produced ultraviolet rays into visible light through a phosphorus coating as well as a ballast behind it is the ultimate procedure to emit light.

If we talk about masses, they exhibit more comfort in fluorescent tubes to light up their home rather than fluorescent bulbs. Other than that, covering large grow space with fluorescent tubes are also a profitable idea.

What is fluorescent grow light?

The same item as fluorescent lights. The working method and outcome have no dissimilarity. In contrast, for the household purpose, the only change is that people prefer fluorescent tubes more and for distinctive grow space, they reach for smaller, mostly compact bulbs or lessen shape, known as grow lights.

Difference Between Regular Fluorescent and Fluorescent Grow Light?

To clear out any confusion, let me repeat, fluorescent lights do not have any notable difference with the grow lights other than variation in shapes and their performance based on those diverse patterns.

Therefore, take a glance to have a better understanding:


Regular Fluorescent Light


 Fluorescent Grow Lights

1. Mostly used in households, larger grow space. 1. Mostly used in smaller grow space.
2. Plants get an extra bit of light right under the center of it, whereas the plants positioned at both ends get lesser than average. 2. Plants under it gets sufficient light, but the ones out of the focused area get no light at all.
3. These tubes are bulky and not easily movable. 3. These compact bulbs are flexible anywhere around the plants.
4. It does not function the same on different lengths of plants. 4.It operates the same on all sized plants as long as they are inside the covered area.
5. Fluorescent tubes need a permanent installation each time with a technician’s help. 5.Fluorescent grow light or compact bulbs have easy installation only with a valid electricity connection without any help.

The Role of Fluorescent Light in Growing Plants

The Fluorescent lights have a default white light, which mostly contains a blue spectrum and a bit of yellow-red. This light’s natural temperature is somewhat around 6000K to 6500K, produces cold light considering other wavelengths.

As we all know, the 2 essential elements- red and blue spectrum-are a must for growing plants, whereas fluorescent light is a perfect tool to provide blue wavelength as much they need. Equally, these lights fail to provide the right spectrum at the next blooming phase.

That is why even after being accurate and unblemished, these lights could not be on a favorite list as they were on a thriving stage. To make a settlement, you can go for a 5000K fluorescent light, which will offer blue and red at its most as 2700-3500K are proven temperature for red and inadequate blue only.

These facts state an overall notion of how these lights operate. To know more about your chosen kind, we have presented a detailed overview of all fluorescent light types, and here it is.

Regular Fluorescent Lights or Tubes

The regular fluorescent lights we use daily in our residence are trendy in illuminating and styling a dark corner. While some of you were spending loads of money on customized grow lights, a little concentration on your surrounding could have saved you from additional costs and suffering.

These lights have nearly similar potential to grow a healthy plant depending on their life-phase. For the initial step of your gardening, the standard fluorescent lights are indeed an economical choice.


  • The tubes come in different width and length.
  • They cover a wider area, most probably 2/3 times broad space than bulbs.
  • You have to install these tubes abidingly, which is safer than moving here and there and cause damage.
  • It has simple launching and controlling like any other household lights.
  • The produced heat has more space to clear it away rather than a pointed or dense area.


  • Different length or positioned plants get different intensities of lights.
  • It may not be friendly while running for a long duration every day to fulfill the plant’s need.

Fluorescent Grow Lights

can you use regular fluorescent lights to grow plants

The grow lights are naturally a helping hand in producing carbohydrates for plants and promote their growth. These fluorescent grow lights are no different. They have an easy-going structure to fit with plants and serve their needs. However, they are high in price still worth a shot from the farmers who don’t want to risk and follow gardening norms.

Continuing to that, not all grow space will welcome these lights if not fairly attachable and suitable for that exact place. Apart from that, you can experience the following harsh, and soft sides from fluorescent grow lights.


  • These bulbs focus on a limited area and serve their best to them.
  • Fluorescent bulbs are more durable than tubes.
  • Because of the structure, the bulbs can make the proper use of the ideal spectrum on a plant and immensely assist in their thriving stage.
  • Fluorescent lights are not high heat generators, so are the bulbs still indulging a fan would be enough to take care of the heat.
  • They can run continuously for 16-18 hours, which a plant at seedlings mostly prefer.


  • As they cover less space, so not an ideal pick for massive grow places.
  • More expensive than the tubes.

Fluorescent Shop Lights

Everyone in their journey involves experimenting with a few connective resources. Either they turn out as one of their best decision or just another failure during operation. Still, they are worth acquiring experience. And now, all of it is about the less heard fluorescent shop lights.

You must have noticed the extra bright light in shopping malls, which seems completely different from the regular lights. They are excessively bright to make the products attractive. Nevertheless, our mission to discuss these lights is because they have a high intensity, which the plants need most.

Moreover, the lights are efficient and offer the same service as other fluorescent lights, where you need to be extra careful about their placement and control to get the best outcome.

Which Fluorescent Light Do I Need?

While deciding on a fluorescent light and matching your needs, the first thing to cross-match if your plants are at their early stage. Well, you would still need a blue spectrum but maybe a little less than the thriving phase. And so, if your grow room is not very spacious and you want one which will cover every inch of it, so you have Compact Fluorescent Bulbs, exactly build for this purpose.

Afterward, for your professional or wider grow space, you might look for an option that simultaneously fits with your budget. As a fact, where the compact bulbs cover 1-feet area, thereby, a fluorescent tube covers 4 feet at least. In that case, a fluorescent tube, most probably a T5 Fluorescent tube, would be enough beneficial for you than anything else.

Suppose you are just beginning with a few plants at the empty corner of your home and do not have much budget or knowledge for grow lights so that you can smoothly go under Standard Fluorescent light for a few days or months depending on the plant type and their phase. But of course, this is not a permanent solution. Soon you need to make changes and add other instruments as your plant’s nature.

Things to Consider Before Buying Fluorescent Light Bulb

Different types of fluorescent bulbs and all of them are offering a pretty attractive deal. Just like I said, these lights can easily confuse a new-comer, even an experienced one on the things we should consider before buying a fluorescent light bulb because of having so much in common:

The dimension of the Place

As you know about the different fluorescent lights structures, pick the one that would smoothly blend the light in the whole area. If you have a smaller space, go for bulbs or T5 tubes, mostly in the width of 5/8. Otherwise, for spacious places, you can choose tubes that would cover more space so you can calculate the number of lights that are needed.

Plant’s Current Phase

Fluorescent is famous for being one of the best light for the plant’s thriving stage. And so, if your plants are in seedlings, don’t think twice as you’ll not be disappointed. But if your plants are in bloom, then you must provide a red spectrum source along with the blue, of course.

Adjustment and Connections

According to your grow space, rethink the fluorescent light your are buying is it going to be easy to install. Fluorescent tubes are a bit tricky to set up for the first time, while light bulbs are the easiest, in the old traditional style.

Amount of Heat Generation

Fluorescent lights do not generate much heat, yet the least heat they produce can be more or less harmful depending on different shapes. That is why the exact position where the light will stay needs to have enough space around to clear away the heat, whereas you must have a similar assumption of how much change they are doing to the temperature.


Not directly reaching to the grow light instead of trying for a known regular source is somehow related to save some money on the way. Be very sure if you need a programmed grow light according to your grow space, or a standard fluorescent light is enough to do.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are light bulbs suitable for plants?

Light bulbs illuminate the darkness of an area as they are programmed to do. Besides, they slightly help the indoor plants to perform photosynthesis, to the point of staying alive at least. In the end, though they are not fully capable of growing a plant at times, these bulbs can be the savior of those plants.

Are plants grow lights safe for humans?

Some of the grow lights use ultraviolet rays, which in the long term, may cause distress in a human body. The cheaper grow lights often seem to use damaged materials and toxic chemicals, which may somehow damage your health.

What type of light bulb is closest to natural light?

More or fewer Halogen bulbs are widely similar to natural light in the inner (spectrum, PAR, efficiency) and outer (same visual color-white) operations. Yet they are not a valued choice for the growers, and the main reason behind it is it’s being costly and generates a higher amount of heat.

What color will light bulbs make a plant grow faster?

To be very specific, plants need blue at their initial stage, and as they keep developing, a mixture of both blue and red (1:5) works best for them. Any of this spectrum individually is not as reactive as they are joint.


Fluorescent lights have different categories, and if you look closely, they do not have many differences from each other. At this moment, not going after the name and using your intelligence to get the perfect product yet in a different form and at less cost is a win-win situation.

Therefore, no matter what form they are, these lights still have a fantastic user experience that both you and your plants would appreciate.

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