For optimal results, for vegetative growth choose fluorescent light bulbs that are labeled either as "Cool White" or "Cool" colored (also labeled as "6500k" colored).
If the temperature is under control they can be kept as close as an inch or two away.
Training plants to grow very short will produce the best yields with T5 grow lights
There are many different levels of fluorescent grow lights including the T5, the T8 and the T12. I strongly suggest sticking with the T5 style of fluorescent grow lights for cannabis because they give off the most amount of light for the size, and are specifically designed to be able to support taller plants up to 24 inches.
Some growers even use fluroescent grow lights such as the T5 successfully to flower their plants (if the plants are kept short/small enough through growth control methods).
In recent years, we've seen the creation of new high-light-output versions of fluorescent grow lights which can actually be used through the entire vegetative stage.
The other great thing about fluorescent lights is that they are usually relatively low powered and won't make a huge mark on your electricity bill.
A few years ago, growers usually only used fluorescent tube lighting as a supplemental light for cannabis plants, or for young seedlings and clones only.
The biggest problem with fluorescent tubing is that the light that they give off is only useful for about a foot or so. That's why they're kept so close to your plants.
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