Growing With T12 Fluorescent Lights

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Last Updated on October 29, 2022

Growing with fluorescent grow lights is great for your plants. However, there are different types of fluorescent grow lights that perform different operations. In this article, we will be discussing growing with T12 fluorescent lights.

It is crucial you choose the right type of fluorescent light for your plants’ needs. This is so your plants can receive the appropriate light to develop. So, let’s look into growing with T12 fluorescent lights and how they affect your plants’ growth.

What Are Fluorescent Lights?

Fluorescent growing bulbs produce low intensity and will not emit too much heat. Thus, they are perfect for growing various plants such including seedlings and clones.

Fluorescent lights are also ideal for growing plants that do not demand too much light intensity. It will supply the appropriate type of light needed by your plants without causing any harm. They are especially ideal for growing vegetables, herbs, spinach, lettuce, and the likes. They are also great for vegetative growth and flowering growth.

There are various types of fluorescent tube lights you can choose for your indoor garden but not all fluorescent lights are the same.  You can distinguish them by their diameters and they are represented by the “T” letter. The T letter indicates the bulb has a tube shape.

We have from T4 to T12 fluorescent light tubes and we will be discussing the T12 fluorescent lights. The 12 in this T12 bulb indicates that the bulb is 12/8 in diameter or 1.5 inches.

Growing With T12 Fluorescent Lights

Although T12 is not so great amongst the other T fluorescent lights we have, nevertheless, T12 can supply your plants with lights for their growing needs.

T12 fluorescent light has been in existence for a long and they are regarded as older technology. It may be a little scarce to find them in the market as they are been discontinued by some manufactures. However, you can find the ones used for residential purposes still available.

The T12 fluorescent lights usually absorb more wattage and they will only supply you with fewer lumens or brightness. They are not so long-lasting as other fluorescents. Thus, using T12 fluorescent lights might cost you to always replace them very often and they are not so efficient unlike other types of T fluorescent lights.

T12 Fluorescent Lights - Growing Plants

We will not recommend you depend on T12 lights only for growing. You can have other types of fluorescent lights such as T5 and T8 to get optimal plant production.

You can however rely on T12 fluorescent grow light if you’re using them for only small seedlings germination. Small seedlings germination does not require too much light intensity.

Some Recommended T12 Fluorescent Lights

Below are some recommended T12 fluorescent lights you can use I growing your plants:

1.    GE Plant and Aquarium Fluorescent Light Bulb, F20T12 Grow Light

GE plant and aquarium fluorescent F20T12 grow light is ideal for some plants and aquariums. It features 750 lumens, 20 watts, warm white, bi-pin base, and it measures 1.5-inch diameter.

This is a T12 type of fluorescent grow light that can supply your indoor plants with light. They are especially great for indoor vegetable garden seedlings.

It can also provide light to your aquatic vegetation. The fluorescent bulb comprises a combination of phosphorous and this will supply plenty of red and blue lights. The bulb can last you up to 4 years if you follow the 6 hours daily usage.

Although they may not provide a wide range of the light spectrum, they can still be utilized on plants that require lesser light intensity.

2.    Active Grow T8/T12 High Output 4FT LED Grow Light Tube for Germination & Microgreens

The active grow light is a type of T8/T12 tube your indoor plants can utilize. It features 22 watts and sun white full spectrum. The bulbs are great as they offer bright light for your plants’ growth. The brightness is twice as bright compared to older fluorescent lamps.

This grow light is especially ideal for seed germination and microgreens. It is also ideal for vertical farming and can be used on houseplants.

This grow light is energy-saving and the lamp features are durable. The heat emitted is also moderate thus, safe for your plants.


Can I use T12 as grow lights?

T12's are not really meant to be used as grow lights. They are not designed for that purpose, and are not as efficient as other lighting technologies.

They are intended to be used as a general lighting fixture in the home, similar to an incandescent bulb. The average T12 has a rated output of about 700-1000 lumens (lm). For comparison, a 600W incandescent bulb has an output of about 30 lm. If you were to use a T12 as a grow light, you would have to replace it every year or two because the light output will decrease over time due to a chemical reaction.

Can I use a regular fluorescent light as a grow light?

Yes, you can.
Fluorescent bulbs are the most common type of lighting used in homes and offices today. They are compact, low energy consuming, durable, and easy to operate. They can be found at any hardware store or home improvement store. You can choose between incandescent and fluorescent bulbs for your grow room.
The only issue you will have with using a regular fluorescents is that the light will not be as bright as it could be. You can still use a regular fluorescent bulb for plants if you are growing indoors. The amount of light that your plants get depends on how close they are to the bulb.

Which is better for plants LED or fluorescent?

LEDs are superior for plant lighting, but they're not perfect. They don't have the same color temperature (which you may want in your garden) as florescent tubes, and they aren't quite as efficient. The problem is that LEDs are based on semiconductors, which can be easily damaged by moisture, so you'll need to keep them well-ventilated.

LEDs can also be pricey, so it may be worth considering a florescent tube instead of an LED if your budget allows.

Can I leave my grow light on 24 hours?

Yes, you can leave your grow light on 24/7 and it will not damage your plants. But, there are a few things you should be aware of if you do so. The first thing is that you need to make sure you have a good ventilation system in place to avoid a buildup of carbon dioxide. If the carbon dioxide levels get too high, you could end up with a greenhouse effect. This could cause your plants to look like they are under stress and could even kill them. Also, make sure you have adequate humidity levels in your closet, as well as a temperature monitor. These will help you keep track of how much heat your grow light is giving off and how much humidity you’re creating.

What light bulb is closest to natural sunlight?

I think the closest you're going to get is a "daylight" bulb. There are bulbs that are closer, but they are still far from perfect. This one is rated at 2700K and has a color rendering index (CRI) of 92, which is very good for a bulb in this range.

Fluorescent Grow Lights Bulbs Conclusion

Growing with T12 fluorescent lights may not be the best of the best but they can be used on certain plants that require low light intensity. They can also be used on small germinating seedlings.


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