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Hi, I know a lot of you are good with gardening and I need your help. I am planning to grow some sunflowers in my apartment. I have done a lot of searching but seems like everyone is saying something different. First of all, what kind of lighting do I need? Will a 30W spiral CF in this be sufficient? Second, what kind of soil should I use? I went to home depot today and I was confused by all those different selections. Thanks in advance!
 

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Are you starting the sunflowers from seeds or getting plant starts? If you start them from seed I'd recommend getting a soil-less seed starter like Miracle Gro Seed Starting Material. I grow my tomato plants from seeds and I've never had good luck with peat plugs or regular soil as a starting medium, I ended up with a lot of rotten stems and dead plants.

Once the starts get big enough you can transplant them to larger pots with any good, balanced soil. The first time I increase the pot size for my tomatoes I usually use a good quality houseplant soil (the brand doesn't matter). If they need to be re-potted again before being planted outside I use garden soil to fill the larger pot, you'll probably want to stick with a potting soil for your plants since they'll remain in pots.

I use a mix of lights to grow my starts, mostly regular fluorescent fixtures that came free with tanks I've purchased. :) While the light wan't strong enough for my underwater plants, it's perfect for starting tomatoes. Do make sure you have enough space between each plant. If they're too close together they'll end up a lot taller and weaker than they should be. Any chance of supplementing your bulb with some sunlight? I've found it helpful in keeping the plants shorter and healthier.
 

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Even at dwarf variety at two feet, needs a tremendous amount of light. There are lights designed for growing these high light sort of plants such as sunflowers, corn etc. inside. You may want to visit your local hydroponics store. Sunflowers can grow in virtually any soil, just make sure it drains well and give it lots of nitrogen. Just treat it like corn.
 

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I would say, 1000 foot candles intensity, minimum. You will probably have to have your central heating and cooling system fan on all the time just to keep the heat from building up in the room.
 
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