In almost all states in the US where home cultivation of marijuana is legal, residents are only allowed to grow indoors where their plants won’t be visible to the public. This means that the plants will have to grow in a carefully controlled environment that replicates outdoor conditions. It can be costly and inefficient to do this for just a few plants in a full-sized room which is why most growers use some sort of enclosure to scale down the dimensions of their growing space. An enclosure also doubles as protection from pests and contaminants and prevents the marijuana’s natural smell from escaping.
Why use a tent?
Why not use a tent? A tent is pretty much a mini-greenhouse, which is what your cannabis plants need. A marijuana growing tent however, is very different from a camping tent (although you could repurpose one if you wanted to). You could even build a small greenhouse for your plants. But why bother? Most indoor growing tents nowadays cost way less and are designed so well, even complete beginners can set them up correctly.
A typical marijuana growing tent should have the following things:
- Maximize light reflection inside it – grow tents are usually lined with reflective material (Mylar) on the inside.
- Allow you to see your plants without you having to open it – it will have one or two viewports covered in transparent plastic.
- Keep smells in – all odors will be expelled only through the exhaust system.
- Easy setup and disassembly – most tents will use sturdy plastic or aluminum support rods that can easily be assembled and disassembled.
- Easy access to your plants – a good tent should be able to zip open and close easily and allow you to take out a grown plant without a problem.
- A removable floor tray – since you will be dealing with water runoff and spills all the time
The anatomy of a grow tent
Marijuana home growing tents are fairly cheap, but that’s not the only thing you’ll be spending on if you want to set up one correctly. A basic indoor grow tent setup needs several things:
- Lights – LED lights are typically the choice for tent setups
- Fans – a small fan is often included for air circulation
- Exhaust and air filtration system – this will include an exhaust duct fan, flex ducting tubes, and a carbon filter
Most indoor growing tent kits will have these included, as well as a hygrometer, shears, and rope hangers so if you’re just starting out, it’s better to buy a kit rather than just a tent then buy all others separately.
Choosing your tent size
As mentioned, a bigger space is not always the best when growing marijuana indoors. Ideally you would want to give every plant as much space as you can, but you also have to consider the cost of lighting and maintaining the temperature and humidity per square area of growing space.
When choosing a grow tent, you need to consider four things:
- The number of plants you intend to grow
- The height of your plants – some strains grow taller than others, you need adequate room in between your lights and the canopy.
- The kind of setup you’ll be running – remember that you will have other stuff in your tent aside from your plants (ex. hydroponic system)
- The kind of training you’ll be using for your plants – SoG, ScrOG, etc
A quick note on plant training: this matters a lot when considering your tent size since Sea of Green (SoG) uses more plants as opposed to Screen of Green (ScrOG) which uses fewer plants with a bigger canopy. As you may expect, each method has its own advantages and disadvantages.
When shopping for growing tents, you’ll see that they typically come in standard sizes. Here’s a list of common grow tent dimensions and the number of plants they can usually accommodate:
- 2” x 2” – 1 to 2 mature plants
- 5” x 2.5” – 2 mature plants
- 4” x 2” – 3 mature plants
- 4” x 4” – 4 mature plants
- 5” x 5” – 6 mature plants
In general, 4″x 2″ and 4″x 4″ grow tents are ideal for home growers. These sizes will give you enough space if you decide to upgrade your grow lights and easy access to the plants at the back. A tent this big can accommodate a crop that would yield several ounces a month but is still manageable enough for a single grower.
How should you set up your grow tent
Setting up your grow tent should be fairly easy: just follow the instructions that come with it! However, here are some tips that you may want to keep in mind:
- Growing marijuana can consume a lot of energy. If you’re planning to set up a medium- to large-sized grow tent, you should put it on a dedicated circuit to avoid any hazards.
- The ventilation and exhaust system is a critical part of your growing setup. Choose a tent that offers multiple conveniently located openings for different functions.
- Place your tent as close to the exhaust location as possible. A longer duct will need a more powerful fan. The power consumption of your exhaust system can add up overtime so you want it to be as short and simple as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
Indoor grow tents provide a dedicated and isolated space where your cannabis plants can grow under ideal conditions. These tents are lined with reflective material to provide your plants with as much light as possible. Grow tent kits also often include other gadgets and apparatus for proper ventilation and exhaust.
This depends on a number of things, but mainly on how many plants you’ll be growing and how tall they can grow. Home growers who are looking to yield several ounces a month may want to get a 4″x 2″ or 4″x 4″, the number of plants that can fit in these dimensions is still manageable for beginners.
Most indoor grow tent kits will come with detailed instructions and almost everything that you’ll need to grow marijuana from start to finish. Usually, the only tricky thing about buying one is estimating the size that you need. If at this point you are not sure what size to get, one thing you need to consider would be the height of your tent. Having more vertical space is better than less so that grow lights remain far from the plants and your plant, fans, air filters, and ducting have more headroom to thrive.