How to Grow Small Cannabis Plants in Tiny Spaces

Learn how to get high yields in small spaces with ease.
16 November 2021
11 min read
How to Grow Small Cannabis Plants in Tiny Spaces

Contents:
  • 1. What to have in mind when growing in tiny spaces?
  • 2. How to grow cannabis in tiny spaces
  • 2. a. Picking the right strain
  • 2. b. Proper pot size
  • 2. c. Choosing the correct light fixture
  • 2. d. The ideal light spectrum
  • 2. e. Performing plant training
  • 3. What works best: autoflowers vs photoperiods
  • 4. Mini indoor stealth grow tent setup
  • 5. Extra tips
  • 6. In conclusion

Everyone wants to have the curing jars full without having to spend too much and the only way to achieve it is to grow your own, but having a 2 meter high grow tent may not be feasible for all. Growing small cannabis plants consists of using low-stress and high-stress plant training techniques to adjust and shape your cannabis plant to your grow space. So if you want to learn how to grow good flowers in tiny spaces, here are the best tips and tricks to help you achieve an excellent harvest in tiny grow spaces.

1. What To Have In Mind When Growing In Tiny Spaces?

Growing small plants isn’t any different than growing big plants but there are a couple of things to have in mind because you don’t have a lot of space but you still want to get a great harvest. The lack of space basically forces you to adjust minor things, including the genetics, grow setup, and other growing practices in order to minimize vertical growth while maximizing horizontal growth.

Genetics

The most important factor when growing in small spaces is genetics. You definitely can grow any strain and train it daily to control height but it’s a lot of work so you want to grow a strain that naturally stays small. For this type of growing, the best option is short autoflowering strains such as our Strawberry Pie Auto. 

Strawberry Pie Auto
5 out of 5
First time on this strain first time lst . It was great although I made many mistakes with the PH , she treated very well.
Alba7 .
Verified customer
Reviewed 1 May
 

This strain grows a maximum of 100 cm and grows from seed to harvest in 8 - 9 weeks. Short photoperiod strains can work too but it’s recommended to go for autos because you won’t need to train them too much, saving you a lot of time.

Grow Setup

When talking about tiny grow spaces, there are a couple of things that can make your life easier and avoid problems further into the flowering stage. 

  • The first one is to choose the right light fixture; Due to the grow space being small, you can grow from seed to harvest with fluorescent lights or cheap LEDs. Remember that a red spectrum can encourage stretching so use a blue spectrum to keep plants short!
  • The second one is to use small pots. As you may know, the bigger the pot the bigger the plant so make sure to grow in the smallest pots possible (around 3 - 5 liters). This will keep your plants small but as long as you provide enough light and food the buds will still develop big and dense.
  • The third one is to go for certain plant training techniques such as Scrog, SoG, or the tie-down method which will also help you keep your plants short and will allow you to shape them anyway you want or need to.

2. How To Grow Cannabis In Tiny Spaces

Most growers believe that growing small plants is bad but it actually isn’t. As mentioned, there are a lot of strains that grow short naturally and can produce excellent flowers. As a matter of fact, you can even grow tall plants in tiny spaces (with proper training, obviously) and still get good yields. So if you were looking for how to do it, read along with all you need to know!

Picking the right strain

Some strains are labeled as “XL” or just have a tendency to grow tall no matter what you do so stay away from them. On the other side, this means that you can find small strains that will stay short without doing anything extra. For example, autoflowering strains start flowering in 4-5 weeks from seed and are usually ready for harvest in 2 - 2.5 months. Due to the quick grow cycle, almost all autoflowers stay relatively short but have in mind that even autoflowers may grow too big depending on your grow space so make sure to go for the smallest autoflowers, just to be safe.

 

Grow small cannabis plants in tiny spaces: picking the right strain

Small autoflowers allow you to grow s-3 plants in small spaces.
 

Another good option is to go for fast or express flowering strains which usually grow short due to the shorter life cycle. Now, not all fast flowering or express flowering strains tend to grow short so pay attention to the strain description to know what to expect. If you end up choosing photoperiod cannabis plants instead of fast flowering or autoflowers, make sure to grow under 12/12 from seed or flip to 12/12 after 3 - 4 weeks in the vegetative stage.

Proper Pot Size

Restricting root space is essential if you want your plants to grow short. More experienced growers can get away with growing outstanding plants in solo cups but if you’re a beginner you can grow in 3 - 5 liter pots (or smaller if needed) without a problem at all. As long as you keep your plants well-fed and avoid nutrient deficiencies you should get excellent results.

Choosing The Correct Light Fixture

Using the right grow light is essential for growing healthy small plants. Fluorescent bulbs and certain LEDs are perfect for small grow spaces because you can keep them very close to the canopy without burning or bleaching your plants.

Compact Fluorescent Lights

Compact fluorescent lights are great for getting good yields with small plants but they are big and not only do they get hot but also are kinda expensive so it’s only recommended to use them if it’s the only type of bulb you can find.

T5 Fluorescent Lights

T5 fluorescent bulbs are bigger than regular CFLs and can be kept closer to plants while producing excellent yields when growing in a Scrog or SoG (or basically any training technique that allows you to grow an even canopy).

 

Grow small cannabis plants in tiny spaces: the correct light fixture

You can grow cannabis in small spaces with any light fixture but LEDs are better because they're usually smaller.
 

The downside is that when compared to LEDs, T5s get much hotter and for the same electricity consumption, the yields per watt aren’t even close.

LED Lights

LEDs are the best choice because they come in different sizes and shapes, so you’ll be able to fit them in any setup. Most LED fixtures are quite efficient and don’t emit a lot of heat while producing about twice the yields per wattage when compared to T5s or CFLs, making them perfect for small or tiny grow spaces. On top of choosing the right light fixture, keep the light as close as possible because it helps keep plants shorter but make sure it’s not stressing your plants.

The Ideal Light Spectrum

Grow lights with more blue spectrum can help you keep your plants short during the vegetative stage while grow lights with more red spectrum encourage stretching so make sure to know exactly what you’re buying or what you have. If you are planning on using LEDs, try to go for LEDs with separate Veg and Bloom switches, and if you’re growing with light bulbs, make sure the spectrum ranges between 4000 Kelvin and 6500 Kelvin.

Performing Plant Training

Even if you’re growing a strain that grows short naturally, plant training techniques give you the power to control plant growth. When growing in tiny spaces, the best training methods are:

  • Sea of Green;
  • Screen of green;
  • The tie-down method and;
  • Super cropping.

Training techniques such as the tie-down method and super cropping are super useful if you’re already growing small plants and need to adjust a couple of branches or any minor adjustments. Methods such as Sea of Green and Screen of Green are also great if you’re already growing short strains but want to even the canopy to get more light coverage or improve bud quality, but if you’re growing plants that are too big for your grow space, you should use high-stress training techniques such as topping.

Topping your cannabis plants causes them to spread out more, which is of great help when dealing with restricted spaces. Remember that when dealing with autoflowers, it’s not recommended to top them because it can stunt growth but in this case you want small plants so you can top your autoflowers after they’ve started growing flowers and you’ll end up with a small plant, filled with extra dense buds.

3. What Works Best: Autoflowers vs Photoperiods

There’s no right or wrong when choosing what strain to grow, as long as your plants don’t overgrow your tent you’ll have great results with any type of strain. Just keep in mind that photoperiods grow taller and do not flower automatically, you need to change the light cycle to 12/12 in order to trigger flowering. When you flip to 12/12, your plants can double in size so don’t wait too long and, if possible, provide a 12/12 cycle from seed or flip to 12/12 once your plant is about half of the desired size.

Best Autoflowers For Small/Tiny Grow Spaces

StrainAverage SizeSeed to harvest (in weeks)
Afghan Kush Auto60 - 90 cm8 - 9
Strawberry Pie Auto60 - 100 cm8 - 9
Skunk Auto80 - 100 cm8
Rhino Ryder Auto60 - 110 cm9 - 10
Blueberry Auto70 - 110 cm9

 

If you opt for autoflowers, try to find quick Indica-leaning strains, they should grow fairly short while still being able to produce fat buds. If you’re not sure what to grow, here are our recommended strains.

4. Mini Indoor Stealth Grow Tent Setup

Now that you know everything you know about growing cannabis in small spaces, it’s time to grow! For those of you who got excited and want to get growing asap, here’s a quick DIY small tent set up for you to grow excellent buds stealthy. 

 

Grow small cannabis plants in tiny spaces: grow tent

You don't need to buy a grow tent, you can grow anywhere!
 

As mentioned, when dealing with limited spaces you want to get the best harvest possible while still growing small plants and in the stealthiest way possible so this grow setup focuses on growing as much bud as possible while still being super stealthy so it won’t emit any noises or reek smell, meaning that you won’t have to worry about anything other than taking care of your plants. Here’s what you’ll need:

Light Fixture

For the light fixture, it’s recommended to get a 100 watts full-spectrum LED. This type of LED goes for around $150 and is super small, doesn’t emit much heat, and provides a full spectrum, this way you don’t have to change the light bulb when your plants start flowering, which is a plus. If you don’t want to spend that much on an LED, go for a 4000k bulb for the vegetative stage and around 2100k for the flowering stage. Light bulbs are usually cheaper than LEDs but you’ll have to change one for the other every time your plants start flowering, so make sure to think about what works better for you.

Fertilizers

There are at least a couple dozen fertilizer brands in the market so use what it’s easier for you and what you can afford. There’s no need to spend hundreds on fertilizers. If you’re in doubt, go for slow-release powdered organic nutrients which makes feeding much simpler and works like a charm.

Exhaust Fan and Carbon Filter

If you’re planning on filling your grow tent or just don’t want to attract unwanted attention, you need an exhaust fan and a carbon filter. The exhaust fan will ensure the humidity doesn’t get out of control while the carbon filter ensures there’s no weed smell reeking off your grow tent.

 

Grow small cannabis plants in tiny spaces: exhaust fan and carbon filter

make sure to install everything you can outside the grow tent for some extra space!
 

Due to the size of the grow tent, you don’t need a huge carbon filter and exhaust, so just get the smallest or cheapest you can find. A simple exhaust fan should go for around $35 and a carbon filter for as little as $40.

Pots

For the pots, you can basically use whatever you want. You don’t even need to use pots, you can use any type of small container. Just remember that the containers should be around 3 liters (or 5 if you want to grow slightly bigger plants, make sure to use the right pot size) and have drainage holes on the bottom. And, for the best results possible, try to go for fabric or smart pots which provide the best oxygenation to the roots, this way you avoid overwatering. Smart pots go for about $2-3 and fabric pots for around the same, so you shouldn’t spend more than $10.

Grow Tent

As for the grow space itself, you don’t actually need to buy a grow tent because you can grow inside your closet or any small cabinet but for those who don’t have the required space, you can go ahead and get the cheapest 60 x 60 x 90 cm grow tent which should cost less than $60.

 

Grow small cannabis plants in tiny spaces: custom grow tent

Make sure to buy the biggest tent you can for your space, those extra centimeters make a huge difference!
 

If you can afford it and have enough space, go for a 60 x 60 x 120 cm tent, it will be much much better and prevent problems further into the grow cycle. Remember, there are a lot of different grow tents in the market and you can also build your own tent so don't worry about finding the right one.

Optional Equipment

Now that you have the basics, it’s time to get the smaller things. In order to get your tent up and running, you’ll also need a timer, a thermometer, and a humidity monitor.

Getting a timer is not obligatory but you want to get one in order to automate tuning the lights ON and OFF. You don’t need to get an expensive one, get the cheapest one and you’re done. As for the humidity and temperature monitor, get the cheapest one but make sure it shows you both temperature and humidity, this way you’ll be able to know if something goes wrong and fix it asap.

Once you get everything together, it’s just a matter of setting up your grow tent but if it’s your first time growing, check the scheme in the image above to learn how to do it. Also, have in mind that this small grow tent can fit up to 4 - 5 plants but you can build your own grow spaces to fit just 1 or 2 plants. For example, if you don’t smoke too much, you can build a space bucket and harvest excellent flowers with $100 - 180, or you can even spend less and grow in your closet, it’s just a matter of seeing what works best for you.

5. Extra Tips

On top of the things mentioned above, there are other growing practices that may not be suited for all growers but can definitely give you an advantage if you can or know how to do it.

Keep the light fixture as close as possible

Keeping the light fixture as close as possible from the canopy will help keep your plants shorter, but make sure you’re not stressing your plants!

Top your plants when possible

If your plants are in good health you can top them to promote more horizontal growth, minimizing plant height while creating more flowering sites.

The Tie-Down Method

You can tie down the branches to get your plant to stay in the desired shape and size. This method works even if your plants are already too big.

Don’t Veg Photos For Too Long

If you’re growing photoperiods do not let them grow too much because some strains can double in size when flipped to 12/12. If possible, grow them under 12/12 from seed so they start flowering as soon as possible. Obviously, this doesn’t apply to autoflowers, for autoflowers just let them do their thing and they’ll flower as soon as they can.

6. In Conclusion

Achieving big yields in small or even tiny spaces is definitely possible but it can be difficult if you don’t have much experience growing so it’s essential you know the basics about growing autos or photos, plant training, and everything you need for the specific grow setup you’ll be growing in. Once you know the basics, growing small plants is basically the same as growing big plants so don’t be afraid of trying, it’s definitely worth it.

If you've grown tiny plants before, feel free to help fellow growers by leaving your tips and tricks in the comment section below!

16 November 2021
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