Growing indoors has been gaining popularity as governments have slowly begun to legalize the recreational and medicinal cultivation of cannabis. Though if you are new to the venture, you are likely among the majority who are simply unsure of what equipment to use, where to get it, and how many plants your equipment will allow you to grow. Choosing a grow tent size is the beginning of your success as a personal grower, and there are several factors you need to consider before hastily buying a grow tent on Amazon because of a ‘hot sale.’ The biggest considerations you will have are the dimensions of your grow space, what plants (or strains) you will be growing, what kind of yields you are expecting, what kind of lighting you plan to purchase and what style of plant training you will be using. Let’s take a look at each of these considerations separately.
1. The Dimensions of your grow space
Don’t assume that just because you have a 2x4 foot closet space to grow that you should buy a tent this size. First of all, the tent sizes listed online are often rounded estimates based on a conversion from centimeter dimensions. The tent that arrives at your door very well could be larger than the space you expected it to fit in. Secondly, even if the tent is actually 2x4 foot, this will still not fare well in a 2x4 foot space. Why? This is because a large component of growing indoors is ensuring you are fostering the proper environment for your plants, and this includes airflow. Passive air inlets and ventilation ports on a grow tent are found at the sides and back of the tent. Therefore if you place a 2x4 tent in an equal sized space these airflow ports will be right up against your wall. Unless you plan to do some construction to your house to allow for proper airflow intake and ventilation, this is a recipe for failure. Expect to need a square foot of space outside your tent for a ducting system to exit your exhaust port. A 2x3 tent in your 2x4 foot space will suffice, so long as your inlet and exhaust ports are at the side of your tent allowing for proper airflow throughout.
2. What plants (or cannabis strains) are you growing?
Another thing to consider is what kind of plants you will be growing, or alternatively, what strain of cannabis you will be growing. Plant types vary in their height and girth and therefore knowledge of how much space each plant will take up is a necessary component to ensuring you get the right sized tent. If you are growing cannabis, different strains will grow very differently. Some will be short and stout, while others could be very tall and lanky. Once you determine what strain you will be growing do some research to figure out its growth patterns before purchasing a grow tent. Even if you have the space for a large grow, determining this will help ensure the right sized tent so it is easier to control environmental factors within the tent.
3. What kind of yields are you expecting?
Depending on why you are growing, whether it be as a hobby, medicinal cannabis use, or just for occasional recreational use determining how much yield you expect to have at harvest is going to be a large factor in how much plants you will need to grow, and therefore how large a grow tent you will need. The more yields you expect the more plants you will need, and therefore the larger tent you should have. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, what strain you will be growing will also affect how much space you will need per plant. In addition to this, you will need to consider what training styles you will be using. Generally speaking, the more invasive the training, the more yields you will generate - but this also means your plant will take up more space in your tent as a result. This leads us to your next consideration...
4. What training style will you be using?
When growing cannabis it is pretty essential to properly train your plants in order to optimize light and space for the best possible yields at harvest. Some training styles take much more space per plant to properly utilize, so it is important to not only understand the strains typical growing patterns, but also to manage space in advance to prepare for how much room they will need once adult training is in full effect. Growers have plenty of training options, and each have their own benefits and drawbacks depending on what your grow needs are. Low stress training like bend and secure are the basics of plant training and tend to require less space per plant, while a technique like screen of green or “topping” tend to take twice or sometimes three times as much space per plant. A general rule of thumb would be:
Training Style: Plants per square meter
Low Stress: ~4
Screen of Green: ~1
Pruning (Topping, Pinching): ~1
Sea of Green: ~4-16 (depending on vegetative cycle timeline)
As you can see from this breakdown, the space you will need per plant varies drastically depending on the training style you plan to implement. It’s therefore important to plan ahead and consider this before purchasing a grow tent.
5. What kind of lighting will you be using?
You’re probably wondering how your light would affect the decision of what grow tent you should buy. Simply put, the strength and coverage area of your lighting is the most important thing that needs to be considered when growing indoors and to obtain adequate yields that you can be proud of. What you will need to consider is how much money you have to spend on a light, how far the light should be from your plant canopy during the flowering stage, and what the coverage area the light will have at this distance. Most of your money will be spent on a good lighting system for your grow space, so determine what the coverage area is for the light, then buy a tent that matches this. Let’s look at the FourBudz pro3 640 watt light as an example.
This light has optimal power to support bud growth during the flowering stage, though it must be just under 3 feet from plant canopy during this stage, covering about a 2.5-3 square foot area. If the light is placed any higher for a larger coverage area, your yields will begin to suffer. Therefore if you have enough for only one pro3 light, your tent should not be any larger than 3 square feet or the reflective mylar walls will be rendered useless and your yields will suffer heavily.
With these considerations laid out, you are now ready to make a decision on what sized tent you will need to buy for your grow. Your next step is making sure the tent you get has the features of a good tent. There are many out there, and some are notably better than the competition. On the other hand, others can have all the features you need and more, but are overpriced due to brand marketing and other factors. To learn about tent features to look for, my article “9 things to look for when buying a grow tent” will demystify the topic. Be sure to check out my equipment recommendations page as well for a comparison between the top brands on the market in terms of value, price and features.
'Prof' is a professionally trained Canadian teacher with a love of horticulture and advocate of the democratization of cannabis cultivation, especially for medicinal purposes.