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Wednesday December 30, 2020

By Erin Hiatt


If you live in a state where it’s legal to grow your own cannabis, perhaps you’ve considered giving it a try. After all, there are undeniable benefits to growing your own cannabis. You’ll never have to worry about supply or quality control since you’ll be in charge, and in the long run you will undoubtedly save money. 

But maybe you’ve taken a look around your dwellings and decided that you just don’t have the space to care for and accommodate cannabis plants, some strains of which can grow to be more than six feet tall. Nonetheless, some home growers have taken on the challenge of cultivating cannabis in small spaces by tending micro plants and grows that only take about as much room as a closet or cupboard. 

Micro grows are an excellent introduction to growing your own cannabis because you can save money and time by learning with a small grow as opposed to potentially losing a lot of money by growing the legal limit in your state. Let’s take a look at micro growing marijuana to find out if it’s right for you.

Small Scale Marijuana Grows: The Basics

Whether you decide to cultivate in a closet, homemade grow box, or a cupboard, cannabis plants still demand certain conditions to grow into healthy adult plants. To have a successful small harvest, you won’t need to buy the newest or fanciest equipment, but you will definitely need some basics.

A microgrow
There are many aspects to consider when tending a micro grow, including space, strain, and conditions. photo credit

Before purchasing some of the higher-priced ticket items, you should identify a space where you can maintain the proper relative humidity for a cannabis plant, between 40 and 70 percent, depending on the plant’s growth phase. Other important things to consider before starting a micro grow are how much time, effort, and energy you want to dedicate to the process because it will definitely take some commitment. 

Another important consideration is finding the right strain for your grow space. If you have a tall and thin space like a closet, a sativa could be a good fit because they have a tendency to grow taller and thinner than shorter and bushier indicas, which might fit better in something like a cupboard. Once you’ve selected the space, the next step is to start rigging it up to support your grow. The top things to plan for are lighting, air exchange, and proper nutrients. 

Micro Grow Lights

It can’t be understated how crucial lighting is to growing robust cannabis plants, and this may be one of the toughest challenges of a micro grow. Excess heat from bulbs that are too close to the canopy can damage your plants, and depending on the space, bulbs can generate a lot of heat. 

For small space grows, it’s recommended to use LED lights because they have the wide light spectrum required for cannabis, and they generate very little heat. However, LEDs can be a very expensive upfront cost.

For less money, growers could utilize fluorescent tubes and compact fluorescent lamp bulbs that meet 400 w per m2. However, if using this bulb combination, you’ll have to pay attention to changing bulb colors, which vary from white, to yellow, to blue, depending on growth phase. 

Air Exchange

Healthy air circulation is a key component of a micro cannabis grow. A couple of solutions to create regular intervals of air exchange is to leave a door open (but watch out for the smell) or holes in the space to encourage regular airflow. Another idea is to use a computer fan near the top of your grow space so it’s not blowing directly on the canopy. 

If you’d rather keep the dank scent certain to emanate from your grow on the down-low, consider installing a carbon filter, which can neutralize the smells that come along in the bloom phase. 


When you grow in a smaller pot, not only will you have to water more frequently, you will have to figure out the appropriate nutrient dose, because nutrient burn can kill your plants. Most nutrient bottles are geared toward much larger grow rooms, so you’ll have to do a little math to get the dosing right. 

Plant Training

To keep your plant within its grow space, you will have to do some plant training. There are a few techniques, but some are more accessible to novice growers than others. If you are an experienced cultivator, using high-stress training techniques like topping or firming could work well.

The scrog technique: many cannabis plants in small pots and placed close together to resemble a “sea of green.”
The scrog technique uses a net to help control the height of your plants. photo credit

Otherwise, you could utilize the scrog technique, aka the screen of green, which is a trellis net that is placed on top of plants. The scrog helps to open the branches for airflow and controls the height of your plant. 

Autoflowering cultivars can be used for a sea of green (SOG), consisting of small, uniform cannabis plants that are grown in small pots and placed close together to resemble a “sea of green.”

Final Thoughts

Is a micro grow worth it? That depends. If you are a cannabis enthusiast with a green thumb who enjoys the challenges of growing in a small space, this could be for you. Micro growing might also be a fit if you’ve already got the space and equipment to make it an affordable option. If your budget doesn’t have a lot of wiggle room or you don’t really have a lot of time to commit to your plants, perhaps you should stick to purchasing from your local dispensary.

Have you ever grown marijuana in a confined space? Share your experiences in the comments below!

Photo Credit: RoyalQueenSeeds (license)


Erin Hiatt Erin Hiatt

Erin Hiatt is a New York City-based writer who has been covering the cannabis industry for more than six years. Her work - which has appeared in Hemp Connoisseur Magazine, PotGuide, Civilized, Vice, Freedom Leaf, MERRY JANE, Alternet, and CannaInvestor - covers a broad range of topics, including cannabis policy and law, CBD, hemp law and applications, science and technology, beauty, and psychedelics.

Erin's work and industry insights have been featured on the podcasts The Let's Go Eat Show, In the Know 420, and she has appeared as a featured panelist on the topic of hemp media. Erin has interviewed top industry experts such as Dr. Carl Hart, Ethan Nadelmann, Amanda Feilding, Mark A.R. Kleiman, Dr. James Fadiman, and culture icons Governor Jesse Ventura, and author Tom Robbins. You can follow her work on LinkedInWordpress, @erinhiatt on Twitter, and @erinisred on Instagram.

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