How to grow marijuana in small and confined spaces

Published Jul 5, 2020 01:00 p.m. ET
iStock / Dmitry_Tishchenko

Those of us with sprawling backyards and gardens are fortunate in this day and age, but most of the population resides in places and spaces that don’t have quite so much room to stretch out which can make it really hard if you want to grow cannabis, but it doesn’t make it impossible. In fact, cultivators have been working within confined spaces for many years in hopes of keeping their operations going.

1. Choose the right strain

A lot of people don’t realize that there is much more to choosing a strain than its potential for effects or a beautiful range of colors, and even fewer know which label to look for when they’re in need of a plant that can flourish in a limited amount of space. Most believe that Indica strains will sedate you with their potent effects and that Sativas are more uplifting, but the purpose of these labels is more informative for growers than they are for consumers.

Sativa tends to reach up high and sprawl outwards in a gangly fashion, which means that they can take up a whole lot of space and in exchange, they don’t often give much come harvest time. They do typically produce some high-quality flower, but they just aren’t overly feasible to house in a small growing space. What you need instead is a short and stout Indica that won’t reach over 4 feet high, and if you’ve got that, then anything is possible, even in a small space.

2. Research trimming techniques

Even the perfect sized marijuana plant, after rigorous strain searching, might exceed the room that you have for it, and that’s ok because, with a bushy little Indica, a little bit of trimming isn’t going to hurt anything. You can cut away the fan leaves, and even select specific branches to focus on that reach in a direction that is comfortable for your space while removing some of the more irritating ones so that the space isn’t crammed.

However, it is important to research this beforehand so you don’t cause damage that could reduce the size of your yield, as it doesn’t take much to entirely incapacitate the plant if you should cut it in the wrong places. Trimming should always be done in moderation, and with the utmost care, but it’s a process that can really come in handy if you don’t have much room to spare for a cannabis plant.

3. Don’t grow too many at once

It might be tempting to try your hand at germinating as many seeds as you possibly can. After all, it’s a little bit intoxicating when you’re first learning how to grow marijuana. It’s an exciting journey, but like any good adventure, it is important to recognize when it’s time to stop because each cannabis plant will require a minimum of 4 square feet to have a fighting chance. So, don’t exceed more than that amount into a space, or it could spell trouble for your entire crop.

4. Research training techniques

Some growers utilize basic training techniques to manipulate a marijuana plant into a shape or space that they require, and it’s much gentler on the plant than straight-up trimming, so it’s a really good skill to pick up and look into. However, like with trimming, this topic is one that should be heavily researched first, otherwise, you’ll end up with broken branches and a destroyed plant, but with a careful hand, you can train every branch to sit in a way that allows for an even distribution of light, and that’s all you really need to succeed.

5. Ensure that there is plenty of light

Whether your cannabis plant needs to fit crammed into a small hall closet, or it sits atop a small shelf in your living room, light is an essential component that you cannot forget to provide. So, if your grow space doesn’t have enough natural light, as most don’t, then you will have to accommodate enough room for a high-powered grow light. Luckily, with technology these days, they don’t have to take up a lot of room, so it's entirely possible to do so safely, with the right tools for the job.

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