Top 10 tips to maximize your cannabis grow space

Cannabis plants growing outdoors

Many of us are limited to a small, indoor space for our cannabis grows–but limited space does not necessary have to mean tiny harvests. With the right approach to maximizing your grow-room space, your eventual yield will be correspondingly higher.

1) Use compact lights

Many small grows struggle to accommodate high-wattage HPS lighting–not just due to heat issues, but also due to the large size of the lights themselves. In small grow tents (less than a metre squared) it may be advisable to use CFL or LED lighting systems, which are often smaller and more compact in size, and possess built-in reflectors (or in the case of LEDs, provide unidirectional light without the need for a reflector at all).

2) Ensure light distribution is optimal

To get the most out of your grow space, however small it is, it is important to ensure that the maximum possible light is reaching as much of your floor space. With the right system of smaller lights carefully affixed around your grow space, it should be possible to achieve equal or superior light coverage compared to a single, central HPS light source.

3) Use vertical space

Basil growing in BuddhaBox VerticalPonics tent

Using a vertical system like this BuddhaBox VerticalPonics tent can enable huge yields in small spaces.

If your floor space is limited, why not grow upwards instead? As indoor tent technology improves, there are ever-increasing options for specially-designed tents that are divided vertically, with several separate grow compartments. Or, if the (often very high) price tag of many of the higher-end systems puts you off, there is always the option to create your own vertical compartments. If going the DIY route, be sure that the floors of your compartments are strong enough to bear the weight of your mature cannabis plants–this also usually means that your side supports must be strong enough to bear the weight of both the plants and the compartments.)

4) Use SCROG

Cannabis plants growing indoors using the Screen of Green (SCROG) technique
The Screen of Green (SCROG) technique will maximise yield and light distribution in any size of grow.

The Screen of Green (SCROG) technique is invaluable for smaller grows, as it encourages uniform, neat growth of flowers and allows the light to penetrate equally to all flower sites. SCROG is a simple technique that involves placing a screen (usually made of chicken wire or similar material) between the light source and the plants. As the plants grow towards the light, their branches grow through the screen and can be tied to it with twine or string. Light penetration can therefore be maximized by training the branches to evenly fill out the screen, and as the branches are preventing from growing past the screen, they do not crowd each other out.

5) Ensure equipment is optimized

In a small grow space, the equipment you choose will have a great effect on how much you can get out of your space. Of course, fitting the brightest and most powerful light for your space is the primary requirement (cool CFLs and LEDs may be preferable, as mentioned above). If using HPS lighting, it may be worth choosing a cool-running ballast such as the ReVolt, which claims to run 15% cooler than comparable ballasts, so that grow room temps do not get out of control. Anything that does not need to be located inside the tent, such as the ballast, should be placed outside. Opting for fans that can be affixed to the sides of your tent over tower or floor-air circulators will save floor space.

6) Think about container shape and size

If you are growing in containers, you have some leeway when choosing the dimensions of your pots so that your space is utilized most effectively. For example, if your vertical space is limited, choose short, squat pots, so that roots can grow outward rather than down. Of course, pots should never be too shallow, as containers can dry out very quickly if this is the case.

7) Consider hydroponics

With the right setup, hydroponics can save huge amounts of space compared with traditional container grows. When using containers, a substantial amount of space is required so that the roots have room to grow freely and access the required amount of nutrients. With hydro systems, the roots can occupy a far smaller space, as their needs are being met with nutrient-rich water which is constantly renewed.

8) Select the right strain!

When growing in a confined space, choosing the right strain can represent a huge advantage. Generally, indica or even ruderalis strains provide advantages over sativas due to their compact size, short internodes, and lack of ‘stretch’ during the early flowering period. However, this is not to say that sativas cannot be grown in small spaces–with the right training and vegetative period, some hobby growers have achieved amazing results with sativas grown in tiny cupboards!

9) Optimize density & size of plants

Along with the strain itself comes consideration of its specific properties and behaviour, which can give the grower valuable clues as to how to get the most out of the crop. For example, if the cannabis strain is known to continue branching after the switch to flowering, it may require more space per plant than strains which do not branch so readily. Ultimately, finding the ideal density and size of your preferred strains will allow your plants to develop strong, healthy and dense buds; get it wrong and you could be left with lots of small, underdeveloped buds, or get decent buds but fall far short of the possible maximum yield.

10) Encourage tight, closely-spaced branching–discourage stretching

Cannabis plant growing in pot under the bright light
Stretching causes light, loose buds and reduced yields.

Stretching can be a nightmare for any grower, no matter their grow space, as it can result in loose, light buds, and can dramatically reduce yield. But for the small-scale grower it can literally result in your plants growing up to or even beyond your light source, which if using hot lights can burn your plants badly if not caught in time. To minimize stretch, ensure that your light source is at the correct distance from your plants (the further away it is, the greater the stretch), ensure plant density is not too high (as competition for light will cause stretching), and use topping and training techniques if all else fails.

  • Disclaimer:
    Laws and regulations regarding cannabis cultivation differ from country to country. Sensi Seeds therefore strongly advises you to check your local laws and regulations. Do not act in conflict with the law.


21 thoughts on “Top 10 tips to maximize your cannabis grow space”

  1. that’s why my buds are loose at last ive found the problem from streching
    thanks sensi seeds

    1. Use a 0-30-50 aptus or greenplanet has good one.2nd week & last two weeks before flush this will harden them up nice maybe sum massive or guano will help as well use guano through flush adds intense flavors

  2. farm420farmer

    hi, im a newbie and i grow outdoor on a tropical island. its my 3rd time to grow and i think im getting better. the first was a total crap and the second was really better now im on my 3rd grow and my babies look fantastic. now im left with this really confusing question, what is the rule of thumb about spacing sativa strains here in the tropics as light here gets to about 12 hours a day and wind here is pretty abundant, can i space them 1foot apart from each other? or should i space them more than a foot ? i greatly appreciate any help from you guys… 🙂 thanks heaps!

    1. Scarlet Palmer - Sensi Seeds

      Hi there,

      Well done on your grow 🙂 unfortunately, for legal reasons we can’t give any growing advice in blog comments, but you can check the Sensi Seeds Forum where a thriving community of cannabis fans exchange information. Good luck!

      With best wishes,


  3. hi, there was an item on television urging the government to legalise weed for many reason M.S. Being one. so I bought 3 sensi seeds. two started to grow only two little leaves about half an inch. so I put it in a cupboard with light and heat and I think I roasted them, they drooped and died. I have one seed left and I’m using a tube light this time. I can’t afford £30 for 3 seeds that don’t even grow. I am very new to this what can I do to ensure my last seed works.

    1. Scarlet Palmer - Sensi Seeds

      Hello Mark,

      Thank you for your comment ? Unfortunately we cannot respond to grow questions on the blog, but we do have the Sensi Seeds Forum where you can ask a thriving community of gardening fans for advice, share your experiences, and see if your question has already been covered. I hope this helps.

      With best wishes


    2. RabidReject

      @mark one word…..ventilation! you need fresh air coming in at the bottom opposite side that you put the inline fan as an extraction fan as high in the room/tent as possible. It’s been ten years since your comment so im sure you have figured it out by now!
      Growing inside something with no ventilation will die as it needs fressh CO2 to feed on.

      1. Mark - Sensi Seeds

        Good afternoon,

        Thank you for your comment and sharing your experience!
        Some great points, sufficient airflow is crucial.

        I hope you continue to enjoy the blog!

        With best wishes,


  4. Question guys , first time , will the plant keep growing as high as the light or will it Bush out , I can see the tops fat and underneath others about 20 smaller shoots coming how high will the plant grow is it best to keep the light further from the plant top or closer ?

    1. Scarlet Palmer - Sensi Seeds

      Hello Mark,

      Thank you for your comment ? Unfortunately we cannot respond to grow questions on the blog, but we do have the Sensi Seeds Forum where you can ask a thriving community of gardening fans for advice, share your experiences, and see if your question has already been covered. I hope this helps.

      With best wishes


  5. I like your article it’s wonderful, just started to scrog! I think it’s going to be perfect for my cabinet, thanks for the info.

  6. I found out,the best way for me to maximize yield,was to use hydroponics.And instead of just let the plant grow to one or two big colas,I took the top of each plant and turned it downwards.This made the whole plant to spread out so I got maybe between 10 and 15 big colas,and I could cram the plants better.I grew mostly Sativa dom strains,so when the plants had stretched after the first 3-4 weeks after setting the light to 12-12,I used a net so I could lay the longish plants horisontal.This way a big part of the plant got a lot of light,and gave a great yield.
    My faves was Jack Herer,Northern Lights#5Haze,Cinderella99,and White Widow.
    Have a good one.


  7. Howard Brown

    Great Show, and thanks for all the wonderful growing tips………… But when
    are you going to open up seed sales in the U.S.A.? This is by far the richest country in the world, and sales here for you could possibly reach into the millions of Dollar$. Also Marijuana will probably be legal everywhere here by 2020. And there are Seed Banks in Holland that are already selling here in
    the United States…………..
    Ps. Do you know of any strains that do not stimulate the appetite?

    1. Scarlet Palmer - Sensi Seeds

      Hello Howard,

      Thank you for your comment, we are glad you are enjoying the blog. In answer to your question, basically, as soon as we can! Despite the rapidly changing status of cannabis in many parts of the US, federal laws still prohibit us from shipping there, sadly. Although there are indeed Dutch seed banks and resellers that ship to the US, Sensi Seeds is not affiliated with any of them and therefore cannot vouch for the quality or authenticity of any seeds purchased from them that are advertised as Sensi Seeds or White Label Seed Company strains. As soon as the situation changes, there will be a major newsflash on this blog!

      As to strains that do not stimulate the appetite, this is a trickier question to answer. As a rule of thumb, sativa strains tend to stimulate the appetite more than indicas. You may find this article on cannabis and metabolism to be useful, and also this post on the cannabinoid THCV.
      With best wishes,


  8. Some good tips here and I use a few, not only are cfl and led good they generate far less heat and use less power making your grow less detectable for those in countries it is forbidden. 2 of the 3 main ways people are caught are heat and energy usage the third is telling people about it and they inform on you so use cool lighting and keep your mouth shut and you can have some decent harvests for a good time to come following sensi seeds amazing tips

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    The Sensi Seeds Editorial team has been built throughout our more than 30 years of existence. Our writers and editors include botanists, medical and legal experts as well as renown activists the world over including Lester Grinspoon, Micha Knodt, Robert Connell Clarke, Maurice Veldman, Sebastian Maríncolo, James Burton and Seshata.
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