Weed 101: What Are Grow Tents and How Do I Use Them for Cultivating Pot?
Want to cultivate your own weed, but don't have extra space in your residence? A grow tent might be the solution you're looking for.
Published on October 15, 2019

Growing your own weed can be a fun and rewarding hobby that will also save you a lot of money. But for many home gardeners, space can be an issue. Most of us do not have an extra room or closet in our house to devote to pot plants. However, if you have just a little bit of space in the corner of a room or garage — or even on a secure patio — a grow tent may be a great option for you.


What Is a Grow Tent?

For your garden to flower successfully, most cannabis cultivars require a dark period of at least 12 hours each day. Providing these conditions are usually difficult without a contained environment. A grow tent is a fabric structure that is assembled around a sturdy frame to provide a home for your plants. 

Constructed out of heavy canvas, a grow tent excludes any extraneous light that could interrupt or delay the flowering process. The frame also serves as a support structure for lights, fans, and other equipment, allowing you to set up your cultivation environment to your liking.


Selecting a Grow Tent

When selecting a grow tent for your weed garden, the primary consideration should be its size. Depending on the amount of space you have and how many plants you want to grow, you can choose a grow tent as small as 2 feet square or up to 4 feet by 8 feet. The height of the grow tent is also important. You’ll need some room at the top to hang your equipment and space between your lights and plants, so choosing a 4x4 grow tent or higher is a good idea.

The grow tent should be constructed of sturdy nylon or polyester canvas with a rating of at least 600D, or denier, a method of measuring the thickness of yarns in a fabric. On the interior side of the grow tent, a reflective layer is bonded to the canvas. The reflectivity of this layer can vary from about 50 percent up to 90 percent; those that are more reflective will help you use electricity more efficiently. 

Gallery — Who Needs Friends When You Can Grow Your Best Buds?

Access to the tent is provided through flaps that zip close. Ports that cinch tight should be included at the top of the grow tent for ventilation equipment and power cords. Zippers and seams should be sturdy for the most durability. The addition of a viewing window for a quick peek at the plants is a useful feature.

The quality of the frame is also an important consideration. A plastic framework is less expensive and will probably suffice for smaller tents. But for a larger grow tent — and to ensure durability for many harvests to come — a steel frame may be a wiser investment. Remember that in addition to providing a structure for the tent, the frame will also be supporting your lighting and ventilation equipment. So strength is key.


Equipping Your Grow Tent

To grow healthy and vigorous plants in your grow tent, you have to supply the contained environment with the light, fresh air, water, and nutrients they need. Lighting is generally provided via HPS (high-pressure sodium) or LED grow lights. While HPS has been the standard for generations of cultivators, LEDs are getting more efficient and performing better all the time, making them a popular option for many home growers. LED grow lights also tend to run cooler and will need to be replaced less frequently than HPS bulbs.

Regardless of the lighting source you choose, the grow tent will most likely be too warm to support optimal plant growth unless you have proper ventilation. Install a fan and ducts to provide fresh air to the plants while blowing warm air out of the tent. If you’re concerned about the strong aroma exuded by flowering cannabis plants, install a carbon filter in the exhaust duct to control odors.


Hang the lighting and ventilation equipment from the framework of the grow tent, ensuring that everything is secure and won’t fall down. You can use an inexpensive pulley system to raise and lower lights to the optimum height above the plants if you wish, although this isn’t a practical option if you’re using HPS lamps with air-cooled reflectors.

For easier maintenance of the grow tent, a hydroponic system can be used to provide water and nutrients to your plants. Feed all power cords from your lighting, ventilation, and any other electrical equipment out of the tent through the included ports. Use a timer to ensure your lights run on the proper schedule.


Ready, Set, Grow!

Once you’ve set up and equipped your grow tent, it’s time to move your plants in and get them on their way to harvest. Before long — and with a little work and love — you’ll be puffing on some quality herb, full of the pride and satisfaction that comes with growing your own flower.

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A.J. Herrington
A.J. Herrington is a freelance writer focusing on cannabis news, business, and culture and has written for publications including High Times, Sensi, and HEMP. When he's not banging away at the keyboard, you'll probably find him tending to his plants in the garden.
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