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Monday March 27, 2023

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. You’ll never have to worry about supply or quality control when you’re in charge, and if done right, can save you money.

Maybe you’ve taken a look around your dwelling 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 cultivating marijuana micro grows that only take about as much room as a closet or cupboard.

Three cannabis seedlings that are in small brown clumps of soil
When you want to ultituze a small space to grow, a micro grow is the way to go. photo credit

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 marijuana micro grows to find out if it’s right for you.

Marijuana Micro 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.

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% to 70%, 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.

A small grow operation in a closet with LED light shining on the cannabis plant which illumates them to a purple color
Be mindful of the type of cannabis plant your grow, depending on the space you have. photo credit

Another important consideration is finding the right strain for your grow space. If you have a taller space like a room with high ceilings, sativas 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 closet.

Once you’ve selected the space, the next step is to start rigging it up to support your micro 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. Depending on the space, bulbs can generate a lot of heat.

Bright pink and white LED light hanging above green cannabis plants
LED lights can be a good option for micro grows. photo credit

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. On the downside, 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. 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 add 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.

A green cannabis grow with a pink hue from the grow lights and a white fan in the corner of the grow tent.
Air circulation is key when avoiding mold in your grow. photo credit

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 micro grow cannabis 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 your formula right.

Plant Training

To keep your plant within its grow space, plan on doing 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.

A few green cannabis plants covering the bottom of a grow tent with silver walls.
The sea of green technique works great with micro grows. photo credit

Otherwise, you could utilize the scrog technique, aka the screen of green, a trellis net 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 cannabis micro growing 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 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!

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Can you Make on a Marijuana Plant?

It’s not so much about how much money you can make from one marijuana plant, but how much yield one plant provides - not a simple question to answer. There are many factors affecting plant yield including strain, grow type, indoor vs. outdoor grows, etc. Then you have to factor in materials and growing expenses like light and water. One plant might equal one pound of consumable product, but how much that’s worth is at the whim of other variables.

Can You Micro Grow Marijuana?

Yep! Micro grows are a good option for those working with smaller spaces.

How Small Can You Grow Marijuana?

If your goal is a small cannabis plant, you should check out some autoflower indica strains, which are typically shorter and bushier.


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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