Grow tents and grow boxes are great for indoor growing, especially if you’d rather keep your grow under wraps.
Setting it up though?
Not as straightforward.
The good news is that with a few pointers and some DIY skills, you can quickly build the perfect room setup for your plants.
Our complete guide covers everything you need to know.
Let’s begin with the most important.
4 Reasons To Choose An Indoor Growing Environment
Lighting, humidity, temperature, carbon dioxide, and ventilation are vital for the healthy growth of a plant. That sounds simple on paper, but growers in challenging climates will tell you otherwise.
Grow rooms, grow tents, and grow boxes offer the ideal conditions for a plant to grow while offering protection against dust, pests, and mold.
What are the benefits of a controlled growing environment? How about these four:
- Odorless growing
- Precise control
- Ability to grow anything
- Hassle-free use
1. Odorless growing
Cannabis growers can attest that few things in nature emit an odor as strong as a cannabis plant in full flower.
A grow tent fitted with carbon filters is your ticket out. If discretion is your primary worry, a discreet grow box is highly recommended. Your home won’t smell like cannabis and you’ll enjoy a successful yield.
2. Precise control
Too often, an outdoor plant falls prey to something totally out of your control and all you can do is watch your hard work go to waste.
With a grow tent or grow box, you get to play God (sort of).
It’s unbelievably simple to control lighting for your plants, to keep pests and microorganisms away, control the CO2 levels, and more.
By delivering the precise conditions your plant needs to succeed, you ensure strong yields.
3. Ability to grow anything
Most grow environments come with built-in lights so year-round yields are finally a thing. Say goodbye to worrying about the right season!
Some growers grow young plants under purple LED zones and older plants in yellow HPS zones. Once older plants are harvested, younger plants are swapped in.
Did you know you can harvest a cannabis plant every 60 days? With a controlled grow room, you certainly can.
4. Hassle-free use
Growing environments are easy to use, especially once you have your grow room setup complete.
Is An Indoor Growing Environment Worth It?
With increasing temperatures a norm today, it’s more difficult to protect your outdoor plant from the heat of a scorching summer sun.
Rather than having nothing to show for your struggles other than some dried out remains of a plant, you could opt for an indoor growing environment and have a successful home garden to show at the end of the season.
There’s no denying an indoor grow environment represents a steep initial investment, but the cheaper running costs and precise control over every factor make it a worthwhile investment for most.
Grow Box vs Grow Tent vs Grow Rooms
A little refresher if you’ve forgotten the differences between the two.
A grow box is an enclosed growing environment with a compact size and unassuming design that makes it well-suited for small spaces and discreet growing.
A grow tent is a small, portable room. It works like a grow box, and while some tents are massive enough to fill up your attic, you can find options that aren’t much bigger than a typical grow box.
Grow rooms generally come with all of the essentials fitted: a ventilation system, grow lights, and odor filters. While some growers like to add or remove components, most grow rooms don’t require much work after purchase.
Let’s dive in.
How To Select The Perfect Grow Tent
The size of the grow tent matters more than you’d think. The grow tent’s size dictates the plants you can grow, the supporting components you can use, and your operating costs.
With an oversized grow tent, you risk paying more for the equipment and energy.
On the other end of the scale, an undersized tent creates an unhealthy and crowded growing environment. It may not be able to accommodate a more mature plant even after pruning.
You’ll find a wide range of grow tents, from sliding door closet models to smaller tabletop models. Some fill up an entire attic or basement while others fill up a cabinet.
How do you choose the right one?
It depends on what you envision using the tent for. For cultivating seedlings, a compact tent could get the job done. (You may even just need a cloning machine.) Seedlings don’t need a lot of height, but adjustable lighting is preferred to enhance growth.
Manufacturers are usually cagey about the number of plants their grow tents accommodate. That’s because how and what you grow as well as the system and containers used will have an effect on the final number.
However, you can use these general guidelines on popular sizes to develop a rough estimate.
- 5′ x 5′: 20 small plants or 6 mature plants
- 4′ x 4′: 16 small plants or 4 mature plants
- 4′ x 2′: 8 small plants or 3 mature plants
- 5′ x 2.5′: 6 small plants or 2 mature plants
- 2′ x 2′: 4 small plants or 1-2 mature plants
3 Things You Have To Know For Optimal Grow Room Setup
Here are 3 things you should figure out before pulling the trigger.
How tall will my plants be?
Find the maximum height your plants will grow to. Then add one foot. That’s the environment height you should be looking for.
Headroom is important as it will let the light reflect off the interior surface. For the ultimate in flexibility, opt for a model with an extension kit or adjustable poles.
Where will my grow area be located?
If you’re placing your environment somewhere sheltered, say a garage, a heavy-duty grow tent or grow box may be overkill.
If it’s going to be placed somewhere more unforgiving, by all means, go for a heavy-duty product. Inspect the construction and make sure everything is tight enough to keep water, pests, and drafts out.
You must also measure the location you have in mind before you settle on a grow environment. If space is scarce, compact tabletop tents or cabinet grow boxes could be exactly what you’re looking for. Their small size makes them well-suited for small herbs and lettuces or for starting seeds and cloning.
Tents that are large enough to stand on their own will need a lot of space, both in width and height.
What accessories will I need?
If you wish to add extra equipment like lights, you’ll need a grow tent with strong support bars to hold ventilation fans and secure your ducting.
6 Features of the Optimal Grow Room Setup
The perfect setup should have 6 features:
- Plenty of light
- Constant temperatures
- Adequate ventilation
- Plenty of CO2
- Proper humidity
- Light reflection
1. Plenty of light
You want to give your plants as much light as possible. Ideally, this would be with energy-saving LEDs. LEDs emit the full spectrum of light while keeping the heat down.
Keep in mind that too much light can have an adverse effect on your plant too, so be sure to do your due diligence.
2. Constant temperatures
Temperature is a close second in terms of importance and requires constant monitoring. More often, a range of 70-80°F hits the sweet spot, but it can vary depending on your plant.
When it comes to temperature, consistency is key. Ensure that off-lighting temperatures don’t drop more than 10-15°F and that daytime temperatures stay consistent.
3. Adequate ventilation
Poor ventilation can affect temperature and humidity levels in the growing space, providing the perfect environment for pests and other unsavory microorganisms.
Constant circulation is how you combat this.
While doing so, don’t point a fan directly at the plants. You don’t want to cause windburn, but do make sure it mimics a soft, natural breeze.
4. Plenty of CO2
CO2 levels are essential for the smooth growth of your plants. Growth rates increased significantly when plants were exposed to 1200 to 1500 ppm CO2. One drawback is that higher CO2 levels may result in higher temperatures in the growing environment.
Too much humidity can cause pests and microorganisms to take up residence in the growing area, but just the right amount can help your plants grow better.
Usually, plants prefer 60% humidity. Some hacks to increase humidity levels include placing a bowl of water or wet sponges near the plant.
6. Light reflection
This is something commonly ignored, but a reflective interior offers two benefits:
- Keeps light from infiltrating the rest of the house
- Allows your plants to grow optimally
5 Things You Need For Your Room Setup
Ready to get growing? You’ll need these 5 pieces of equipment:
- Grow tent
- Grow lamp
- Carbon filter
- Ventilation system
1. Grow tent
Your grow tent should be of sufficient height to accommodate your plant and any other equipment.
2. Grow lamp
Lighting is critical. Grow lamps give plants the energy to undergo photosynthesis and process nutrients. Determine beforehand how much light your plants require and place the lights accordingly.
Careful here. Too close and you’ll end up burning your plants.
3. Carbon filter
Carbon filters remove unwanted odors through exhaust vents and preventing pathogens from sneaking in via intake vents
4. Ventilation system
Use an inline fan to remove exhaust air and an oscillating fan to circulate air inside your grow tent.
Our COMPLETE Guide To Grow Room Ventilation has you covered.
Some assembly is required:
- Electrical tape
6 Steps For The Perfect Grow Room Setup
Right now, you should have everything you need. Let’s put it together.
1. Assembling your grow tent
Construct the frame and place the cover on the frame. The cover is sometimes a heavy canvas or a lighter Nylon; it depends on the model you choose. I’ll get into that below.
Inspect the seams for any defects and work the tent zippers to ensure they function properly.
2. Setting up your grow lamp
If your grow lamps include mounting hardware, follow the manual to hang lights in the right position. Refer to your grow light’s manual for optimal heights.
3. Setting up your carbon filter and air circulation system
Ideally, you would fit your exhaust system toward the top of the tent. As the temperature increases, hot air rises upward. An exhaust fan fitted higher up can remove this hot air much more easily than a fan fitted lower in your grow tent.
The carbon filter must be affixed opposite to the exhaust vent.
Carefully measure the distance between the exhaust fan and the carbon filter and install ducting between the two components.
Follow the same process and connect the exhaust to the ventilation opening.
Pro Tip: It’s a common beginner’s mistake, but make sure the cords can reach the power source.
4. Attaching the humidity and temperature gauges
If you’ve been following me so far, you probably have noticed how often I stressed on the need for constant humidity and temperature levels.
Temperature and humidity gauges let you easily measure the levels and make the necessary changes.
5. Safety sweep
Unless you want to start a fire, do a sweep of all the electrical equipment and make sure they can’t get wet.
6. Start planting!
Now that the whole setup is in place, add your plants and get it going.
Constantly monitor the environment. This includes carbon dioxide, temperature, and humidity. You may need to tweak a bit in the early stages until you figure out the optimal conditions.
3 Things NOT To Do In Your Room Setup
There’s plenty that can punish your grow if you aren’t careful.
1. Keeping it dirty
Litter and trash must never be left in a grow tent or you’ll be battling pests before you know it. A clean and tidy space is vital.
2. Cluttering things up
Cross-contamination is a very real problem. Just an accidental brush of your shears on used ducting can transfer a lot of bad stuff. Remove equipment and empty boxes immediately after use and keep things organized.
3. Using outdoor equipment for your indoor plants
Don’t even think about it. It’s probably the easiest way you could give your budding plant a case of spider mites. Keep anything that’s used on outdoor plants stored outside, far away from your indoor growing space.
You should actually follow this all throughout the house. After all, nobody wants those outdoor bugs in the living room!
3 Best Grow Tents With Easy Setup
Looking for suggestions? Go no further.
1. Gorilla Lite Grow Tent
It doesn’t get any more heavy-duty than this guy here. The Gorilla Grow Tent features the thickest canvas currently on the market.
Worried about light leaking out? Nah, that’s never happening. This line of tents comes in a range of sizes so you can choose one that best fits the plant you’re growing. A steel frame maintains durability while windows allow external light or ventilation.
2. Topolite Grow Tent
The Topolite Grow Tent features 600D Oxford cloth.
What does that mean for you?
Close to zero or no light leakage.
The seams of this Topolite grow tent are double-stitched for added durability and feature heavy-duty zippers. Strong and robust coated steel rods hold up the entire structure.
The rectangular vents offer better ventilation while built-in mesh keeps pests and other insects away. The tent includes several vents for additional ventilation outlets, filters, or fans.
The inner lining of the grow tent is created from diamond mylar, which reflects up to 96% of light. The tent also boasts a tool kit to store tools.
3. Vivosun Mylar Tent
Highly durable, this Vivosun tent features black linings on the interior, helping you keep things discreet. You’ll find plenty of space for your plants and an abundance of ventilation ducts. An observation window makes it easy to peek in at any time!
Grow Room Setup: Final Thoughts
Indoor growing environments are becoming increasingly common for both professionals and hobbyists. However, you need to install it correctly if you want to use it efficiently. A poor setup can lead to wasted energy and subpar yields.