Whether you are growing weed indoors or outdoors, learning how to grow a small marijuana plant has many benefits. A small cannabis footprint helps you grow in small spaces and makes care and maintenance much more manageable compared to a large plant.
Here are our top tips for growing a small marijuana plant at home.
Choose Autoflowering or Indica Cultivars
One of the most important factors of cannabis plant height is its genetics.
If you want to grow small marijuana plants, we recommend planting autoflowering strains, preferably “fast-growing” strains. Autoflowering strains can begin flowering after a few weeks from germination and can be harvested in as little as 2 to 3 months.
If you can’t grow autoflowering strains, short-growing photoperiod strains can work. While not as small as autoflowering plants, they can fit in small spaces. These strains may also be marketed as “fast-growing” or “express” strains due to their fast flowering period.
Generally, sativa strains are known for their slender and tall size, while indicas tend to grow short and bushy. In most cases, going with short-growing indicas is the best choice.
While sativas and indicas have distinct growing patterns, there are exceptions to the rule. Some indicas can grow tall if you buy the right genetics and grow them in an optimal environment.
Set Up CFL or LED Lights
Compact fluorescent light (CFL), light-emitting diode (LED), and T5 bulbs are the best grow lights for growing small marijuana plants.
- CFL: CFLs’ compact form makes them perfect for small spaces. Because of their size, they can be kept close to plants. However, big CFL bulbs or many small ones can increase energy costs and temperature.
- T5: T5 fluorescent bulbs have a slim and low-profile design that can work well close to plants. Due to their tube-like design, we recommend training your plants to have a wide canopy. T5s tend to run hotter than LEDs while having similar energy costs.
- LED: While LEDs can be more expensive than CFLs and T5s, they can double your yield, saving you on energy usage, and run cooler than them.
Pro tip: Keep your lights as close to your plants as possible without burning them. A lack of light exposure stimulates the stretching of the plants.
In terms of the light spectrum, grow lights with more blue wavelengths tend to promote short plant growth, while red wavelengths stimulate stretching. Look for bulbs with a spectrum ranging between 4000k and 6500k for short plants
Plant in Small Pots
Large containers can allow for big root and plant growth. We recommend keeping plants in small pots to restrict their roots. Some growers have even had success growing autoflowering strains in 16 oz. disposable party cups.
Shorten the Vegetative Stage
If you’ll be growing photoperiod strains, knowing when to switch from vegetative to flowering stage is key. Autoflowering strains automatically transition to the flowering stage after a certain period of time, so you won’t have to worry about them.
For photoperiod strains, we recommend switching to the flowering stage when your plant is half your desired size. Generally, plants can double in height during the flowering stage’s 12/12 light schedule. Waiting too long to switch can lead to a taller-than-desired plant.
Use Plant Training Techniques
Plant training techniques can help you manipulate the way your cannabis plants grow. Naturally, they will want to grow vertically, toward the light source. Use these techniques before your plant gets too tall or if it is already too big for its space.
- Sea of Green (SOG): In a SOG set-up, you can place your small plants in their small pots close together, creating a sea of green.
- Screen of Green (SCROG): Using a screen, you can train plants to grow horizontally and create an even canopy for better light penetration.
- Manifolding: Also called main-lining, this technique involves cutting the top of the plant to create several more bud sites that can grow wide instead of tall.
- Low-stress training (LST): LST involves bending and tying down branches to create an even canopy with better light distribution.
- Super cropping: This high-stress training (HST) technique involves pinching and bending branches to promote lateral growth. Pinching the stems does not cause significant damage to the plant.
- Topping: This involves cutting off the top of your plants after a few weeks to force your plants to grow short and bushy instead of vertically. Topping can create additional bud sites.
Get Certified as a Master Grower
Growing small marijuana plants is entirely possible. You don’t have to be a gardening expert and grow super large plants. You can grow in nearly any small space, as long as your plant gets the right nutrients and has enough water and light.
If you want to learn the latest cannabis cultivation techniques from the top growers in the world, enroll in Cannabis Training University’s online cannabis college. For a small investment, you get 12 months of access to a wide range of courses covering cannabis horticulture and beyond