For many growers, a closet grow setup is their only hope for growing indoors. Not everyone has the luxury of a shed, or a spare bedroom, or even a garage. For those of us who still want to try and grow indoors, the closet is our best bet.
Sure, growing in a closet has its drawbacks. But, we are going to share some tips on how you can get your closet grow set up, and provide you with some things you need to know about growing in a small, enclosed space like this.
Why grow in a closet in the first place?
Growing in a closet presents a huge advantage over growing in an outright room, garage, or even outdoors - stealth.
For the most part, no one will ever need to find out about your grow if it's tucked away in a closet. This isn’t an area of your home that anyone would typically see besides you, so you can rest assured that your grow will be discreet.
Unless your master bedroom has a giant walk-in closet, odds are your closet grow room will be pretty small. For example, the closet grow setup we are doing here at Hydrobuilder utilizes just a 2’ x 3’ x 4.5’ growing space. This is barely enough for 3 adult plants.
While this may sound like a drawback, it can actually be a good thing. This will force you to keep your grow simple. You don’t need huge, expensive lights, dehumidifiers, etc. You can set up your closet grow room with a lower budget than if you were building a typical grow room.
Furthermore, this allows you to focus your attention on fewer plants. Instead of overwhelming yourself with 5-10 plants, you can focus on 2-3 and give them all the TLC they need!
Planning a closet grow
Before you even start setting up your closet grow room, you need to be strategic in strain and equipment selection.
You won’t have a ton of space, so you need to choose genetics that are known to grow smaller. If you came into this expecting to grow huge plants in a small area, I’ve got bad news for you!
This doesn’t mean you’re going to get dismal yields. You can still grow impressive plants with large, resinous buds in a closet. But you need strains that grow short and bushy. Autoflowering strains tend to do really well in closet grows. Do some homework.
Grow equipment and supplies
You also need to do some measuring before you choose a grow tent. Ideally, your tent will fit in your closet with additional room for you to store things on each side of it.
Water and runoff
You also need to think about how you are going to get water to your closet grow, and how you will dispose of the runoff. It’s likely you’ll be growing on the carpet, and while a grow tent will contain the mess of your garden, it can’t help you when it comes to transporting liquids from room to room.
Invest in a shop vac to make removing your runoff super easy. Just suck up the runoff in your tent, and take the shop vac into the bathroom to empty it into the tub or toilet, or outdoors.
How To Setup Your Closet Grow Room
Setting up a closet grow room is no different than setting up a standard grow room. The main difference with getting started is that you need to do a bit more planning on sizing your tent and light, as you have less room for error.
Step 1) Clean and clear your closet space
You need to start by getting your closet ready for growing. This means clearing out whatever you are storing in there, such as old clothes, boxes of stuff, etc.
The closet we used in our closet grow journal was in a spare bedroom, and thus the closet was just storage. So, we had to find a new home for everything that was in there before we could get started. Once the space was cleared out, we vacuumed the floor, just in case any bacteria that could harm the plants was lurking.
Step 2) Set up your grow tent
Once you have the closet ready, you need to set up your grow tent. We have an entire grow tent setup guide that can walk you through the advanced details of this, along with the rest of the tent kit. But, it's pretty straight forward. Our Covert Grow Tents are easy to set up and come with detailed instructions. Here is a quick video showing just how simple it really is.
Start by setting up your poles, and put together the frame of your grow tent. Then, you can cover it with your canvas, and zip everything up.
Step 3) Setup your ventilation system
This is probably the trickiest part of setting up a closet grow room. You need to setup your ventilation system, and there are a number of ways you can go about this.
The best method will depend on your specific growing space. Hanging your carbon filter and fan inside the tent is the ideal option.
But, in smaller tents, you may want to use every bit of space for plants. This is totally understandable, and in this case, you can house your carbon filter outside the tent, on the floor. This will not do as great of a job at managing odors, but if you need to save space for your plants, it may be your only option.
Where do you duct the air in your closet grow setup?
In a standard grow, you can strategically place your tent near a window, or near a ceiling light, because these make easy access points for ducting the air from your tent. If you are lucky enough to have a light in your closet, you can consider removing the bulb and sticking the ducting through their and venting into the ceiling.
But, when you grow in a closet, you are pretty limited with where you duct your air. In some cases, the closest window is not an option, nor is a ceiling fan or light. After all, you’re growing in a closet to be discreet, and there is nothing discreet about ducting extending from your closet!
There are a few ways you could go about this. The easiest one is simply ducting air from your tent into the closet and letting it settle there. This could work if your plants aren’t especially smelly, but in some cases, this will just put hot, stinky air right into your closet. It can then seep out into your room, especially as your plants are flowering or during harvest when they’re at their most pungent.
If this isn’t doing the trick, you have another option - this one a bit more extreme. You can cut out a small hole in your closet drywall or ceiling, and insert your ducting there. Then, you can seal it, with tape or a wall patch.
Once you are done growing, you can simply patch the wall. Some people have reported that this could lead to mold, as you are ducting humid air into a dark space. So, use this at your own caution.
You can learn more about setting up your carbon filter and ventilation system in our blog. If you are new to growing, you should also check out our blog post on atmosphere and ventilation, as this will give you a basic understanding of the ideal growing environment, along with how to create it.
Step 4) Setup your grow light
Once your ventilation system is dialed in, you are just about ready to start growing. All that’s left is hanging your grow light.
One important thing to note here is that you need to be aware of the heat your light produces.
When you unbox your grow light, check for a manual or documentation specifying how far above your canopy it should be.
Using adjustable light hangers is the easiest way to set up your grow light. You can raise your light as your plants grow.
Tips for growing in a closet
From there, it’s just a matter of testing everything, setting up monitors and controllers, and bringing your plants in! You are officially ready to start your closet grow.
But, growing in a closet does present different challenges over standard grow rooms. You need to be strategic about how you use your space. So, we are going to give you some tips to perfect your closet grow setup.
Training plants in a closet grow
As you are likely aware, you are going to need to be super efficient with your growing space. You only have so much room in your closet, and you want to get the heaviest yield possible with that space.
That means you need to train your plants to grow short and bushy, with tons of colas. You can’t afford to have long branches with lots of space between growth nodes. This is wasteful.
Many closet growers opt for a low stress training approach. This allows you to grow your pants wide, saving your headspace. You can learn all about plant training in our blog.
The reason training is so important is because you don’t want your plants to outgrow your closet. When you make the flip to flower, your plants will explode in size.
Don’t make the mistake of letting your plants get too big during veg, because then you will be out of luck during flower, and will potentially have to top again, cutting away precious flower sites.
A good rule of thumb is to let your plants get to about half the final size you’d like them to be, and then flip to flower.
Controlling plant stretching
Even if you train your plants, you may still deal with some stretching. This is not the end of the world, but it certainly isn’t optimal.
Not only will it increase your plants height while decreasing yield, it increases the likelihood that your plants get burned, or that shoots of growth snap once flowers start developing.
There are a few things you can do to keep your plants short and stout aside from training. Your grow lights play a factor here, as a high ratio of red light to far-red light decreases stretching. This is why you need to do your due diligence when choosing grow lights, opting for one with an ideal spectrum.
Managing plant stress is also huge for controlling stretching. Stress causes your plant to stretch, so prevent large swings in temperature between day and night, and minimize transplant shock.
Want to try growing in your closet?
If this sounds like something you want to try, grab a grow tent and get started!
Here at Hydrobuilder, we have grow tents ranging in size from 2' x 2' all the way to 20' x 20'.
Make sure you double-check your dimensions first so you are sure your tent will fit in your closet.