Vertical Cannabis Growing – That’s How You Maximize Your Yield in Tight Spaces

If you find that a lack of adequate space is a hindrance to your cannabis, you might want to give vertical growing a chance.

For both home and commercial growers alike, managing garden space while maximizing yields can be a difficult task. This is especially true in urban areas, where the demand for marijuana is high—but so are the costs associated with renting, buying or building indoor space for cannabis cultivation.

For decades, the indoor horticulture industry has looked for ways to best utilize indoor garden space to maximize yields. Whether it be the giant flower farms of Holland, the sprawling vegetable greenhouses of Canada or the massive indoor commercial cannabis operations in the United States, many indoor growers are using vertical grow formats, whose popularity has been on the rise over the past few years with a new demographic: home growers.

System Types for vertical cannabis grow

Vertical grow systems are typically not do-it-yourself or build-your-own systems. Rather, commercially available vertical systems are purchased from hydroponic shops or wholesale distributors and then modified to the grower’s specific needs and space. Just like typical horizontal or flatbed grow systems, vertical grow systems can be used with almost any type of indoor grow technique, from hydroponics and aeroponics to soilless-medium methods. The latter is the least likely example one might find, though, as the weight of soil mediums—as well as the sheer volume—can make for cumbersome maintenance, less flexibility and lower functionality (more on this in a bit).

In traditional vertical grow systems, lights are hung vertically, usually on chains, with the plants placed around them in a cylindrical arrangement from floor to ceiling. A primary benefit of this arrangement is a better utilization of light, both in terms of energy efficiency and light absorption, by the encompassing plant canopy. The removal of reflectors creates a direct path for light energy, or photons, from bulb to plants and eliminates the conversion of light into heat that occurs when photons bounce off reflectors or are otherwise absorbed elsewhere and not by the plants. Additionally, when the vertical string of lights in these systems is adequately cooled (either by air-cooling tubes, water jackets or AC units), the plant canopy can sit within inches of the lights, thereby increasing the energy delivered to the plants.