How to Keep a Grow Room Discreet [10 Things to Keep in Mind]

Cannabis plants come in a range of sizes, from growing small and bushy and around about knee height, to growing tall, thin and something akin to a tree! Regardless of the size of the plant, though, you want to keep your grow space or room as discreet and out-of-sight as possible. In fact, in many states that allow for patients to grow, it’s a legal necessity.

We also realize that there are some people who are growing in states or countries where cannabis is illegal. Although we here at Leafwell do not recommend breaking the law, we also understand that some people may be suffering enough to take the risk at their own personal discretion. Here’s some tips on how you can keep your grow room from being noticed easily, which is something you ought to do regardless of whether or not you live in a legal state.

Download Our 10 Tips For Discreet Grow Rooms

1. Grow Cannabis Indoors!

It’s easier to keep a grow out of public view if it’s indoors. You don’t have to dedicate an entire room to growing cannabis, either – even modified PC-style cases can be used to grow a couple of plants in the corner of a room. For a beginner (and due to the legal limits to growing cannabis), a 3 x 3 or 4 x 4 foot grow tent is usually sufficient for their own personal needs. This would fit between 4 and 8 plants.

2 cannabis plants in an indoor hydroponic setup.
Indoor hydroponic grow in agrow room. By Plantlady223 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0. From Wikimedia Commons.

2. Utilize the Sea of Green (SoG) Method

This is where you find a female cannabis plant that looks particularly promising during the vegetative (i.e. it has strong roots and the plant is healthy) stage, and you keep it at this stage. This is called the mother plant or a keeper. From this plant, you can take cuttings, which you can put into another pot to take root, and put it immediately into 12/12. These cuttings are called clones, and in some states you can buy these clones to save time on growing a plant from seed, going through the vegetative period, and finding a suitable mother plant.

The SoG method is particularly useful for those who are growing cannabis indoors and have limited space. This is because clones don’t tend to grow as large as plants grown from seed, allowing for a greater number of plants to grow in a smaller space. Clones are more standardized, so you can get a consistent crop over and over again.

Cannabis grown using Aeroponics and Sea of Green method.
Cannabis being grown in aeroponics set up using the sea of green (SOG) method. From PXHere. CC0, Public Domain.

3. Take Smell Into Account

Air flow and carbon filters are your friends, and can reduce the smell of your grow room by some magnitude. For those who have slightly larger grows and/or have a particularly smelly set of plants, an ozone generator can eliminate the smell of growing cannabis plants entirely. There are also a number of low odor strains you can grow at home like Northern Lights, Sharksbreath and California Orange Bud, which have more neutral smells compared to many other varieties of cannabis.

4. Loose Lips Sink Ships

Other than the smell of growing, the most common way of getting caught growing cannabis is because someone overheard you talking about it. When it comes to speaking about growing your own, it really is a case of “know your audience”. If you are in an environment that doesn’t look too kindly upon cannabis users, don’t talk about your hobby. Even if you are in an environment that may be more accepting, be careful. Speaking about it with friends at a party where inhibitions are lost and the word spreads quickly, is different from talking about growing cannabis in a dispensary surrounded by medical marijuana patients.

5. Lighting

The lights are the most power-heavy aspect of your grow room, and some people have had their grows confiscated because of a suspicious power company or from a law enforcement agency’s infrared camera. The best way to prevent this from happening – and to save on your electricity bills at the same time – is to use LED lights, reflective material lining your tent, and to situate your grow space in a spare room that’s near an area of the house that can cover the heat of the lights.

Other alternative spaces include a spare bathroom, closet, garage, or a cellar or basement. Attics can be good as well, but be careful of too much heat emanating from the top of your house – people have been caught due to the lack of snow settling on their roof during the winter months!

6. Dispose of Your Waste Material Properly

People finding cannabis leaves in a trash bin close to your home is a dead giveaway that someone in the area is growing cannabis. If you must dispose of your waste, do it somewhere that’s not too near where you live. Others have found ways to recycle and reuse their waste. Stems and big fan leaves are useful for BBQ kindling, soil can be reused outdoors, and composting is also an option.

Putting cannabis waste through garbage disposers is not a good idea, as leaves can get stuck in piping or your septic tank. Composting, recycling and dumpsters are your best bet when it comes to cannabis waste.

7. Outdoor Grows

Outdoor and guerilla grows are generally a more complex affair when it comes to discretion. Greenhouses are a good solution, as they are in an enclosed space on private property, and all you need to do is ensure you have filters for the smell, several other plants to cover up the sight, and lock up your greenhouse properly.

For other types of outdoor grows, camouflage tents, using other plants as cover, and training your plants to prevent them from growing too tall by using a mesh screen (called a Screen of Green, or ScrOG) may help keep your grow away from prying eyes. If you find a variety of cannabis that can handle both indoor and outdoor grows, you may also keep a mother plant indoors and grow clones outdoors to prevent them from growing too tall.

Outdoor ScrOG cannabis grow
An outdoor ScrOG grow. By Cannabis Pictures. From Flickr. CC BY 2.0.

8. The Noise

The constant buzzing of the lights, fans and any other electronic in your grow room can cause a distinctive whirr or buzz. In city regions, this is drowned out by the sound of cars and the hubbub of everyday life. In more isolated areas, this may be an issue, especially if you don’t have thin walls. Soundproofing may be needed under such circumstances.

9. Your Neighbours

Keep on good terms with your neighbours. If they are constantly complaining about strange noises or smells coming from your vicinity, then be careful of your neighbours. You don’t want to disturb your neighbours due to your grow room, and the less they are affected by it the less likely they are to report it. Of course, some neighbours may be neutral or even supportive (perhaps even grow their own), which is the ideal situation to be in!

10. Change Your Clothes

When you work with cannabis plants, resin can get stuck to your clothes. This means that you can end up walking around smelling of cannabis. You ought to wear a different set of clothes when out in public, so the smell doesn’t tip anyone off.

Download Our 10 Tips For Discreet Grow Rooms

So there we have it. 10 tips to keeping your cannabis grow room as discreet and safe from prying eyes as possible. In states that have legalized the growing of cannabis, this is less of a concern, but it’s still good practise to keep any nosy neighbours from learning about your hobby. After all, it’s not necessarily just the police you want to keep away – it’s opportunistic criminals as well, and this is arguably far more dangerous. For those who want to grow as legally as possible, get a medical marijuana card. Having one may allow you to grow more plants as well!

Written by
Dipak Hemraj
Dipak Hemraj

Dipak Hemraj is a published author, grower, product maker, and Leafwell’s resident cannabis expert. From botany & horticulture to culture & economics, he wishes to help educate the public on why cannabis is medicine (or a “pharmacy in a plant”) and how it can be used to treat a plethora of health problems. Dipak wants to unlock the power of the plant, and see if there are specific cannabinoid-terpene-flavonoid profiles suitable for different conditions.

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