How Many Cannabis Plants Should I Grow? (For the Biggest/Fastest Yields)
Should you grow just one cannabis plant or many to maximize your yields? What’s the best number of plants to grow considering your grow light and the size of your grow space?
What’s the best number of plants to grow?
There are a few different schools of thought when it comes to the best number of marijuana plants to grow in an indoor setup. I’ll walk you through the benefits of growing just one plant vs the benefits of growing many, and then give you some real-life examples with specific setups. That way you get the information you need to make the best decision for your garden
One or Many Cannabis Plants: Costs vs Benefits
Growing Just 1-2 Cannabis Plants at a Time
- Easier – Fewer plants make it easy to pay attention to each individual plant and it’s often easier to reach all the plants.
- Much Simpler – You won’t need to compromise as much between plants with different needs.
- Less Time Daily – Spend less time on a daily basis caring for plants (making nutrient water, watering, training plants, etc).
- May Be Only Legal Choice – Many growers live in an area with a limit on the number of plants they can grow (for example in Canada you are only allowed to grow 4 plants at a time, and each legal US state has different growing rules). These growers don’t have a lot of choices when it comes to how many plants to grow.
- Less Variety – You’ll only be able to grow one or two strains, instead of many strains at once.
- Fewer (or Smaller) Harvests – Yield is based on how well you fill the grow space with plants before they start flowering. With just one or two plants, it takes extra time for each plant to fully spread out in the vegetative stage so you achieve the best yields. This results in fewer harvests a year. Alternatively, if the grow space has empty spots during the flowering stage you’ll end up with smaller yields.
Should you grow just one or two plants at a time and let them get big?
It took 8 weeks in the vegetative stage to train the plant to grow this way. Yet it was a joy to focus on just one plant and get to form a relationship with it.
In the flowering stage, the plant rewarded the effort with buds that filled the space where the plant was trained
Growing Many Cannabis Plants at a Time
- Faster Harvests – Especially in a large grow space, several plants can fill the space faster during the vegetative stage than just one or two plants. This allows the grower to switch to the flowering stage sooner.
- Max Yield for the Time and Electricity – A shorter grow period results in extra harvests. If you are looking to get the biggest yield in the shortest amount of time (maximizing your yield for the electricity), this is an effective strategy.
- More Variety – With a higher number of plants, you’ll have the ability to grow a greater variety of strains at the same time.
- More Daily Care – You will usually spend more time on a daily basis tending your plants, and it’s often more difficult to reach the plants in the back.
- Different Plants Have Different Needs – Each plant prefers slightly different levels of nutrients, light intensity, etc. The differences can be especially stark when growing many different strains at once.
- More Difficult to Train – Training plants to grow wide and flat results in the best yields, but it can be more difficult to train multiple plants. Some plants grow much taller/faster than others, and you have work around all the other plants. To simplify things, some growers avoid any training when growing many plants at once.
- May Be Illegal Where You Live – It may be against the law to grow a large number of plants even if growing is legal where you live.
Should you grow many plants so they fill your grow space faster?
It only took 6 weeks for those plants to completely fill up this grow space. Imagine how long it would have taken for one plant to grow this big!
No Matter How Many Plants You Grow…
- Similar Yields Per Square Foot – Cannabis yields are based mostly on the size/shape of the canopy in relation to your grow light, not the number of plants. Filling the total surface area of plants under the light with bud sites is what matters, and it doesn’t really matter if you use one plant or many to fill the space before flipping to the flowering stage.
That means even if you can only grow a few plants at a time, you can still get the same yields in your grow space as someone who can grow more plants! It just might take a little bit longer in the vegetative stage.
It doesn’t matter whether this canopy was created by one plant or many. However you got here, your yields will be about the same as long as everything else is equal!
Growing Many Plants Shortens the Vegetative Stage But Doesn’t Necessarily Increase Yields
When it comes to getting the best yields as fast as possible, you will often have better luck growing several plants than just one or two. This is because it takes several plants less time to completely fill up a space than it would take one plant to fill up that same space.
However, time might not be the main concern. Many growers don’t mind an extra few weeks in the vegetative stage if it makes the growing process easier and more fun.
But in the end, the actual yields will be about the same as long as the space does get filled. Given the same total number of colas and size of plants, it won’t matter much if you have one plant or twenty as far as yields are concerned.
What’s the “Optimal” Number of Cannabis Plants?
If you can legally grow as many marijuana plants as you want and are willing to put in the extra time and effort to grow as many plants as necessary, what’s the best number of plants to grow?
Each plant should get plenty of direct light and at least a foot or two of space to itself
The optimum number of plants depends mostly the size of the area under the grow light. A plant generally should get at least a foot of space to itself to really be able to grow and spread out, and it’s often better to give plants a little more space, especially if you have powerful grow lights like HPS or LEDs!
Suggestions for Example Grow Spaces
2’x2′ Space – 1-4 Plants
2’x4′ Space – 1-6 Plants
3’x3′ Space – 1-6 Plants
4’x4′ Space – 2-9 Plants
These suggestions definitely aren’t set in stone, but they serve to give you general starting guidelines. It is possible to grow more plants in these spaces successfully, but with more plants, you will often start running into difficulty being able to reach the plants in the back and care for them properly. Sometimes it’s more of a pain than it’s worth.
These two plants fill this entire 4’x4′ space, but you could get the same amount of canopy coverage with many smaller plants. It’s up to you to decide how you want to fill your space
Keep in Mind! Your yields are limited by the size of your grow light, not the number of plants. Light is like food for your plants and has a direct correlation with yields. The more plants you grow, the less each individual plant will get as far as light. Think of your grow light like a pie, with each additional plant getting a smaller slice to eat every day.
It’s tempting to grow a lot of plants, but you don’t want to spread your light out too thin! If you grow too many plants you might get less than an ounce per plant, and your buds will be airy and light!
Your yields are ultimately limited by the size of your grow light, regardless of how many plants you grow.
All of the following grows took place in a 2’x4’x6′ tent and produced a comparable amount of weed
3 plants (5-gallon pots)
4 plants (3-gallon pots)
7 plants (2-gallon pots)
It can be hard deciding what number of plants to grow in your space, but ultimately the best thing you can do is to pick a number and dive right in to growing. I believe in listening to your gut. When in doubt, always start with more plants than you need so you have the option of ditching any plant that doesn’t germinate, grows poorly, or ends up being a male or hermie.
Always start with more plants than you need, just in case! But remember, you may have to throw some of them away…
Each grower has a different style, and as you get more experience, you’ll be able to dial in your grow to what’s best for you and your setup.
Many growers find it more relaxing and enjoyable to grow just a few plants (or even just one). On the other hand, growing many plants at a time produces more strains, more often. The right choice depends on you and your needs.
So unfortunately I can’t give you a “best” number to end all numbers, but I hope you now have a better idea of how many plants to grow in your space!
Beginner Shopping List (What You Need to Start Growing)
How Many Cannabis Plants Should I Grow? (For the Biggest/Fastest Yields) Should you grow just one cannabis plant or many to maximize your yields? What’s the best number of plants to grow
How much will an indoor cannabis plant yield?
Home Grower Question: How much does an indoor cannabis plant yield?
Answer: The answer is not easy, but it’s honest. Plant yields vary due to many factors including the size of plant, which is to say, how big you let your plant grow. The quality of the plant’s genetics and propensity for the genetic’s yield — be it a low, medium or heavy producing strain, also greatly influence yield.
Because indoor cannabis plant yields vary, there is no cut and dry answer to the question, “how much does an indoor cannabis plant yield?”
You see, it depends on whether you are growing small plants, medium sized plants, large plants, or extremely large plants. The size of your pot must be taken into consideration, and there can be a big difference in the size of your harvest (yield), depending on if you are growing in a grow tent or in a grow room with high ceilings.
Where and how you grow is a crucial factor to get to the bottom of your question, “how much does an indoor cannabis plant yield?” The strain you grow is also an influential factor. Additionally, you must consider how long you are growing your plant in the vegetative phase. People who grow cannabis plants with over 10 ounces are usually keeping their plants in the vegetative phase for more than 10 weeks. Do you have the time?
What about those one-size-fits-all answers online?
They often reference a yield algorithm based on things like how big your grow room is, what lights you are using, how many watts, and more. Not helpful. An answer like, “A grow room with 1200 watts can lead to a yield of 42 oz.” or “you can grow 1 lb. per plant,” not only sets false expectations, it confuses new cannabis gardeners who are trying to grow in grow tents with LEDs.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t figure an answer to this common question about plant yield indoors. There are a lot of moving parts in your gardening process that influence yield per plant. To get close to a perfect estimate, you’ll need to know if you are growing in a small tent, large tent, or in a grow room. If you are growing in a small grow tent, you may be growing small to medium size plants. You may have 6 short plants or 3 short to medium sized plants, 2 big plants, or you may have 1 “large as you can get it” plant.
Genetics, plant care, lighting, pot size, and your grow space all influence how much an indoor marijuana plant will yield.
Plant genetics greatly influences how much a plant can yield. You can grow a “heavy yielding” or “heavy producer” strain, average yielding strain, or low-yielding strain. For example, the size of cola buds on a Dream Queen strain are much bigger than the cola buds of a Girl Scout Cookies strain. If you are unsure of your seed or clone origin before growing, that is a big risk to take if growing for heavy yields is your goal.
Don’t forget “Plant Care.”
You can lessen your plants yield potential by not properly caring for your plant indoors. Plant care includes the quality organic nutrients and water it needs to survive and thrive. It may include plant training techniques like topping, pinching and supercopping, all to grow bigger plants. If you don’t practice proper plant care, you won’t get as much of a yield per plant.
Pot size matters!
Did you give your plant a 2, 3, 4 or 5 gallon pot, or a 10 gallon pot? The bigger the pot, the bigger the plant. Lighting is another key ingredient to increasing your plant yields. If you grow with a cheap LED Light, you’ll diminish the plant’s yield potential. You’ll want to grow with a high quality LED light to get the most amount of yield per plant indoors.
With all that said about indoor plant yields, home growers who grow marijuana plants indoors in grow tents may yield from 1 – 5 ounces per cannabis plant, with a sweet spot of 2 – 4 ounces per plant. Honestly it depends on the above mentioned gardening and genetic factors, but this gives you a realistic snapshot of your cannabis yield potential.
Lastly, if you have high ceilings in your grow room (or a emptied indoor pool), you are positioned to grow plants that may yield much more, like 6 – 16 ounces. There are 16 ounces in 1 pound. You could even pull 2 lbs. from a plant indoors if you really wanted, but it would take a significant amount of time in the vegetative phase and you’d need tall ceilings, and big pots. It is in the realm of possibilities! Our best recommendation to grow indoor plants indoors that weigh 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8 pounds is to grow in 100 lb. pots, and give yourself at least 4 – 6 months in the vegetative phase of plant growth.
Home growers who grow marijuana plants indoors in grow tents may yield from 1 – 5 ounces per cannabis plant, with a sweet spot of 2 – 4 ounces per plant.