Growing cannabis the conventional way, with plants side-by-side either in an outdoor garden, under a grow tent, or in a hydroponic grow system, is considered to be a horizontal grow system. There is another way of growing that maximizes all space and is gaining in popularity, called vertical cannabis cultivation. Growing cannabis vertically is just what it sounds like: stacking plants on top of each other in a vertical grow system to utilize all space, not just on the ground but up to the ceiling as well.
Growing cannabis vertically can provide many benefits, most importantly producing up to double the yield to harvest twice as much bud as conventional growing. So, what does it take to grow cannabis vertically, and is it right for you? Here’s what you need to know about vertical cannabis cultivation.
What is Vertical Cannabis Cultivation?
Vertical cannabis cultivation can be more complex than growing cannabis the conventional way, although it can provide many benefits when done correctly. Growing cannabis plants vertically is incredibly efficient and maximizes the entire space available in a grow room. Vertical cultivation is a game changer for maximizing yield with increases of more than 100% possible. Vertical cultivation of cannabis consists of a series of shelves piled on top of each other or the use of vertical trellises and strings with lighting placed on the side or inside of the system.
Because the lights are so much closer to the plants, the central lighting system must be relatively cool. LED lighting is popular with vertical growth systems as they emit a greater spectrum of wavelengths and reduce the possibility of burning. LED lights are more expensive up front, but they protect the plants when placed closer to them and take up smaller physical dimensions to fit better with vertical grow systems. LED lights also allow for adjustment of the light spectrum to meet the demands of plants at various growth stages.
Types of Vertical Grow Systems
There are two different types of vertical grow systems: Stacked and True vertical systems.
Stacked Vertical Grow Systems
Stacked vertical grow systems utilize a shelving system where each shelf holds cannabis plants, with the height of your room determining the number of shelves available based on the intended height of your plants. Stacked systems usually use either square or hexagonal-shaped shelves stacked on top of each other around a central light source. Vertical light tubes are required to illuminate plants from the side and provide lighting to the whole plant rather than just the top, like in hanging lights over a traditional grow space.
The stacked 360° system allows growers to utilize all space between the floor and the ceiling. This type of vertical growing allows commercial growers to efficiently deliver water and nutrients to all plants. An automatic watering system makes it a lot easier to access and water plants in a vertical system.
True Vertical Grow Systems
A true vertical growing system is an advancement on the stacked method. The stacked system is typically no more than two or three horizontal gardens built on top of each other. A true vertical grow system utilizes a tall cylinder like a tower that the plants grow out of. With a true system, cannabis plants are held on the side of a cylinder and grow upward. Plants are cultivated on the side of a column in a drip system can be used for watering and feeding nutrients from the top of the cylinder.
A nutrient film technique, NFT, is often combined with an aeroponic system in a true vertical growing setup. A true vertical growing system helps farmers to optimize space for maximum yield. Vertical lighting with LED lights is necessary to select within the stacked grow system.
For both stacked and true vertical growing systems, it is best to use short, bushy plants that produce maximum buds, like an Indica variety, and stay away from taller Sativas. Hydroponics or soil-based systems can be used.
Benefits of Vertical Cannabis Cultivation
The main benefits recognized by vertical growing include:
- Increased yield – The greatest benefit of vertical growing is the increase in yield. Depending on the number of plants grown vertically, growers can double or triple the amount of plants grown.
- More crop cycles – A tower system with a true vertical setup also produces shortened vegetative phases, which allows for more crops during the year.
- Efficiency – growing vertically allows for growing more plants in less space, and LED lights use less energy consumption than other types of lighting.
Be aware of your state’s cultivation limit, as growing vertically can significantly increase your yield. Whether growing with a traditional horizontal system or with a vertical cultivation system, always start your grow with high-quality cannabis seeds.
Mosca Seeds is recognized internationally as a leading cannabis seed provider offering high-quality genetics. It was more than 15 years of experience, and several cannabis cup wins, Mosca has quality seeds for everyone. Check out the Seed Bazaar now for the best cannabis seeds online to grow traditional or with vertical cannabis cultivation.