Medically Reviewed by
Jason Crawford

Article Last Updated on January 17, 2023

The cultivation of commercial cannabis feels like a less daunting task if you actually research how to properly do it first. You’ll find that in order to produce a good amount of weed at the end of the flowering stage, marijuana plants need adequate grow room. To accomplish that, cultivators need to provide the appropriate conditions for the plants to thrive.

And one of the most popular questions that concerns cannabis growers is how many cannabis plants can be planted per square foot. 

Depending on whether you want to grow larger plants for commercial use, or you are cultivating an individual plant in order to satisfy your personal needs for medical marijuana, you’ll need to provide the plant with an adequate growth area.

The Basics of Cannabis Cultivation

Before you do anything else, you need to decide which cannabis strain you’ll be growing. Cannabis growers can decide between cultivating Sativas, which grow tall, and Indicas, which are short and bushy. On the other hand, photoperiod plants grow taller, while autoflowers have varieties that only reach 50-60 cm.

Next, you’ll need to decide whether you want to grow indoors or outdoors. If you choose to cultivate your marijuana indoors, you’ll also need to have in mind the space needed for grow lights. Moreover, if you decide to grow multiple strains, you’ll need to organize them appropriately in order for taller plants not to overshadow smaller plants. The smaller the plants you choose, the more plants you could fit per square foot.

What Determines the Number of Cannabis Plants You Can Grow per Square Foot?

In order to determine the number of plants that can fit per square foot, you’ll need to take the following factors into consideration.

The Size of Your Growing Area

The number of plants you can grow per square foot will largely depend on how big your growing area is. If you are growing at home, it’s possible that you’ll be using a grow tent. They are available in different sizes and they range from small tents 1.6 x 1.6 feet, to large tents that fit every grower’s needs.

For example, if you decide to grow an Indica plant, you might need a tent that’s 3.2 x 3.2 feet. Also, you should remember that apart from the plant, you’ll need room for the lighting, ventilation, and other equipment.

The Size of Your Pots

Based on the dimensions of your pots, you could fit several pots into one square foot. Moreover, if you decide to use larger pots, you’ll cultivate bigger plants. Should you decide to cultivate inside, an average guideline to follow is to have around nine 11-litre pots in about 10 square feet.

Other helpful pot sizes would be:

  • ½ litre – For young plants with a height up to ½ foot;
  • 2-3 litres – For plants with a height up to 0.8 foot;
  • 5 litres – For plants with a height around 2 feet;
  • 11 litres and more – Suitable for an average plant-height.

Training Your Plants to Fit a Certain Area

The following training techniques are made to optimize the space you have in order to harvest a maximum amount of weed.

Sea of Green (SOG)

The SOG method is the best one if you’d like to get the most out of your available area. By using SOG, plants get 1-2 weeks of vegetative growth, after which they are stimulated to enter the flowering stage. When using this method, you won’t need to prune or train your plants since they won’t have enough time to branch out, and in the end you get short main colas. For the SOG method you’ll need a 400W HPS light. This type of cultivation can fit 4-16 plants in a 10 sq ft area and can result in several harvests per year of about 500g/m².

Topping and Fimming

By using the topping and fimming method, you break off the main growing tip so it develops a few main colas, rather than just one. This is a high-stress technique and results in bushier growth. On the other hand, it involves damaging your plants, slowing down the growth, and extending the vegetative stage. If you opt for this method, you shouldn’t do it more than 2-3 times per growing season. In order to try topping and fimming, you’ll need 2 large plants or 5-10 small plants per 10 sq ft.

Mainlining and Lollipopping

These techniques promote the growth of large buds at the end of the branches. In order to cultivate your marijuana this way, you should plant 1 large or 2-4 small plants per sq ft. 

To do mainlining, you’d mix topping, LST, lollipopping, and ScrOG. The method is done by topping the third node of the cannabis plant and cutting the lower branches. By doing this, the plant develops equally from the central hub, and by topping it more than once, you can even develop a canopy.

On the other hand, lollipopping can be done on untrained plants, by trimming all the branches of unnecessary growth and only leaving the main bud and the side branches with large buds. This way the plant directs nutrients and energy toward the largest buds.

Low Stress Training

This technique is beginner friendly. The cultivator bends and ties the stems to each other in order to make the plants go horizontally. You could combine it with ScrOG and topping. LST yields 2-4 large plants or 4-6 medium plants per sq ft. 

Screen of Green (SCROG)

The best way to take advantage of your growing space is to use the SCROG method. This training method is done by weaving the cannabis plants to get a grid-like mesh. If you decide to give this method a try, you should do it in the vegetative phase and end it before the third week of blooming. This yields 1-2 large plants if you’re going for the big ones, or 4 medium sized plants per 10 square foot area.

Grow lights type

As it was previously stated, the most important factors when you start to cultivate your own weed are determining your grow space and grow lights. You’ll need to know that grow lights don’t disperse their light equally. They generally light the buds that are directly underneath the light, and decrease towards the sides. In order not to sacrifice yields, you should grow fewer plants under an adequate amount of light and get the right wattage for the strain you are deciding to cultivate. You could use LED lights and HID (high-intensity discharge) lights, depending on your preference.

How Many Cannabis Plants per Square Foot

Growing cannabis requires researching particular growing methods and choosing the best one for you. In order to get the best yield, you’ll need to provide your plants with enough grow-area as well as an adequate amount of light.

Different methods require a different grow area as different marijuana plants have different needs in terms of cultivation. Depending on whether you choose LST as your desired method for cultivation and yield 2-4 large plants per square foot, or you choose mainlining and cultivate 1 plant per square foot, in the end what’s most important is that you are satisfied with the yield your plants give.

A passionate advocate for the benefits of cannabis. Fraser Horton, who has a background in botany and a strong love of nature, has spent years researching how cannabis affects the body and mind. He established Leaf Nation in 2020, where he has devoted himself to educating people about the legalisation of marijuana and its safe and responsible use. Fraser is committed to highlighting cannabis’ potential for improving wellness and working to dispel the stigma associated with its use.


The information presented on this page is provided as a public service to aid in education and is derived from sources believed to be reliable. Readers are responsible for making their own assessment of the topics discussed here. In no event shall Leaf Nation be held reliable for any injury, loss or damage that could happen if using or abusing drugs.