Find Out Why Your Succulents Need Their Own Tent
A grow tent can be a great way to help keep your succulents thriving year round, but especially in the winter. Lack of sunlight indoors is hard for succulents but using a grow tent and grow lights is a great way to give them what they need!
If you live anywhere that gets cold winters, you likely bring most of your succulents indoors for the season, unless you're growing the amazing cold hardy varieties.
While succulents can survive indoors, winter poses several problems, including reduced sunlight and fresh air. Using grow lights is a great option, but the best grow lights for succulents are generally too bright for normal viewing and can be unusual colors as well.
A grow tent is a great solution to this problem!
If you're wondering what a grow tent is, you're in for a treat. A grow tent is a light tight enclosure that creates a perfect environment for growing plants, and in my case, succulents.
To give you a better idea of what a grow tent is and how to use it for succulents, I created a “tour” of my Galaxy Grow tent. This thing is seriously incredible!
My tent is 4 feet by 8 feet and 6 feet tall, but there are also smaller versions that are likely a better fit for most of you. First, here's a run down of the items I have in my grow tent setup:
- 4'x8′ Galaxy Grow Tent
- 2 LED grow lights, 300 Watts each
- 8″ Duct Fan
- Aluminum ducting and clamps
- Fan speed adjuster
- 8″ carbon filter
- Adjustable rope hangers
- 6′ folding table
- Black stretch table cloth
- Heavy duty mesh plant stand
- Wireless thermometer
- 2 extension cords
- Plug timer
- A couple 5 gallon buckets
That seems like a lot, and in some ways it is. But, this setup is so much better than a table and grow lights setup in a bedroom in my house by the brightest window. I also realize though, this setup isn't for everyone. Take a look at the images and review below to see inside my grow tent and learn all about why it's so amazing!
Contain Grow Lights with a Grow Tent
There were two main reasons I chose to get a grow tent. First, I needed more powerful grow lights. The grow lights I purchased (that I determined would work best for my collection of plants) are bright pink and extremely bright.
As you can imagine, it's hard to be in the same room when these lights are on. Since I didn't want to dedicate a whole room to my succulents, a grow tent seemed like the best option.
When everything on the grow tent is zipped up you don't see any of the light from inside the tent. The inside of the grow tent is reflective too. This allows all of the light put off by the grow lights to be used. If grow lights are not contained, some of the light is “wasted” as it doesn't end up touching the plants.
Another great advantage to only relying on the grow lights, rather than window light, is I know how long my succulents are being exposed to the light. If they start to show signs of sunburn, I can easily reduce the amount of time the lights are on or move the lights further away from the succulents.
On the flip side, if I notice my succulents are still stretching out, I can move the lights closer to the plants so they get stronger light.
The grow lights are set up on a timer and run 12 hours during the day. By setting the timer to normal daylight hours I'm able to easily transition my succulents outdoors once the weather warms up.
I will keep my propagation flats inside since they do best in a controlled environment, but the larger plants will benefit from being moved outdoors for the summer.
Protect Your Succulents (and Kids or Pets) with a Grow Tent
The second reason for getting the grow tent was to keep all my succulents contained and out of reach from my two curious toddlers. Before using the grow tent they seemed to always find a way to get to the plants and knock them over or touch the cacti, causing problems for both themselves and the plants.
The grow tent is currently setup in our playroom (the only room with enough space for the tent in addition to the other functions the room serves). Since they can't reach the zippers at the top of the tent, both plants and children are safe.
This is also a great set-up if you have dogs or cats. Those curious creatures always seem to find plants irresistible, so this set-up will protect your plants from your pets. If you have any succulents that can be harmful if eaten, such as Euphorbias, grow tents are another way to protect your animals.
A Grow Tent Provides Excellent Air Flow for Succulents
Aside from the two reasons listed above for purchasing the grow tent, I've discovered a variety of other perks. With the ventilation system setup, the grow tent provides a great amount of air circulation so the succulent soil dries out quickly like it should.
Air flow plays a crucial role in the health of your succulents. While we do run the heater and air conditioner indoors, there isn't nearly as much air circulation indoors as outdoors. The ventilation system in the grow tent is able to mimic the airflow outdoors which allows succulents to stay healthier.
Ideal Environment for Succulent Propagation
While all succulents can thrive in a grow tent, it is an especially good environment for propagating succulents from leaves. Leaf propagation requires the perfect amount of light, but not too much, and a very temperate environment.
Inside the grow tent I've found my leaf propagating to be much more successful. More leaves seem to sprout new plants, and the plants grow much healthier and more condensed than my typical indoor propagation experiments in the past. I also love not having to worry about them getting sunburned or blown away in the wind, etc.
The ventilation system is also ideal for leaf propagation. Since succulent babies need more water than fully established plants, I recommend watering almost daily. Extra air circulation allows the soil to still dry out in between watering, helping the baby succulents start to develop strong roots in those short periods of drought.
Less Risk for Bugs or Infection
While a grow tent doesn't completely eliminate the possibility of succulents being infected with bugs or other diseases, it definitely helps. The air circulation combined with the carbon filter and contained environment allow the succulents to stay relatively bug-free.
If you do find bugs such as gnats or mealy bugs, you can easily remedy the problem with alcohol. Gnat infestations can be prevented by simply letting your soil dry out before watering again.
The Galaxy Grow Tent Experience
My husband did most of the research on which grow tent to purchase. He's amazing at finding the best product for the best price. After looking at dozens of grow tents, the Galaxy Grow Tent was the only one that made sense.
First, it is on the less expensive end of grow tents. You can easily spend several hundred of dollars, if not close to $1000 on a grow tent, especially one as large as mine (4'x8′).
Cheaper tents tend to leak more light and aren't as durable. They won't support as much weight (for hanging grow lights and ventilation systems). But, they are cheaper.
More expensive tents have stronger poles, more durable fabric, and do a better job at containing the light. But, they can also be extremely pricey.
The Galaxy Grow Tent is the perfect balance of all the best features of grow tents at an amazing price. First, it is extremely durable.
The poles for this grow tent are larger than any other brand (even more expensive ones) meaning they can easily hold more weight. Since I wanted the ventilation system to hang from the top of the tent this was a huge consideration for me.
That brings me to ease of setup. No grow tent is going to be super fast to setup. However, I was amazed at how easily we were able to put this together.
Between my husband and I it took just over 30 minutes to get it setup and we didn't have previous experience. The next time it gets setup I'd guess it could go even faster.
I also love all the doors and windows in this tent. Since I have the 4'x8′ model it has two doors in the front. However, it also has two doors on the sides so you can easily access the plants in the back of the tent. Genius!
There are also a few windows in the tent so you can check on your plants without unzipping the doors. This is a great way to check if your grow lights are on, or to see how your plants are doing.
I have a shop light setup in the tent that is on all the time, so even after the grow lights have turned off, I can still peek into the tent and see how things are going without opening the door.
The bottom of the tent also has ventilation screens so you can allow air to flow in.
The screens and the windows can be covered up by light-proof fabric panels that Velcro on. They are very easy to open and close and you know the light won't leak when they're closed.
The floor also has a fabric “tray”. Since we know we'll be moving this tent in the future, this tray will allow us to easily remove any dirt or leaves that have fallen on the floor.
We'll just remove the tray, dump it off, and then deconstruct the tent.
Overall I have been extremely happy with this grow tent. It has been a great alternative to having stretched out succulents over the winter and has allowed me to start propagating a lot more succulents.
I've tried a variety of ways to keep succulents healthy indoors, and though not ideal for everyone, this is the best setup I've tried to date.
Be sure to take a look at the different size options for this Galaxy Grow Tent and see what will work for you!
This article originally appeared on Succulents and Sunshine.