By Max Sargent

Depending on where you live, and who lives around you, growing cannabis might be a fairly comfortable practice, or it might need to be conducted in relative secrecy.

If you fall into the latter category, then this article is for you. Here we look into different methods to disguise a cannabis grow outdoors, on balconies, and in greenhouses, to help you create a safe and hidden cannabis grow.

How to Protect Your Outdoor Grow

If you grow cannabis outdoors, then it’s likely that it will, in some way, be visible to prying eyes. Depending on the space available to you, you have two options: hide it away somewhere so you have a fully hidden outdoor grow, or camouflage it so that even if it's in sight, people won’t notice it.

Below we’ll outline some stealthy outdoor grow ideas to protect your plants, and you!

Hide Your Weed in the Garden

One of the simplest ways to camouflage your outdoor garden is simply to grow companion plants alongside your cannabis plants. Not only can this help to hide them away, but the right companion plants can also invite beneficial insects into your cannabis garden and help to ward off predators!

You can opt to grow plants that look similar to cannabis plants, or simply grow enough other plants that your cannabis is shielded from sight.
Potential companion plants are:

  • Tomatoes
  • Stinging nettles
  • Lupines
  • Pride of Madeira
  • Staghorn sumac
Companion plants for Cannabis
Companion plants for Cannabis

Choose a Hidden Spot

Alternatively, to protect your outdoor grow, you can simply grow weed where there’s already lots of cover. Grow in pots, and place your cannabis behind or among other plants. Also, try to look at your garden from the perspective that neighbors or those on the street might see it. A spot that looks hidden to you from your kitchen window might be clearly visible to someone else.

Though you’ll want to choose well-covered areas for your weed plants, make sure that these spots are still appropriate for growing weed. Namely, do they get at least eight hours of direct sunlight per day? If not, then your stealth grow might turn out to be fairly unproductive.

Be Careful Who You Tell Your Secret To

It will be tempting to tell friends and maybe family about your weed grow. And while you know best who is safe to tell, always bear in mind that people love to talk—and growing weed is still considered exciting gossip by many!

Maybe you’ll show or tell someone who doesn’t judge you, but they might pass the information on to someone who will. If you let the secret out, you lose control of it. So be careful who you tell.

Moreover, be extra-careful who you invite into your home. If you have builders in for some reason, try to ensure that they don’t go near your weed grow.

Keep Your Weed Plants Short and Bushy

An easy way to create a stealth weed grow is to keep your cannabis plants small and bushy. A 2m-tall cannabis plant with one fat cola at the top is going to attract a lot of attention—and it will quite clearly be cannabis. However, a 23.4 inches, shrub-like plant will blend in much more easily.

A very simple way to achieve smaller plants is to use smaller pots. If the root systems can’t grow very large, then neither can the plant. Use 3, 5, or 7-litre pots if you want to keep your plants low.

Alternatively, you can use training techniques such as LST. This way, you can grow larger plants but tie them down so that they grow horizontally. You’ll still achieve a large yield, but the plants will appear bushy, rather than tree-like.

If all else fails and your plant is growing very large, you can just chop the top off. If you go for this option, do it when the plant is still in the vegetative stage, else you could lose most of your harvest.

LST training
LST training

Genetics for a Stealth Grow Outdoors

Some plants naturally like to grow tall, spindly, and stinky, while others like to grow low, bushy, and—while not entirely odourless—less stinky.

In general, indica or indica-dominant plants are best suited to stealth grows as they grow lower and thicker. There are even certain cannabis plants out there that don’t look like cannabis at all. These unusual strains tend to have leaves that are differently shaped compared to regular cannabis leaves. If stealth is absolutely essential to you, these strains are a good option.

Camouflage Your Plants

You can take things to the next level by dressing your plants up. Consider buying fake fruits and flowers and hanging them on your weed plants to make them look entirely different—at least from a distance.

Use Green Mesh Fencing

You could also place a green mesh fence around your cannabis plants. This will simply stop them being visible from outside, but won’t stop light from getting in.

Bear in mind that, depending on how you do this, it could in itself look suspicious. Ideally, a green mesh fence won’t look out of place if there’s lots of life in your garden. But if your garden is otherwise empty, it might look strange if a section of it suddenly gets hidden from view—especially if it then starts to smell like weed!

Green mesh fence to hide your plant
Green mesh fence to hide your plant

Disguise the Smell

Cannabis smells; it’s well-known for it. And there’s only so much you can do to hide this, especially in an outdoor grow.

One way to cover the smell slightly is to grow other fragrant plants alongside your grow. However, if you pick a very smelly strain, this is not going to cut it.

Therefore, the best bet is to grow low-odour cannabis plants, such as our Epsilon F1 hybrid. This, plus distance, is your best friend when it comes to hiding the scent of cannabis. The further you can get your plants from prying noses, the better it will be!

Be Discreet

If you behave strangely, this could be what draws attention to you. First, remember that there is nothing unusual about gardening. Going outdoors with gardening tools, fertiliser, and watering cans is not in itself suspicious. So when it comes to normal tasks, go about them as though you’re doing something normal. If you’re seen sneaking off to a corner of the garden, this will raise suspicions.

On the other hand, be discreet when it comes to cannabis-specific practices. For instance, don’t leave “cannabis fertiliser” lying around in plain view. And if you have to discard parts of your plants, do so in a way that doesn't leave five-fingered cannabis leaves clearly on display.

Finally, make friends with your neighbors. This way, they’ll be less suspicious in the first place, and even if they do discover your secret, it’s more likely they won’t say anything. Plus, making friends with people is worthwhile by itself!

How to Hide Cannabis on Your Balcony

It may be that you live in a city and don’t have a garden. If this is the case, you might be wondering how to create a stealth grow on your balcony.

Some balconies are pretty tucked away anyway, in which case you need only really worry about the smell. If this is so for you, follow the information from the sections above.

If this doesn’t apply for you, there are some other factors to bear in mind. First, higher balconies tend to be more private. If you don’t have a high balcony, there are steps you can take to disguise your grow. To start, consider using companion plants.

Also, use planter boxes along the edge of your balcony to create a shield. Then, in most cases, if people look at your balcony, it will be this layer of plants they see. A small cannabis plant or two hiding behind will most likely go unnoticed.

Also, try to determine from where your balcony is most visible, and account for this. Most likely, those higher up on the other side of the street will most easily be able to see what is going on.

Hiding Your Stealth Grow in a Greenhouse

If you have a greenhouse, these are fantastic environments in which to grow cannabis. They offer the protection and control of indoor growing with the benefits of outdoor growing—specifically sunlight.

On top of these advantages, greenhouses also offer a great environment for those who want to keep their cannabis grows hidden. Many greenhouses and polytunnels have translucent walls that blur the contents. And even if your greenhouse doesn’t, you can use mesh or companion plants to help disguise your cannabis.

Hide your plants in a greenhouse
Hide your plants in a greenhouse

A greenhouse that only contains cannabis plants will be much more obvious compared to a greenhouse that contains a mix of plants. Place your cannabis amongst numerous other species, and it will quickly disappear.

A great advantage of greenhouses is that you can use natural light. However, some people supplement with artificial lights. While not a total giveaway, if your greenhouse starts emitting light during the night, people might wonder what you’re growing. So, if possible, only use natural light with your greenhouse grow.

Finally, another advantage of growing in a greenhouse is that you can instal a carbon air filter, which removes much of the odour of cannabis plants. This means that you can grow pretty much any strain you want and not worry about the smell alerting nearby, sensitive noses.

Build an Underground Bunker or Convert a Shed

Lastly, you can convert a shed or build an underground bunker or greenhouse!

All of these options immediately hide your plants from view, allow for control over the smell, and offer other benefits such as environmental control and pest control.

A converted shed simply acts like an indoor grow, as does an underground bunker. An underground greenhouse is a little different. This involves creating a pit in which your plants will grow, and then covering the top with glass. This means that sunlight can get in, but those without access can't see what’s growing inside (unless they’re directly above).

Underground bunker
Underground bunker

Grow Indoors!

Finally, if you desperately need to keep your plants hidden and you can’t make yourself a bunker (few can), perhaps consider growing indoors. Using a grow tent with LED lights and a carbon filter will make your grow basically impossible to detect unless someone comes into your house and snoops around.

Creating a Stealth Cannabis Grow: Work With What You Have

Hiding cannabis plants is about looking at what you have available and working with it. If you have a greenhouse, great! If not, what can you do? Grow companion plants? Or is there a corner of the garden that’s already pretty crowded, where a cannabis plant or two wouldn’t attract much attention?

If nothing else works, grow indoors using a cannabis grow tent. And, most importantly, be safe! Assess whether the risk is worth it, and act accordingly.

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