How to Use a Grow Tent


Extending the season in the garden is often necessary in areas with short summers. Planting earlier in spring comes with hazards, as many summer vegetables and flowers cannot tolerate frost. A grow tent is a small cover made of paper or breathable fabric that helps prevent frost from damaging tender plants in the garden. Grow tents are also called hot tents or hot caps. They not only keep the frost off the plants, they also retain the heat of the sun under the tent into the night, raising the temperature in the air around the plant just enough to prevent damage.

Step 1

Set the grow tent over the plant. Use a tent that is tall enough so that the plant does not touch the sides of the tent.

Step 2

Prop open one side of the tent during the daytime when temperatures are above freezing. Propping is necessary to allow air circulation around the plant, as well as preventing overly warm temperatures under the tent.

Step 3

Close the tent at night or when freezing temperatures are expected. Secure the tent to the ground if high winds are predicted; otherwise the tent may blow off the plants.

Step 4

Remove the grow tent from the plants completely once all danger of frost is passed. Grow tents should only be used for the first two weeks of the gardening season, as plants quickly outgrow them.

Tips and Warnings

  • Remove the tents immediately if the plant grows large enough that the leaves touch the sides of the tent. Leaves may suffer heat damage and burns during the day, or frost damage at night.

Things You'll Need

  • Grow tents
  • Stakes


  • Iowa State University Extension: Tips for Earlier Yeilds in the Vegetable Garden
  • Cornell University: To Tent or Tunnel
Keywords: using grow tents, garden hot caps, protecting garden plants

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.