How to Grow Cannabis at Home.
By James Parker
Do you like cannabis and want to grow it at home? If yes, this guide is for you.
There are many studies that confirm the benefits of cannabis, in addition, cannabis gives pleasure and reduces stress, so growing weed is the best way to access this marvelous herb.
So, if you can’t wait to dive into this journey, dig in and find a step-by-step guide on growing marijuana plants.
Choose the Right Strain
If you want to have an enjoyable experience growing weed plants at home, you must pick the correct strains first. Instead of picking one strain, choose a variety that may suit your grow space and yield excellent results.
When picking the strain, be mindful of certain factors. For instance, measure the area you have at home to make the growing process convenient.
If you have only a tiny space in the corner of a room, the Indica strains might be the right pick, courtesy of their broad rather than long leaves. The cultivars with Indica-dominant strains are easy to tame because of their small heights.
On the other hand, if you have enough outdoor space at home, you can grow Sativa strains and enjoy the massive results they offer.
When picking a cannabis strain, you may also want to research the taste and aroma that it might produce. You need to make sure that you are a fan of the harvest so you don’t waste time cultivating it in the first place.
If you want to enjoy fast growth for your plant, consider the yield and speed of the strain as well. If you are in a hurry, picking a strain that gives you full flowers in a short duration is vital.
Sativa dominant strains take longer than Indica strains to grow; however, their yield is better and more productive.
So, if you don’t want to waste your money and time, work through your expectation from the entire process and find the most suitable strains to produce the expected results.
Cannabis Seeds or Clones?
Your wish to grow a cannabis garden may seem daunting. However, you can accomplish it without hurdles with the right path and technique.
To grow cannabis plants, you may have to choose between cannabis seeds or clones. You may prefer the clones that help in a fast-growing procedure and produce marijuana plants precisely like their mother. Or you can germinate seeds, as they are more reliable, accessible, and easy to grow.
These two paths are different and come with their own benefits and downsides.
Benefits and Downsides of Cannabis Seeds
As a cultivator, you may consider growing cannabis plants from scratch to enjoy the entire process and be proud of your harvest. Most home growers do this, as they think it is the pure way to cultivate a marijuana plant.
Marijuana seeds are legal and easily accessible online. You can also get them from stores and enjoy an indoor growing procedure there and then. Besides, growing marijuana from seeds helps you learn about different strains, allowing you to produce more batches and level up your cannabis cultivation.
That said, you may face disappointment with seeds at times. Not all perform well, and many just turn out to be duds. To overcome this challenge, we suggest using several seeds regardless of the number of plants you wish to grow.
If you want the seeds to produce precisely the same plant as its mother, it may not be possible with seeds. You may always experience genetic variations because of the seed’s different genetic codes and external factors that influence the seed’s phenotype.
Clones: Benefits and Downsides
Easily referred to as the cuttings gained from the mother plant, a clone has the same genetic code as its mother. People prefer clones over seeds because they produce fast results and save time spent during germination.
Also, clones are predictable, so you don’t get shocked as your marijuana plant grows.
But clones aren’t as readily available as seeds. They are also exceptionally delicate, so as a first-time home grower, you may need help to handle them.
In addition, since clones are a copy of their mother, they may also carry bad traits. And if it is a genetic issue, you may notice the trait in the entire harvest.
So, should you go for seeds or clones? In all honesty, it depends on what you want. If you want to experience the entire growing weed procedure from start to end, seeds will provide you with that. Also, seeds are easy to handle and are perfect for new growers.
Clones are best suited with experienced cultivators, as they are experts in handling the challenges they offer.
Which one are you? Make a decision and initiate the growing journey at home.
Cannabis Plants Fundamentals
When growing cannabis for the first time, you may want to know some fundamental factors before initiating the process. You may not have your expected home stash until and unless these external elements are appropriately managed.
Marijuana plants require certain conditions to grow and produce flowers. Below we have discussed each so you can prepare your mind for the challenges ahead.
We have all grown up reading in our science books how plants need light to grow and carry out the process of photosynthesis. The same goes for growing cannabis. This herb also requires enough light to develop more buds.
If you have an open space, your plant can quickly grow by consuming direct sunlight. However, if you plan to grow weed indoors, you may have to arrange 400 to 600 watts of light per square meter.
Cannabis demands at least 13 hours of straight light to accelerate its growth.
Now, here is a catch. Excess light can damage your plant, and so can an extended light cycle. Alternatively, too little light may also do no good.
Therefore, you need to be careful about the amount of light required depending on the source producing it. For instance, if you have opted for led grow lights for indoor cultivation, 400 to 600 watts bulbs can work perfectly. Make sure you hang them properly so they cover a good amount of space.
Most cultivators also opt for compact fluorescent light or CFL. It runs cool and can even be hung close to the plants without fearing burning them.
High-pressure sodium HPS is a standard grow light used during indoor cultivation. It supports plant growth by diffusing the given electromagnetic spectrum for photosynthesis.
Whichever source you use, ensure to calculate the amount of light required before establishing a system for your cannabis plants.
Obtain the growing surface by multiplying grow room’s length by its width. Then, multiply the resultant figure by the expected PPFD (Photosynthetic Photon Flux Density) level. Use this simple formula and invest accordingly.
Medium (Soil or Hydroponic System)
Luckily, there are more than one growing media to get a successful cannabis harvest at home. You can choose soil, coco coir, or the technical hydroponic system. Each medium offers its benefits and some downsides.
Soil is the most common and accessible medium to handle. It is an inexpensive medium and perfect for first-time cultivators.
However, the organic soil is prone to pest infestation. Besides, it may slow down the growth of plants and might not always be optimal for cannabis plants.
A coco coir is a mix without nutrients, so you may have to add the required elements yourself when using this medium. This allows you to control your plants completely, but check the soil pH levels now and then to avoid a disaster.
There is more than one Hydroponic setup for growing weed. These systems allow your plants to grow fast and large. They also reduce the risk of pest attacks and offer control over maintaining the hydroponic pH levels.
That said, these systems are expensive to install and manage. Also, the weed produced may not taste as natural as expected.
There is no good or bad medium. If you want to choose between soil or Hydroponic system, consider factors like cost, your expertise level, expected cannabis growth, and the quality of yield you may wish.
If you want your plants to grow and survive, wait for their substrate to dry out to measure the impact of water. If you find them to be light, soak them in water.
When watering cannabis, use bottom-feeding as an effective technique. As the name suggests, the method requires placing your plants in a water tray to help the roots soak an adequate amount of this element.
An outdoor cultivation procedure can allow plants to have enough carbon dioxide and oxygen to breathe and produce food. However, when growing weed indoors, you must manage proper air circulation to achieve the expected growth.
You don’t worry about fresh air as long as you have a proper ventilation system. Depending on your budget, you can either install an appropriate method of ventilation or place fans strategically to keep the air moving.
A cannabis plant goes through four stages of growth, seedling, vegetation, flowering, and late flowering step. You must use a digital thermometer or a hygrometer to measure and maintain the temperature at each stage.
For instance, during the seedling stage, ensure that plants grow in temperatures between 75 to 80 degrees. A temperature above that may be harmful.
During the vegetation and flowering stage, the temperature can be high but should still be moderate. When the plant reaches its late flowering period, the temperature should again be managed between 70 to 80 degrees.
Temperature and humidity go hand in hand. These plants require high humidity levels to grow their roots at the seedling stage. Once this stage has passed, you can start decreasing humidity by five percent weekly.
When the plant finally reaches its flowering stage, reduce humidity by 40 to 50 percent. This reduction is essential to keep mildew and mold at bay.
Finally, keep humidity as low as possible at the late flowering stage. This helps improve the quality, taste, and appearance of the yield.
Nutrients work as food for a cannabis plant to grow. Therefore, their inclusion in the soil is essential from the very first stage.
Cannabis needs large quantities of organic nutrients like potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen to grow. You can use various fertilizers or produce to incorporate these nutrients into your growth methods and manage them effectively to achieve your expected goals.
Grow Weed Indoors or Outdoors?
Growing marijuana at home is one of the best decisions you can make today. Whether you want to grow your own cannabis for recreational or medical purposes, as long as it’s done under your roof, you can customize and produce it as per your preference.
However, when growing weed at home, you have two options. You can either grow it outdoors or make growing marijuana indoors only. Which one is the best?
There is no one answer, as each grower may tell you a different story. However, to help you decide and experience healthy plant growth for your cannabis, here are some benefits and drawbacks of each option.
Growing Weed Indoors
One of the most prominent benefits of indoor cannabis plants is that you have complete control over their growth process. You can control the lighting, humidity, temperature, and ventilation at every stage. Besides, you can maintain a four-walled shelter for your indoor weed plants, saving them from rain and pests.
But there is a drawback. Before you set up a grow room, know that managing an indoor space for these plants can be costly. Also, managing air, temperature, humidity, and other factors during vegetative and flowering stages can be challenging, especially with a restricted budget.
And regardless of the money spent, no grow light can be as adequate as direct sunlight. Sunlight contains ultraviolet radiation that helps accelerate the production and growth of cannabis.
Growing Cannabis Outdoors
Increased space, natural sunlight, and microbial diversity are motivators that can sway you to grow weed outdoors. Besides, when you grow these plants under direct sun, you don’t have to spend money on setting up a grow room or establishing a system to control the natural factors.
But outdoor cultivation comes with its own risks. For instance, there is always a fear of pest attacks. Pests like aphids, slugs, and whiteflies can damage your harvest before you can even costume it.
Also, adverse and unpredictable weather conditions can wreak havoc on your plants. Winds and heavy rain can damage your harvest and increase the risk of diseases during the flowering phase.
In addition, plants grown outside may get stolen easily. You may have to build a solid fence around your plants if you don’t want your money or time wasted.
Regarding producing healthy plants, both methods produce high-quality hauls each year. When choosing the best technique for yourself, you must consider your environment, budget, and overall goal for this cultivation.
Instead of choosing one, you can perform outdoor and indoor cultivation together. Many indoor growers allow their plants to grow outside for some duration to experience optimum weather, air, and humidity.
This is called experiencing the best of both worlds.
Clean Grow Space is a Must!
If you prefer growing cannabis indoors, ensure that your grow space is always clean and tidy. This may seem like too much hard work, but a well-managed and sanitized area is vital to grow cannabis indoors successfully.
Maintain a cleaning regimen for the grow room and adequate airflow to save your plants from external threats. A dirty room welcomes diseases, molds, and pests harming your growing medium and interfering with the healthy growth of plants.
Whether you have an old or new grow space, practice cleanliness daily by wiping the ceiling and walls with antibacterial wipes. Also, clean the surface and use bleach to get rid of microbes.
You can also buy insect bombs to move all insects from your indoor space.
Once your grow space is clean, start cultivating. But maintain cleanliness throughout the growing stages. You can perform routine cleaning by using a vacuum cleaner.
If you suspect pests, use an integrated pest management approach to combat them. Things such as beneficial insects and cover crops prove helpful in managing bugs without incorporating any harmful chemicals.
Plants growing indoors require a healthy flow of fresh cool air throughout. In that case, a ventilation system with exhausts may prove beneficial. You can also introduce air sanitizers in your grow room to maintain clean air at every nook and corner.
A clean grow space isn’t a weekly task. You may have to practice all the above steps for many months. To simplify this task, draw a plan and follow it properly.
Keep all your pots in accessible positions, so you can reach out to them easily. Besides, make a cleaning supplies toolkit and keep it close to your grow space to use it whenever you like.
Setting Up Your Grow Room
Are you interested in setting up a grow room at home? If yes, grow cannabis in a space that can help your plants strive and survive.
Choose a space that your weed plants can call home. Here are a few factors to consider while setting up a space for your cannabis garden.
Choose the Right Size for Your Grow Space
Setting up a grow room can be heavy on your pocket, so make sure you pick the correct size. Calculate the area covered when you provide ten liters of soil for a plant’s height on every foot to determine the space you require. Make sure to consider some breathing space between each plant too.
Luckily, you can also get a suitable grow tent of your preferred size.
Grow Medium: Soil or Hydroponic
The other component of a grow room is the medium. If you want to grow cannabis using high-quality potting soil for weed, you can do that easily, as it is cheap and accessible. However, if you plan for a hydroponic system, you must get a space and invest in a setup accordingly.
Your grow space is incomplete without cannabis grow lights. So, depending on your budget and the required light, you can go for bulbs or fluorescent tubes to get the job done.
Invest in the correct number of lights to cover enough area in your tent.
Ventilation, Fan, and Carbon
Install a proper ventilation system with fans to grow weed in a ventilated environment. Fans can help stimulate air and distribute carbon and oxygen properly within the room.
You must also install filters to eliminate the weed odor. Carbon and HEPA filters can remove the smell of marijuana from any space and particulate the air, cleaning it for long hours.
Monitoring Temperature and Humidity
Since the right temperature and humidity are vital for your indoor grow room, you must install a system to keep a check on them. While setting up the room, add a monitor. Keep checking the humidity levels through the monitor and then adjust it via a dehumidifier.
If you live in a cold area, place an adjustable heater in the space to fluctuate the temperature according to your needs.
Nursery or clone for cuttings and seedlings:
- Light cycle: 24 hours
- Temperature (lights on): 68-77ºF
- Temperature (lights off): 59-68ºF
- Humidity: 65-70% RH
- Light cycle: 18 hours a day
- Temperature (lights on): 71-82ºF
- Temperature (lights off): 63-73ºF
- Humidity: 40-60% RH gradually reduced by 5% weekly
- Light cycle: 12 hours a day
- Temperature (lights on): 68-78ºF
- Temperature (lights off): 59-69ºF
- Humidity: 40-50% RH
- Temperature: 60-75ºF
- Humidity: 30-50% RH
One of the most natural mediums used to germinate seeds is soil. It is high in moisture and contains microbes and minerals that develop a plant. The right temperature of the soil also makes it an excellent growing medium.
To germinate cannabis seeds at home, place some soil in a container. Then, cover the seeds with your chosen soil and press adequately. This method encourages fast growth.
Use a plastic sheet to cover the soil. Make sure you make holes in the sheet to maintain a smooth flow of air.
The germination procedure demands a temperature between 70F to 90F. As soon as you spot the seedlings, remove the plastic sheet and let your plants breathe.
Make sure to avoid adding excessive water to your seeds. Too much water may hinder the growth of the plant roots.
After the germination stage, a plant goes through a vegetative phase. This is when these plants start to grow. When the seeds germinate, they emerge as seedlings and take two to three weeks to mature and feature fan leaves.
The vegetative phase can be as long as 16 weeks or as short as three weeks. The correct duration depends on the genetics of the plant and your overall plantation goals.
This is a phase where a plant goes through tremendous growth. Transferring plants to large containers is best to give the roots enough space to expand.
While performing indoor cultivation, you may have control over different external factors during the vegetative phase. So, ensure that you provide 18 hours of full spectrum light to your plant and six hours of complete darkness.
The appropriate vegetative phase for cannabis plants growing outdoors happens between summer and autumn. This period offers the plants enough light, moisture, and temperature.
During this period, you can differentiate whether your cannabis plant is female or male.
A female plant has a structure in a V-form, and its pre-flowers start appearing four to six weeks after germination. On the other hand, male pre-flowers resemble small balls and start appearing three to four weeks after germination.
Flowering or Blooming Period
During the flowering stage, all plants develop their buds.
A flowering tenure typically starts between summer and autumn. When planted indoors, the flowering stage can only begin when the photoperiod switches to a schedule with 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness.
The flowering period can last for eight to ten weeks.
Light, temperature, and humidity greatly support plants during the flowering period. Plants thrive in temperatures between 18F to 26F during this stage. Moreover, in this stage, humidity should be at a moderate level to prevent mold and fungus.
Nutrients and Feeding
In its final weeks, nutrients such as calcium, potassium, and phosphorus are pretty crucial for the growth of the marijuana plant. These nutrients are usually a significant part of most fertilizers and help the plant’s overall development.
But here is something that you may not know. Flush your plants with pH-balanced water just two weeks before harvest. This maintains the buds’ natural flavor and allows the plant to consume excess nutrients.
Managing Pests and Diseases
Cannabis easily attracts many pests like mites, fungi, and insects. While many pesticides are available, neem oil is a popular and natural insecticide that helps cure infected plants. It kills bugs and prevents them from feeding on the plant.
Aphids, caterpillars, crickets, and leafhoppers can severely threaten indoor and outdoor growers. Therefore, it is vital to manage them through pest control management as quickly as possible before they damage the entire harvest.
Pruning and Training
Pruning your cannabis plant is vital to remove dead branches and leaves. This helps the plant to consume its energy in a better way and eliminate all kinds of waste.
This method allows a better flow of air, impacting the plant’s overall growth. You can actively prune and train the plant in the early stages of growth.
Avoid pruning during the flowering phase, as it can have an adverse effect on the quality and size of the buds.
The best way to prune a plant is by using pruning shears to train small branches and leaves. Keep your clippers sharp, and start with large branches, followed by pruning the dead leaves.
Unfortunately, plants usually take pruning as a shock. Therefore, offer them lots of water and light during this process to compensate them. It is imperative to maintain their growth.
Flowering and Harvesting
The flowering and harvesting stage is what every grower looks forward to. However, its tenure depends on whether you grow weed indoors or outdoors. When indoors, you have complete control over the growth cycle and you can accelerate it using optimal light, humidity, and temperature.
On the other hand, growing cannabis outdoors depends on natural elements that you can’t control. In that case, the harvesting stage may come early or late depending on the optimum conditions.
The best time to harvest the plant is when you observe amber or white trichomes on it. Another significant sign is no apparent change in the bud mass and white pistils turning yellow with time.
Make sure to leach the plants before chopping them for use.
Drying & Curing
After harvesting the cannabis plant, your next stage involves drying and curing. This process is imperative for the buds and helps preserve the flavors.
The buds are usually dried in the open air, followed by trimming the leaves. Ensure you don’t dry the buds for a long or short duration. The perfect drying procedure takes about two to seven days and is often performed by hanging plants upside down on a hanger or a line.
After adequately drying and trimming your plants, start curing them. Curing is an imperative process as it impacts the quality and flavor of the smoke. Moreover, curing helps to store and preserve weed for a long duration.
To cure weed, store cannabis in airtight jars without crushing the plant. Make sure you keep the jars in a dark and cool place.
Curing takes about two to four weeks, and after that, the cannabis is ready to give you an aromatic and flavorful experience.
Last and not Less, Storing Your Buds
To ensure that your cannabis bud stays fresh for a long duration, use specialized containers and place them in a dark place.
Avoid traditional plastic containers at all costs, as they hamper the quality of the herb with time. Cannabis degrades easily, so extreme temperatures, humidity, and light aren’t suitable for the herb.
Additionally, use cannabis within six to eight months from the day of its harvest. If you have pre-rolls, use them within three months.
Here are some common questions on this topic.
Is it hard to grow marijuana at home?
No, it is not hard to grow marijuana at home. However, you may have to follow extra care and some precautions to produce healthy buds. A little extra attention may grow marijuana indoors and benefit you for many years.
Is it cost-effective to grow your own cannabis?
Growing your own weed plants can be expensive. It is not cheap to build a grow space and manage it. However, when you see this investment as long-term, growing your weed can benefit your use and business prospects.
How long does it take to grow homegrown weed?
The duration depends on the strain. But, generally, it takes about eight to 12 weeks to grow weed at home. Most strains may be ready within ten weeks.
Can you grow potent weed at home?
Yes, you can, but there is a potency ceiling that no home grower can cross. If a weed plant’s genetics don’t allow a potency of more than 20%, you may fail to achieve it regardless of excelling at every growth stage.
Ready to Grow Cannabis at Home?
Whether you want to grow recreational cannabis or medical marijuana plants, your home is the best place to start this adventure. By maintaining optimal conditions, you can get bigger yields than expected and grow the best weed under your roof.
This guide has taught you how to achieve your weed goals effortlessly. So, give it a try and benefit yourself for many years.