A step-by-step guide for first-time growers, filled with tools and tips you’ll need to grow cannabis plants at home.
Is it legal to home grow weed?
It is legal to home grow weed in some states, however, marijuana is still federally illegal to possess in the United States. It’s also important to note that cannabis plants are still fully illegal in sixteen states but recently that number has decreased and will continue to grow smaller within the next few years.
The states within the U.S. that allow home growing weed indoors, both medically and recreationally are: Alaska, California, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Virginia.
The States that allow home-growing medical marijuana seeds with regulations are Arizona, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Utah.
Most states that allow home growing weed are okay with indoor growers maintaining twelve cannabis plants. Some states allow bigger yields that can reach up to twenty-five cannabis plants.
How can I grow weed discreetly?
Here, we have five tips for how to grow weed discreetly:
Invest in a ventilation system that will minimize the smell when growing indoors.
Keep your project to yourself. The more people that know you are growing weed, the more likely word will get around.
Don’t sell. This is crucial because selling weed is illegal and can result in consequences like losing your stash and plants, or even worse…legal troubles.
Research before you buy your plant seeds. Try to choose a less pungent strain.
Be aware of online tracks when purchasing supplies for your grow space.
Where can I get marijuana seeds?
In most states, possessing plants seeds is not the issue, it’s growing weed that becomes illegal. So, it’s best to check on your state laws before growing marijuana.
That being said, you can typically purchase seeds from your local dispensary in legal states, and online in states that haven’t legalized weed.
What are the initial costs to grow weed?
According to a 2017 chart by Marijuana Business Daily, the average cost of whole cultivation per square foot is $45.00. To break that down further:
An indoor grower will spend around $75.00 on growing marijuana per square foot.
A greenhouse grower will spend approximately $50.00 per square foot.
Lastly, the cheapest way to grow is outdoors. This will cost roughly $10.00 to start up because you really will just need plant seeds and space from growing cannabis plants to get started.
How long do cannabis plants grow?
Rule of thumb, it can take anywhere from four to eight months for growing your own marijuana plant. The growth stage for the plant depends on whether you are growing weed indoors or outdoors.
Indoor space allows cannabis growers to harvest after a few weeks or months, but growing outdoors depends on natural weather and annual cycles.
Cannabis plant essentials
How to grow weed greatly depends on its gender and life cycle. Many growers assume it’s a one size fits all process, but the cannabis plant is much more complex than that.
Female plants vs male plants
Female cannabis plants take longer to show signs of their gender, but you can recognize them by the white hairs that appear during the flowering stage.
Male plants will have pollen sacks that appear close to the main stem near the bud sites on the female plant, one to two weeks after the flowering cycle. The pollen sacks will often burst, and you will see them produce pollen that’s yellow on the leaves below the bursting.
The plant’s gender is critical when determining seed production. Unless a male plant turns out to be a hermaphrodite, it will not produce male cannabis seeds. The job of a male is to pollinate with pollen sacs; the position of a female is to create pre-flowers and buds. Marijuana is similar to many other plants in those ways.
Like humans, cannabis plants are dioecious, typically having male or female reproductive organs. However, the rare plant will have traits from both genders. Depending on the grower’s goal, it’s essential to know which one you’re working with before moving forward.
Growing male and female plants together will result in cross-pollination and thus the production of more seeds for future weed crops. But, if you’re goal is to produce large buds rich with cannabinoids, you’ll want to separate the plants.
Removing male cannabis plants will cut out fertilization of the female cannabis plants, resulting in dense, seedless buds, or sensimilla, that have a higher content of cannabinoids, such as THC or CBD. The potent, resinous buds you can find in dispensaries are sure to be from a female plant as there are no real male flowers.
Male plants are vital to most growers and farmers during cannabis cultivation since they provide pollination, thus fertilizing the female plants. They can also pass down specific genes to combat poor genetics in some plants, such as mold resistance, and are vital for producing new strains of healthy plants.
Plant life cycle
The weed plant goes through a very specific life cycle and you’ll need to be able to distinguish which phase your plant is in at all times. From germination to flowering, it’s essential to provide the proper nutrients, light, and oxygen at each step of plant growth.
The seed germination life stage can take three to ten days. You’ll want to place your germinating seeds in a dark place that is warm and humid. Once the regular or feminized seeds open and begin to produce their first root, transfer it into a small flower pot. It will start to create the oval leaves known as cotyledons.
Once you have a seedling, it should take approximately two to three weeks to complete this essential life stage. You’ll begin to notice serrated leaflet production, followed by larger, bladed fan leaves. Mature female cannabis plants have five to seven blades per leaf.
Next, your cannabis plants will enter into the three to sixteen weeks known as the vegetative stage. Your female marijuana plant will need at least sixteen hours of grow light, or six hours of direct sunlight with several hours of indirect sunlight to follow.
During vegetative growth, you’ll want to provide nutrients, water, and maintenance to induce flowering in the growing plants.
Finally, after the vegetative growth, the flowering phase lasts eight to twelve weeks and is the final step to producing buds. This is where the twelve hours of sun twelve hours of dark come into play.
If you take good care of your plants, they should begin to produce large bud sites with high contents of resin production. Monitoring for pre-flowers should give you an idea of what your plant buds will look like.
Each cannabis seed is unique. It’s vital to know which ones you are purchasing before planting them in your cannabis garden.
Regular seeds are completely organic and pure. These cannabis seeds give you a 50/50 shot at either gendered plant. For example, if you plant six seeds, you’re likely to determine sex to be three male and three female out of the six plants.
Feminized seeds taken from a seed bank are extracted from treated cannabis plants and will only result in female seed production. Feminized seeds are an excellent way to ensure you grow marijuana that will produce buds.
Autoflowering seeds produce flowering plants around two to four weeks of growth. With these seeds, there’s no need to be concerned with the specific grow lights cycles or all the nutrients required for growing a photoperiod plant. These are great for beginner growers that don’t quite know how to grow weed yet.
Photoperiod strains are the old-school weed strains your parents smoked and are best grown outdoors. When it comes to how to grow weed that is photoperiodic, just follow the natural rhythm of the climate, seasons, and sunlight.
How to grow weed by Cloning
Start by using sharp scissors to cut a six-inch branch from the mother plant.
Place the branch into a rooting cube.
Provide a top-quality growing hormone to help the clone grow.
Once roots have started to form, transfer to a pot or the ground.
The clone will grow its own plant with the same genetic makeup as the mother plant.
Easy strains for cannabis growers
As a beginner, you’ll want your plants to produce high-quality weed without the struggles that come with more difficult strains.
Here are our top five favorite indoor and outdoor strains for beginner growers:
Northern Lights is an Indica-heavy strain that is resistant to disease and thrives in warm and sunny environments. Approximate yield: 22 ounces
Jack Herer is a Sativa-dominant plant that is high in THC and easy to grow. It thrives in warm and dry climates and is disease resistant. Approximate yield: 18 ounces
White Widow is a high-quality strain that is Indica-dominant. It thrives in sunny and warm environments and has over 20 percent THC. Approximate yield: 21 ounces
Mango Kush has a tropical aroma and flavor profile. It is Indica-dominant, disease-resistant, and thrives in warm and sunny areas. Approximate yield: 16 ounces
Durban Poison is a pure Sativa plant. It does well outdoors in a warm and sunny place with no frost. It is resistant to pests and mold and grows very tall. Approximate yield: 16 ounces
LSD is the most potent strain on our list with upwards of 25 percent THC levels. It is an easy strain to grow for beginners, but not for novice smokers. It’s an Indica-dominant and a low maintenance, disease-free weed plant. Approximate yield: 21 ounces
Easy Bud Auto is an auto-flowering strain that is very easy to manage for novice growers. It can finish flowering by 8 weeks and has an average THC level of around 13 percent. Approximate yield: 11 ounces
Blue Cheese is a pungent strain, known for its unique aroma and flavor profile. It has a THC level of around 20 percent, is mold resistant, and does well in cooler climates. Approximate yield: 18 ounces
Blackberry is a delicious marijuana strain that is potent in THC and perfectly balanced between Indica and Sativa. It is a mold-resistant hybrid that does well in warm and dry environments. Approximate yield: 18 ounces
Quick One Auto is an auto-flowering strain that has a lower THC level and can complete flowering in 8-9 weeks. Approximate yield: 12 ounces
Indoor vs. Outdoor
We offer a step-by-step guide for how to grow weed indoors. As well as some useful tips for growing cannabis plants outdoors.
Indoor growers have ultimate control over the conditions for their plants. You can control lighting, water intake, nutrients, temperature, and humidity if you grow weed indoors. When growing cannabis outdoors, not so much.
With indoor growth, you don’t have to follow a particular cycle so that you can yield multiple harvests in one year.
Indoor grow space
Your indoor grow space is ultimately your plant’s habitat and will be the deciding factor in plant growth and overall health. It’s important to consider airflow, lighting, space, and many more factors when choosing a space for your plants to thrive.
How much space will you need in your indoor grow room?
You’ll first need an unused room in your house or another location that you have legal access to, such as a workshed, bedroom, roomy closet, etc. There are alternatives such as a grow tent or box in an open space in your house. With this method, you can buy one or build your own grow space.
It will need to have the following features to be suitable for cannabis growth:
Enough space for the amount and size of cannabis you’ll be growing. The area must also be tall enough to accommodate the plant height and hang a grow light far sufficient above the plant to prevent burning. A three-foot by six-foot elevated area is adequate for developing a few plants.
It is sealed from light. The room should be completely free from outside light; it is not as crucial unless you have an auto-flowering plant.
Reflective interior features. If the walls, floors, and ceilings aren’t reflecting light, they absorb it instead of your plants. And, that’s a waste.
Floor drain or waterproof tray. It would be best to have something in place to catch anything that will drain off.
Ventilation fans and openings. Your grow room will need two or more spaces, typically one near the bottom at one end and another near the top at the opposite end of the room.
Outlets with working plugs, opening power cords, and any other wiring.
Some framework near the top for hanging the grow lights and other equipment.
A greenhouse is an excellent combination of cultivating cannabis indoors and outdoors. It can be smaller, as the size of a shed. It can also be massive, like a warehouse building. This really depends on the grower and the operation size. If you have the personal space to put together a greenhouse for your weed plant, it can certainly be a worthwhile idea for growing top-notch cannabis. cultivation to the next level.
The best part of using a greenhouse for cannabis cultivation is that you will have ultimate control over the climate and elements that affect your plant’s growth and health. Utilizing a greenhouse provides natural sunlight, fresh air, ventilation, circulation, and more while eliminating the unpredictability of the outdoor world.
Periods of rain and wind can wreak havoc on your garden, but a greenhouse will keep the weed safe and secure throughout these natural occurrences. Furthermore, pests and diseases are less likely to attack your cannabis within a greenhouse shelter.
Outdoor growers have to deal with natural elements, potential pest infestation, and less control. However, growing outdoors can yield a larger, more plentiful crop.
There’s also the sun, the ultimate grow light at your disposal.
Not to mention, outdoor growing of the female cannabis plant can save money and reduce your carbon footprint.
When growing a cannabis plant in soil, it’s best to use organic, peat-free soil. You’ll want to choose compost that is good for potting and that contains around 30 percent of soil conditioner. This will ensure that water, oxygen, and nutrients can reach the roots of the plant so that it grows healthy and fast.
Hydroponics, Aquaponics, Aeroponics
There are three soil-less growing techniques used for growing plants. With hydroponics, it instead emerges into nutrient-rich water instead of placing the plant roots in the soil.
Aeroponics is a process used by NASA that removes moisture and soil while the root system dangles in a tank filled with top-quality, fresh air. The plants are misted with water using this method.
Aquaponics is a combination of fish farming and the hydroponic system. In this method, most growers use their fish to supply the water with enough nutrients from their waste. This method helps exceptionally with maintaining cannabis deficiencies.
Factors to consider when growing weed
When you grow cannabis, you will want to understand light periods and how they affect the cannabis life cycle. If you don’t, your plant may never produce buds. The light schedule for your cannabis plant will change throughout its life stages, from the time you germinate seeds to placing them in their final growing medium.
In the vegetative stage, they need eighteen to twenty-four hours of light per day. This will help them to grow stems and leaves.
Indoors, your plants will need twelve hours of metal halide or high-pressure sodium or led grow lights then twelve hours of complete darkness on a cycle in the flowering stage. This will promote the plants to produce buds with abundant psychoactive compounds found in the trichomes.
Air Quality and Humidity
Air naturally circulates and the plants are well ventilated automatically when they are outdoors. When growing indoors, maintaining the climate including circulation and ventilation is crucial to the plant’s survival. While ventilation carries out stale, hot air, circulation moves fresher air inside your grow space.
They help to keep your plant growing and healthy in the following ways:
Regulating heat and humidity: Grow lights kick out a lot of heat, increasing the moisture in the grow room. An exhaust fan pulls hot and humid air out of the grow room, creating a vacuum that pulls in cool, dry air.
Delivering Carbon Dioxide: The marijuana plant must breathe in carbon dioxide and oxygen. Without proper ventilation, the carbon dioxide supply in the room is depleted, and the plants suffocate.
Preventing pests and diseases: Warm, humid, stagnant air provides an ideal environment for mold, mildew, fungi, and even some small pests. Pulling in cooler, drier air gets rid of this problem, and having good airflow in the room helps to discourage the infestation of insects such as gnats, mites, and fleas.
Strengthening plant parts, such as the stem: Cannabis can sense the breeze in the room and grow hardier, which provides more support for buds during the flowering stage.
There are several cannabis leaf symptoms that can tell you what is wrong with your plant.
Pay attention to the leaves in your grow space to notice any of the following or other cannabis leaf symptoms:
Underwatering- leaves will be droopy and appear to hang; growth will slow; water more frequently or increase volume.
Overwatering- leaves will curl down and appear rigid; they will show signs of being overly full of water; this can lead to root rot. Check the soil for dryness before watering to correct this issue.
Nutrient burn- this means you’re overfeeding the plants; leaves will be brown and crispy beginning at the tips and moving inward.
Light burn- if your grow lights are too close to the plant your plants will turn yellow and then become brown and die. It’s best to raise your led grow lights if you notice yellowing.
Harvesting, Drying, Curing
Harvesting your cannabis plant requires four main steps: cutting plants down, trimming the buds, drying, and curing the buds before smoking. If you utilize wet trimming, the process involves cutting the female flowers and then allowing them to dry. For dry trimming, you’ll remove the female plants, hang them to dry, and then cut the buds off.
An outdoor harvest in North America should happen between September and November, depending on your specific area and local climate. For indoor cannabis, harvesting should occur between seven and ten weeks after the flowering stage.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
Keep your growing low-key. The fewer people that know, the more discreet your operation can remain.
Avoid over and under-watering. Manage water quality and pH.
Choose high-quality fertilizer and avoid giving too many nutrients.
Follow the plant’s growth cycle. Every detail matters during growth.
Choose the right soil for cannabis growth.
Pick top-quality seeds and a strain you’ll love.
A poor climate without proper ventilation, lighting, and airflow are sure to result in an unhealthy plant.
Maintain an ideal infrastructure for growing cannabis.
Don’t harvest too soon. Wait until the buds are fully formed and flowering is complete.
Store your weed in an air-tight container for best results.
Our step-by-step guide for growing marijuana plants gives you all of the tools and knowledge needed to get out there and start growing cannabis indoors or outdoors. Be sure to follow each step for choosing the strain, seeds, grow space and grow medium of your choosing and you’re sure to be successfully growing cannabis in just a few weeks.