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Growing cannabis can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience, but it can also be a challenging one.
In this article, we will walk you through the entire process of cannabis cultivation, from the beginning with seeds or clones to all the growing stages and finish with how to cure the harvested buds.
Best Strains for Beginner Home Growers
When it comes to choosing strains to grow, there are many different factors to consider. For beginner home growers, it's best to start with strains that are easy to grow, have a relatively short flowering time, and are resistant to common pests and diseases. Here are some of the best strains for beginner home growers:
- Northern Lights – This classic strain is a staple in the cannabis world and is known for its fast flowering time and high yields. Northern Lights is a hybrid strain that is easy to grow and is resistant to pests and diseases.
- White Widow – White Widow is another classic strain that is known for its fast flowering time, high yields, and resistance to pests and diseases. This hybrid strain is a good choice for beginner home growers, as it is relatively easy to grow and produces large, sticky buds.
- Blue Dream – Blue Dream is a popular hybrid strain that is known for its sweet, fruity aroma and high yields. This strain is easy to grow and is resistant to pests and diseases, making it a good choice for beginner home growers.
- Bubblegum – Bubblegum is a sweet and fruity strain that is known for its high yields and fast flowering time. This hybrid strain is easy to grow and is resistant to pests and diseases, making it a great choice for beginner home growers.
Growing Your Cannabis
Once you've chosen your seeds or clones, it's time to start growing your cannabis. Whether you're growing in soil or hydroponic systems, the basic growing process is the same. Here's an overview of what you'll need to do:
- Prepare your grow area – This includes setting up lights, fans, and other equipment, as well as preparing your soil or hydroponic system.
- Germinate your seeds or plant your clones – This is the stage where you get your seeds or clones started. If you're growing from seeds, you'll need to soak them in water and then place them in soil or a hydroponic system. If you're growing from clones, you'll simply need to plant them in soil or hydroponic system.
- Vegetative stage – During the vegetative stage, your plants will grow leaves and stems, and you'll want to provide them with adequate light and nutrients to encourage growth.
- Flowering stage – Once your plants have reached a certain size, they will start to flower. This is the stage where you'll start to see buds form on your plants. You'll want to reduce the amount of light your plants receive each day to trigger the flowering stage.
- Trimming – Trimming is an important step in the growing process, as it helps to improve the appearance and quality of your buds. You'll want to trim away any large fan leaves, as well as any small leaves that are close to the buds. This will also help to improve air flow and prevent mold or mildew from forming on your buds.
- Harvesting – Harvesting is the moment you've been waiting for! When your buds are ready to be harvested, they will be dense, sticky, and covered in trichomes. You'll want to cut your plants down at the base, and then hang them upside down to dry.
- Drying – Drying is an important step in the curing process, as it allows the moisture in the buds to evaporate. You'll want to hang your buds in a well-ventilated area with low humidity, and check them regularly to ensure that they are drying evenly.
- Curing – Curing is the final step in the growing process, and it is crucial to the quality and taste of your buds. During the curing process, the buds will continue to mature and develop their flavor and potency. You'll want to store your buds in airtight containers in a cool, dark place, and check them regularly to ensure that they are curing properly.
How Long Does It Take to Grow Weed Indoors?
Weed plants grow at different speeds, but usually, plants can grow fully within a few months. Generally, cannabis plants take about three to four months to mature, although autoflowering strains can grow in under three months.
Growing Weed Indoors for Beginners
Cannabis plants require proper care and maintenance from seed to harvest.
Here’s what you’ll need to grow indoor marijuana.
Will you be starting your garden with seeds or clones? For beginners, we recommend using feminized seeds over regular seeds since feminized ones only produce flowering plants, not male pollinating plants. Autoflowering strains can be a good option, too.
If you’d rather skip the germination phase, you can start your garden with a cannabis clone derived from a healthy, vegetative mother plant. Cannabis clones are branch cuttings that feature the same genetics as their mother plant.
Cannabis plants can be grown in any free space in your home. We recommend investing in a small grow tent to provide your plants with a climate-controlled grow space to thrive. Grow tents come in various shapes to accommodate small or large gardens.
Growing marijuana indoors means you need to provide your plants with plenty of light. We recommend light-emitting diode (LED) lights over fluorescent or HID grow lights. While LEDs may have a slightly higher upfront cost, they run cool, use less heat, provide energy savings, and have a higher light intensity.
A small oscillating fan in your grow tent or grow room can provide your plants with the right amount of air flow to reduce humidity and strengthen their structure. Air circulation and an intake and exhaust fan can bring in the fresh air and take out stale air.
We recommend using soil over a soilless medium in a hydroponic system for beginners. Pre-made soil mixes with organic nutrients are an excellent way to start your garden. Soil-based systems can be more affordable and require less maintenance than hydroponic systems.
Cannabis containers should provide proper drainage, space for roots, and air circulation. Fabric pots are great options for beginners. A one-gallon pot should be good for a young plant. Transfer to a larger container size as needed.
Beginners can feed their plants nutrient solutions from reputable brands based on the manufacturer’s feeding schedule. We recommend feeding the plant 25 percent of the recommended amount and increasing it as needed. Plant nutrients are available in grow and bloom versions for use during the vegetative and flowering stage.
Growing weed indoors successfully requires understanding the plant’s different growth stages.
Here is what to expect during its life cycle.
If starting from seeds, germination can be accomplished using the paper towel method. Cannabis seeds can be placed between two plates and moist paper towels. Seeds begin to sprout within a few days in this environment.
During the vegetative stage, cannabis plants focus their growth on their leaves and branches and need at least 18 hours of light and 6 hours of darkness. A timer can help you keep track of light cycles. Temperatures should be between 70 and 85º F. Plants should be watered when the top inch or two of the soil feels dry.
During the flowering stage, plants will develop flower buds and require 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness. Regularly prune the plant to ensure every bud site gets enough light to grow. During the final week or two, growers may flush the nutrients from their plants by only feeding them water.
The perfect time to harvest your plants is when about 50 percent of the trichomes have turned an amber color. When it’s time to harvest, remove the branches from the main stem using sharp shears and prune the fan leaves.
Drying the cannabis bud branches usually occurs in a dark and cool area with temperatures between 60 and 70º F and relative humidity (RH) of 50%. Branches can be hung from a wire or string to dry. When the branch breaks off with an audible snap, the buds have dried properly.
Once your buds have dried, it’s time to place them in an airtight glass jar and cure cannabis buds for a few weeks or months. Open the jar’s lid every day for about 10 minutes to release stale air and introduce fresh air into the jar. Curing times depend on your individual preference.
Learn how to start a pot of cannabis. Starting a cannabis garden is one of the most exciting gardening activities you can legally do in many states (some restrictions apply).
If you want to start growing cannabis in a pot or container, here are seven easy steps to get your indoor or outdoor garden started.
7 Steps to Start a Pot of Cannabis
Step 1: Source Healthy Cannabis Seeds
One of the first steps is to find healthy cannabis seeds from licensed dispensaries or reputable seed banks that ship to your location. If you are starting with cannabis seeds, you will likely run across a few seed types available in many strain varieties.
You can start with a cannabis clone (a healthy cutting from a mother vegetative plant) and skip the germination phase.
Regular cannabis seeds have a 50-50 chance of producing male or female cannabis plants. These photoperiod plants begin flowering when their lighting cycle changes to 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness from 18 hours of light and 6 hours of darkness.
If your regular seeds are growing outdoors, they can begin flowering after the autumnal equinox when the daylight starts to get shorter.
Feminized cannabis seeds are genetically manipulated to produce only female flowering plants. Like regular cannabis seeds, plants from feminized seeds will begin flowering when the lighting cycle turns to 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness or when the days become shorter outdoors.
Autoflowering cannabis seeds do not require changing the lighting cycle like photoperiod plants to begin flowering. Instead, these plants start flowering after a certain period of time, regardless of light or other environmental factors. Autoflowering plants grow smaller and faster, suitable for first-time growers.
Step 2: Invest in Weed Grow Lights
If you plan on growing indoors or want to provide supplementary lighting for your greenhouse garden, you need the best cannabis grow lights. The success of your harvest can depend on the amount of light you give your plant. Providing the right light intensity and coverage to your canopy is critical to producing high yields without stressing the plants.
During the seedling stage, cannabis plants do not need strong light intensity. If growing outdoors, we recommend starting your seeds indoors until they are strong enough to grow outdoors.
Here are a few grow light options to consider.
Fluorescent lights, like complex fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) and T5s, are affordable and effective for growing a small garden and during the seedling stage. They use less energy than the other options and do not emit as much heat, although they do not yield as much as other grow lights.
High-Intensity Discharge (HID)
High-intensity discharge grow lights are popular for commercial growing due to their light intensity and power. Due to the higher heat output, growers will need an exhaust fan to control the heat. Generally, growers use metal halide (MH) bulbs for the vegetative stage and high-pressure sodium (HPS) bulbs when the plants begin flowering, although HPS bulbs can work for both stages.
Light-Emitting Diode (LED)
Light-emitting diode (LED) lights are one of the most effective grow lights on the market. Many grow light panels feature a full spectrum of light for both the vegetative and the flowering stages. LED lights are much more energy-efficient than HIDs and produce less heat for better temperature control. While they can be pricier, they can end up saving you on energy bills in the long run.
Step 3: Choose a Suitable Pot/Container for Marijuana
When choosing a cannabis container, there are many sizes and options. Growers can start with something as small as a solo cup for their seedlings and switch to a larger fabric pot as the plant grows. Your pot must properly drain to avoid excess moisture that can lead to root rot. Smart Pots are an excellent option if you are not growing outside in a garden bed.
Step 4: Choose a Grow Medium
Grow mediums are essential for supporting the plant, providing it with water and nutrients, and giving the roots the space and oxygen they need.
Growing cannabis in soil is one of the best ways for beginner growers to start as long as the soil has the appropriate structure to retain moisture and provide oxygen to the roots.
You may need to incorporate certain materials like perlite or coco coir to create a well aerated mixture to prevent mold. Learn more about buying or creating the best soil for cannabis plants with our blog post.
If you are a beginner, hydroponics is not recommended due to the complexity of the systems compared to soil-based gardens, although many can quickly catch on. In a hydroponics setup, the plant's roots are supported by an inert grow medium, and the roots are exposed to a nutrient and water solution.
Different hydroponics setups include deep water culture, ebb and flow, drip irrigation, and aeroponics. You can also choose from various substrates, including Rockwool, perlite, vermiculite, and hydroton clay pebbles.
Step 5: Get Nutrients
Cannabis plants need macro and micronutrients at different concentrations during the vegetative and flowering stages. Choose nutrients from various nutrient brands available in vegetative and flowering formulas for each stage.
If you're buying your nutrients, we recommend using about half the manufacturer’s recommended dose of nutrients and going up or down as needed without stressing the plant. Excessive nutrients can stress and damage the plant.
You can also make your own organic, living soil mixture with potting soil, perlite, coco fiber, and other natural ingredients such as bat guano, fish meal, bone meal, earthworm castings, alfalfa meal, and more.
Step 6: Set-Up Ventilation
Whether you grow indoors or outdoors, you need the proper ventilation to deter mold, strengthen your plants’ structure, provide your crop with fresh air, and remove the stale air. We recommend setting up an exhaust fan in your indoor grow space or grow tent to continually remove stale air and passively pump fresh air.
Step 7: Find a Good Water Supply
If you want to grow healthy cannabis plants, you need a good water source. While tap water can work, in some cases, you want to ensure that there is not an excess of minerals, also known as “hard water,” which can affect plant growth.
Preparing to Sell or Smoke Your Cannabis
Once your buds have been cured, they are ready to be sold or smoked. If you're planning to sell your buds, you'll want to make sure that they are properly packaged and labeled. You'll also want to test the potency and quality of your buds to ensure that they are of the highest quality.
If you're planning to smoke your buds, you'll want to grind them up and pack a bowl or roll a joint. When smoking cannabis, it's important to remember to start slow and only consume small amounts at a time, especially if you're a beginner.
Growing cannabis is a great way to produce high-quality buds that are free from chemicals and pesticides. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced grower, it's important to understand each step in the growing process and to choose the right strains for your grow. With the right approach and a little patience, you'll be well on your way to producing high-quality buds that you can be proud of.
Growing marijuana indoors for the first time takes time, patience, and practice. Enrolling in Cannabis Training University’s accredited online expert training can give you the skills and knowledge you need to start your own cannabis garden at home.
Learn everything about growing indoors, from germinating cannabis seeds to harvesting marijuana plants at the right time. Our curriculum provides you with HD videos, ebooks, quizzes, and more to help you grow your own weed from home.
Luis Cordova is a distinguished author, and renowned expert in cannabis cultivation, who possesses a Master's degree in Plant Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Science. As a valued contributor to highly esteemed publications such as Cannabis Training University and Maximum Yield Magazine, Luis has emerged as a trusted source of guidance and knowledge in the cannabis industry. Having written thousands of informative articles, Luis is widely recognized for his comprehensive expertise on cultivating cannabis, both indoors and outdoors.