TABLE OF CONTENTS
Are you ready to grow the best cannabis of your life? Are you sick of growing dirt weed that barely gets you high and tastes like burned plant?
Growing cannabis indoors or outdoors is easier than ever if you live in a legal state, have all the marijuana growing equipment necessary, and are patient and passionate about improving your cannabis growing skills.
If you're ready to grow incredible marijuana plants from the comfort of your home and possibly turn your hobby into a career in cultivation, here's what you need to know.
Growing Cannabis 101: What to Expect When Growing Marijuanas Plants
Let's start with a brief growing marijuana 101 lesson to describe to you what you can expect during the months-long journey from seed or clone to a mature cannabis plant. Growing marijuanas plants require the right amount of lights, nutrients, water, and overall care.
If you're a first-time grower, you may be wondering: how much does a weed plant cost? Typically, growing your own weed at home is much cheaper than buying your cannabis flower buds from a dispensary. However, you may end up making some pricey mistakes in the beginning, but growing marijuana plants at home can be worth it in the long run.
Short on cash? Here’s a guide on growing cannabis on a tight budget without breaking the bank.
If you are a fairly new grower or a growler who wants to improve their garden, you may benefit from using a weed tracker app such as GrowBuddy or a cannabis journal featuring a grow journal template. Here, you can document important information about your cultivation techniques to keep track of every variable.
Before you start planting, consider whether growing cannabis is even legal in your state and if you qualify as a medical marijuana patient or meet the minimum age requirement for growing recreational cannabis for personal use.
Once you understand the laws for growing cannabis plants in your state, you can go ahead and gather all of your pot growing supplies and prepare your garden location to begin the planting process. Over time, you will learn new marijuana growing techniques that will help you improve your yields and bud quality.
Preparing Your Cannabis Garden
Now that you're ready to start growing cannabis plants at home, it's important to get your weed growing supplies, location, and expectations in order. Here's what you need to do to get started growing incredible marijuana plants.
When growing cannabis, the location of where you grow can affect your yield and quality. Generally, growers will have to choose between growing indoors or outdoors in a yard or greenhouse. A marijuana greenhouse can offer the best of both indoor and outdoor worlds.
When choosing a location to grow your female plants, consider how many plants you plan to grow and the cultivation limit in your state. If you're growing indoors, you may be limited by the indoor space.
Whether you are growing bud in the desert or growing weed in an apartment, your female plants will need to be in an optimal growing environment to have a chance. Our guide will teach you the best temperature for growing weed indoors and the best humidity for growing weed throughout every stage of the process.
When growing weed outdoors, you may need to learn how to protect your outdoor grow by setting up a space that is not visible to the public and secured against unauthorized growers. Some jurisdictions may not allow for outdoor cannabis gardens, so check with your state laws first before setting up your outdoor grow.
If growing indoors, you may need to invest in a cannabis tent to place in a spare room or closet. In this grow tent, you can put all your grow lights, grow containers, and an adequate ventilation system including odor control filters.
Lights for Marijuanas Plants
In terms of cannabis grow lights, your plants will only need this if you are growing indoors. Outdoor growers can rely on the natural sunlight for their marijuana gardens. Greenhouses can have supplemental lighting to extend the vegetative stage and blackout systems to extend the flowering stage..
Generally, growers have 3 main types of grow lights to choose from:
- Fluorescent: They are simple but effective, although it does not provide a lot of power, thereby, limiting your yield and quality.
- LED: While they are more expensive upfront, they can offer big energy savings by using less energy and running cooler than HID bulbs.
- HID: HIDs are mainly used by commercial growers and provide plenty of power. They also produce a lot of heat, which may require ventilation considerations.
When it comes to using indoor marijuana grow lights to grow indoor bud, you may want to stick with an LED marijuana grow. LED lights for cannabis can offer good value and longevity for growers of any skill. Check out our picks for the best cannabis grow lights.
When it comes to growing weed, you're going to need a grow medium to support your roots and plant. You can choose soil-based or soil-less methods. Soil-based is easier for first-time growers. If you want to learn how to grow marijuana hydroponically and hydroponic weed, you can do so although it may be more expensive.
If you are growing outdoors in the soil, you will need to have the proper soil structure and an outdoor grow hole size or container that can support the plant’s roots and allow for expansion. Generally, the bigger the hole or container, the larger the plant can be.
Nutrients for Cannabis Growing
Cannabis plants require a wide range of macro and micronutrients to support growth. Generally, the best way to go is with organic cannabis nutrients and fertilizer. The best fertilizer for outdoor grow are organic fertilizers such as bat guano, bone meal, blood meal, compost, and worm castings.
Keep in mind, your plant will require different nutrient amounts during each growth stage so make sure to follow the manufacturer feeding schedule or use half that amount and then slowly build up if needed or until you notice any nutrient problems.
Strains (Seeds and Clones)
Part of growing incredible plants requires starting off with the right marijuana genetics for your specific needs. First, you want to decide whether you want to start off with weed seeds or cannabis clones.
- Cannabis seeds may take longer to grow than clones, but they can support a stronger root system for more vigorous growth.
- Cannabis clones skip the germination phase but can end up with a smaller root system and not as vigorous growth.
In the battle between seeds vs clones, there is no clear winner. Whatever you want to start with is good and can produce incredible results.
If starting from marijuana seeds, ensure you source feminized seeds from a reputable seed bank or licensed dispensary. Regular seeds, unlike feminized ones, can end producing males but feminized seeds are programmed to only produce females, although you may end up with a few males. Female plants produce marijuana buds and white hairs. Male plants produce pollen sacs.
Autoflowering seeds can grow auto-flowering plants that do not require a change in the light cycle to trigger the flowering stage. Auto-flowering plants may be good for growers who want to grow multiple harvests during the year.
Now, it's important to consider the different types of seeds available. When it comes to growing cannabis, you'll have to choose between indica vs. sativa vs. hybrid strains.
- Cannabis indica strains tend to grow short and bushy
- Cannabis sativa strains tend to grow tall and thin
- Cannabis hybrid strains grow somewhere in between
Research the strain you are planning to grow to ensure you have a good environment in your home or in your yard. Knowing the plant’s growth preferences and requirements can help you produce amazing cannabis plants.
Cannabis Plant Life Cycle
Cannabis plants have unique phases of growth from being seeds to growing into mature plants. During these different phases of growth, your plants need different amounts of nutrients, light, water, and more.
Knowing the length of these important stages and the plant’s requirements during each of them is important to growing a healthy plant. Here's what you can expect throughout the marijuana grow cycle to yield incredible marijuana plants.
During the germination phase, a cannabis seed is germinated, usually through the paper towel method by placing the seeds between two moist paper towels and covering them with two plates. The idea is to put them in a high humidity environment and allow the healthy seeds to develop the start of its roots and leaves. Once growth is visible, it is time to add it to your growing medium.
During the seedling stage, your plants will begin to develop their leaves. If you're starting from a clone, you will be starting with a seedling plant which skips the germination phase. Seedling plants do not require as many nutrients or water as vegetative and flowering plants. If growing outdoors, seedlings can be started inside to help them through this vulnerable stage.
During the marijuana vegetative phase, the cannabis plant is focused on growing its branches and leaves to prepare for the flowering stage. Throughout this period, you may need to prune certain areas and train your plants to achieve your desired physical structure. This stage can last between 3 and 18 weeks.
During the vegetative stage, your plants need high nitrogen levels and lower levels of potassium and phosphorus. They also need 18 hours of daylight and 6 hours of darkness. Generally, the longer you leave your plant in the vegetative stage, the more growth you can have during the flowering stage.
The cannabis flowering stage for photoperiod plants begins when the light cycle is 12 hours of darkness and 12 hours of light. Outdoors, this can occur in late summer and early fall when the daylight gets shorter.
It is important to note that auto-flowering plants do not need a change in light cycle to begin flowering. They begin flowering at a predetermined time after a few weeks of planting. In terms of the flowering time, expect indicas to take between 8 to 10 weeks to complete the flowering stage. Sativas take between 10 and 12 weeks and hybrid strains between 6 to 11 weeks.
During the flowering stage, it is important to check your plants to determine their sex. If you have any male plants on your hands, you should remove them as soon as possible from the garden so that they don't accidentally pollinate any female plants and lower your yield. Here's a helpful blog resource to help you determine the sex of your cannabis plant.
In terms of the optimal growing environment for flowering plants, here are a few tips to keep in mind. The best temperature for the flowering stage outdoors or indoors is about 75º F. The optimal relative humidity is around 45%. During this time, your flowering plants need a nutrient solution low in nitrogen, high in phosphorus, and a medium amount of potassium.
Throughout the flowering stage, it's important to ensure that there are no light leaks in your indoor garden. Keep in mind, flowering plants can stretch to double their size during the flowering stage so you should have enough vertical space to accommodate your cannabis plant.
During the first few weeks of flowering, you can begin low-stress training by bending the plants to create an even canopy for better light distribution. In the middle of the stage, the growth tends to slow down and focus on bud production. Watch out for any signs of nutrient deficiencies or even nutrient burn, which can affect bud quality.
Here's when the plant’s aroma starts to kick into full gear. As the buds become denser, they may grow too dense for your plants and may require some additional support for the heavy branches. During this time, you may also need to lightly defoliate your plant to allow the buds to get more light exposure.
However you still want to keep some leaves to promote flower growth. At this point, you may also see yellowing leaves since the plant is focusing on growing its flowers, trichomes, cannabinoids, and terpenes. This yellowing is completely normal.
Toward the last couple of weeks, many cannabis growers choose to perform a flush by feeding the plant only water to essentially remove all of the nutrients before the harvest. Some growers choose to perform the flush in the final week while others do it a few weeks before harvest.
Harvesting Female Marijuanas Plants
Harvesting cannabis plants requires excellent timing and checking in on your female plants to ensure they are at their peak maturity. If you harvest too early, your plants may not be as potent or aromatic as they could be. However, if you harvest too late, your THC levels can begin to degrade and turn into cannabinol (CBN), a cannabinoid known for producing sleepy effects.
Here’s an informative blog resource on determining the perfect time to harvest marijuana plants. Hint: It largely depends on the color of your trichomes.
When you're ready to harvest your female plants, you will need to trim them down. Trimming cannabis requires cutting down the branches and buds once the trichomes have reached peak maturity, which is when most of them have turned from a milky white color to a clear amber.
After the trimming process, the next stage involves drying cannabis branches and buds in a cool, dry, and dark space. Properly dried cannabis stems should produce an audible snap when bent. The process can take between 10 to 14 days. Temperatures should be between 68° and 70º F with a relative humidity of about 50%.
The next part involves curing cannabis. During the curing stage, cannabis buds are placed in an airtight container at temperatures around 70º F. This stage can take anywhere between a few weeks to several months. Throughout this process, you will need to “burp” your cannabis flowers regularly to remove the stale air and add some fresh air into the container.
How to Clone Weed
If you feel confident in your growing abilities, you may be able to successfully clone your marijuana plant with the right mother plant. Cloned marijuana essentially replicates the same genetics of the mother plant and skips the germination phase necessary when starting from cannabis seeds.
Here are some supplies you'll need to clone marijuana:
- Razor Blade
- Rooting solution
- Spray bottle
- Grow light
- Grow medium
- Humidity tray/dome
- Heating pad (optional)
Here's a complete guide on how to clone cannabis plants with step-by-step instructions.
Learn More About Growing Cannabis Plants at CTU
Learn to grow cannabis plants at home by enrolling in Cannabis Training University, the world leader in online cannabis education.
Enrollment in CTU gives you access to a complete cannabis education covering how to grow marijuana the right way and other cultivation topics such as:
- Growing weed indoors (step-by-step)
- How to increase the yield of weed plants
- How to increase your yield outdoors
- Growing pot cheaply
- Commercial marijuana growing
Learn from the top growers in the country with up-to-date e-books and high-definition videos. Passing a final certification exam can give you the credentials you need to stand out from others applying to cannabis cultivation jobs.
Ready to start growing your hobby or career? Enroll at CTU today!
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.