How to grow marijuana indoors: a beginner’s guide
Congratulations, you’re interested in growing your own cannabis plants for the first time! But before you flex that green thumb of yours, understand that growing marijuana indoors presents a unique set of challenges for the new hobbyist, and the sheer volume of information available on the subject can be overwhelming.
Our clear, easy-to-digest guide to indoor growing will help even first-time growers get started.
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Benefits of growing weed indoors
- High-quality weed: Although it’s more resource-intensive than growing outdoors, you can control every aspect of your environment and what you put in your plant, so growing indoors will allow you to dial in your setup to grow some primo weed.
- Adaptability: Live in an apartment or a small house? You can grow weed practically anywhere, even folks who don’t have a backyard or a lot of extra space.
- Multiple harvests: Unlike outdoor growing, you aren’t tied to the sun and the seasons. You can let your plants get as big as you want, flip them into flower, harvest, and then start another batch right away. You can grow whenever you want, even straight through winter.
- Privacy and security: Even in legal states, you may want to conceal your crop from judgmental neighbors and definitely from potential thieves. Growing indoors allows you to grow discreetly behind a locked door.
Step 1: Designate a cannabis grow room or space
The first step in setting up your personal cannabis grow is creating a suitable space in which to do it. This space doesn’t even need to be a typical room—it can be a closet, tent, cabinet, spare room, or a corner in an unfinished basement. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to tailor your equipment (and plants) to fit the space.
When tackling your first grow project, you’ll want to start small for multiple reasons:
- The smaller the grow, the less expensive it is to set up
- It’s much easier to monitor a few plants than a large number
- Your mistakes as a first-time grower will be less costly
Remember, most new cannabis growers will experience setbacks and lose plants to pests or disease. A failed grow of two plants will put a far smaller dent in your wallet than a lot more plants.
…But think big
When designing your space, you’ll need to take into account not only the amount of room your plants will need, but also your lights, ducting, fans, and other equipment. You’ll also have to leave enough room for you to work. Cannabis plants can double in size in the early stages of flowering, so make sure you have adequate head space!
If your grow room is a cabinet, tent, or closet, you can simply open it up and remove the plants to work on them; otherwise, you’ll need to make sure you leave yourself some elbow room.
Cleanliness is crucial
Make sure your space is easily sanitized; cleanliness is important when growing indoors, so easy-to-clean surfaces are a must. Carpeting, drapes, and raw wood are all difficult to clean, so avoid these materials if possible.
Keep it light-tight
Another crucial criterion for a grow room is that it be light-tight. Light leaks during dark periods will confuse your plants and can cause them to produce male flowers.
When deciding where to grow your cannabis, keep the following variables in mind:
- Convenience: You’ll need to monitor your plants carefully. Checking on them every day is important, and beginners will want to check in several times per day until they have everything dialed in. If your room is hard to access, this crucial step will be difficult.
- Temperature and humidity concerns: If your grow space is already very warm or very humid, you’ll have issues controlling your grow environment. Choosing a cool, dry area with ready access to fresh air from the outdoors is highly recommended.
- Stealth: You’ll most likely want to conceal your grow from nosy neighbors and potential thieves, so be sure to pick a place where noisy fans won’t garner any unwanted attention.
Step 2: Choose your cannabis grow lights
The quality of light in your grow room will be the number one environmental factor in the quality and quantity of your yield, so it’s a good idea to choose the best lighting setup you can afford.
Here’s a brief rundown of the most popular types of cannabis grow lights used for indoor growing.
HID grow lights
HID (high-intensity discharge) lights are the industry standard, widely used for their combination of output, efficiency, and value. They cost a bit more than incandescent or fluorescent fixtures, but produce far more light per unit of electricity used. Conversely, they are not as efficient as LED lighting, but they cost as little as one-tenth as much for comparable units.
The two main types of HID lamp used for growing are:
- Metal halide (MH), which produce light that is blue-ish white and are generally used during vegetative growth.
- High pressure sodium (HPS), which produce light that is more on the red-orange end of the spectrum and are used during the flowering stage.
In addition to bulbs, HID lighting setups require a ballast and hood/reflector for each light. Some ballasts are designed for use with either MH or HPS lamps, while many newer designs will run both.
If you can’t afford both MH and HPS bulbs, start with HPS as they deliver more light per watt. Magnetic ballasts are cheaper than digital ballasts, but run hotter, are less efficient, and harder on your bulbs. Digital ballasts are generally a better option, but are more expensive. Beware of cheap digital ballasts, as they are often not well shielded and can create electromagnetic interference that will affect radio and WiFi signals.
Unless you’re growing in a large, open space with a lot of ventilation, you’ll need air-cooled reflector hoods to mount your lamps in, as HID bulbs produce a lot of heat. This requires ducting and exhaust fans, which will increase your initial cost but make controlling the temperature in your grow room much easier.
Fluorescent grow lights
Fluorescent light fixtures, particularly those using high-output (HO) T5 bulbs, are quite popular with small scale hobby growers for the following reasons:
- They tend to be cheaper to set up, as reflector, ballast, and bulbs are included in a single package
- They don’t require a cooling system since they don’t generate near the amount of heat that HID setups do
The main drawback is that fluorescent lights are less efficient, generating about 20-30% less light per watt of electricity used. Space is another concern, as it would require approximately 19 four-foot long T5 HO bulbs to equal the output of a single 600 watt HPS bulb.
LED grow lights
Light emitting diode (LED) technology has been around for a while, but only recently has it been adapted to create super efficient light fixtures for indoor growing. The main drawback to LED grow lights is their cost: well designed fixtures can cost 10 times what a comparable HID setup would. The benefits are that LEDs last much longer, use far less electricity, create less heat, and the best designs generate a fuller spectrum of light, which can lead to bigger yields and better quality.
Unfortunately, there are many shoddy LED lights being produced and marketed towards growers, so do some research and read product reviews before laying down your hard-earned cash.
Induction grow lights
Induction lamps, otherwise known as electrodeless fluorescent lamps, are another old technology that has been recently adapted to suit the needs of indoor growers. Invented by Nikola Tesla in the late 1800s, the induction lamp is essentially a more efficient, longer-lasting version of the fluorescent bulb. The main drawback of these fixtures is their price and availability.
Step 3: Give your cannabis plants air
Plants need fresh air to thrive, and carbon dioxide (CO2) is essential to the process of photosynthesis. This means you will need a steady stream of air flowing through your grow room, easily achieved by means of an exhaust fan placed near the top of the room to remove the warmer air, and a filtered air inlet on the opposite side near the floor.
You’ll need to ensure that temperatures remain within a comfortable range for your plants, between 70-85°F when lights are on and between 58-70°F when they are off. Some varieties of cannabis (generally indica strains) prefer the colder side of the range, while others are more tolerant of higher temperatures.
The size of your exhaust fan will depend on the size of your grow space and amount of heat generated by your lighting system. HID systems put out a ton of heat, especially if they aren’t mounted in air-cooled hoods. People who live in warmer regions will often run their lights at night in an effort to keep temperatures in their grow down.
It’s advisable to set up your lights, turn them on for a while, and then determine how much airflow you’ll need to maintain a comfortable temperature for your plants. This will allow you to choose an exhaust fan suitable for your needs. If the odor of cannabis plants in bloom will cause you problems, add a charcoal filter to your exhaust fan.
Alternately, you can create a sealed, artificial environment by using an air conditioner, dehumidifier, and supplemental CO2 system, but this is quite expensive and not recommended for the first-time grower.
Finally, it’s a good idea to have a constant light breeze in your grow room as this strengthens your plants’ stems and creates a less hospitable environment for mold and flying pests. A wall-mounted circulating fan works well for this purpose — just don’t point it directly at your plants, because that can cause windburn.
Step 4: Pick your climate controls and monitors
Once you have selected your lights and climate control equipment, you’ll want to automate their functions. While there are sophisticated (and expensive) units available that control lights, temperature, humidity, and CO2 levels, the beginner will generally need a simple 24 hour timer for the light and an adjustable thermostat switch for the exhaust fan.
The timing of the light/dark cycle is very important when growing cannabis; generally you will have your lights on for 18 hours per 24 hour period while the plants are in vegetative growth, then switch to 12 hours of light per 24 hour period when you want them to bloom. You need your lights to turn on and off at the same times every day or you risk stressing your plants, so a timer is essential. You can use a timer for your exhaust fan as well, but spending a few extra dollars on a thermostat switch is a much better option.
With the most basic models, you simply set the thermostat on the device to the maximum desired temperature for your space and plug your exhaust fan into it. Once the temperature rises to the level you set, it will turn the fan on until temperatures fall a few degrees below the set threshold. This saves energy and maintains a steady temperature.
Since you’re probably not spending most of your time in your grow space, a combination hygrometer/thermostat with high/low memory feature can be very handy in keeping tabs on conditions in your room. These small, inexpensive devices not only show you the current temperature and humidity level, but the highest and lowest readings for the period of time since you last checked.
Step 5: Decide on a cannabis grow medium
Growing indoors means you have many different media to choose from, and whether it’s good old fashioned pots full of soil or a rockwool slab in a hydroponic tray, every medium has its benefits and drawbacks.
Here we’ll examine the two most popular methods and the media they employ.
Soil is the most traditional medium for growing cannabis indoors, as well as the most forgiving, making it a good choice for first-time growers. Any high quality potting soil will work, as long as it doesn’t contain artificial extended release fertilizer (like Miracle Gro), which is unsuitable for growing good cannabis.
A very good choice for beginners is organic pre-fertilized soil (often referred to as “super-soil”) that can grow cannabis plants from start to finish without any added nutrients, if used correctly. This can be made yourself by combining worm castings, bat guano, and other components with a good soil and letting it sit for a few weeks, or it can be purchased pre-made from a few different suppliers.
As with all organic growing, this method relies on a healthy population of mycorrhizae and soil bacteria to facilitate the conversion of organic matter into nutrients that are useable to the plant. Alternately, you can use a regular soil mix and then supplement your plants with liquid nutrients as the soil is depleted.
Soilless (aka hydroponics)
Indoor growers are increasingly turning to soilless, hydroponic media for cultivating cannabis plants. This method requires feeding with concentrated solutions of mineral salt nutrients that are absorbed directly by the roots through the process of osmosis.
The technique for quicker nutrient uptake leading to faster growth and bigger yields, but it also requires a higher order of precision as plants are quicker to react to over or underfeeding and are more susceptible to nutrient lockout and burn.
Different materials used include rockwool, vermiculite, expanded clay pebbles, perlite, and coco coir, just to name a few. Commercial soilless mixes are widely available that combine two or more of these media to create an optimized growing mix. Soilless media can be used in automated hydroponic setups or in hand-watered individual containers.
Step 6: Pick a container
What type of container you use will depend on the medium, the system, and the size of your plants. A flood-and-drain, tray-style hydroponic system may use small net pots filled with clay pebbles or just a big slab of rockwool to grow many little plants, while a “super-soil” grow may use 10 gallon nursery pots to grow a few large plants.
Inexpensive options include disposable perforated plastic bags or cloth bags, while some choose to spend more on “smart pots,” containers that are designed to enhance airflow to the plant’s root zone. Many people grow their first cannabis plants in five gallon buckets.
Drainage is key, as cannabis plants are very sensitive to water-logged conditions, so if you repurpose other containers, be sure to drill holes in the bottoms and set them in trays.
Step 7: Feed your cannabis plants nutrients
Growing high-quality cannabis flowers requires more fertilizer, or nutrients, than most common crops. Your plant needs the following primary nutrients (collectively known as macronutrients):
- Nitrogen (N)
- Phosphorus (P)
- Potassium (K)
These micronutrients are needed as well, albeit in much smaller quantities:
If you aren’t using a pre-fertilized organic soil mix, you will need to feed your plants at least once a week using an appropriate nutrient solution. These nutrients are sold in concentrated liquid or powder form meant to be mixed with water, and generally formulated for either vegetative or flower (“bloom”) growth. This is because cannabis has changing macronutrient requirements during its lifecycle, needing more nitrogen during vegetative growth, and more phosphorus and potassium during bud production.
Most macronutrients are sold in a two-part liquid to prevent certain elements from precipitating (combining into an inert solid that is unusable by the plant), meaning you’ll need to purchase two bottles (part A and part B) for veg, and two bottles for grow, as well as a bottle of micronutrients. Other than these basics, the only other nutrient product you may need to purchase is a Cal/Mag supplement, as some strains require more calcium and magnesium than others.
Once you’ve purchased the necessary nutrient products, simply mix them with water as directed by the label and water your plants with this solution. You should always start at half-strength because cannabis plants are easily burned. It’s almost always worse to overfeed your plants than to underfeed them, and over time you will learn to read your plants for signs of deficiencies or excesses.
It’s important to get a pH meter so you can check the pH level of your water when mixing nutrients. Cannabis prefers a pH between 6 and 7 in soil, and between 5.5 and 6.5 in hydroponic media. Letting the pH get out of this range can lead to nutrient lockout, meaning your plants are unable to absorb the nutrients they need, so be sure to test your water regularly and make sure the nutrient mix you are feeding your plants falls within the desired range.
Step 8: Water your cannabis plants
Most people won’t think twice about the water they use on their plants; if you can drink it, it must be fine, right? Well, it may not be an issue, depending on your location, but some water contains a high amount of dissolved minerals that can build up in the root zone and affect nutrient uptake, or it may contain fungus or other pathogens that aren’t harmful to people but can lead to root disease.
Additionally, some places may have high levels of chlorine in the water supply, which can be harmful to beneficial soil microbes. For these reasons, many people choose to filter the water they use in their gardens.
The most important thing to remember during this phase is to not overwater. Cannabis plants are very susceptible to fungal root diseases when conditions are too wet, and overwatering is one of the most common mistakes made by the beginning grower.
How often you water your plants will depend on the medium used, size of the plants, and ambient temperature. Some people will wait until the lower leaves of the plant start to droop slightly before watering.
As you gain experience and knowledge, you will alter your grow room and equipment to better fit your particular environment, growing techniques, and the specific strains you grow, but this article will give you a solid foundation of knowledge to get started on the right foot.
And remember, growing marijuana is a labor of love, so spend a lot of time with your plants and have fun!
This post was originally published on June 6, 2016. It was most recently updated on April 2, 2020.
Our indoor cannabis growing guide will help simplify the process for you into clear, easy-to-digest sections to help the first-time grower get started.
How to Grow Cannabis Indoors: Beginner’s Guide
[The information in this article has under no circumstances been created for – or is intended to be used for – illegal purposes. Growing/cultivating cannabis is illegal in many U.S. states. We, therefore, advise that all readers become familiar with current laws and regulations in their region before they learn how to grow cannabis indoors].
As a potential first-time grower, getting started is the biggest roadblock you’ll likely face. First, you have to find the right place to cultivate and obtain the proper growing equipment. Then, you need to buy cannabis plants or seeds and spend a lot of time checking and maintaining your crop.
You must also operate within the boundaries of the law before getting started. Growing marijuana remains illegal in many U.S. states. Therefore, make sure that home cultivation is allowed where you live before proceeding. Assuming you are legally able to continue, keep reading our detailed guide to growing cannabis indoors.
Step 1: Choose the Perfect Cannabis Grow Room
You don’t need a particularly large growing/cultivating space. A typical grow room for a small-scale grower is a small tent, cabinet, or designated area in a spare room. If you’re stuck for room, even an unused corner of the house is sufficient! Here are a few helpful tips to get started.
1 – Begin Growing from a Small Plot & Adjust as Necessary
By “small,” we mean nothing more than a few plants at most. You can start with just one or two plants. There is an inevitable learning curve involved with growing weed indoors. As such, you are bound to make some mistakes. The fewer plants you have, the fewer plants you’ll waste.
Even veteran cannabis growers run into mistakes and unexpected mishaps with almost every batch they produce. Therefore, it is possible to endure a completely failed grow on your very first attempt. In this case, it hurts a lot less when you ‘lose’ a plant or two.
It shouldn’t take long to get the hang of things and start producing some beautiful, flowering cannabis plants. At this stage, you’ll need to make room as your marijuana proliferates. From the first signs of flowering, you can expect a plant to double or triple in size by harvest time.
Also, make sure that you leave enough space to work in!
2 – A Clean Space is One of the Most Important Things to Remember
Make sure that your cultivating space is sanitized and clean all around. There is an inherent risk posed by pests and contaminants. A messy space invites pathogens and harmful bacteria and mold. A good idea is to plan a bi-weekly cleaning routine and stick to it. There is no need to be pedantic, though! Using a wet microfiber rag to wipe up the areas around the plant(s) will suffice.
Marijuana plants are “bioaccumulators,” which means they “suck up” everything around them (both in the air and the soil). Make sure the area surrounding the plants is clean to keep potential contaminants out.
3 – Keep Your Grow Space as “Light-Sealed” as Possible
Light is essential for the growing process. Your plants receive direct light the majority of the time. However, few first-time growers realize that periodic darkness is equally as important for producing “yieldable” buds.
Like most living things, cannabis plants need their “rest time.” If light from a surrounding source is seeping in while it should be dark, the (bud-producing) females go into “survival mode.” This process causes them to produce male flowers, which ruins your chances of a high-THC yield.
4 – Successful Indoor Growing Requires the Following Features
- Choose a secure place safe from any “unwanted visitors.” It keeps your plants away from animal and human invaders. It also enables you to monitor them regularly.
- Temperature and humidity concerns will always remain an issue. Try and select a spot that is well sealed off from fresh air from outdoors.
- Convenience is just as important as anything else. Therefore, make sure your spot is safe, and easily accessible at any time, day or night.
Step 2: Choose (and Use) Your Cannabis Grow Lights
The light source you use in your grow room plays a significant role in determining the quality of the plants. We recommend spending a high degree of your budget on a good lighting setup. It is worth it in the end, particularly if you plan on growing in the long term.
Here’s a basic rundown of the most popular types of cannabis grow lights used today.
LED grow lights
If cost isn’t a consideration, LED (light-emitting diode) lighting is the preferred option for most marijuana growers. These are highly efficient light fixtures for indoor growing. They use little energy and create very little heat. Also, LEDs contain wavelengths across the light spectrum, so they can lead to bigger yields and better-quality plants.
The drawback is that they cost nearly ten times more than a decent HID setup! If you’re serious about getting into growing and have money to spend, however, give serious consideration to LEDs. Do your homework to avoid ‘scam’ LEDs online.
Induction grow lights
Induction lamps are an odd choice for indoor growers. However, some companies have recently adapted them for the cannabis industry. They can potentially represent decent value in terms of cost and efficiency.
Nikola Tesla invented the process of generating heat from magnetic induction in the 19th century. These types of lamps represent a more efficient option than fluorescent lighting, yet are cheaper than LED and (some) HID setups.
HID grow lights
The most commonly used lights for DIY-style growing are probably HID (high-intensity discharge) grow lights. They typically represent the best overall value in terms of cost, efficiency, and ease-of-operation.
The main drawback is that they require numerous accessories to run correctly. As a consequence, the overall cost can ramp up pretty quickly, depending on how much you’re willing to splurge.
For example, most growers use one of two main types of HID lamps/bulbs depending on the developmental stage. Metal halide (MH) bulbs are best during vegetative growth. High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) is the preferred option for the mature flowering stage. If you can only afford one, choose HPS as they are more efficient on a ‘watt-to-light’ produced scale.
HID lights produce a substantial amount of heat. Therefore, you must invest in a ballast and hood/reflector for each light. This is almost mandatory for controlling the temperature in your grow room. Connect the hood to your ventilation system to flush out excess heat and maintain an average ambient temperature.
Fluorescent grow lights
Fluorescent lights are generally much cheaper and easier to use than the other options. They represent an excellent option for those not planning long-term operations. They don’t require a connection to an external ventilation system. Fluorescent lights are a little less efficient than the other options. However, for novice DIY growers with a single plant or two, they’re likely your best bet.
Step 3: Fresh Air is the Lifeblood of Healthy Cannabis Plants
Make sure you have consistent airflow across your entire plot. Depending on the size of your grow room, you can achieve this easily. All you need is a portable fan on one side of the space, and an exhaust fan on the other side facing the ceiling.
Since warmer air rises, the exhaust fan sucks out the hot, stagnant air. The portable fan provides an excellent supply of cooler, CO2-filled fresh air. This technique allows for a constant supply of fresh air for your plants. It also helps keep temperatures to a manageable level.
Most cannabis strains prefer an upper-temperature range between 70- and 85-degrees Fahrenheit. When the lights are off, keep room temperature between 55 and 75 degrees. Indica strains tend to prefer the cooler end of the range.
Step 4: Develop a Control System and Monitor the Growing Process
The next step is a self-monitoring system to control it all. We assume you can’t spend 24 hours a day in your grow space! You need a 24-hour timer and an adjustable thermostat. The latter allows you to set your exhaust fan to switch on once temperatures go above a certain degree. The result is a relatively stable temperature range and humidity level while saving energy and money.
The 24-hour timer is just as important. When the marijuana plants are in vegetative growth, you need the light supply on for around 16-20 hours per day. Once they mature and reach the flowering stage, your plants need 12 hours light and 12 hours dark.
We also recommend investing in a pH meter to check on the quality of your water and soil regularly. If you’re growing in soil, try and keep the pH between 6 and 7. If you’re growing hydroponically, 5.5 to 6.5 is an appropriate range.
Step 5: Be an Artist! [And Choose a Cannabis “Grow Medium”…]
When cultivating cannabis indoors, there are two viable options: Growing in traditional soil or a hydroponic tray. Soil is typically recommended if you’re growing indoors for the first time. It is cheaper, more straightforward, and more forgiving than an advanced hydroponic system. Let’s take a closer look at each of the two options.
Soil vs. Soilless Growing
Soil is less expensive, easier, and offers a higher margin of error. However, you need to carefully select the soil because the quality can vary enormously. General potting soil works when you periodically add nutrients. However, pre-fertilized soil is a better option because it removes most of the guesswork from the equation. High-quality soil of this nature requires minimal maintenance.
All you need is a quality soil with a proper nutrient-rich, optimized growing mix. Ideal ingredients include bat guano and mycorrhizae bacteria, as well as other organic compost nutrients.
The “all-in-one” automated hydroponic setups may help you experience faster growth and more abundant yields. Alas, this is only the case if everything is done correctly. If not, you waste a LOT of money!
A hydroponic system delivers all necessary mineral salt nutrients to plants in water via the process of osmosis. Some experts prefer to do this manually and hand-select their nutrients/minerals. However, this takes time and a lot of experience.
If you want to choose hydroponic over traditional soil, there are several excellent kits that are straightforward and foolproof. On the downside, they’ll cost at least ten times what you’d probably pay for good, nutrient-rich soil.
Step 6: Choose a “Canna-tainer” (Container) to Grow Your Cannabis In
If you purchase nutrient-rich soil in pots, you’ll already have the containers you need. You can also grow plants out of a 5-gallon bucket or another regular household container. However, cannabis plants don’t like waterlogged conditions. Make sure to perforate the bottom of the bucket so the water can drain as needed.
There are some outstanding pre-filled soil kits specially designed for increased airflow. Keep these in mind when deciding what to grow your first cannabis plants in.
Step 7: Show Your Cannabis Plants Some Love (By Giving Them Lots of Nutrients)
Ensuring your plants get the right nutrients is probably second only to lighting in terms of importance. Proper nutrient selection and application are among the most critical factors in growing premium-grade cannabis. While weed is resilient, growing it in sub-optimal conditions means you will miss out on yield and potency.
Whether you’re using an organic soil mix or growing hydroponically, your cannabis plants need the “super seven” macronutrients. In no particular order, these are:
- Nitrogen (N)
- Potassium (P)
- Calcium (Ca)
- Phosphorus (Ph)
- Magnesium (Mg)
- Iron (Fe)
- Copper (Cu)
You can get these macronutrients pre-packaged in liquid or powder form (if you’re using an un-supplemented soil mix). However, a lot of organic “super soils” already contain them in sufficient amounts.
Lastly, some strains indeed require more calcium than others to produce robust, healthy nugs. Perform a little research on the particular strain you are growing. This process enables you to become more familiar with the kind of “food” it needs and prefers the most.
Step 8: Cannabis Plants LOVE Water!
A common assumption amongst rookie plant growers is that the more you water, the better.
While this is true to an extent, there is such a thing as “too much water.” Overwatering your indoor cannabis plants can prove detrimental to their productivity, and potentially kill them!
The frequency of watering and the amount you give is determined by a few obvious things. These include the size of the plant and the stage of development that it’s in. For example, cannabis plants in vegetative growth don’t require as much watering as mature plants in the flowering stage. However, there’s no exact science when deciding how much water to give and how often.
For instance, lots of people only choose to water once the leaves start noticeably drooping. After all, over-saturated root systems, especially in cannabis plants, are prone to fungal diseases.
Make sure there are holes drilled into your growing container so the water can drain out. When watering, try, and only moisten the soil rather than saturating it.
Lastly, many growers fill up a jar or spray bottle from their tap. Bear in mind that this could harm the plants if there is too much chlorine or unfiltered minerals in it. You may want to choose a distilled option or at least filter it before adding it to your soil. Mineral-laden tap water can cause unwanted build-up in the cannabis root systems, which can lead to detrimental root disease.
Step 9: Set Time to Care For Your Plant (Every Single Day!)
DIY indoor growers are unable to perform a 24/7 watch over their plants. However, you can provide adequate care by setting aside a few minutes a day. Routine checks, such as ensuring things like temperature, humidity, pH, and water levels are correct, are essential.
Also, watch out for male plants in your crop. If you wish to grow high-THC buds, the only thing you want in your crop is female plants. If you have a male in your crop, it could cause problems. Once it reaches maturity and its pollen sacs burst, it fertilizes the females. At this point, they’ll start developing seeds rather than growing buds. While the plants won’t die, their ability to produce high-THC buds is ruined.
If you don’t know how to tell a male cannabis plant from a female, we’ve got a great article on the topic.
If you’re growing from seed, you need to wait until the vegetative stage. Once the plants start reaching maturity, they’ll develop reproductive parts at the nodes.
This is when you can extract the male plants and eliminate them. Male plants will have what look like little clusters of peas; these are the pollen sacs. Female plants will have sharper early-stage calyxes. Those growing from female clones or pre-purchased feminized seeds should have no concerns about male plants.
Step 10: Cut Your Cannabis Plants Down — Carefully!
The final step involves harvesting your plants. A lot of first-time growers assume that the nugs pop out separately on the branch. Then, they can pluck them off, grind them up, and start smoking. It is a little more complicated!
The nugs on a healthy, “pre-harvested” plant are mixed with a plethora of fan/water leaves and sugar leaves. You need to use scissors to trim this foliage to get to the nugs. Once you get used to the process, you’ll find it more enjoyable than tedious.
The first step is to cut off the big water leaves, otherwise known as the fan leaves. They have minimal THC in them and are generally removed. Sugar leaves and buds should remain. You’ll notice a visible difference between the long, green fan leaves and the smaller sugar leaves. The latter is covered in resinous glands (trichomes).
Some people like to grind the sugar leaves and use them. However, it is all about the nugs if the goal is to enjoy an intoxicating high. You can use the sugar leaves to make cannabutter, however. After trimming, you should hang the buds up to dry. After 7-10 days, you can place them in airtight containers to cure. The more patient you are, the better the buds will taste. They are also more potent!
Final Thoughts on Growing Cannabis Indoors
Harvesting hemp and cannabis is a lovely experience. It is one we recommend to any weed lover who has a passion for all aspects of the plant. You learn so much about cannabis and botany/biology in general. Most growers believe they learn something new with every harvest.
There’s no doubt a bit of a learning curve involved. You’ll make your fair share of mistakes. However, trust us when we say it’s all worth it in the end.
Enjoy, and more than anything else; remember to HAVE FUN!
A lot of people get overwhelmed when they think about growing weed, even though they shouldn't. Here is our step-by-step guide to growing cannabis indoors.