The marijuana plant is one of the oldest-known plants to be cultivated and consumed by man. Ancient scriptures of various civilizations record it was used for thousands of years – for purposes which ranged from recreational to medicinal to even religious. The marijuana plant has become the symbol of many iconic visuals of the modern era and is a major part of pop culture too. Smoking weed, however, is an experience that is enjoyed by millions of people across the world – and many people like to grow their own weed. Here, we intend to provide a beginner’s guide to growing marijuana.
While it sounds quite a challenge at first – the fact of the matter is, if you do everything in a methodical manner, this is a very easy task. The plant grows by itself and you just need to monitor it and ensure everything is ok. The process is quite easy and the equipment that you need to grow weed can all be ordered online – basically, growing marijuana is so easy that you don’t even have to leave your home for that!
By the time you reach the end of this article, we hope that you get a detailed insight into how to grow marijuana. Here, we intend to cover all the aspects of growing weed – ranging from the different methods of growing, the equipment that you need to grow weed, how to set up the equipment, what are the different phases of growth, etc. However, before delving into all of that – we start from step one: understanding what the marijuana plant is!
What is a marijuana plant?
Marijuana is the commonly used name for the cannabis plant – which can be of three different types – Cannabis Indica, Cannabis Sativa or Cannabis Ruderalis. These plants have a psychoactive property which gives the consumer a feeling of being ‘high’. Known most properly as ‘weed’, the marijuana plant also has a number of medicinal benefits and is officially prescribed to many patients for pain relief and for mental ailments, among many other things.
Marijuana can be consumed in different form factors – be it smoking the flowers of the marijuana plant, or be it consuming it in the form of edible cookies. Then there are concentrates such as waxes and oils, and you can also vape it up! While for most of the past 100 years marijuana has been banned by almost all countries in the world and is classified as a narcotic drug, the approach is changing and the US, Canada and many other countries around the world no longer see it as such a threat. In fact, most states in the US and Canada have now legalized marijuana (some for recreational purposes, others for medicinal purposes). Hence it is now being seen as something that is more acceptable and is no longer a taboo as it used to be.
This has led to a number of people actually growing the marijuana plant at home. The process is quite simple and over the course of this article, we shall be looking at a beginner’s guide to growing marijuana – and on how to grow your own marijuana at home!
Understanding Indoor vs Outdoor Growth
Before we head into our guide to growing weed, it is crucial to understand the two different ways in which you can grow marijuana. The cannabis plant can be grown indoors as well as outdoors. The latter is the way it has been done for thousands of years, but this is a trend which is quickly changing. An increasing number of people are now growing their marijuana indoors as opposed to growing it outdoors because it gives them a better control over the climatic conditions as well as ensures that there are no insects and pests. Furthermore, while growing weed has become legal, many people still don’t want to grow their weed outdoors, because there’s still quite a stigma attached to it and people don’t want their neighbors (or the law) to know that they are growing weed.
In this article, when we talk about ‘growing weed’ – it would ordinarily mean we are talking about the indoor growth of marijuana (unless specified otherwise). Growing indoors gives you a better control over the environment as you can choose how much light to provide to the plants, and at what distance and for how long. You can also choose the humidity, the temperature, the amount of water and the nutrients that you provide to the plants, etc. and when you look at all of these factors put together, what you get is an ideal end product where everything is just at an ‘optimal’ level – giving you the best possible weed at the end of it all.
Read more: Best Marijuana Growing Starter Kits
A Beginner’s Guide to Growing: How to Grow the Perfect Weed?
Let us now take a detailed look at how to grow the perfect weed indoors. This is a guided explanation of how to grow your first marijuana plant indoors and we hope that this will help you understand the process in a much better manner and inspire you to grow your own weed as well.
1. Selecting Good Seed and Soil
When it comes to growing weed, you start at where you would start if you were to grow any plant. Getting good seed and soil! These are the two things which do not change regardless of what plant you are planning on growing.
- Seed: Getting a good marijuana seed is the first step towards starting off with the cycle of growing your own plant. There are a number of things that a grower has to keep in mind while he or she decides to buy the seeds. These include things as basic as ensuring that the seed is not too soft and pulpy, to making sure that it is not green/yellow in color and is a little ‘mature’. Having a dark and hard seed will make sure the seed survives for a longer time.
Then there are some advanced things that have to be considered, such as knowing what strain lies inside the seed, whether or not the seed is feminized – and which are the ‘parent’ plants from which the seed has been created. Seeds can be purchased from ‘seed banks’ where you can buy seeds of different genetic makeup online. This seed needs to be germinated by the grower and for that it needs to be kept in a place which is warm as well as damp. More on it when we get to the phases of a plant’s life cycle.
- Soil: After selecting the seed, you also need to select the right kind of soil which is another important aspect. The soil that you choose needs to be just the right type which will hold enough water that the plant needs to sustain itself, but must also be loose enough to let excess water runout which does not cause waterlogging. Basically, the soil that you are finally deciding to grow your marijuana plants on must neither be too sandy nor should it be too clayey. Not all plants are grown using soil medium (though we strongly recommend first-time growers to grow weed using soil). For non-soil growers the options include peat moss, rockwool cubes, coco coir, etc. but that’s for a later discussion.
2. Procuring the Essentials: Pots, Tent, Lights, Ventilation, Nutrients and Water
Let us now talk about getting some basic stuff sorted. In order to grow the marijuana plant indoors, you need to recreate certain conditions which exist in nature – but have to be simulated indoors so that plants get all these elements of growth. These elements are – lights and ventilation (as well as water). Apart from that, some other essential elements include pots and tents which are also very important.
- Grow Lights: Perhaps the most important thing for the marijuana plant to grow is a constant supply of sunlight. Getting proper sunlight is what helps the plant grow faster and stronger. When you grow weed indoors, you would need to grow it under a grow light, which recreates the natural light of the sun. We recommend using a full-spectrum LED grow light for best results. Lights are important because plants grow towards the direction of light, and it also helps the plants trigger the process of photosynthesis where sunlight is converted into energy. Grow lights also play a major role when it comes to flowering but we’ll discuss that at length under ‘Understanding Lighting’.
- Ventilation Kits: You need to get hold of good quality ventilation kits as well. These ventilation kits will ensure that your grow tent or your grow room has a fresh supply of air all through the different phases of growth. Grow lights as well as other equipment inside the tent tend to generate quite a bit of heat – and having a good ventilation system will make sure that the heat is dissipated out of the tent. Furthermore, ventilation kits usually consist of a carbon filter as well, which will trap the smell that comes from weed plants – which is often very strong and a ‘tell’ that you’re growing weed! Ventilation kits consist of inline ducts, inline fans, and a carbon filter.
- Nutrients and Water: After light and air, you also need to provide your marijuana plant with water and nutrients. Under ideal circumstances, the soil in which you are growing your plants should have all the nutrients. However, these situations are never really met and different plants grow differently because of the different nutrient composition of the soil – basically the NPK composition (Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium). Based on that you would need to provide nutrients to the soil mixed with water. While nutrients are ideally to be provided at all stages of growth, it is especially during the flowering/blooming stage that they are particularly important. Nutrients are provided to the plants mixed in soil along with water.
- Pots: When growing your first marijuana plants, you also need to know about what size of pot would you require for growth. Make sure that the pot you’re buying is of a sufficient height and size to allow the plant to grow properly and gives it adequate space. Pots should be very durable to ensure they don’t collapse under the plant’s weight or due to an accidental bump.
- Grow Tents: Another very important part of the process of growing a marijuana plant, you need to get a good grow tent for growing weed. Getting a good grow tent is crucial for your operations. Not only does a grow tent help you keep the plant safe from pests and insects, but the most important thing that it does is that it allows for the grow light to maximize its efficiency. The inner walls of grow tents are lined with a reflective layer (usually mylar) which ensures that the light keeps bouncing back on to the plant. The outer layer of the tents is made of a thick canvas which makes sure the light remains trapped inside. Inside the grow tent, there’s space for hanging all the equipment and vents for fitting the fans.
3. Procuring some Additional Elements: Humidity, Pest and Temperature Control
The ones mentioned above were the ‘essential elements’ without which you just can’t grow your plant. However, when it comes to growing an ideal marijuana plant, you need much more than just this. Here are some extra elements that you can buy to enhance the growth. Again, they’re not necessary – and those starting out might just want to avoid the extra (and hefty) cost that they come at. However, it is always good to know about it.
- Humidity Control: If you live in climates which are very dry or very humid such as a tropical nation, you might just need a humidifier or a dehumidifier to ensure that the plant is getting the right kind of air. In the early stages of growth, if the humidity is too high, plants prefer consuming water directly from the air than to take it through the roots and distribute it to the leaves. Similarly getting a dehumidifier would reduce the level of humidity in the air and force the plants to take in more water from the roots thereby providing them with more nutrients as well. During the vegetative stage, marijuana plants can need as much as 70% humidity while the flowering stage would need about 35 to 40% humidity.
- Temperature Control: Again something that you might not need if you live in a place with an average climate. However, if you live in a place where it gets either too hot or too cold (excess of 100F or below 50F) then you might need a device to control the temperature such as using a heater or an air conditioner for the same. These help regulate the temperatures and ensures that the plant does not get damaged due to excess heat or cold. During the vegetative stage, 68-77°F (20-25°C) is the ideal temperature for marijuana plants. For the blooming stage, anything that is under under 82°F (28°C) would be OK though plants have grown seemingly well in temperatures slightly higher than that (about 34C) as well. Anything higher than that would need cooling.
- Pest Control: When growing your weed indoors, this is one problem that generally does not arise as you’re growing in an environment which isn’t really grassy/open – and to add to that you’ll have a grow tent for added protection. However, there are some sticky nets and some repellents that you might want to use to ensure that any stray insects or pests that make their way will not be able to damage your plants.
4. Understanding Lighting
- Using a full-spectrum grow light will give you a combination of lights of different wavelengths and spectral lengths, which include the reds and the blues – the red spectrum being important for the blooming/flowering stage and the blue spectrum is important for the vegetative stage. While you can get separate red and blue lights, it is always best to get a full spectrum LED grow light with dimmers which gives you red and blue lights on the same device along with switches to turn each type of light on and off. Dimmers will allow you to control the brightness of each type of light so you can mix and match your ideal lighting.
- In addition to the LED grow lights, there are some older forms of lighting as well, such as HPS grow lights and metal halides, or CFL lights, etc. However, these haven’t really been as effective as LED grow lights in recent times. LED lights tend to have a much higher life span compared to these lights and they’re also much more cost effective in the long run as the amount of electricity that they save compared to older grow lights is immense. In the long run, LED grow lights pay for themselves this way!
6. Understanding Phases of Growth
A plant goes through a number of different phases of growth, largely divided into the following:
- Seed to Seedling: This basically consists of three stages – the seed as a seed, followed by the seed as a germinating seed, and then when the process of germination is done – the plant enters the seedling stage where the first few leaves start to appear though the stem is still quite little in size and the plant needs extreme care and attention
- Vegetative Stage: This is the stage of rapid growth where the shoot grows into a thick and sturdy stem while new branches begin to appear and the plant begins to grow in height as well. This stage requires blue lighting and high humidity.
- Flowering Stage: The flowering stage basically consists of pre-flowering and flowering stages. When the plant begins to enter pre-flowering you’ll be able to distinguish sex identifiers. Then when you realize that you’re entering this stage you’ll need to lower the humidity, change the nutrients to the ones needed for flowering, followed by lowering the lighting hours to about 10 to 12 hours, which will trigger the plant into the flowering stage. Here, red lights are needed and the plant needs lower levels of humidity too.
- Harvest: Lastly, the harvest stage – here, you need to process, dry and cure the plant. Basically, processing is getting things ready before you begin to dry the plant. This also involves flushing the plant to make sure all excess nutrients are utilized or drained off. Then there’s the drying phase where the plant is hung to dry and finally it is cured by storing it in glass jars to ensure freshness for later consumption.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About the Marijuana Plant:
With that, you now know how to grow your own weed indoors. Here are some commonly asked questions about growing marijuana which will help you gain a better perspective. You too might have some of these questions and they will help resolve all your doubts as well. Here we go:
1. Is it legal to grow weed?
Growing your own weed comes with a lot of benefits – first off, since you are growing it for yourself, you’re probably going to use the best of equipment, good clean water, and best available nutrients, which give you the peace of mind that the product that you’re getting at the end of the day is reliable and safe to consume. Then, growing your own weed is also cheaper compared to buying weed in the long run, and it also makes for a good gift for friends and family!
The answer to the primary question here is different for different growers. You might just want to check the local laws in your jurisdiction as they vary from state to state and country to country. Even in the same country, sometimes different states might have different laws for growing weed such as in the US. Hence, it is best advised to check with your local law enforcement before you proceed. There’s another thing that you would like to take note of – how many plants can you grow on your own is also something that the law governs. Even in places where you can grow your own weed, there’s a limit to how many plants you can grow. So do check that out as well.
2. Should beginners grow outdoors or indoors?
Well this would be quite an unfair comparison as people who grow their weed outdoors tend to have different sets of challenges than the ones growing indoors. Growing outdoors is also something that puts you at a risk of your neighbors, the police, or the passers by finding out that you’re growing weed. Then apart from the social stigma, there’s also the risk of excess rain or snow damaging your plants – and then there’s problems related to insects, pests and animals which might destroy the weed you’ve been carefully growing. However, the biggest benefit of growing weed outdoors is that it is significantly cheaper compared to an indoor process. But in the end we’d say both processes are evenly balanced and we’d tip the scales in the favor of growing weed indoors.
3. Where can marijuana seeds be purchased?
The process of growing your own marijuana plant begins at getting the seeds! Seeds are the most basic unit from where the plant emerges and you need to make sure you’re getting good quality seeds. These seeds can be bought from places called ‘seed banks’ which are basically storehouses of different kinds of seeds. Seed Banks have people who ‘breed’ different marijuana plants of different genetic makeup to provide you with seeds that will have a unique taste and THC/CBD ratio and you can purchase them accordingly. Also, seed banks provide you with feminized seeds which have a high probability of germination so you’re assured that you get only the best quality seeds. Most seed banks can be accessed online and they deliver to US/Canada (and across many other countries in the world).
4. What are autoflowering plants?
When you are growing a regular marijuana plant, you will need to make certain changes to the way you provide light to your plants in order for them to be forced into the flowering stage. Basically, when you enter the pre-flowering stage, you need to change the light to as less as 10 to 12 hours in order to trigger the flowers to bloom. However, when you are using autoflowering plants you don’t need to do any of these lighting changes and the plants will bloom on their own. This ensures a faster growth of the marijuana plants and also makes sure that first-time growers find it an easy process.
5. Why do weed plants smell so much? How do I keep the smell out?
The cannabis plant has a very unique and distinct smell, which is easily identifiable by those who smoke weed. The smell comes due to ‘terpenes’ which are present in the plant. These are compounds that give plants their smell. Weed has a strong smell to ensure that insects and animals stay away from it while humans can identify it with ease due to its smell. Giving it an evolutionary look, this helps the plants ensure they are able to reproduce safely.
We hope that this article helped you gain a detailed and complete understanding on the marijuana plant – and provided you with the perfect beginner’s guide to growing marijuana. However, one must understand that these are just the extreme basics and there’s much more to growing marijuana than just these points. Each of these aspects that we have covered here are explained in detail in the articles on our website and we request you to go through them to get an in-depth insight into these things. If there’s something else that you would like us to address or if there’s something that you feel we might have missed out on, drop us an email or leave a comment below and we shall get back to you shortly! Till then…
…Happy Growing! 🙂