A little while back, we set you up with three best practices to keep in mind when you are going to grow marijuana. We talked about the type of space, lighting, and nutrients your cannabis plants will need to grow successfully; so a bit of this may look familiar if you checked out that article.
However. in this piece, you’re going to get 7 concrete steps to take to grow indoor marijuana from start to finish – including what you’ll need and how to use it. Let’s get to it!
Step One: Pick a Dedicated Grow Space
This was the first practice we told you about before, and there’s a good reason for its importance. You should be considering the temperature of the space, and how well you can control it. Your plants will grow the quickest in a warmer space between 70-85 degrees Farenheight but will produce higher quality buds in the cooler temperature zone of 65-80 degrees Farenheight.
Don’t forget that plants need air too! Your space needs adequate ventilation, and safeguards against mold. That’s definitely not the kind of fuzz you’re looking for on your buds!
Some great options for space are spare rooms, garages, or even an extra bathroom. If you don’t have an entire room to dedicate to growing marijuana, invest in a grow tent. These tents provide a controlled, enclosed space for you to grow marijuana without taking over the whole room, as well as allow for more efficient temperature control.
Step Two: Decide on a Growing Medium
One of the choices that will make an impact on how you grow marijuana is the medium you grow it in. What I mean is, will you go with soil, or try hydroponic growing?
Learning how to grow marijuana in soil is the go-to for many beginners since most of us have at least some familiarity with regular gardening. It’s also more cost-effective than a hydroponic setup, but plants will grow slower and this runs the risk of attracting pests.
With hydroponics, your plant roots grow directly into a water reservoir. Hydroponic growth is faster and leads to bigger yields, but the initial setup is more expensive and may involve a bit of DIY(Do-it-yourself). There’s also the fact that plants with exposed roots are more delicate, and take more troubleshooting to figure out their nutrient requirements properly.
Step Three: Choose Your Lights
The quality of your lights will directly determine the quality of your grow. There are a lot of options out there, but these are the top three based on which quality you’re going for:
- Cheapest: If this is your first grow, there’s no reason to splurge on the expensive stuff – Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs will do just fine. They’re not the most efficient, and they’re definitely not the strongest, but they are cheap and easy to get your hands on.
- Highest Powered: On the other end of the spectrum you have LED lights. They’re extremely powerful and very efficient, with the price tag to match.
- Meet in the Middle: The current industry standard is High-Intensity Discharge (HID) lighting. These lights are more powerful than CFLs, as well as a bit more expensive. The main drawback is that HID lights produce a lot of heat and take a lot of electricity.
Step Four: Choose Your Seeds
The genetics of the seeds you choose determine the plant’s quality, and even how easy it is to grow. Those who aren’t familiar with how to grow marijuana should consider choosing an auto-flowering strain.
Auto-flowering strains start flowering at 3 or 4 weeks of age, as opposed to “photoperiod” strains, which require specific signals from the sun to start building buds. This can eliminate a fair amount of confusion for beginners and shorten your time from planting to harvest. However, the main con is that if something goes wrong early on, you usually don’t have time to fix it before the flowering begins.
When choosing seeds, you should also check to be sure that the strain won’t grow too tall for your space. This is important because strains vary wildly in size and appearance.
Step Five: Germinate
If you’re new to how to grow marijuana, you may want to consider a specialized plant starter, such as Rapid Rooter. With these, all you’ve got to do is keep the cubes moist and warm, and watch the little plants pop up.
If you’d like to do it yourself, here’s a rundown on the popular and usually effective paper towel method:
- Place your seeds on a moist paper towel, and fold the paper towel over.
- Place paper towels and seeds on a plate, and cover with another plate to trap moisture.
- Check seeds frequently: most will sprout in under 5 days but may take up to a week.
- Once seedlings are sprouted, place each one into a shallow indent in moist soil or water reservoir.
- Place the seeds root down, and cover loosely with soil if using.
Once the seedling starts emerging from your growing medium, you’ll see two tiny, smooth leaves. At this point, hit the lights! For CFL bulbs, a good rule of thumb is to keep the bulbs 3-6 inches away, and on for 24 hours a day. Move the lights further away as the plant continues to grow, and allow 18-24 hours of continuous light all through the vegetative stage.
Step Six: Know Your Nutrients
A key step in learning how to grow marijuana is the nutrients. Even if you get the fanciest soil possible, marijuana’s nutrient needs a change from the vegetative stageto the flowering stage, and you need to keep a close eye on them.
For hydroponic growers, nutrients are even more key because the plants aren’t getting anything but what you give them. For both soil and hydroponic grows, you’ll be able to find specially formulated nutrient solutions that are premade and applied at each stage of growth.
One highly-recommended nutrient system that works in both soil and hydroponic conditions is Dyna-Gro, which comes in formulas for the growth stage and the bloom stage.
Another key aspect of keeping your growing plants healthy is keeping an eye on the growth medium’s pH. If your roots have too high or low pH values, the nutrients you give them won’t be absorbed. For soil, look for a pH of 6-7. For hydroponics, keep the pH between 5.5 and 6.5.
Step Seven: Flowering
Photoperiod cannabis plants start flowering once they get at least 12 hours of darkness per 24-hour cycle. 12 hours of light and 12 hours of dark is called a 12-12 schedule by growers.
When should you start switching into the flowering stage? That depends. Some growers go by the size of the plant, with a general rule of thumb that you should switch to 12 hours of dark once the plants are halfway to their planned height.
If the height of your plants isn’t too much of a concern for you, remember that cannabis plants can’t start the flowering stage before 2-3 weeks of age. Technically, you can even put a recently-germinated on a 12-12 schedule – it just won’t begin budding for about 3 weeks.
If you’re dealing with cannabis plant clones, you can switch directly to flowering, as soon as the plant has established roots. Clones usually grow faster in the first weeks than a seedling would, which is an added benefit.
Once you change your plants over to the 12-12 cycle, you can expect another 6 weeks of growing on average before being harvest-ready.
Learning how to grow marijuana can be one of the most rewarding experiences to have, as long as you’re prepared. Now that you have a clearer idea of what you’ll need to get started, and what steps you’ll need to take, we hope that you’ll find out for yourself how satisfying cannabis cultivation can be.