Even though the legalization of marijuana has not yet reached the federal level, more and more states are jumping on the “legalizing marijuana for recreational use” bandwagon, including growing this hardy plant.
To learn how to grow good cannabis, you’ll need to check your state’s home growing regulations to determine whether you’re allowed to cultivate at home and the number of plants you can legally grow. Once you’re aware of the rules, you can read this cannabis growing guide. Here, we’ll take you through the process from germination to harvesting, helping you become an expert marijuana grower.
What Is Cannabis?
To get you started on your growing journey, let’s first discuss what cannabis is. Simply put, cannabis is a group of flowering plants comprising Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis. When these plants’ flowers are harvested and dried, they have many uses, including recreational fun and dealing with chronic pain and other health issues.
Cannabis consists of about 120 active ingredients known as cannabinoids. Some of these ingredients consist of properties that can have psychoactive and euphoric effects. The balance and strength of all active ingredients can vary depending on the growing and processing of the cannabis.
How to Grow Good Cannabis
Growing good cannabis can be a straightforward process once you understand the fundamentals. Soon you’ll be able to produce your weed supply rather than always relying on your local recreational cannabis dispensary.
Whether you choose to grow your plants in an indoor or outdoor space, you will need to make sure your cannabis receives the following:
- Adequate light
- A well-ventilated area with excellent airflow
- A growing medium such as soil
- Pre-formulated nutrients or compost
- Balanced temperature
- Plenty of water
So if you want your cannabis to grow and thrive, regularly provide it with these six resources. You can then expect your buds to form in 3-8 months, but the length of time depends on the strain and location chosen to grow.
Choose Your Space
You don’t need much space to grow good cannabis; this tough plant can thrive in various environments. You can begin with one or two plants in a tent, closet, or designated area inside or outside your home. But you will need to expand your growing space as your plants grow, which sometimes double or even triple in size by harvest time:
There are some advantages to growing indoors. For one, it’s more private, and you have more control over the process. It’s also not that expensive to get started.
With indoor growing, however, your plants are 100% reliant upon your care, meaning you have more responsibility to ensure your plants survive. Still, growing cannabis indoors provides more options than outdoors. As long as you have access to water, good lighting, and fresh air, your plant can flourish almost anywhere in an indoor space.
If you prefer to grow your plants outdoors, there are some things you may need to consider. Privacy can be an issue, as well as theft. You may also have to worry about pollination, critters, and animals tampering with your plants.
On a positive note, it is cheaper to get started because you’ll need fewer supplies to help your plants flourish. Plus, the sun and rain will be doing most of the work for you.
But keep in mind that the outdoor environment can be less predictable. And if it’s too hot or too cold, your plants may not survive. So you may need to step in to protect them from the elements and ensure they’re getting the proper amount of water, light, etc.
Decide Which Strain to Use
After figuring out where you want to grow, it’s time to decide which strain to grow. The following factors can determine the plants you will develop:
- Taste and smell
- Potency level
- Growing environment
- Growth time
- Effects of the ingredients
- Health benefits
- Cost and availability
Each strain grows differently depending on your chosen environment and produces varying effects when you use them. They also may not all be available or affordable to you. And if you’re a novice grower, you may want to consider a less demanding strain that takes less time to grow.
Get the Best Lighting
Light is one of your plant’s six resources to survive and thrive. Cannabis needs energy from a light source to transform the nutrients in the soil into more plant matter. Therefore, the quality of light is vital to your harvest.
When growing indoors, you can try to find a sunny spot like a windowsill that gets enough natural light. If that’s not an option or you prefer a more discrete location, you’ll have to invest in some grow lights. Remember that the fewer plants you grow, the less lighting you need to worry about.
The better the lighting your plant receives, the quicker your plant will yield. However, some strains may prefer to do some growing in the dark, so you should give your plants four to six hours of darkness per day.
Select Your Growing Medium
Your growing medium is where your cannabis will establish its root system. You can choose to grow in soil or compost, the most popular medium because it’s natural, straightforward, functional, and more accessible. Additionally, buds grown in soil tend to be stronger in flavor and taste.
It’s best to select soil with essential nutrients and at least 20-30% perlite, allowing for proper drainage and higher air quality. If it doesn’t already come in the soil, you can always purchase perlite and add it in.
Another medium is soilless mixtures, primarily used in hydroponic and aeroponic systems. These mixtures consist of Rockwool, perlite, coco coir, and vermiculite and typically contain no nutrients. Therefore, you must provide nutrients in the irrigation system early in the growing process.
You can also choose to grow cannabis without a medium. There are unique pots with openings for roots that allow for significant root development, increasing nutrient absorption and plant growth.
Learn About Cannabis Growth Stages
The growth stages of cannabis are germination, seedling, vegetative, and flowering. Learning what happens in each stage is best, so your plant can survive better:
To start planting cannabis, you need a seed, which must germinate, or sprout, before placing it in your growing medium. A cannabis seed should be hard and dry and have a light to dark brown color.
Once you place your germinated seed in the soil or growing medium of your choice, the root will head down, and the stem will shoot upward. During this stage, which lasts 3-10 days, you will see two rounded leaves growing from the stem. These leaves are responsible for taking in as much sunlight as needed to aid growth.
At this stage, the roots will develop while the stalk rises, and you should start to see the traditional fan-shaped leaves. Initially, the leaves will have only one ridged blade, eventually generating more. The seedling stage typically lasts 2-3 weeks until the plants produce five or more blades on their leaves.
Try not to overwater during this stage since the roots are too small to handle much water. Seedlings should be a vibrant green color, so be on the lookout for any color change which could indicate disease or mold. You can keep your seedlings healthy by maintaining a clean environment, monitoring the excess moisture, and giving it plenty of light.
This stage is the period for real growth, usually lasting 3-16 weeks. Your seedling should be transplanted to a larger pot at this time so the roots and leaves have room to develop fully.
Make sure your plants receive plenty of water at this stage. It would help if you watered close to the stalk when the cannabis is young, and as it matures, you should be watering the soil to reach the roots. Besides water, your plants will need nutrients like a high nitrogen level in the soil.
You’ve reached the final stage, which lasts 8-11 weeks, and now, your hard work will come to fruition as your plants start producing resinous buds. Your plant will need less light each day if you’re growing outdoors. With indoor growing, you can decrease the amount of light from 18 to 12 hours a day.
Your plants will enter an initiation subphase after the vegetative stage, where you’ll start seeing the beginnings of buds. Then, the buds will increase in size during the mid-flowering phase. And finally, your plants will get sticky, and the pistils will change color in the late flowering phase.
Harvest Your Plants
Knowing when it’s harvest time may prove difficult since each strain has a different timeline. However, you can pay attention to the color of the pistils and trichomes in the flowering stage to gauge the plant’s readiness for harvest. Once it’s time, you’ll need the following to help remove the buds:
- Large pruning shears
- Trimming scissors
- Air-tight glass jars and containers
- Rubbing alcohol to clean shears and scissors of resin
You may also need gloves to protect your hands from the buds’ sticky resin.
Cannabis Growing Tips
When your plants go from vegetative to the flowering stage, try not to prune them, as that will only upset their hormones. Another tip is to create a nutrient-rich soil mix comprising compost or bat guano for healthy buds. And make sure to have enough air flowing across your plants to prevent mold and bud rot.
We hope you now have a better idea of how to grow good cannabis. Check out our site for more helpful posts like this one.