Growing cannabis indoors is an ideal way to bring the plant and its benefits into your home. Many terms are used to refer to cannabis, including weed, pot, marijuana, bud, and ganja.
Cannabis plants are adaptable and can thrive in a variety of habitats. These plants naturally occur in many different forms almost everywhere in the world. This article contains everything you need to know about starting your cannabis garden.
It covers everything from what equipment you’ll need, to how to grow weed indoors, to harvesting and curing.
Why Grow Cannabis Indoors?
There are many intriguing reasons why you should grow cannabis indoors. By choosing to grow your cannabis indoors, you can better control the environment and provide a more suitable environment for growth all year long. Whether it’s inside a greenhouse or in your own home, using artificial lighting and climate control can be of great benefit, providing healthy conditions that increase yields. If you’re looking for a low-cost way of getting into the industry, then growing your own is a great idea.
Growing weed indoors has numerous benefits:
- Harvests all year long
- Continuity in crop
- The ability to exert control over the growing environment
- (For photoperiod strains) The ability to control the flowering phase
- There are fewer pests to deal with
- Healthy plants
What are the Fundamentals of Growing Cannabis Indoors?
Growing your own weed involves a lot of attention to detail, the right equipment, time, and money, but the results are well worth the effort. Gardening fosters a relationship with the plants that can only be felt in person, in addition to being therapeutic in and of itself.
Indoor cultivation has many benefits over outdoor cultivation, including control, reproducibility, risk reduction, and location. The idea is to artificially produce the best environment possible for your plants at all stages of development. Each indoor growing area needs to have precisely controlled lighting, temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide content, and air movement to achieve this.
Due to equipment and ongoing utility costs, indoor settings are ultimately more expensive than outdoor and greenhouse settings. Growers can, however, produce more consistently and with more harvests each year thanks to specialized indoor cultivation equipment. Indoor gardening can be a fulfilling hobby or even a full-time job if you have an eye for detail and a knack for technology.
What is essential for a marijuana plant to endure and grow?
- Light: Since weed is a photoperiod plant, its ability to produce buds and flowers depends on the amount of light it receives each day.
- Water: Weed plants need water. As they grow, their water requirements change, and they also depend on the climate and weather conditions in your area.
- Nutrients: The ability to grow strong and healthily depends on the availability of nutrients for weed plants.
- Temperature and humidity: For weed to flourish, you must create an environment with the right temperature and humidity. Typically, this ranges from 55 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit with a relative humidity of 50 to 70%.
- Airflow: Weed plants also require airflow or wind, which can be created artificially indoors with fans or naturally outdoors.
How to Start Growing Marijuana Indoors
To create an indoor garden, you need specific equipment to imitate the natural light cycles of day and night. This will help promote enough blooming for your plants. This consists of everything a plant requires to survive, from water to grow media to nutrients, as well as horticultural lighting, fans to simulate a gentle breeze, dehumidifiers to maintain the right humidity, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), and all the essential supplies.
It can be challenging to plan, design, and implement an indoor garden, but having a solid grasp of the fundamentals can greatly assist a novice indoor grower in getting started on the road to a robust and abundant harvest.
Choosing a Location to Grow Marijuana Plants
Understanding the potential restrictions of an indoor garden is essential before making any equipment purchases. Take into account your ceiling height, the amount of insulation your space provides, and the accessibility of electricity and water. Additionally, some local authorities may demand that indoor gardens reduce odors while in the flowering phase.
A prefabricated grow tent is a great choice if you’re just starting because they cause the least amount of damage to your property. Grow tents can be erected and dismantled quickly, saving you the time and expense of remodeling or building a new space while also giving your indoor weed plants a clean, reflective, and enclosed environment to thrive in.
The typical height of a tent is 8 feet, or about 2.4 meters, so as a general rule, your ceiling height should be at least that. Before making a purchase, double-check the dimensions of your prospective tent.
The maintenance of two distinct environments—one for vegetative growth and the other for flowering—is also made simpler for indoor growers by growing tents.
By growing new plants and propagating them in one tent while another set of plants blooms in the other tent, you can maintain a continuous harvest. Keeping a balanced rotation like this can result in increased yields year after year.
Setting up an Indoor Grow Room
The more compact the grow, the less expensive it is to set up, so it is a good idea to start small. Additionally, the majority of state laws limit plant growth to six, but some allow up to twelve.
Plant space, as well as room for lights, fans, ducting, and other equipment, must all be considered when planning your space. Additionally, you’ll need room to work on growing cannabis plants. When cannabis plants are first starting to flower, their size can double, so give them enough room to grow.
Environmental Aspects in the Grow Room
Like all plants, cannabis requires specific environmental conditions to thrive. Temperature, humidity, light intensity, and airflow are all variables that must be monitored and controlled in order to keep cannabis healthy throughout its various stages of growth.
Although the environment inside the grow room will be under your control, the environment outside the grow room will still have an impact on your plants. You will have trouble controlling your growing space if the atmosphere outside is extremely warm or humid. Opt for a place that is cool, dry, and close to a source of fresh air.
If you have a growing space in a cold, damp basement, you may need to run a dehumidifier or heater to keep the environment stable. On the other hand, if your room is too warm, you may need to add more fans or an air conditioner to cool the plants down.
One tip for avoiding high temperatures is to turn on the grow lights at night when it’s cooler outside and turn them off during the hottest part of the day.
Requirements for Lighting
Weed plants are photoperiod plants, which means they require varying levels of light during their vegetative and flowering stages to achieve optimal growth. While this is determined by the sun and the season when growing outdoors, you will be in control of it when growing indoors.
When in the vegetative stage, marijuana plants require 18 hours of light per day, while flowering requires only 12 hours. The flowering cycle, which is when weed plants begin to grow buds, is brought on by the change in the light cycle from 18 to 12 hours per day.
Because light is so important to weed plants, you’ll need to make your indoor grow space light-tight. Your plants may become confused, produce male flowers, or change stages if light leaks occur during the night.
The colors of light produced by various lighting systems vary. Here is a brief overview of the most common types of cannabis grow lights used for indoor growing.
High-Intensity Discharge Lights
High-intensity discharge (HID) lights are the industry standard and are popular because of their output, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness. Compared to incandescent or fluorescent fixtures, they are a little more expensive but produce a lot more light for each unit of electricity used. On the other hand, they are considerably less expensive but less effective than LED lighting.
The following are the two primary types of HID lamps used for growing:
- Blueish-white light is produced by metal halide (MH), which is typically used for vegetative growth.
- When plants are in the flowering stage, high-pressure sodium (HPS) lighting is used. This light is more on the red-orange end of the spectrum.
HID lighting systems need a ballast, hood/reflector, and bulbs for each light. While many more recent designs can run both, some ballasts are made to work with either MH or HPS lamps.
Fluorescent grow lamps
Small-scale cannabis growers prefer fluorescent lighting because:
- Compact fluorescent bulbs are packaged with all the other accessories you’ll need to install them.
- They’re typically easier to set up than other light fixtures because they come pre-wired.
- They don’t produce as much heat when they’re working, so cooling isn’t necessary.
One of the disadvantages of using fluorescent lights is the amount of light they produce. For example, this type of lamp only produces 20-30% less light per watt of electricity used.
The LED grow lights
LED technology has been around for a while, and it is constantly improving in terms of efficiency. The main disadvantage of LED grow lights is their price; well-designed fixtures can cost up to ten times as much as an equivalent HID setup.
However, there are many advantages: LEDs have a much longer lifespan, consume much less electricity, produce much less heat, and the best designs produce a fuller spectrum of light, which can result in higher yields and better quality.
Can marijuana be grown indoors without grow lights?
Most people who grow marijuana indoors use grow lights for their plants. By using grow lights, you can maximize yields while ensuring that your weed plants grow strong and healthily.
Theoretically, a marijauna plant doesn’t necessarily require a grow light as long as it can receive at least six hours per day of direct sunlight, whether indoors in a grow tent, outdoors in a greenhouse, or next to a window.
Both carbon dioxide (CO2) and fresh air are necessary for weed plants to grow and reproduce. This means that you will require a constant flow of air through your grow room in order to move hot air out of the area and introduce cool air.
A passive fan or port can be added on the opposite side of the room, close to the floor, to bring in cool air, and an exhaust fan can be placed near the top of the room to draw out warm air (warm air rises). There should be a full air exchange once every minute or so throughout the entire grow area.
A grow space with insufficient airflow may experience abrupt changes in humidity or develop CO2 depletion pockets, neither of which is beneficial to plant growth. High-humidity regions are vulnerable to pest infestation, mold, or mildew.
Additionally, it’s a smart idea to install oscillating fans in your grow space to create a consistent breeze. This will help your plants’ stems grow stronger and healthier.
Supplying carbon dioxide to your weed plants
For plants to survive, they need CO2. This is how symbiotic relationships between plants and animals work. Plants “inhale” CO2 and “exhale” O2, whereas animals “inhale” O2 and “exhale” CO2.
There are several ways to add CO2 to a grow room. A CO2 tank can be purchased and simply pumped into the space, or CO2 canisters or bags that slowly release the gas over time can be purchased. The following factors should be kept in mind when you are adding CO2 to your grow space:
- When the lights are off, plants use CO2 much more slowly, so only add CO2 when the lights are on..
- When releasing CO2, turn off the intake and exhaust fans for a while; otherwise, you’ll be pumping the gas out and wasting it.
- Add CO2 in front of one of your circulating fans and from the ceiling of the space. As a result of its greater density than air, it gravitates toward the ground.
- Maintain a CO2 concentration between 900 and 1,150 parts per million (ppm) during the vegetative and flowering stages. To track CO2 levels, you’ll need a CO2 meter.
How to Control the Humidity and Temperature when Growing Cannabis Indoors
Temperature and humidity are the two elements you need to manage in the environment of your growing space. Your cannabis garden will inevitably experience changes in humidity and temperature. These variations can happen both generally in a grow area and in specific areas of a given room. As the environment outside your grow space changes, it can also happen at various times throughout a single day or season.
Because temperature and humidity have an inverse relationship, it can be challenging to achieve the ideal balance. For example, turning up your dehumidifier will decrease the humidity in your grow space while also raising the temperature. Everything is interconnected, so you might need to turn on an air conditioner.
You must make sure that the temperature stays between 56 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit when the lights are off and between 65 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit when the lights are on for your plants. While some cannabis strains, like Indica, prefer the colder end of the temperature range, Sativa strains are typically more tolerant of high temperatures.
The amount of water vapor in the air is measured as humidity. Here are some ways to keep it under control in your marijuana grow room:
- Dehumidifiers: These devices raise the temperature of the air while removing moisture from it.
- Airflow: As with regulating temperature, regulating airflow will allow you to move moisture in and out of your grow space and control humidity.
- Humidifiers: If a grow space is too dry, a humidifier can increase moisture levels by adding water vapor.
- Water: You can mist plants with a spray bottle to add extra moisture if there isn’t a humidifier.
Air Conditioners and Dehumidifiers
You might need to spend money on a dehumidifier if your area is overly humid. But keep in mind that while dehumidifiers will lower humidity, they usually raise the temperature, so you might need to use more fans or an air conditioner if you add a dehumidifier.
Creating the ideal climate for your plants can be a delicate process that requires multiple pieces of equipment as well as a lot of electricity. This is one of the reasons why growing weed indoors is more expensive than outdoors. Fans are necessary for a growing space to move air around, so purchase some. If fans aren’t keeping the temperature down, you should consider investing in an air conditioner.
Modifiable Switches and Timers
A timer for your lights is something you should buy. The amount of light a plant receives determines whether it will be in its vegetative or flowering stage, so it’s crucial to provide it with a consistent amount of light every day, which is accomplished with a timer. Make sure your timer is functioning properly by checking it at least once a week.
A thermostat, which you can set to a particular temperature and which will cause the fans to turn on when it’s too hot and off when it’s too cold, is preferable to a timer for fans. If your dehumidifier or air conditioner doesn’t have an internal thermostat, you should get an external one.
Environmental controllers will let growers who have a little extra cash to spend and want complete control over their indoor garden automate the procedure. These tools are necessary if you plan to be away from the garden for an extended period. Fans, dehumidifiers, humidifiers, heaters, and air conditioners can all be connected to a controller, and you can set thresholds for each device so that it turns on and off according to the temperature and humidity levels you prefer.
Choosing the Right Cannabis Strain to Grow
Breeders spend a lot of time, effort, and money continuously enhancing and developing new varieties of this ancient plant, which has resulted in the market being flooded with different cannabis strains. So how do you decide whether to grow Blueberry or Super Silver Haze as a beginner?
For novice growers, we recommend Indica-dominant strains. They produce spectacular results while flowering more quickly and being more compact. Although we also adore Sativa strains, their height and lengthy flowering period can make them more difficult to manage, especially if you don’t have a lot of experience or resources to work with.
When selecting a cannabis strain to grow, keep the following factors in mind:
- Flavors and aromas. Flavors and aromas can be mild or potent depending on the terpene profile of a strain. You can select a strain that offers that flavor and aroma at the level of potency that appeals to you based on your personal preferences.
- Effects on the body. There is no assurance that a strain will have a specific effect because everyone responds to cannabis differently. You can, however, experiment with strains that have terpene and cannabinoid profiles that are likely to have the desired effect. For instance, it makes sense to choose a substance with a higher THC content if you want to feel euphoric. Try a strain with linalool, a terpene with stress-relieving qualities, if you’re looking for a more calming experience.
- Strength or potency. Some strains will be more potent than others depending on the concentration of cannabinoids present, particularly THC. Knowing the level of potency you’re looking for can help you choose the right strains.
- Growing Area. A key consideration for your strain is whether you grow indoors or outdoors. Make sure to research what will work best for your marijuana-growing techniques.
- advantages in terms of health. The medicinal qualities of your plants will probably vary depending on the terpene profile or cannabinoid ratio. Consult a specialist if you have a specific medical condition to learn which strains might be most effective in treating it.
- There are strains for every budget, so make sure to take that into account when selecting your strain for marijuana cultivation.
It’s okay to grow multiple cannabis strains in the same tent or space if you can’t decide on just one. Just be aware that you’ll be juggling plants with varying requirements, heights, and harvest windows, which can be difficult if you’re not a very experienced grower.
How Do I Spot Male and Female Cannabis Plants?
A marijuana plant’s sex can be identified visually, and you can start the process early in the cycle of growth. You might be able to see pollen sacs on the male during the first four weeks of growth and stigma, or “pre-flowers,” on the female. By the sixth week of growth, male and female cannabis plants can be easily distinguished. You can identify whether a plant is male or female at this point by clearly seeing the pollen sacs and pre-flowers.
In rare cases, a cannabis plant may have both male and female reproductive organs. These hermaphroditic plants frequently develop as a result of environmental stressors like unfavorable weather and nutrient shortages. Hermaphrodites can be identified by their pollen sacs and pre-flowers. A healthy marijuana plant grown under ideal conditions will not develop hermaphroditic characteristics.
You can distinguish between male and female cannabis plants at any stage by looking for other distinct physical characteristics.
Male Plant Features
Look for the following physical characteristics in a male cannabis plant:
- Strong, thick stalks
- leafless trees
- higher than female plants
- pollen sacs that develop into green and white flowers
Features of Female Cannabis Plants
Physical characteristics of a female cannabis plant to look for include:
- Narrow stalks
- Lots of leaves
- Tiny, translucent white or orange hairs
- Pistils with a protective layer in a V shape (calyx)
- Short, when compared to male plants
- Buds with resin
Why Do Cannabis Plants Have Females?
The majority of cannabis growers prefer female cannabis plants over male ones. All cannabis products, whether smokable, topically applied, or otherwise, are made from the prized bud that is found in them. The majority of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive component in cannabis, is also found in female cannabis plants. Contrarily, male plants only have minute amounts of THC.
What is the Best Medium for Growing Marijuana Indoors?
Choosing the growing medium and irrigation techniques you’ll employ to provide your plants with the right nutrients at each stage of their growth cycle is the first step in setting up a proper indoor growing environment. The grow medium provides a moisture-retentive shelter for the roots of your plants. The way you provide nutrients to the plants is through irrigation.
In contrast to outdoor cultivation, where the soil is almost always used to grow plants, indoor cultivation provides a variety of growing systems and media. Some media are more straightforward to use than others, while others are a little more challenging but give you more control over the specifics. The amount of moisture that different media retain at different rates affects how frequently plants need to be watered. Beneficial microbes that can improve root nutrient absorption can be found in some media.
Hydroponic systems and soil are the two primary options for an indoor garden. Consider this:
Growing marijuana in a soil medium
For beginners, a soil medium is an excellent choice. When feeding and watering plants, it can be much more accommodating and less precise. Using adequate amounts of water and maintaining a stable pH foundation can significantly increase the probability of a successful first harvest. Although it also fosters the spread of pests, mold, and mildew, soil also contains beneficial microbes and organic nutrients that keep plants healthy. Although handling soil and hand-watering plants can be messy, doing so will help you become accustomed to how quickly your plants use water and nutrients.
The easiest method, particularly for beginners, is probably growing your weed in the soil. When choosing the type of soil you want to grow your marijuana in, you have the option of spending money on high-quality ready-made soil or attempting to make your cannabis soil mixture.
Optimal Soil Temperature For Growing Pot
The ideal soil temperature is between 65 and 75 °F, or roughly the same as your grow area. The next time you water, add some cold water to the soil if it seems like the soil is getting too warm under the grow lights.
What Soil Temperature is too Hot for Growing Weed Plants?
A plant should not be exposed to soil temperatures higher than 80°F. The roots may find it challenging to absorb nutrients when the soil is that hot.
Hydroponics is a method of growing cannabis without the use of soil. The cannabis plant’s roots are suspended in nutrient-rich water that is circulated continuously throughout the system. One of the main advantages is that roots can easily access nutrients when growing in a hydroponic environment. Many people believe that hydroponics allows you to grow larger, more potent buds.
Find out which type of hydroponics system is best for your grow space and your level of expertise before choosing and installing one. Simpler is usually better.
Can You Grow Marijuana Indoors Without Using Hydroponics?
While indoor growing can be accomplished with soil and pots for all levels of growing expertise and is much cheaper and simpler than dealing with hydroponic systems, hydroponics is an advanced method of growing that experienced growers may choose to use.
How will you know when your plants are ready for harvesting or for flushing? A typical flowering time or life cycle will be listed on the majority of seed packets or genetics. roughly 8 to 10 weeks. However, due to individual feeding, environmental conditions, and other factors, every plant is unique and will grow and mature in a different way. As a result, both professional and amateur growers pay close attention to trichomes and pistils in the final few weeks of growth.
The color and clarity of both of these flowering components will change, alerting the grower to whether or not the plant is ready for harvest. Normally, you can see these changes without magnification, but sometimes the zoom feature on your phone’s camera can make it simpler.
Here are some indicators that your plants are ready to harvest:
- Early: The trichome heads initially appear clear and glassy; however, you shouldn’t harvest the buds at this time because they are not very potent.
- Harvest: The trichome heads gradually turn milky white while the “hairs” remain brown. Buds have reached their peak THC and CBD content when the majority of the hairs have darkened and curled in. The time is thus ideal for harvesting.
Additionally, for more calming effects, overmature buds are indicated when the white trichome heads start to turn golden in color. Although the THC content has decreased by this time, the buds continue to have stronger calming and anti-anxiety effects, which some users prefer.
Harvesting Your Cannabis
Cannabis is harvested using either wet or dry trimming techniques. Picking one technique or the other depends solely on personal preference and won’t be viewed as a mistake because both methods have benefits and drawbacks.
In wet trimming, growers cut down the plant and wet trim the fan and sugar leaves from the flower. You start wet trimming as soon as the plants are cut down and before they have had time to dry out. Some growers will then hang the stalks to dry, while others will remove the buds completely to dry.
Dry trimming is a more widely used technique since freshly cut cannabis plants can be hard to manage due to the extra sticky resin. The dry trimming method involves growers cutting down the plant as a whole, as opposed to individual branches, and hanging it to dry for several days.
The equipment you’ll need is listed below:
- Large pruning shears: These are useful for slicing through sturdy stalks and thick branches.
- You need trimming scissors to trim buds and the smaller leaves that surround them.
- Gloves: Because there is a lot of resin in the buds, they are sticky, making harvesting much simpler and keeping your hands clean.
- You need some containers, such as bowls or cooking trays. It’s handy to have a few of them— one for the branches you cut off, one for final trimmed buds, and one for all the other trimmings you remove.
- Glass jars that are airtight: You need a way to keep your buds fresh and stop the odor from seeping out affecting your environment.
Drying the freshly cut marijuana plants
Using an herb drying rack is one of the best ways to dry your buds. This quickens the process by allowing air to completely cover the buds’ surface. The drying process can typically take 3 to 7 days, depending on the initial moisture content of the buds and the effectiveness of the drying process.
You should check on and feel the cannabis buds as they dry to determine when they are ready for curing. They will require more time to dry if you squeeze the bud and feel moisture. Make sure you have a hygrometer on hand for these routine inspections so you can measure humidity levels and look for mold, which can grow in environments where humidity isn’t controlled.
Advice for Growing Cannabis Successfully
The environment you create and the tools you choose will have a huge impact on how healthy your garden is. By carefully planning your steps before planting your weed, you can prevent expensive accidents. Here are some tips to keep in mind when planning out your indoor cannabis garden.
– Remember to start small.
– Install and test your equipment, Before planting, you need to be certain that your grow room is fully functional.
– The importance of cleanliness in an indoor garden cannot be overstated. Before your first planting cycle and after each harvest, clean every inch of your grow space. A three to five percent (3%-%) hydrogen peroxide solution should be used to clean the walls, floors, trays, irrigation lines, reservoirs, lights, and fans because it is an effective sterilizer and leaves no toxic or hazardous residues behind.
– Be cautious about the items you bring into your grow room. Pets, soiled clothing, and contaminated equipment can all spread unwanted pests and diseases.
One of the cheapest and simplest ways to improve as a grower is to keep a growth journal and log the key elements of your grow area. By keeping track of daily temperatures as well as water and feeding amounts, you can identify problems and possibly gain the assistance of other growers who can help you solve problems, boost yields, or save a crop that is in peril.
– Maintain a daily checklist of things to do to improve your chances of getting a huge yield at harvest. This checklist should include the following tasks:
- Examine the water’s pH.
- Plants must be watered.
- Nutrients must be measured and administered in sufficient quantities.
- Examine the plants and soil for pests, mold, and nutrient shortages.
- If necessary, prune or remove dead leaves from plants.
- Find out if plants need to be topped.
- Check to see that the plants are not obstructing one another and are properly spaced.
- If the burnt leaf tips are caused by the grow lights, reduce their intensity.
- Check the grow room’s temperature and humidity.
- Lighting, timers, fans, dehumidifiers, and other equipment should all be checked to ensure proper operation.
Keep in mind that not everyone has a knack for gardening or enjoys setting up and maintaining equipment. However, you can get ready for an amazing growing experience that has the potential to permanently alter your perceptions of and interactions with cannabis with practice, passion, and attention to detail.