Enjoy, have fun, and learn a tip or two—growing weed is therapeutic and relaxing, and there’s nothing better than smoking weed you’ve grown yourself.
Your homegrowing journey starts with the question: indoors or outdoors?
Where is it legal to homegrow cannabis?
*Illinois and Washington are adult-use states but require a medical card to homegrow.
Growing weed indoors is more expensive because you’ll need to spend money on equipment and utilities, but you can control every aspect of the grow environment and set up an indoor grow almost anywhere. Expect to grow some killer weed—indoor is known for its potency and quality.
Indoor vs. outdoor marijuana growing
Check out our Guide to marijuana legalization for more details on homegrowing in your state.
In the Northern Hemisphere, cannabis can be planted in early to mid-spring and harvested in mid-fall, depending on the cultivar. In the Southern Hemisphere, the growing season will be reversed with planting in early to mid-fall and harvesting in the middle of spring.
Daytime temperatures between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit (23.9 to 25.4 degrees Celsius) are ideal for cannabis, while temperatures above 88 degrees Fahrenheit (31.1 degrees Celsius) or below 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15.6 degrees Celsius) can delay growth. Cannabis is considered heat-tolerant, but sustained highs and extreme lows will usually lead to complications that could eventually kill your plants.
While cultivars may vary, here are some general rules that will be useful no matter which one you choose.
Ideally, shop for cannabis-specific potting soils in either a “bloom” or “grow” formula depending on the stage of growth. Each formula has a unique ratio of the most critical macronutrients: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K). Avoid formulas with extended or slow-release nutrients since they can be tricky to work with for beginners.
After all those months of waiting for your bud growth, it’s time to harvest your crop and refine the buds’ taste and aroma. First, you’re going to cut the bud branches from the plants and remove any excess foliage. You’ll need to hang the buds to dry in a cool, dark, and dry space. Check up on them every day to see if their stems are soft or firm and dry. When you can hear an audible snap from your branches when broken, it’s time to cure.
A hydroponic system is an alternative to the traditional soil-based method. Hydroponic gardens use an inert growing medium and nutrient-water solution to grow. These systems may be more expensive and complex than the simpler soil-based system.
Most new growers start off with a pre-made organic potting soil mix. This is an easy way to get started with a growing medium that has all the right nutrients for your plant. Organic nutrient sources include earthworm castings, compost, bat guano, and more.
Once your seedling has grown its first leaves, it’s going to need plenty of light to keep the growth coming. During the first part of your plant’s growing process, it needs at least 18 hours of light a day. This can be accomplished with a simple fluorescent bulb or an LED lighting setup. Consistent and intense grow lights help it grow its roots, stems, and leaves.
The Flowering Stage of Cannabis Plants
If you’re growing indoors, you may benefit from a grow tent or grow box. These self-contained units can come with everything or most of what you need to grow weed. Make sure you choose a tent that can fit in your unused space and can house the amount of plants you want to grow.
Cannabis plants need to grow in an area that has enough space for its roots and has good drainage. Generally, a 5-gallon container/pot with drainage holes can do the trick. You may also use a similar sized and shaped container such as a bucket, fabric pot, etc. As long as it has the right drainage system, you won’t have issues with mold and root damage.