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Understanding the Costs and Revenues of Growing

Feb 10, 2020
Common Cannabis Questions

Understanding the Costs and Revenues of Growing Marijuana

This year marks record highs in the field of cannabis legalization. As of the first of the year, 11 states had passed laws permitting the use of marijuana, and medical cannabis is now permitted in 33 states. More states are expected to follow suit during the coming decade as well.

With this new legislation entering the mix, a number of people are looking into the prospects of growing their own marijuana. Some are interested in cannabis cultivation for personal reasons alone whereas others are considering the potential prosperity of such a concept. Either way, certain expenses are involved, and the possible rewards are often directly related to those costs.

Exploring the Costs of Growing Marijuana

With the right tools and plenty of time and effort, growing cannabis usually isn’t any more difficult than planting and nurturing a few tomato plants or a small herb garden. You have the option to grow either outside or inside. On top of that, several growing techniques are at your disposal. In any case, marijuana seeds are a must, check out i49 USA’s variety!

Outdoor Growing

Growing outdoors is typically the simplest and least expensive alternative because light, ventilation, soil and rainwater are all free as long as conditions remain favorable. Outside cannabis gardening only requires a few basic essentials, like planters or a small patch of dirt and nutrient-rich soil or potting mix.

Of course, if Mother Nature decides to make matters more complicated, you’ll need to water your cannabis plants on a regular basis. Outdoor gardening also tends to present certain hurdles. Pests and plant pathogens are a couple of the most problematic. If those issues arise, the cost of insecticides and fungicides factor into the equation as well.

Digging Deeper

After your seeds have germinated and the seedling have produced cotyledon leaves, they’re ready to be transplanted into larger pots! If you choose to plant your cannabis in pots, choosing the right ones for the job is crucial. Some experts recommend 15-gallon planters, but a number of people just don’t have the extra space for such large containers, and they may be a bit of an overkill.

On the other hand, it’s also important to ensure the pots aren’t too small. In most cases, three-gallon planters will suffice. They offer enough room for the plants’ roots to grow and spread but don’t take up too much space.

You also have a broad selection of containers to choose from. Standard plastic pots certainly fit the bill nicely, and they’re among the least expensive of the lot. These planters range in price from around a dollar each to $25. Terra cotta pots are a bit more expensive, but they’re sturdy and offer a little more protection than their flimsy plastic counterparts. Those large enough for marijuana plants typically cost $7 or more.

Fabric pots have recently been introduced as well. They allow roots to breathe more readily than some other alternatives and offer better drainage. These planters are available in a wide range of sizes and materials. Cloth planters cost anywhere from $8 to $15 or more depending on the type you choose.

Prices for all-purpose potting soil start at around $5 for eight quarts. Both fungicide and insecticide cost about $5 per spray bottle for basic, garden-safe varieties. It’s possible to make homemade versions of both from staples you probably already have on hand, like dish soap, baking soda and vegetable oil.

Overall Cost of Growing Marijuana Outdoors

Seasoned cannabis growers recommend growing at least three plants even if you’re only cultivating them for personal use. This is especially true if you’re new to the process. There’s always a chance the elements could overcome one or two of those plants, so it’s nice to have a safety net just in case. If they all survive, you’ll simply have an overabundant supply on hand.

All that being said, growing marijuana could cost you virtually nothing other than the cost of seeds. If you purchase pots, nutrient-rich growing mix, pesticides and fungicides, you’re looking at anywhere from $25 to $125 or so for three plants. This all depends on the types of planters, potting soil and pest and pathogen control you use.

Bringing the Cannabis Garden Indoors

Growing marijuana indoors isn’t quite as simple as traditional outdoor gardening. When you bring the garden inside, plants depend on you to provide the light, soil, water, nutrients and ventilation they’d otherwise glean naturally from their surroundings. This can be fairly complicated, time consuming and expensive.

On the other hand, indoor plants are less vulnerable to pests and diseases than outdoor ones. It’s also fair to mention curious neighbors and greedy passersby are sometimes pests in their own ways. They can’t be eliminated via over-the-counter sprays, so outdoor marijuana plants might receive more exposure than bargained for. In light of these factors, the benefits of growing your cannabis inside could easily outweigh the costs and demands involved.

With so many indoor growing options available, the cost of this alternative can vary greatly. First off, let’s take a look at the most basic growing method. Assuming you have only three plants and can place them by an open window where they’ll receive ample sunlight and air, the cost wouldn’t amount to much more than outdoor growing. Keep in mind, this starts at around $25 and extends upward depending on the supplies you decide to work with.

Branching Out from the Basics

If you’re like most, you probably don’t have adequate space in front of a window to grow cannabis plants. This means you’ll need extra equipment. Standard 13-watt compact fluorescent grow lights are among the most important but least-expensive components. They can provide adequate light and heat to help a few plants thrive without driving up the indoor temperature too much. A pack of four costs about $30 and won’t send your power bill soaring. Alternatively, there are full spectrum LED lights equipped with the Emerson Effect—a lighting option sure to boost your yields and make you more money.

For those who want to grow more than three plants and are looking for a more in-depth strategy, the necessary equipment and potential price range surge significantly. The same can be said for the amount of time, effort and planning involved in the process.

At this point, you’d be looking at dedicating a spare bedroom, a large closet or a portion of the basement to growing marijuana. Opinions vary when it comes to the amount of space you need to grow indoors, but giving the plants enough room to breathe is crucial. Generally speaking, the leaves and buds of one plant shouldn’t be touching those of the next. This often means leaving about four-square-feet of area per plant, but it can vary from one strain to the next.

Standard CFL lights designed for conventional overhead fixtures probably won’t produce enough light for this level of growing, so you’ll want to take things up a notch or two. To figure out just how much light you’ll need, measure the length and width of the space dedicated to your plants, and multiply those two figures.

For example, if the plants are going to occupy a space measuring eight feet wide and eight feet long, the total square footage would be 64 feet. Keep in mind, you’re not necessarily covering the entire room; instead, you’re only measuring the area taken up by the cannabis plants. From there, divide the square footage by the four-square-feet needed for each plant. In this case, you’d end up with 16.

Experts recommend allowing between 50 and 75 watts of light for each square foot of growing space. The standard equation goes with a median of 65 watts, so for our example, you’d multiply 16 by 65. This would leave you with a required wattage of about 1,040 for optimum growth and yield. You could probably get by with 1,000 watts.

Estimated Cost of Growing Marijuana Indoors

Still following our example in which you’d need 1,000 watts of light, the cost of the grow lights is one factor to consider. Various bulbs are on the market. Fluorescent and metal halide lamps are often used for early stages of growth whereas high-pressure sodium bulbs are typically reserved for flowering stages. LED lamps are suitable for all growth phases.

For this much wattage, you’ll also need extra equipment, like a ballast to help regulate the amount of electricity running to the grow lamp, a reflector to maximize the amount of light reaching the plants, a fan to prevent overheating and wilting, pots, growing mix and an air filter to help reduce odors and contaminants. If you can’t be home with the plants at the right times to control the lighting, you’ll also need an automatic timer.

Exact prices for all these items are bound to vary by supplier, location and other factors. The following is a rough estimate of the individual costs and the overall total, though, assuming you’re growing six plants.

Item Price
1,000-watt grow lamp $50
1,000-watt ballast $100
Reflector $50
6 three-gallon plastic pots $6
Potting mix (about 20 dry quarts) $20
Fan (standard oscillating model) $30
Carbon filter $35
Timer (if needed) $15
Total $306

Again, those are estimates. You may need different types of equipment or be able to omit certain items depending on your growing setup. Packages are available containing all the basics as well. You might even be able to purchase used equipment at a cheaper price.

Also remember the equipment is bound to raise your monthly power bills. If you’re thinking of using a hydroponic growing system, you’ll need more equipment and supplies, and the cost could go up significantly.

A Few Seeds of Wisdom

Now, let’s discuss cannabis seeds. It’s certainly possible you may be able to get a few inexpensive seeds from a friend of an acquaintance for a few dollars. Of course, that’s not necessarily the best route to take because you never know what you’re going to get.

You might end up with low-quality seeds that aren’t capable of producing high yields. At the same time, those seeds could be from any strain of cannabis and sprout a mixture of male and female plants. Male plants produce seeds rather than the buds you’re looking for. You’d have to separate the two genders to avoid cross-pollination.

Ideally, it’s best to order your seeds from a seed bank like i49 USA.  Feminized seeds are the most favorable option because they only produce female plants. Female plants, in turn, produce larger, higher-quality yields.

Feminized automatic flowering seeds are typically easier to grow and require less maintenance, so they might be your best bet. This is especially true if you’re new to marijuana gardening. They generally range from $30 to $40 for three seeds. Have a look at some automatic flowering seed prices available through i49 USA.

How Much Revenue Does Growing Marijuana Bring in?

Placing an exact monetary value on the marijuana you might grow is almost impossible considering all the variables in place. Type of cannabis, price per pound, yield per plant and cost of operation are only a few of the factors to consider.

High-quality cannabis seeds generally produce 18 to 24 ounces per plant, but yield depends largely on the specific strain being grown, growing conditions, and numerous other aspects. Reports indicate marijuana sells for anywhere from $100 per ounce to $1,000 or more based on location and quality among other factors.

You could look at this from a couple different angles. For one, discreetly selling even small amounts of medium-quality cannabis grown in a closet or basement could certainly bring a nice return on your investment. If you’re cultivating your crops indoors under controlled conditions, growing marijuana could be a lucrative year-round venture.

From another perspective, growing your own cannabis solely for personal use is bound to save a great deal of money over time. If you were purchasing it from other sources, you’d be paying the prices mentioned above and wouldn’t have any control over the true quality and purity of the product.

In a Nutshell

With time, effort and at least a small upfront investment, almost anyone can grow cannabis. Outdoor growing is the least expensive route, but indoor setups typically offer more control over conditions and allow for greater versatility and flexibility.

People are often taken aback by the cost of top-quality marijuana seeds alone. When adding in the potential prices of equipment, they’re a bit stunned. Generated revenue and the benefits cannabis offers tend to make up for the expenses.

Whether growing inside or outdoors, the simplest and most affordable course of action is to start off small with only three plants or so. Online cannabis seed banks like i49 USA will deliver your seeds directly to your door. Once you’re growing successfully, you can use the money you make from sales, or savings, to upgrade little by little.

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