The basics of growing marijuana in a greenhouse
When a potential grower starts thinking of cultivating hemp, they imagine the tall greenery of aromatic cannabis plants for as far as the eye can see.
While it’s understandable that you want to start a crop in your garden, there are certain benefits of using a marijuana greenhouse setup instead.
The main advantage is that you have more control over the environment and flowering times, resulting in longer growing seasons and better quality plants.
If you’re interested in finding out how to grow marijuana in a greenhouse, then read on. We’ll take you through the process, benefits, and favorable strains to get the best out of your hothouse harvest.
What’re the benefits of growing marijuana in a greenhouse over growing outdoors?
The popularity of cultivating weed is growing across the world. This growth has led to people investigating the options of growing marijuana in a greenhouse instead of outdoors.
There are several benefits to a controlled enclosure, the primary one being adjusting the environment settings. For colder regions, a hothouse extends the growing season, and in milder areas, you can grow weed all year round.
Outdoors, your plants are at risk of being battered by adverse weather conditions, eaten by predators, or attacked by insects.
When you set up a marijuana greenhouse, one of the more essential aspects to consider is climate control. You’ll need to invest in a temperature and humidity thermostat to monitor the levels inside. It allows you to adjust the settings accordingly, ensuring a healthy crop.
It’s imperative to keep an eye on these settings when trying to germinate your cannabis seeds. Fortunately, you can invest in automated equipment such as heating and irrigation systems.
These help control the temperature and moisture levels inside the cannabis greenhouse for healthy, happy hemp.
Growers tend to have the misconception that if you’re growing pot in a greenhouse, the crops are warm and safe from pests—that’s not entirely true. The greenhouse may protect your plants from larger animals like deer, rabbits, and birds, but you should still watch for insects and disease.
A significant benefit of a hothouse is that your crops are protected from the elements such as wind and fluctuating weather temperatures.
An added advantage of marijuana greenhouses is discreet growing from prying eyes. You could use the conservatory to plant other edibles such as vegetables and herbs, which will further camouflage your weed crops.
Using pots instead of large planters allows you to move the plants out of sight entirely if necessary. The construction is flexible enough to install anywhere that is out of view of authorities and greedy neighbors.
Should you use soil or hydro in a greenhouse?
If you’re not sure what is better for growing marijuana, soil, or hydroponics, then consider that what differentiates them is a matter of yield vs. quality. A soil medium will generally give you a bigger harvest, and if growing your crops outside, there are no height limitations.
Hydroponics won’t produce the same size plants as ground. The yield is restricted to the size and volume of the coco coir and mesh pot. Whatever grow medium you decide to use to cultivate your cannabis, pH levels are something you need to monitor for healthy crops. The optimum pH for weed is between 6.0. and 7.0.
How to build your own marijuana greenhouse
Choose your materials
When you’re planning your hothouse, you’ll find several different types of materials you could use to construct the structure. Some marijuana greenhouses use transparent PVC sheets draped over metal or wooden frames, while others consist of polycarbonate plastic panels.
You’ll find some fancier versions made from glass which, of course, last longer than the other options but are expensive to build.
If you’re on a budget, then you can put together a simple walk-in greenhouse using just a metal frame and some sturdy PVC sheets with a zipper door.
Construct your greenhouse
Once you’ve decided what type of cannabis greenhouse you want, putting it together is just a formality. There are a few things you should consider when building the hut. The location of the hothouse determines how much sunlight the bushes receive.
The best place is on the south or southeast side of your house. If you live in a very sunny climate, you might want to place your setup in a shaded location. For greenhouses using artificial lighting, it’s not critical where your structure is situated.
Ensure that you have easy access to a power outlet if you’ll use monitoring or automated equipment such as fans, lights, or exhausts. When building your greenhouse, consider the water connections and drainage requirements for the optimal spot.
Some hydroponic systems need regular tank cleaning, and if you have a greenhouse on a balcony, this can make it difficult to get access. If you’re using PVC sheets, try to overlap the layers tightly, leaving no gaps or holes.
Too many openings will make it difficult to control the environment and give access to insects and pests.
Set up ventilation and watering systems
A common issue that growers face when growing pot in a greenhouse is the high humidity levels. The conditions are perfect for marijuana seeds to germinate, but they become problematic for mature plants.
Too much moisture creates a breeding ground for fungi, bacteria, and pests.
You can use a thermometer and a hygrometer to track the humidity and temperature levels inside your construction. Install an intake, outtake, and oscillating fans to provide a good flow of fresh air while simultaneously keeping the temperature and moisture levels down.
Add grow lights to your cannabis greenhouse
It’s better to use sunlight inside your greenhouse instead of artificial lighting, but you may need to install lights if you live in an area with limited sunshine. You can switch them on as required, and there are several different types available on the market.
An excellent product to start with are LED grow panels, as they provide your plants with around 400W of illumination per square yard. They’re also a lot cheaper to run the HID lights and produce less concentrated heat.
Add a greenhouse covering
Marijuana likes to flower when the days get shorter and the cold months approach. Usually, this occurs after the summer solstice, and you have two options for dealing with the flowering phase. The first would be letting your plants grow as they would outdoors.
This means waiting for them to flower based on the subtle cycle changes after the summer solstice. Be warned that this method is not for the impatient since mother nature likes to take her time.
The other option is to install covers on your cannabis greenhouse to block out the light, which will force your plants to flower. This gives you the benefit of having more control over your plants and how they grow. A couple of methods to induce flowering include:
- Blinds – you can install these on the inside walls of your marijuana greenhouse.
- Tarp – You can get a custom black tarp made to fit over the outside of your greenhouse. It helps to reduce the amount of light your plantation receives every day.
- Shutters – the easiest solution to control light is installing automatic shutters onto the construction to block out the sun at the push of a button. This is also the most expensive solution.
Unlike outdoor cannabis setups, cannabis greenhouses require regular maintenance for optimum results. Initially, you might need to invest some capital in setting up everything correctly, but once installed, the structure can house multiple harvests per year and last for a long time.
The best practice would be to make sure that after each season, you go over all the aspects of your greenhouse and check everything from the water and ventilation system to the covers and any other equipment you’re using.
Clean your gear and make any necessary repairs at this time; this will ensure that your equipment is functional for years to come.
How to optimize your cannabis greenhouse
When you’re planning your setup, it’s essential to consider a few other facts before going off to purchase your weed seeds. Knowing how to optimize your greenhouse makes the difference between a great harvest and mediocre yields.
Maintaining a greenhouse for marijuana can be time-consuming. The plants need a specific amount of water and light to thrive. Putting automated systems into place will make the process easier for you and give your crops what they need at the right time.
You can install a darkening system into the greenhouse, which controls the amount of light your bushes get. The system consists of automated curtains or blinds run on a timer. It allows you to simulate the shorter days in fall, which promotes flowering.
Another auto-setup to consider is irrigation to ensure your plants get the right amount of water without you having to hydrate the crops manually.
A must-have instrument to have inside a marijuana greenhouse is a hygrometer. It measures the amount of water vapor in the air and is critical for cultivating healthy hemp.
If there’s too much moisture in the air, then your cannabis bushes are susceptible to fungi and bacteria. On the opposite spectrum, too little water and your herbs will wither and die.
A thermostat is another inexpensive but crucial gadget that you have to have inside your cannabis greenhouse. Weed is fickle and doesn’t like to have too many temperature fluctuations.
Try to keep the temperature stable. Aim for between 68 and 77°F (20-25°C) during the light period and no lower than 60°F (15°C) at night.
What strains grow best in a greenhouse?
Whichever kind of marijuana greenhouse you build, the most crucial component for a successful harvest is the type of strain you plant. There are several variants of cannabis that thrive inside a hothouse. Our top three picks are:
You won’t go wrong if you buy Blue Dream seeds to start your crops with. The plant thrives in warmer climates and likes a greenhouse environment. These plants are photoperiod bloomers, so you’ll need to make sure they get ample light. The strain grows well in soil or hydroponic systems.
Gorilla Glue seeds love the coziness of a greenhouse and will provide good yields. Ensure that you give the plant’s roots enough space to grow and don’t overwater the seedlings.
This strain isn’t suitable for beginner growers as it requires regular pampering with nutrients in the correct ratio and at the right time, which can be daunting for first-time planters.
Super Silver Haze
This sativa is another strain that enjoys the hothouse environment. Super Silver haze seeds can give you a yield of up to 23.59 oz/sq yd when cultivated inside a cannabis greenhouse. When in a warm and humid environment, the plant thrives.
Keep the temperature steady between 70-80ºF (21-27ºC). If you’re situated in the Northern Hemisphere, you can expect to harvest in mid-October.
Get your grow on
As you’ve seen, a greenhouse setup isn’t as complicated as it sounds. You can use simple materials to get your plantation going within a day or two. If you have the budget, you can splurge for the more expensive equipment.
Just remember that all cannabis seeds need is warmth, moisture, and good soil for optimum yield—that, and of course, some love and patience from you.