Your Beginner’s Guide to Growing Marijuana
Now that marijuana is legal to grow in more places, beginners are ready to start cultivating it in their own home. While it is a plant and can be grown fairly easily by anyone, there is a lot to learn before getting started. The information and tips here will help you get a better yield, even from your first plant, and ensure you have everything you need to grow any strain you might be considering successfully. If you’re thinking about growing your first marijuana plant, make sure you read through this guide so you can be well prepared before picking out seeds.
Where to Grow: Indoors or Outdoors?
One of the first choices to make is whether to grow marijuana inside or outside. This often comes down to personal preferences, but it is a good idea to consider the pros and cons of each before deciding.
- Pros of Growing Inside: Growing inside is more private, so no one will see the plants or be able to steal the buds. It also provides the ability to completely control the environment around the plants, which can lead to more flowering per plant.
- Cons of Growing Inside: Growing inside can take more work than growing outside because it’s up to you to control the environment. It’s also more expensive than just planting a few seeds outside, but costs do not have to be prohibitively high.
- Pros of Growing Outside: Growing outside can be as easy as just putting a few seeds in the ground. Plus, there’s little to no expenses for outside growth as the environment handles the lighting and watering most of the time.
- Cons of Growing Outside: Growing outside can mean a much lower yield, even if the conditions for growth are perfect, as there may be pests that try to eat the plants. It can also be more difficult to grow outside because of the risk of pollination and other issues that won’t happen inside.
Whether you decide to grow inside or outside, it pays to be wary of what can go wrong and have plans in place to ensure the plants will be growing properly. Just like any other plants that are grown, no matter if they’re inside or outside, watching them carefully and ensuring they have everything they need will help make sure they have the highest yield possible.
Grow Lights for Maximum Growth
For inside cultivation, it’s crucial to make sure everything is done right to maximize the potential yield from each plant. One of the most important parts is the lighting for the plants. Since the plants are grown indoors, they don’t get the natural light they would receive outdoors. To grow properly, marijuana plants require at least eight hours of direct sunlight. More light can lead to bigger flowers at the end of the growth cycle.
Most beginners are going to opt for CFLs as they are the least expensive to get started. They’re easy to use and do work well for marijuana plants. LED lights are another option, though they are more expensive to purchase. Once they have been purchased, however, they do require less electricity compared to other types of lighting. The best lighting options for marijuana plants, however, are MPH or HPS grow lights. These are far more expensive, but they do provide the best lighting for cannabis plants.
As a beginner, however, it’s likely you’ll want to make everything as easy as possible and start with a less expensive setup. There’s always room to grow in the future. If you only have a few plants and are trying to keep costs to a minimum, CFL bulbs are likely the best choice. They provide the right light for the plants, can are the least expensive option, and are easily available, so you don’t need to special order them.
Best Growing Medium?
Next, it’s important to choose the growing medium. Outdoors, the soil in the ground is an excellent growing medium, but it’s generally not a good idea to just get dirt from outside to bring indoors. The soil isn’t sanitized, so there are microscopic bugs and other creatures in the soil. Plus, the soil will need to be tested to determine what the pH level is and whether it is missing any nutrients. When growing indoors, it’s just easier to choose a growing medium you can purchase.
It is possible to purchase soil that can be used to grow marijuana, but there are plenty of other options as well. Many beginners will opt to use soil since it’s something they’re already familiar with if they’ve grown other types of plants, it’s easily accessible, and it’s easy to determine what the pH is and what the nutrients are if it’s purchased from a store. Other options include perlite, vermiculite, and coco coir.
There’s also hydroponics, though that does require a more complicated setup than most beginners are going to want to do. Beginners who want to give this a try, however, can learn more about how to set up a basic hydroponics system for their plants and will likely be rewarded with a much higher yield than they would get in soil or other growing mediums.
The last option is to create soil. Composting does take a significant amount of time to get started, at least a few weeks, but it allows the grower to ensure they know exactly what is in the soil. It’s also very easy to do with a basic pile and scraps from yard work, fruits and vegetables, and more. When composting, however, be careful to ensure only compostable materials are used in the compost pile to avoid contamination or items that just won’t break down properly.
Added Nutrients for Healthy Plants
Most of the growing mediums you might use will already have nutrients the plant will use when it’s growing. However, the plant will quickly deplete the nutrients in the growing medium, so you’ll need to add more to ensure the marijuana plant is well fed. The main nutrients to worry about are nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. Nutrients are available in liquid or solids, and in different amounts, depending on what your plants need and what your setup is. Soil, for instance, will require different nutrients than hydroponics. The amount of each nutrient will also differ based on the stage the plant is in at the time, and also on the strain.
Along with getting the right nutrients, it’s important to make sure the pH level is correct when using soil or other growing mediums. The pH for the growing medium should be balanced, as if it’s too acidic, it can harm the plant. The pH can change as the plant grows and consumes nutrients, so it’s best to check it periodically. If the pH is not balanced, there are special ingredients that can be added to the growing medium to get it back under control.
Choosing the Perfect Strain
After deciding if indoor or outdoor growing is appropriate for your situation and preferences, and after obtaining the right setup to grow the plants properly, the next step is to choose what you want to grow. This can be fun, but there is a lot to know. It’s crucial to purchase the seeds from a trusted seed bank, so you’ll know the seeds will germinate and grow. From there, it’s a matter of finding out what works best in a particular climate when growing outdoors and choosing the right strain for indoor or outdoor growing.
Below are some strains you might want to try. Basically, marijuana is split into three different main strains: Sativa, Indica, and a hybrid. Sativa strains are known for offering a boost of energy and can help inspire creativity. Indica strains offer more of a mellow and relaxed feeling, so they’re perfect for relaxing at the end of the day. Hybrid strains are a combination of Sativa and Indica, so each one will be different. When choosing a strain, it’s a good idea to read the descriptions carefully and decide which one best meets what you’re looking for.
Seeds, Seedlings, or Small Plants?
Before buying anything, it’s a good idea to figure out what to buy. Most beginners are going to start from seeds because they’re easily accessible. There are also seedlings available from some places, as well as small plants. It can be easier to start with small plants or seedlings because germination is already done. With small plants, it may be possible to purchase only female plants, so there’s no need to worry about pollination. However, seeds are often the better choice, especially for beginners. There are more strains available, they’re easier to find and purchase, and they don’t have to be planted right away. This means you can take advantage of special offers, but still only have a few plants growing at a time.
Types of Seeds to Buy
When you’re looking at seeds to purchase and checking out the different strains, you may notice that they are all denoted as regular, feminized, or auto-flowering. This is a description that lets you know a little more about what to expect from the plant. It’s a good idea to understand what each of these is so you can choose the perfect seeds for your needs.
- Regular Marijuana Seeds – Regular seeds are obtained from plants that have not been specially treated. They can produce male or female plants, and there’s no way to tell which it will be before the plant reaches a certain stage in its lifecycle. These are often easy to grow, but it’s necessary to plant a few extras so the male plants can be disposed of before they pollinate the female plants.
- Feminized Seeds – Feminized seeds come from specially-treated marijuana plants. These seeds will only grow female plants. This means beginners don’t have to worry about determining which plants are male or female, and they don’t have to worry about finding and disposing of the male plants. Every seed that germinates will be a plant that produces flowers.
- Auto-Flowering Cannabis Seeds – Auto-flowering seeds are like feminized seeds, but a little bit better. When the plant is the right age, these will automatically start flowering. There’s no need to worry about making sure the light and dark cycle is adjusted at the perfect time. This can lead to faster flower growth, which shortens the time between seed and consumable marijuana.
A Good Start: Germinating Marijuana Seeds
So you’ve picked out marijuana seeds, and they’ve arrived at your house. Now it’s time to germinate them. This means getting them to start growing so they’ll produce a plant. There are a few different ways to do this, but the basic idea is to keep them moist, but not wet, and warm, but not too hot. In a few days, the plant will start growing out of the seed and the seedling can be transplanted into the growing medium you plan on using.
One way to do the germination is to start with the seed in the growing medium. The seed should be close to the top of the soil or the growing medium you chose, but with just a light layer covering it. It’s necessary to keep the soil moist and keep the lights on the soil to get the plant to start growing. It can be more difficult to get the plant to germinate this way, but it shouldn’t be hard and this eliminates the need to transplant the seedlings.
Another option that many beginners will use is the paper towel method. For this, get a paper towel moist and ring out the excess water. Place the seeds on the paper towel, making sure they’re not touching each other and put the paper towel between two plates or inside a plastic bag. After a few days, they should sprout. After sprouting, it’s necessary to transplant them to the growing medium. This needs to be done carefully to avoid shocking or damaging the seedling, but it’s not hard to do. Simply place it in the growing medium and cover it slightly. It’ll continue growing from there.
The Vegetative Stage of Growth
After you have seedlings, it’s important to ensure they have everything necessary to grow quickly. This is the vegetative stage, where the plant goes from looking like a tiny green stem to looking like a cannabis plant. The main goal for this stage is to get the plant to grow as fast as possible and ensure it’s as bushy as possible. To do this, keep the plant at the right temperature, between around 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, and make sure to feed them nutrients as needed. Start with half the recommended amount, then switch to three-quarters once the plant is a little bigger and growing fast. Lights should be on as much as possible during this stage. At least six hours is needed, though 18 to 24 hours of light per day is best.
The Flowering Stage of Growth
After the rapid growth of the vegetative stage, the plant reaches the flowering stage. If you’ve used auto-flowering seeds, the marijuana plant should start producing flowers automatically. If you chose other types of seeds, look for the buds to start forming. At this point, it’s necessary to adjust the lighting so the flowers will grow properly and ensure any male plants are removed. Male plants left with the females will pollinate them, causing the female plants to produce seeds instead of consumable marijuana. Change the lighting to 12 hours on and 12 hours off, ensuring it is completely dark for the night portion. When you change the lights, adjust the temperature to between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit to encourage the plant to be as productive as possible, and keep an eye on the nutrients.
When are the Flowers Ready? Harvesting Marijuana Flowers
To determine if it’s time to harvest the marijuana buds, check the small hairs growing on the plants. Once at least two-thirds of the white hairs have gotten darker, it’s time to harvest. Harvesting at this point leads to buds that are high in THC while waiting a little longer can produce buds that offer a more intense high. If the buds are ready, go ahead and cut them off the plant with a pair of scissors, then get them ready to cure. Once all of the buds are removed, the rest of the plant can be discarded.
Finishing Up: Drying and Curing Marijuana
The buds will need to be thoroughly dried, but it’s important to ensure they don’t start to grow mold. The best way to do this is by hanging the buds upside down. They should be hung in an area that’s dark and cool, and that has excellent ventilation, so there isn’t excess moisture to slow down the drying time. After they’ve dried quite a bit, they should be placed in glass jars with a secure lid. Keep some space at the top of the jars and store the jars in a cool, dark place. It’s important to open them daily to release any moisture from the jars. After about two weeks, you can slow down to only opening the jars once a week. The marijuana should be dried in the jars for at least two weeks, but it’s better to leave them in for at least a month.
Ready to Grow? Best Strains for Beginners to Try
If you’ve read the information here but haven’t purchased seeds yet, now’s the time. If you aren’t sure what to choose, there are many different beginner-friendly strains you may want to try out. Of course, which strain to purchase is going to come down to your particular preferences.
If you’re looking for a strain you can harvest quickly, it’s best to stick with auto-flowering strains. These are often high in CBD, so they produce a more relaxing high. A couple of options for fast growth include Super Skunk and Amnesia Haze. If you’d prefer to have something that’s easier to grow, try out Northern Lights, White Widow or Blue Dream. Want the biggest yield possible? Pick out Sour Diesel or Super Silver Haze.
Don’t Do This: Common Mistakes to Avoid
Though you’ve read through the guide to this point and have a good idea of what you need to do to start growing cannabis at home, it’s still important to be aware of some of the most common mistakes beginners will make. Make sure you avoid the following to have more success with your plants.
- Ignoring the pH – The pH level is crucial for ensuring the plant will grow healthy and produce more buds. Ignoring the pH could lead to an early demise for the plant, meaning no consumable marijuana produced.
- Using Too Many or Too Few Nutrients – Too few nutrients will mean the plant doesn’t have what it needs to grow. Too few could lead to nutrient burn, which can severely damage or kill the plant.
- Using Too Much or Too Little Water – If there isn’t enough water, the plant can’t grow properly. If there’s too much, it could lead to mold growth, or the plant could drown.
- Not Adjusting Lights – Other than auto-flowering seeds, the lights need to be adjusted at the right time to start producing flowers. If this isn’t done, the plant won’t grow properly and won’t produce as many buds, if any.
Now that you’ve read through the whole guide, you know what to do and what not to do so you can grow a healthy cannabis plant that can offer a higher yield. With i49 USA it doesn’t need to cost much to get started. Once you’re ready to start growing, check out our collection of seeds. At i49 USA, we offer the highest quality of seeds to ensure they will germinate properly and, provided you care for the plants properly, will produce the biggest yield possible. Browse our massive selection now to find the perfect strains to start growing right away!
Buy Beginners Weed Seeds