The cannabis industry is gaining legal status all over the world at an astonishing rate. As such, many people are now interested in learning how to grow cannabis indoors. Why?
Well, the following reasons should explain this:
- It’s reliable
- It’s convenient
- It’s safer
- It’s fun
- It’s rewarding
Apart from the reasons above, growing your own cannabis ensures a constant supply of quality weed.
To begin, you need the following among other items:
- Grow lights
- High-quality seeds or clones
- Enough growing space
- The right medium
- Tools such as hygrometer, microscope, and shears
In our guide on how to grow cannabis indoors, we have curated the information into steps.
This has been done to ensure you are able to follow each step and put in practice the knowledge. If done well, you should harvest superior quality buds in less than 60 days.
1. What is your preferred strain?
As a rookie, choosing a strain is the first step towards growing cannabis indoors. Why? For starters, it helps you identify which cannabis plant meets your needs. Also, you get to learn the different strains currently available in the market.
In line with the points above, there are three types of strains:
- Cannabis sativa
- Cannabis indica
For cannabis Indica and hybrids, they tend to be bushy. As such, they are shorter than cannabis sativa and yield fatter buds during harvest time. For cannabis Sativa, the plants grow taller than hybrids and cannabis Indica. When it comes to buds, unfortunately, the yield is small buds.
So, which strain suits you?
Can’t make up your mind?
We recommend more research on the strains above. Doing so helps you to understand the growing conditions for each strain. Also, you get to learn the nutrition needs and training methods needed for better yields.
2.High-quality seed or clones = superior buds
Now that you have chosen your preferred strain, it’s time to select the genetics. To do so, you have two ways:
With seeds, you can start your cannabis indoor garden the old-fashioned way. Also, you have access to a larger genetic pool. As a result, creating your own strain is easy. By doing so, you can train yourself on enhancing strains for high-quality buds. Apart from having access to a larger genetic pool, seeds are perfect for rookies. All you have to do is plant each seed in a large pot filled with your chosen medium and that’s it. The only hard task is popping the seeds. By choosing soil, it makes you a better grower.
Unlike seeds, clones offer a quick turnaround. To get started, transplant the clones from their starter cells to the growing pots.
Apart from a quick turnaround, clones make it easy for you to identify the strain, unlike seeds. Also, you don’t have to spend time popping the seeds which can result in you having the same sex.
So for a beginner that’s looking to grow cannabis, we recommend seeds.
3. How much space would you like to allocate to grow cannabis?
Now that you are going to grow cannabis indoors, you need growing space. The amount of space allocated for growing cannabis largely depends on the following:
- Number of plants to be grown
- Availability of the space
If you have a spare bedroom or basement, you are good to go. But before you start growing cannabis, there are a few things you have to do. First, you must measure the room. Doing so allows you to know the number of plants you can grow and the number of grow lights needed. To determine the number of plants/pots that can fit in the room, allow 2 to 4 square feet of space between plants. Afterward, divide the number by two. If you don’t have a spare bedroom or basement, another option you can use as growing space is a grow tent. This is one of the most popular options for beginners. Not only is the method convenient but it’s easy to set up. A grow tent can be set up in your garage or any other room. Using this method, there is no need to drill for vents and lights.
4. What sort of grow lights are you going to use?
Growing cannabis indoors means the sun will not shine on the plants. To ensure high-quality buds during harvest time, you must invest in the best grow lights. There are 7 types of grow lights but for the purposes of this guide, we shall highlight only three types.
- T5 Fluorescent lights
- High-Intensity Discharge lights
LEDs are some of the most popular grow lights among cannabis growers. Many people opt for LEDs because:
- They consume less electricity
- They generate the full spectrum of light
- They generate less heat
- Grow Cannabis LED’s
We recommend you start with full spectrum LED lights. Not only are your plants going to benefit from the full spectrum but they tend to outperform HIDs. For instance, a 400 W Full Spectrum LED can outperform a 400 W HID. Also, they are affordable. A compact T5 also generates less heat like LEDs making it suitable for vegging and flowering stages. While T5s have limited power, they are great options for cannabis growers who don’t want to bleach their plants. T5s also run cooler than HIDs. This eliminates the need for a ventilation system. Problem is they yield small buds.
For HIDs, three options are available namely:
- Double ended
- High-pressure sodium
- Metal Halide
As the closest lights to the sun’s spectrum, HIDs generate an intense light. This is favorable for cannabis plants. As a result, they help to ensure your plants grow healthy and yield superior buds. The problem with these lights is that they generate a lot of heat. If installed close to the plants, bleaching will happen.
You do need extra tools to help make your work easier.
Shears – this tool comes in handy when pruning and training your plants. When using shears, you can make clean cuts off your plants. This is very important for the whole plant. If cuts are not made correctly, it may damage your plants.
Hygrometer – Want to read the humidity and temperature levels in your growing room or tent? Using a hygrometer should help you check for the correct conditions. If your growing room is too hot or humid, make the necessary adjustments.
Microscope – if you want to know the sex of your plants or check the trichomes, a microscope will come in handy.
5. What is your preferred medium?
There are two popular mediums used to grow cannabis. They include:
The soil is an all-purpose medium with nutrients and is easy to use. All you have to do is identify the best quality or mix two or more types to create super soil. The soil is also great for beginners. This is because it retains nutrients better and provides support to the plants. Problem is plants take longer to grow in soil as they assimilate nutrients at a slow rate. With hydroponics, plants grow faster because they assimilate nutrients faster. Also, it is less messy compared to soil. Just like soil, hydroponics has a few issues too. For starters, it offers no buffer to the plants and it may promote mold and mildew growth.
We recommend you start with soil before advancing to hydroponics.
Now that you have purchased or acquired the requirements above, it’s time for you to start growing cannabis. For this process to be successful, we have divided the section into three:
- Pre-vegging and vegging stages
- Flowering stages
- Harvesting and drying stages
6.Pre-vegging and vegging stages
The pre-vegging stage allows you to prepare your clones and seeds for planting. If you choose to grow cannabis using seeds, here is what you need to do. Start by popping the seeds on a moist paper towel. Afterward, use starter cells, add your preferred medium and the seeds. Allow the seeds to grow for 1 to 2 weeks. After this duration, the seeds should have germinated. Now they are ready for transplanting. Fill 1 to 2-gallon pots with soil and transplant the seedlings. This is the same process for transplanting clones. Remember, don’t mess with the roots. Keep the medium around the clones intact and water them after transplanting. At the vegging stage, your cannabis plants have the necessary structures for growth. What you need to know is that this stage lasts for 4 weeks. On week one, water the plants and feed them nutrients. Don’t forget to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Also, maintain humidity below 60% and temperature between 70 to 85 degrees F. On week 2, begin pruning and training the plants. There are two methods for pruning – topping and FIM’ing. For training, you have the Low-Stress Training method. On week 3 and 4, more pruning, training and watering of your plants. Also, check for pests and fungal infections. If any are present, use natural pesticides.
The flowering stage occurs between week 5 to week 8. During this period, flowers start to emerge on your cannabis plants. Also, buds start to swell just before harvest time. What you need to know is that this stage is very important. If done in the wrong way, it can set you back for more than a month. To get it right the first time, start by mixing nutrients for soil plants. Use ½ strength and add 2 to 3 nutrients when feeding. When it comes to temperature, make sure the range is 65 to 80 degrees F and for humidity, ensure the range is 40 to 50%. During the flowering stage, add a trellis netting. This is vital as it helps your cannabis plants to maintain an even canopy. As a result, your plants will benefit from the available light much better. Remember to water, prune and trim the plants.
8.Harvesting and drying stages
The harvest window varies between plants. When you grow cannabis at home your plants may be ready for harvesting between 8 weeks to 12 weeks. If they are not ready for harvesting, keep growing the plants.
There are signs you can check to know if the cannabis plants are ready for harvesting:
- The buds have stopped growing white hairs
- 40% of the white hairs have started to darken and curl
- To be sure that your cannabis plants are ready for harvesting, try the trichomes test. Basically, you are going to check the trichomes under a microscope. If they are clear, they are not ready for harvesting but if they are cloudy or amber, start chopping your plants.
After chopping the plants, remove the excess fan leaves. Do this between the buds and the branches too. Afterward, prepare the drying area. A suitable drying area should have 50% humidity and a temperature of 75 degrees F. Use cloth hangers to dry your cannabis upside down. Drying takes 3 to 7 days. After the plants are dry, start curing them.
Now that you have learned how to grow your own cannabis indoors, say goodbye to purchasing cannabis from the nearest dispensary. From here onwards, you can continue growing and enhancing your skills to improve the strains and bud quality.