Growing, storing, and selling marijuana is legal in many states across the US. Hurray!
If it’s your first time growing a marijuana plant, welcome to the club. There are two ways you grow your first plant; using seeds or clones. The former is longer and more complicated than the latter. But if you like to challenge yourself, opt for it by all means.
Below, we briefly look at the method of growing a marijuana plant. Take notes.
Getting the Basics Right
Before we grow into detail about growing cannabis, let’s discuss some basics.
At a minimum, you should have a 3 x 3 x 5 feet space. The bigger the space, the better.
If you’re growing marijuana inside, you won’t only keep plant pots there. You’ll also have to fit in grow lights. So, make sure you’ve got enough space.
Keep the temperature at 68 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit.
Make sure you also buy a hygrometer. These are handy tools that tell you the humidity and temperature of the environment.
The humidity should be between 30% and 45%.
Depending on where you live, you might need a dehumidifier or humidifier. Get the former if you live in a humid environment and the latter if your area is dry.
Cannabis enjoys slightly acidic soil. So, keep the water pH between 6.3 and 6.7.
Get a pH meter to measure the water’s acidity. Mostly, tap water has a pH of 7 or above. You can reduce the pH by adding a ‘pH down’ solution to bring the pH to your desired value.
Cannabis plants need about 2,200k of light. Get a 175-watt HPS (high-pressure sodium) lamp. Some growers use fluorescent lighting, but it doesn’t give the best outcome.
Most organic growers use soil as the growth medium. But you can also select a neutral medium, such as rock wool, perlite, coconut coil, etc.
Cannabis needs fresh, moving air at all times to facilitate gaseous exchange. When growing plants outdoors, this won’t be a problem. But if you’re an indoor grower, buy a fan. Still air can stunt a plant’s growth and encourage pest growth.
Use good soil that gives your marijuana plant sufficient nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, vitamins, compost, and living organisms. You can improve the soil’s quality by adding compost tea or molasses.
Growing a Marijuana Plants: Step-by-Step
How you begin growing your plant will depend on whether you’ve selected a clone or seeds. Either way, these steps will guide you.
Step 1: Choose the Seeds
If you’re not opting for clones, good luck. We applaud your bravery as a first-timer.
There are plenty of cannabis strains to choose from, including ruderalis, Indica, Sativa, and a couple of hybrids. You can select the seed based on your preference or growing conditions.
For example, if you want to grow marijuana in a small space, use autoflowering strains.
Alternatively, you can find healthy marijuana clones to skip the germination step. Most clones retail for $15 or less and are available at recreational and medical dispensaries easily.
Step 2: Germinate Them
The next step is to germinate the seeds. There are several methods to do this:
- Medium: Put the marijuana seeds into the medium. Doing so prevents transplant shock.
- Paper Towel: Put the seeds on a moist paper towel and put them in a warm and dark place. Cover the paper towel with an upturned plate to keep moisture in. The seeds will sprout in about a week.
- Water: Soak the cannabis seeds in water enriched with an enzyme mix. Once the tap root appears, plant the seed into a pot.
- Rock Wool Starter: These let you germinate multiple seeds in the same space. After the tap roots develop, you can place the plants in their final place without any root damage.
If you bought a clone, you don’t need to go through the germination step. Instead, simply plant the clone in a pot or outside.
Step 3: Take Them Through the Vegetative Stage
At this stage, the plant is only growing foliage. It does not produce buds. Here’s how the method differs for indoor and outdoor plants.
Set the light to an 18-6 period, which means six hours of night light and 18 hours of daylight. Fertilize your plant with nitrogen-rich fertilizers to promote vegetative growth.
The plant will enter its vegetative stage when days get longer as spring transitions into summer. You can assist by providing the right nutrition to your plant.
Step 4: Induce the Flowering Stage
There are two types of cannabis plants in this regard.
- Absolute Photo Determinate: These plants are hormone-reliant. As long as the hormone is active, it prevents flowering. It goes inactive when nights are longer, and daylight exposure lessens.
- Autoflowering: These strains flower based on age. When they reach a specific species-dependent age, they start flowering.
The marijuana plant needs a lot of potassium and phosphorus while flowering. These nutrients help build larger and more flavorful buds.
Step 5: Harvest the Plant
It’s time to harvest your marijuana plant when the buds are covered in trichomes of milky white color. Over time, the milky white color changes to amber.
Be observant, though. Sometimes, it only takes a day for the trichomes to become amber. Harvesting is followed by curing and drying.
How Long Does It Take to Harvest a Marijuana Plant?
The duration of a marijuana plant’s growth depends on the strain. Some may take only four months, while others require up to eight. Indoors, you can control the environment and induce flowering by lowering light exposure. That way, your plants can bloom in just a few weeks.
If you’re lucky, your first-ever harvest might be a success. But even if it’s not, you’ll learn a lot in the process. Follow resources such as the Sanctuary blog and expert growers to find tips on getting aromatic and flavorful flowers in every batch.