If you’ve started the process of growing your own cannabis plants, you should know that it will be an intricate process. It might seem like an easy thing to do, but growing cannabis plants require extreme patience and a bit of investment. This guide will help guide you through the process of growing your own cannabis plants to ensure they grow to be strong and that the experience won’t be a stressful one.
About the Cannabis Plant
The cannabis plant (also known as weed and pot) is actually a very easy plant to grow and can be used for medical or recreational purposes. It can be grown either indoors or outside depending on your preferences. While the plant will usually sprout up quickly, making sure it stays strong and healthy can be a challenge. It’s important to know the different parts of the plant and how you can use them to help make growing it a little easier.
The cannabis plant usually can be made for three purposes: marijuana, hashish, and hash oil. Marijuana is made with the dried out flowers of the plant. This is usually the most popular part of it and is what most people use to smoke or even make edible products with. Hashish is made from the resin of the plant. This is dried in a small block and is also a part of the plant that can be smoked. Hash oil is a thick oil made from hashish.
As you find as you grow this plant, every little thing can affect how it tastes and grows. Cannabis plants are easily affected by things like temperature and weather conditions. One small change in a room or outside can decrease the flavor a plant has. However, a small change can also enhance the flavor. It really just depends on the atmosphere the plant is in.
These plants contain two main ingredients, both which are what make the plant helpful with reducing pain and giving you euphoria. These two things are cannabinoids and terpenoids.
This part of the plant helps with giving you physical and mental strength. It also is what helps with anti-inflammation.
This part helps with anti-bacterial usages and is filled with antioxidants.
These parts can then be broken down into 3 separate functions.
- Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – helps with psychoactivity.
- Cannabidiol (CBD) – gives a therapeutic effect.
- Cannabinal (CBN) – helps with sleep.
The Effects of Marijuana
Marijuana has many effects. Some are good, while some aren’t that ideal. One of the best effects that marijuana has is that it will make you feel good. In other words, you’ll get a high from it. This high is from the cannabinoids in the plants.
Besides this effect, it can also make you very talkative, hungry, and can help reduce stress and improve your concentration. Cannabis plants also have been proven to help slow cancer cell growth and help with body ailments and diseases like arthritis, asthma, and epilepsy.
However, you should keep in mind that it can also drastically affected some things in the long run. While short-term effects of it are bloodshot eyes and a dry mouth, long-term effects of it can end up reducing your memory and can even lead to anxiety or addiction. Because of this, it’s important to be careful when using it.
The Pros/Cons of Growing the Plant
There are many great things that growing your own cannabis plants can bring about, but there are also some drawbacks.
One of the best things about growing your own plants is that you have complete control over the growth process. You can trim them to a certain height, make them have a certain flavor – basically every aspect of growing the plants. You can also choose what type of soil and nutrients you use in the plants to help them grow better. You can add more magnesium or nitrogen depending on your preferences.
The other great thing about growing your own plants is that they’ll be much fresher. You can have quick access to your own plants and trim them when you want. You won’t have to buy plants that are a little old. By growing your own plants, you can have fresh plants available for you at all times.
While growing your own plants is great, you’ll have to take a few things into consideration. One is that cannabis plants smell. This isn’t a light smell. Cannabis plants can have a very strong and heavy smell which can be overpowering. This can especially be a problem if you live in small space because it ends up filling the entire room with its smell. Because of this, it’s usually ideal to grow your plants in a grow tent or just to have a special area set aside for growing in your living space. Be sure to have proper ventilation as well running to help keep the air circulation flowing well so it can eliminate the smell.
The other things you’ll have to keep in mind is that it can be expensive to grow these plants. You’ll have to invest in lights, nutrients, soil, and accessories in addition to seeds. Lights can be one of the most expensive aspects of cannabis growing because they need to be running constantly in order for your plants to grow. Be aware that your electric bill might spike a little if you start growing these plants. However, many grow lights come with energy-efficient options to help make the cost not too bad.
Nutrients and soil are also something you’ll be greatly investing in. As your plants grow you’ll need to transplant them to different containers, all which need to be filled with soil. Nutrients also need to be constantly added to the soil to help with the growth of your plants so they have strong and healthy stems and leaves.
How to Use It
There are quite a few ways that you can use this plant.
You can smoke the leaves (or flowers) you harvest through blunts or vapors. Vapors are a little different from regular smoking as the vaporizer heats the cannabis leaves to extract the flavor from them instead of you inhaling the entire thing. Vaporizers are a little ideal for those looking for a healthier smoking option. The full effect of the leaves will take up to 10 minutes to fully happen.
Use it in a Pipe
You can use a pipe (such as a cannabis water pipe) to enjoy the effects of this plant. It’s a creative way as it involves you using a pipe to trap the smoke. You then can inhale it. This way also takes about 10 minutes for the effects to fully take place.
Bake it into Food
Another way you can use this plant is by baking it into food. You can get a full cannabis flavor in things like brownies by soaking the leaves in butter and oil. You don’t actually want to put the leaves in the food though. You just want to infuse a liquid with it and then strain the leaves out of the liquid. This will give your food a great taste and prevent you from actually eating the leaves. It takes about 1 hour- 1 hour and 30 minutes for any effects to take place with this method.
Should You Grow it Indoors or Outside?
Indoors or outside? This is a question many beginners ask when planning where to grow their plants. Either way is fine, but both are very different. Outside might be easier because you don’t have to invest in grow tents and special lights, but you have to constantly make sure that the plants are being affected by bugs or other elements. Indoor growing is a little easier and can help to protect your plants more, but it does require more investment from you. You’ll usually need to buy a few indoor accessories to help your plants grow. However, because of these accessories, indoor plants usually grow much faster than ones outside.
Indoors is usually the ideal place for beginners to start planting in, but it has its drawbacks. Here’s a little more about the pros and cons of growing cannabis plants indoors.
How to Grow Your Plant
After deciding whether you’d like to grow it indoors or outside, you then want to start to grow it. If you decide to keep your plant outside, you usually just need to plant and care for it like any other plant that grows in a garden.
Important Elements to Include
No matter where you decide to keep your plants they all require a few important elements in order to successfully grow.
Light is one of the most crucial aspects of growing a cannabis plant. It doesn’t matter if it’s sunlight or a grow light, you need to make sure to have an adequate amount of light shining on your plants. If you don’t, your plants could end up not growing very well, or even not growing at all.
- A Well-Tended Environment
Your plants need to have enough water and air circulation in order to grow up strong and healthy. If your plant is outdoors, nature will usually take more care of this aspect then if you keep them indoors. You need to make sure that you water your plants enough (but not too much) and make sure that your growing area has a good air circulation. This air circulation will help to keep the air flowing and moving throughout the area so your plants are suffering in a hot environment. You want to make sure it’s warm, but not sweltering. The ideal temperature is usually about 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit. A slight breeze is also ideal to have to help cool your plants.
The water you give your plants should also be checked for its pH levels. Too much acidity in it can greatly affect your plant’s taste.
To help keep your plants strong (and to grow faster) you want to apply fertilizer. You don’t have to use a fertilizer that is sandy or uses clay in it as this can make the acidity of the soil too much for your plants to handle. Your fertilizer should keep the plant’s soil at a pH of 6.5.
- Soil, Compost, and Nutrients
These 3 things are some of the most important things to use when growing cannabis. A good soil will help your plants to grow while compost and nutrients will help to make them strong.
Nutrients you usually want to look for to use with cannabis are Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium. Nitrogen will help with your plants growth while Phosphorous will help to encourage them to bloom. Here is a little more about how these nutrients will help your plants.
|Nitrogen is what will help the leaves and stems of your plants. If your plants aren’t receiving enough of this nutrient, they will turn yellow.|
|This nutrient helps with photosynthesis.|
|You want this nutrient as it will help with water and other nutrient absorption. In other words, this will help your plant gain the strength in order to grow into a mature plant.|
Soil and Compost
The make of the soil and compost your cannabis plants will use is extremely important look at. The soil should involve the nutrients listed above and should also have an acidic touch to it. Cannabis plants need a somewhat acidic soil so you want to make sure to always check the pH of it. You can make your own soil or buy a pre-mixed one. No matter which one you choose there are a few different components you want to make sure it includes.
- Peat Moss- helps to keep the soil secure so the roots can grow well.
- Worm Castings- these are rich in nitrogen which is a vital component you need in cannabis soil.
- Oyster Shells
- Kelp- this helps with the potassium and copper levels in the soil.
- Epsom Salt- helps to increase the magnesium levels in the soil.
These components are just a few of the many important things you need to have in your soil. Be sure to check the pre-mixed bag you buy to make sure it has it in them or be sure to include them in your homemade soil mix.
The texture of the soil is also important to check. Cannabis plants grow well in soil that is well drained and slightly fluffy. It’s important to check this as it does surprisingly affect how well your plant will grow.
The compost for your cannabis plants also needs to include the components listed above. Compost often includes a little more fertilizer in it compared to regular soil and is stronger which helps it to better protect the roots of your plants.
Size and Space of Your Growing Area
When growing cannabis you need to have a somewhat large space. However, if you’re a beginning grower, you’ll just need to focus on a small space. As a beginning grower it’s usually best to start out with a small amount of plants. This way you can become acquainted with the plants to learn how they grow and the best methods to use with them. Unless you’ve grown these plants before, you don’t want to invest in a large space. This can make growing these plants a little overwhelming and can make it more of a hassle rather than an enjoyable experience.
Usually you want to start out with 1-2 plants. This is enough to help you understand what the plants need without investing a lot of money in numerous plants. If you plan to use a grow tent, you’ll probably want to start with one about 2×2 ft. This is the right amount of space to start and won’t be too big. Believe it or not, a grow tent that’s too big could end up hindering your plants growth rather than helping it. This is due to the space being too big for a small plant and the lighting and air circulation inside it not fully reaching your plants.
The space you decide to grow your plants in should be somewhat clean. This can help to prevent accidents from occurring or from your plants being affected by some outside element. This is especially true if you don’t use a grow tent. A plant in the open could end up being knocked over or receive too much light if placed near windows. Because of this, it’s usually ideal for beginners to use grow tents.
Finding and Investing in the Right Seeds
As you work to start growing your cannabis plants, you’ll find that using certain seeds are what will either make your plants grow well or not. There are two different types of cannabis seeds you can choose from.
These seeds end up growing short plants which is ideal for those who plan to grow plants indoors. It takes Indica seeds about 8-12 weeks to fully grow which is pretty quick. The plant this seed grows is usually ideal to use for pain ailments.
Sativa seeds are a little different from Indica ones. They take a little longer to grow (up to 12 weeks) but the seeds product more yields than Indica ones. The plants this seed grows is helpful with providing energy.
So, now that you know the 2 main different seed types, it’s important to know what the ideal seeds should look like. You want to pay close attention to how they look because planting damaged or undeveloped seeds could lead to a less than ideal plant being grown.
Aren’t sure which seed is best for you? Then you can invest in a hybrid mix. This will incorporate the two seed types listed above. Often hybrid mixes can come in different sections. You can choose an Indica Dominant one which will obviously have more Indica seeds in them. You can choose an Even mix which will have both seeds divided equally. There is also a Sativa Dominant which will have more Sativa seeds in it than Indica. Hybrids are ideal if you want to try a little of both types of plants.
How to Find the Right Seeds for Germination
Here are some tips you can use to help you find the right cannabis seeds for germination.
- Don’t use pale, green, or soft shell seeds.
Seeds that have a pale or green exterior are not ideal to use with germination. This also goes for soft shell ones. Seeds like this aren’t fully developed so they are not good to use for germination. They won’t produce strong and healthy plants which means your time and investment will be useless.
- Look for seeds with hard shells and strips
Be sure to look for seeds that have a hard exterior and feature strips on it. Seeds that have this are ideal for germination and will produce plants that will grow strongly and give you a lot of yields.
- Search for tear-drop shape seeds
Another thing to look for is tear-drop shaped seeds. These seeds are also ones that are good to use for germination. This shape means they are well-developed so they will produce strong plants.
Aspects to Look at in Seeds
Besides the type of seed you want to use, you also want to check out the contents in them. Cannabis seeds can be produced with many different features, flavors, and effects.
Check the CBD in the Seeds
The CBD (Cannabidiol) in seeds is how much of a high you’d like to get from the flowers of your plants. You can usually find seeds that range from low, medium, high, or even unknown. It’s important to always check the CBD so you’re prepared and know the high levels before using them.
Look at the Taste
One interesting thing about cannabis seeds is that they can grow plants that have certain flavors. Often you can find seeds that will grow plants that have a cherry, chocolate, vanilla, earthy, or citrus flavor to name a few. Be sure to look at the flavors of your plants if you’re interested in having a more flavorful experience.
Check the Seed Effects
Cannabis plants all come with various effects to help with certain things. You can find plants that will help give you a calming experience while others will boost your happiness levels. There’s also effects like making you sleepy and ones that help to soothe your body. Check the effects that the plants you plan on growing has to make sure it has the one you’d like to have.
Photoperiod vs. Autoflowering Plants
Another important aspect you’ll need to look at when buying seeds is whether your plant will have an autoflowering or photoperiod flowering time. An autoflowering plant is one that will quickly grow from seed to the flowering stage. This time usually takes about 2-4 weeks for it to bloom. Because of this, autoflowering plants are usually ideal for indoor growers.
The photoperiod flowering plants are ideal for outdoors. They are plants that have a special light and dark sense. They can tell when certain changes are happening and flower accordingly. For instance, when seasons start to change these plants can sense the difference in sunlight amounts which means they change to help bloom during a certain time frame to match the current sunlight levels.
How to Tell if a Seed is Female
Trying to tell if a seed is female can be a difficult task. While it can be done, it’s usually very hard to tell on your own. Because of this, you can often find seed mixes that are “feminized seeds”. This seed mix has a 95% chance of being full of female plants. You’ll also find a regular seed mix which is a mixture of male and female plants.
Male, Female, and Hermaphrodite Plants
When growing cannabis you’ll come across 3 different types of plants: male, female, and hermaphrodite. Female plants are the main ones you want to use because they’ll be the ones that produce leaves for you to smoke and use. Male plants are meant only to pollinate the female plants. While you’ll need some male plants mixed in, you don’t want many of them in your crop. Male plants will end up taking more space than females which can hinder the female plant’s growth.
Hermaphrodite plants are an interesting kind of plant. They are actually female plants that turn to male plants. You want to actually get rid of these plants because they don’t really do much for you. To prevent hermaphrodite plants from occurring you want to prevent stressing your plants. Plants that suddenly change between genders like this is the cause of some type of growing stress. The main reason for hermaphrodite plants is usually due to their dark time period being interrupted. For this reason, it’s important that you are extremely careful when checking your plants during their night time.
The Germination Process
After finding the right seeds for your plants, you can start the germination process. The germination process is important to pay close attention to as it is what will help you find female seeds that will eventually turn into plants you can use.
You’ll know that the germination process of your seeds worked when a ¼ inch root starts to come out of the seed. When it does, you can then transport this seed onto a special sprouting tray or in some soil.
Typically, the germination process takes about 2-7 days. As this process takes place you’ll notice that only a few seeds will be female. You want to remove seeds that are male or not sprouting to prevent spending time growing plants you can’t really use.
There are quite a few different ways for you to do the germination process. Here are some of the top techniques for cannabis seed germination.
Soaking the Seeds
Soaking the seeds is usually the best (and easiest) way to germinate seeds. To do this you need to fill a cup with warm water. You can then put your seeds into the warm water. If a seed floats up to the top you want to remove this. This seed is not well-developed and will not germinate. After putting the seeds into the cup you can then put a dark covering on it to help prevent light from reaching the seeds. This method usually takes about 48 hrs. for the seeds to start germinating.
Putting Them in Soil
Another technique you can use is to put the seeds in soil. To do this method you need to put some soil in a pot and wet it. Let the water drain from the soil before putting your seeds in it. After the water has been removed, poke a hole into the soil. Place the seed into the hole and then cover the hole up. This method will take a little longer and you need to make sure to keep the soil moist (but not soaking wet) in order for this process to work properly.
This is a cheap way to help germinate your plants. These kits have everything already prepared for you so you just need to place your seeds in its pre-made pots. These pots are usually already made (or come with) nutrients to help your seeds germinate quickly.
Soaking Them with a Paper Towel
The other technique you can use with germinating seeds is a paper towel method. This method involves you wetting a paper towel in hot water. After releasing excess water from the paper towel you then spread it out on a plate. After doing so you can then place your cannabis seeds on the paper towel. Once you do this, you can put a 2nd plate over the bottom plate. This will help to prevent light from reaching your seeds as they germinate. This method takes about 2-5 days.
The Seedling Stage
As the plants start to grow larger after germinating, you’ll need to be extremely careful with them. Plant seedlings can be very delicate and can easily break if you handle them too much. As the plants start to grow, you want to put them carefully in soil. They’ll take a little time to grow, but don’t worry, they will! A common mistake many beginners make is over-fertilizing their plants or giving them too many nutrients during this stage because they’re taking too long. The seedling stage is the stage you’ll have to have some patience with.
This stage requires about 16 hrs. of light, so be sure that your seedlings get this amount. Also be sure that they don’t receive too much or it could end up overwhelming them.
Growing the Plants
As your plants start to grow to a mature size, you want to transplant them into a container, such as a pot or bucket. Be sure to put holes at the bottom of these containers so any excess water can easily be released from the plant. You’ll also want to make sure the container is a little dark. This can help to prevent light from damaging the plant’s roots which are very sensitive.
The next time you’ll need to transplant your indoor cannabis plant is when it starts to outgrow the container it’s currently in. Because the plant will be much bigger at this stage, you want to be especially careful of its roots. They are very delicate and hurting too many of them during the transplanting stage and end up destroying your plant.
If you plan to grow your plants outdoors, you won’t need to worry about containers. You can just plant them in the ground. However, be careful with the spacing. Make sure the spaces are even and far enough away from each other to prevent them from growing into one another.
Indoor Growing Accessories
There are numerous indoor growing accessories you can use if you decide to keep your plants indoors. Here are some of the top ones you should definitely invest in for your plants.
Grow tents are spaces that you can store your cannabis plants in. Grow tents come in many different types. Some are walkthrough ones while others aren’t. It’s important to keep this in mind as choosing one or the other could make it either easier or even more difficult for you to access your plants. While walkthrough ones are somewhat ideal to use, they are a little more expensive and are much bigger. As mentioned above, big isn’t always better. A big grow tent means you’ll need to invest in a lot of plants. If you’re a beginner this isn’t a good idea. Unless you know exactly what you’re doing, growing too many plants at once without experience could be a wasted investment.
Grow tents also come with various accessories you can use in them. These include hanging ropes/hooks (to put lights and fans on), special aluminum reflectors (to help shine the grow lights on your plants), and air vents (to help with air circulation in the tent). Some also include windows which you can use to look in at your plants to see how they are doing.
If you don’t want a large tent but still want something to hold your plants in, you want to look at grow boxes. They are much smaller than grow tents and basically resemble a fridge. It’s a more compact way to store and grow your plants.
These can help you to easily cut and trim your plants as they grow. Regular scissors are fine too, but you need to use new ones. Cannabis plants are very sensitive and if the scissors (or other cutting device) has even the slightest hint of something that could disagree with the plant, your plant will not react well to it.
While not crucial, plant clips are very helpful. They can help to keep your plant’s stems upright so they don’t topple over. This can prevent the stems from cracking or somehow hindering the growth of a nearby plant.
This is a helpful thing to have if you’re growing plants indoors. Because you’ll need to have a sufficient amount of light for these plants to grow you need to keep constant track of it. Light meters can help you monitor the light levels in the room where your plants are growing. They can help to tell you if the levels are enough for your plants or if you might need to add some more light. This accessory is very helpful for beginners who might be a little hesitant to try growing their own plants due to the intricacy of the lighting situation.
If you don’t want to have to worry about keeping track of watering or lighting times yourself, you can invest in timers. Timers will help you to keep track of when you need to water or turn lights on or off. Sometimes timers can be built into your growing structures so they do these processes automatically without you having to do anything.
If you decide to use a grow tent, you’ll want to look at investing in air ducts. Grow tents can be stuffy which is why they need to use fans and other things to help keep air flowing constantly. Usually, grow tents will have a special section cut out of it to where you can place air ducts. You can slide these air ducts through this opening and out a window to help keep fresh air circulating through your growing area.
This indoor growing accessory is actually a very critical one. It’s what will help to mimic sunlight for plants that you keep indoors. As you’ll find out, grow lights come with many different features and wattages to help keep your plants warm so they grow. There are 3 popular grow light types: LED, CFLs, and HPS.
LED grow lights are some of the most popular grow light choices to use because they are extremely powerful. However, this power comes with some drawbacks. You’ll have to carefully watch the plants that the light shines on so their leaves don’t burn. This type is also very expensive. Overall though, LED grow lights are some of the best ones to use to help your plants grow quickly and strongly.
This grow light types is usually ideal for beginners to use. They aren’t the most powerful option but they are very cheap. This means if one ends up burning out you won’t have to worry about breaking the bank when investing in another.
HID, which stands for high intensity discharge, can be broken down into two different light types.
HPS (High Pressure Sodium)
These grow light types are cheap and powerful. This combination sounds perfect, but be aware that they get to be extremely hot. This could end up making them overheat which could instantly destroy the plants that they’re shining on. They usually include the red spectrum which makes them ideal to use during your plant’s flowering stage.
MH (Metal Halide)
This type of grow light often emits a blue and white color. This is best to use during the early stages of plant growth.
One of the best things about this grow light types is that it doesn’t overheat. This means you won’t have to worry about investing in a cooling system for it, unlike other light types.
One of the trickiest aspects of using grow lights in when to keep them on and off. Usually when you grow plants indoors you want to keep the grow lights running for about 18-24 hours. You can also use this formula: 12 hrs. light and 12 hrs. rest. In other words, keep the grow light on for 12 hours and turn it off for 12 hours. This can help to give your plants an adequate amount of light without burning them.
Another important part of searching for the right grow light is to look at the color spectrum of it. As you’ll find with these lights they come with various Kelvin amounts. It’s important to take these amounts into mind to help you find the right color spectrum for your plants.
A grow light that a 2,700K amount is high in red. A 4,200K is high in blue and a 6,500K is what will mimic sunlight with its bright yellow color. The light spectrum with grow lights pretty much goes from white to blue. The lower the Kelvin amount the more white the color will be. If a light has a higher Kelvin amount it will be higher in a blue color.
Blue is ideal for the vegetative stage. The blue light will help to product short plants that produce large leaves. A yellow/red light is best for the flowering stage and will produce tall plants that are filled with buds. Yellow and red lights help the growing process to go much faster. One of the hardest parts of growing cannabis plants is finding the right light amount. You want to make sure that your grow lights have various color spectrums to help with this. If they don’t, you’ll want to make sure that you have enough lights with different growing colors.
It can be difficult to know how long you should shine your grow lights on your plants. Each growing stage requires a certain amount and too much light (or too little) can either help or hinder your plant’s growth.
The ideal amount for a seedling under a grow light is 16-18 hrs. As the plant grows into a vegetative stage you need to make sure it has about 18-24 hrs. of light. When the plants enters its flowering stage you want it to have 12 hrs. of light with an emphasis on red.
What are Lumens?
Lumens are how much light your grow light will shine on your plant. It’s the light that you can see while a light is shining. This helps you to better understand how much light will be shining on your plants. The more light you see, the more light that will be shining on your plants. It’s important to look at the lumens of a grow light so you can see how it will help with your plant’s growth. A grow light that has too high a lumen could end up killing your plants if it is too much for them to handle. A grow light with a high lumen is usually ideal if you’re growing numerous plants. If you’re just starting out, you usually want to start with a grow light that has a softer lumen amount to use with your first few plants.
How High Should I Hang the Light?
Another problem many beginners (and even novice growers) have is how high the grow light should be hanging. Hanging the light too high above your plants can prevent them from being warm while hanging them too close and end up burning them. Finding the right amount can be a difficult thing to do. However, there are a few things you can use to help tell how high you should hang your grow light.
The Wattage of the Grow Light
The wattage of the grow light indicated how hot it will get. If your wattage is high, you want to hang it high above your plants. If the wattage is a little lower, you’ll want to keep it close to your plants (but not too close) in order to keep them warm. The ideal low hanging height for these types of bulbs is about 10-14 inches above your plants.
A hygrometer is another useful accessory to have on hand when growing cannabis. A hygrometer will help to measure the water vapor where your plants are. This can help to inform you of the temperature and moisture the room you’re storing your plants has.
Should I Use Hydroponics?
If you don’t want to invest in soil for your cannabis plants, hydroponics is another option for you to use. It’s basically a system where your plants are watered by themselves. There are many different hydroponic systems available so as a beginner you don’t want to start out with a hydroponic system that’s too intricate.
Hydroponics is ideal for those who want to grow a large amount of plants indoors without having to attend to them often. This is an ideal situation for many, but hydroponic systems can be expensive. So, unless you’re willing to spend a little more on a hydroponics system for your plants, it’s best to grow them the old-fashioned way in soil.
Types of Hydroponic Systems
There are actually quite a few different hydroponic systems you can choose from. Here is a little more about them.
- Ebb and Flow- this type will help to soak and rain the roots of your plants. It requires fewer accessories (like air stones) because it can drain the water out on its own.
- Deep Water Culture- this hydroponic system type is ideal for beginners. It’s a cheap option and easy to figure out. You do need to use air stones with it and invest in a separate system for each plant. However, as mentioned above, it is a cheap system so investing in a few different Deep Water Culture pots won’t break the bank.
- Top Feed- this type works like a Deep Water Culture system but instead uses a timed pump to drain the water and send nutrients to your plants.
- Nutrient Film Flow- this system uses a capillary mat which you can lay the seeds/plants on in place of soil.
- Aeroponics and Misting- this system requires less work from you, but more money investments. You usually need a grow tent for this type in order for it to work properly. This system has plants hanging from a basket and will mist them on a certain schedule you set.
Important Accessories for Hydroponic Systems
Just like if you were growing your plants in soil, hydroponic systems have some accessories that you need to use in order to ensure your plants grow well.
- A Grow Tent
A grow tent is needed for hydroponic systems because it helps to not only protect your plant, but the system itself. The grow tent is a secure place to have these expensive systems in. A grow tent also helps to keep the water and plants warm and can reflect the lighting from your grow lights much better on your plants in the hydroponic system.
For hydroponic systems it’s especially important that it has a Mylar-lined tent. This Mylar-lining is reflective and will be able to shine lighting down on your plants to warm them. The lining also helps to absorb warmth which helps to keep the growing area warm.
- A Ventilation System
You need to make sure that you have a good ventilation system for hydroponic systems. This will help to keep the air moving so your plants aren’t floating in humid water, which could end up welcoming bacteria.
- Plenty of Lights
No matter what growing system you use, you need to have plenty of light available for your plants. The lights will help to keep the plants in the hydroponic system warm and help to dry them out so root rot doesn’t occur and bacteria doesn’t grow in the water.
- Growing Mediums
Because hydroponic systems are free of soil, you need to use a different way to help grow them. Growing mediums for hydroponics are meant to help keep the roots of your plants safe. You can find many different growing mediums like peat, coco coir, and sphagnum moss. Each of these growing mediums is very different though so it’s important to be aware of that. Because you’re a beginner, it’s usually best to start out with peat growing mediums. These are cheaper to buy and easy for beginners to use.
Harvesting Your Plant
Harvesting might seem like it would be tricky to know, but it’s a very simple thing. You can tell when the flowers of your plants are ready to be removed if they snap off easily. This means they have fully grown and are dry enough to now use. If the flowers are difficult to remove or don’t instantly snap off when you try to do so, stop trying to remove them. They aren’t fully developed and need a little more time. Also, harvesting buds too early can result in you getting headaches when you go to enjoy them. This can end up being a major problem which is why it’s important to pay close attention to when the time is right to harvest your plants.
Most of the time you can tell when the best time is to harvest by looking at the colors of the buds. Buds that are red/brown will have a light flavor. If the buds are mostly brown, the flavor will be a little heavier. However, if the buds are completely brown they will end up having too heavy a flavor which will end up not being very enjoyable to use. So, a red/medium brown color is usually a sign you can use to tell when you should harvest your plants.
Besides looking at the buds, you can also look for resin on the buds. If you start to see a dark and slightly sticky substance leaking out of your plants, this is another way to tell you that it’s ready to be harvested. You can also look at the hairs on the plants. Females will start out with white hairs that will eventually grow to have a darker color. You don’t want to harvest plants that have hairs that are still white. However, seeing the hairs can sometimes be difficult. To help with this, you can use something like a magnifying glass so you can get a closer look at the plant’s hairs to see what color they are.
After harvesting your plants you can hang them on something like a wire to help them dry. You can string this wire anywhere, but the best place is usually a grow tent or the growing area you have. You can then just clip the cannabis leaves on the wire so they hang upside down which will allow them to dry. The drying process can take a little bit of time and you want to constantly monitor it to make sure your leaves aren’t getting too dry. If they start to become brittle and crumble instantly in your hands they’ve been hanging too much.
Training Your Plants
As your plants start to grow they might end up getting a little out of control. To help prevent this from occurring, there are a few cannabis plant training techniques you can use.
- Bend/Securing- this technique involves you using plant ties to secure the stems of your plants to thinks like wooden stakes. This can help to prevent them from falling over.
- Low Stress Training (LST) – this unique approach will have you slightly bend the stems to secure them. You want to do this when the plants are young as the stems will be a little tenderer. You can then use plant ties to secure them.
- No-Technique Plant Training- this way involves you just bending the plant’s main stem 90 degrees. That’s it.
- Screen of Green (ScrOG) – this involves you putting a screen over your plants as seedlings. When they start to grow taller, you can weave the stems through the screen’s holes. The holes will help to keep the plant secure and to make sure the plants don’t grow into one another.
- Topping- this training technique involves you cutting the main stem’s top off. This will then have the plant split the top of the main stem into 2 parts.
- Supercropping- this technique is a little more in-depth but it helps to stops plants that are growing a little too much. You can first soften the stem with a substance like water and then bend it. This will help to stop it from growing to be too tall.
Things to Keep in Mind
Before getting started with growing your own cannabis plants, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. Below are some of these things.
Common Plant Problems
Unfortunately, cannabis plants can be affected by many problems, even if they’re grown indoors. If you decide to grow them outdoors, one of the biggest plant problems you’ll have to deal with is bugs. However, inside plants have some other problems.
One of the most common problems that cannabis plants have is root rot. This is usually caused by you watering your plants too much. If you start to see yellowing leaves or your plants are smelling rather strange, they’re probably suffering from this problem. To fix it you can usually just stop watering your plants so the soil can dry. However, if this doesn’t fix the problem you’ll want to remove the plant. Root rot can harbor deadly bacteria which could end up affecting nearby plants.
Another common problem you’ll find with cannabis plants is that they can suffer from nutrient deficiency. There are various deficiencies that can occur. For instance, a calcium deficiency is evident by brown spots suddenly appearing on your plant’s leaves. There is also a copper deficiency which is when the edges of your leaves turn yellow. Because this is such a common problem with cannabis plants, you want to make sure they have enough nutrients mixed into the soil. This can help to prevent these problems from happening so you have a healthy plant.
To help tell if your plants are suffering from a nutrient definitely you can check the pH in the soil. You can usually buy pH strips at your local store to help with this. The acidity of the soil should have a pH anywhere from 6-7. If you decide to use hydroponics, you want the pH acidity to be anywhere from about 5.5-6.5.
It can be easy to overheat your plants. This can either happen due to the grow lights or the air circulation in your growing space not circulating well. You can tell if your plants are overheated by their leaves. If they look a little dry and are starting to curl, the plant is too hot.
Always check to see if your grow lights are too close if your plants. If they are, then hang them a little farther away from them. Also be sure to check the air circulation. You want to have a fan going in your growing space to help keep the air moving. Hot air that doesn’t move can end up killing your plant. While these plants do enjoy warm environments (85 degrees Fahrenheit as the top temperature) they don’t want to be in a sweltering heat. Be sure to check your grow lights and the air circulation in your growing space constantly to help prevent overheating from occurring.
Over/underwatering can be a big problem when growing these plants. Overwatering can cause root rot and underwatering can end up causing your plant’s leaves to droop and turn yellow. If you find this happening to your plants there are a few ways you can fix it.
For overwatering just stop watering. Let you’re the soil dry out before adding any new water. If you don’t have holes poked into the bottom of the pots, you want to do so. This can help the plant to release water if you happen to overwater it.
If you’re underwatering the soil you just need to add more water. Keep adding water until the plant’s soil is moist. If water starts to fall from the bottom of its container or the soil is almost floating in water, stop watering, you’ve given it too much.
These are some of the common problems that beginners will face. Be sure to know the signs of problems in your cannabis plants so you can help to protect them from being destroyed by one of them.
To properly water your plants you can use your finger to test the soil. If it’s too wet then you’re overwatering. If you have a hard time putting your finger through the soil you haven’t watered enough. Always work to base your watering amount on the size of the container the plant is in. If the container is big you want to water less. If it’s small you want to water a little bit more. You can keep a schedule on hand to help you know when you last watered your plants and when you need to do so again. This can help to prevent over/underwatering from occurring.
Overly Slow Growth
Plants do take some time to grow, but an overly slow growth can be a sign of problems with your plants. Often cannabis plants that take weeks and months to grow is a sign that the environment is probably too hot for it. Check your grow lights and air circulation and adjust it to help your plants be more comfortable in their environment.
Cannabis plants sometimes do what is called stretching. This is when the plant sprouts up quickly but doesn’t really have any leaves or buds on it. This is due to it not being watered too much and receiving too much light. In fact, the reason it “stretched” is because it’s growing to try to find light. If you start to find that your plants are doing this stretching try to give them more light.
Purple Stems are Normal
One day you might look at your plant and find it has purple stems. No, this is not some type of nutrient deficiency. It’s a normal thing for cannabis plants to have, so you don’t need to worry about it.
Humidity is Key
Because you want the female cannabis plants to grow you want the environment to mainly suit them. Female plants love humidity, but they don’t like high temperatures. Keep this in mind as you work to make the environment more suitable for female plants.
Remove Male Plants
The only purpose male cannabis plants have is to pollinate. Otherwise than that, they really aren’t needed. Male plants can end up hindering your female plants (the ones you actually need) growth so it’s best to remove them. You can tell which is which by looking at the stem. Male plants will have pollen sacs on the stems while females will have white hairs on them.
You Can Clone Plants
You can actually clone plants with existing plants you are already growing. To clone a cannabis plant you just take a cutting from the top part of the plant and then plant it. It’s very simple. Even better, most plants that are cloned turn out to be female so you won’t be stuck wondering what type of plants you’ll get.
Before cloning a plant you want to make sure to wash your hands. The part of the plant that was clipped is very delicate and if you touched something that might not agree with the plant that could end up killing it. So, to be on the safe side, wash your hands.
Clones will usually grow much faster because they are already partly grown. After planting it in soil (or in a hydroponic system) you can start to water it every other day. Make sure this clone also has about 15-18 hrs. of light but light that isn’t too bright. If the light’s too bright it could end up making the plant wilt.
While cloning sounds like a great thing to do be aware that it does have some drawbacks. You need to be very careful of which plant you clone because the clone will turn out exactly like that plant. If the plant has a disease or some other growing problem, your clone will too.
Also, as mentioned above, clones are very delicate. They can instantly die of shock after being transplanting and can be very sensitive to their surroundings. You’ll have to take extra care when planting a clone to ensure it grows.
It can be very tempting to want to invest a lot to start growing these plants, but don’t. Cannabis plants require constant care and patience. By starting out with a small amount you can see if growing these plants is something you’d like to continue with. Starting small is less expensive so it won’t cost you much if you end up making some mistakes along the way. Having a small amount also helps you to keep track of your plants better. This can help you to easily monitor them closely so you can see if there might be a problem with one of them, unlike if you have many plants.
Growing cannabis can be easy, even if you’re a beginner. As a beginner it might take a little bit of time for you to fully understand your plants and how to best grow them, but it will be worth it. Growing cannabis plants requires patience, but you’ll be rewarded in the end with plants that can give you a great harvest. Be sure to use this guide as a reference as you grow to help ensure your growing experience can go as smoothly as possible.