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How to Grow Marijuana Indoors: A Comprehensive Guide

indoor cannabis grow operation

By The 420 Gardener

Growing marijuana indoors can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience, but it can also be a challenging one. In this guide, we will walk you through the entire process of cannabis cultivation, from the beginning with seeds or clones to all the growing stages and finish with how to cure the harvested buds.

Choosing Strains

When it comes to choosing strains to grow, there are many different factors to consider. For beginner home growers, it’s best to start with strains that are easy to grow, have a relatively short flowering time, and are resistant to common pests and diseases. Here are some of the best strains for beginner home growers:

  • Northern Lights – This classic strain is a staple in the cannabis world and is known for its fast flowering time and high yields. Northern Lights is a hybrid strain that is easy to grow and is resistant to pests and diseases1.
  • White Widow – White Widow is another classic strain that is known for its fast flowering time, high yields, and resistance to pests and diseases. This hybrid strain is a good choice for beginner home growers, as it is relatively easy to grow and produces large, sticky buds.
  • Blue Dream – Blue Dream is a popular hybrid strain that is known for its sweet, fruity aroma and high yields. This strain is easy to grow and is resistant to pests and diseases, making it a good choice for beginner home growers.
  • Bubblegum – Bubblegum is a sweet and fruity strain that is known for its high yields and fast flowering time. This hybrid strain is easy to grow and is resistant to pests and diseases, making it a great choice for beginner home growers.

Setting Up Your Grow Area

You’ll need a dedicated space for your marijuana plants—you won’t be able to move them around. Ideally, the space is next to a window so you can vent air from the grow space outside. Growing weed plants smell! Especially when flowering kicks in, you’ll want to redirect air so your house doesn’t reek of weed.

A lot of people these days buy grow tents for their weed, but they aren’t necessary. You can grow in a closet, tent, cabinet, spare room, or a corner in an unfinished basement. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to tailor your equipment (and plants) to fit the space. It’s a good idea to start small—the smaller the grow, the less expensive it is to set up. Newbie mistakes will be less costly if you only have a handful of plants.

Below is a list of things to consider and equipment you will need to purchase to get started growing marijuana indoors:

  • Lights – Lights are essential for your plants’ growth and development. You’ll need to choose between different types of lights, such as LED, HID, CFL, or fluorescent. Each type has its pros and cons in terms of cost, efficiency, heat output, spectrum, and lifespan. Generally speaking, LED lights are the most popular choice for indoor growers, as they are energy-efficient, long-lasting, cool-running, and offer a full spectrum of light.
  • Fans – Fans are important for maintaining proper airflow and temperature in your grow area. You’ll need at least one fan to circulate air inside your grow space, and another fan to exhaust hot air outside your grow space. You may also need an intake fan to bring fresh air into your grow space if it’s not well ventilated.
  • Filters – Filters are optional but highly recommended for indoor growers who want to control the odor of their plants. Filters are attached to your exhaust fan and use activated carbon or other materials to scrub the air of any smells before it leaves your grow space.
  • Thermometer and hygrometer – These devices are used to measure the temperature and humidity in your grow area. You’ll want to keep these levels within the optimal range for your plants’ health and growth. Generally speaking, you’ll want to maintain a temperature of 68-77°F (20-25°C) and a humidity of 40-70% during the vegetative stage, and a temperature of 65-80°F (18-26°C) and a humidity of 40-50% during the flowering stage.
  • Timer – A timer is used to control the light cycle of your plants. You’ll need to set the timer according to the stage of your plants. During the vegetative stage, you’ll want to give your plants 18-24 hours of light per day. During the flowering stage, you’ll want to give your plants 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness per day.
  • Soil or hydroponic system – You’ll need to choose between growing your plants in soil or in a hydroponic system. Soil is the most natural and simple way to grow your plants, but it can also be messy and prone to pests and diseases. Hydroponics is a method of growing your plants in a water-based solution with added nutrients, but it can also be more expensive and complicated to set up and maintain.
  • Pots or containers – You’ll need pots or containers to hold your plants and their growing medium. You’ll want to choose pots or containers that are large enough for your plants’ root system, but not too large that they waste space and water. You’ll also want to choose pots or containers that have drainage holes at the bottom to prevent waterlogging and root rot.
  • Nutrients – You’ll need nutrients to feed your plants and help them grow and thrive. You’ll want to choose nutrients that are specifically designed for cannabis plants and for the stage of your plants. You’ll also want to follow the instructions on the label and adjust the dosage according to your plants’ needs.
  • pH meter and pH adjuster – You’ll need a pH meter and a pH adjuster to measure and adjust the pH level of your water and nutrient solution. pH is a measure of how acidic or alkaline something is, and it affects how well your plants can absorb nutrients. You’ll want to keep the pH level between 6.0 and 7.0 for soil, and between 5.5 and 6.5 for hydroponics.
  • Scissors, gloves, jars, etc. – You’ll need some basic tools and supplies for trimming, harvesting, curing, and storing your buds. These include scissors, gloves, jars, labels, etc..

Germinating Seeds or Planting Clones

This is the stage where you get your seeds or clones started. If you’re growing from seeds, you’ll need to soak them in water and then place them in soil or a hydroponic system. If you’re growing from clones, you’ll simply need to plant them in soil or hydroponic system.

Growing from Seeds

Seeds are the natural way to start your cannabis plants. They contain the genetic information of both the male and female parent plants, and they can produce unique phenotypes that may differ from their parents. Seeds can be regular, feminized, or autoflowering.

  • Regular seeds – These are seeds that can produce either male or female plants. You’ll need to identify and remove any male plants before they pollinate the female plants, otherwise you’ll end up with seeds instead of buds.
  • Feminized seeds – These are seeds that have been treated to produce only female plants. You won’t have to worry about any male plants, but you’ll still have to monitor your plants for any signs of stress or hermaphroditism, which can cause them to produce male flowers.
  • Autoflowering seeds – These are seeds that have been crossed with a ruderalis strain, which makes them flower automatically regardless of the light cycle. You won’t have to change the light cycle to induce flowering, but you’ll also have less control over the size and yield of your plants.

To germinate your seeds, you’ll need to follow these steps:

  1. Soak your seeds in a glass of water for 12-24 hours. This will soften the seed shell and activate the embryo inside.
  2. Drain the water and place the seeds on a damp paper towel. Fold the paper towel over the seeds and place it in a plastic bag or container.
  3. Keep the paper towel moist but not soggy, and store it in a warm and dark place. Check on your seeds every day and look for any signs of sprouting.
  4. Once you see a white taproot emerge from the seed, it’s ready to be planted. Carefully transfer the seed into a small pot or container filled with moist soil or a hydroponic medium.
  5. Place the seed about half an inch deep into the soil or medium, with the taproot pointing down. Cover it lightly with some soil or medium.
  6. Place the pot or container under a light source and keep it moist but not wet. You should see a seedling emerge from the soil

Growing from Clones

Clones are cuttings taken from a mother plant that have been rooted and grown into new plants. They are genetically identical to the mother plant, and they will have the same characteristics and traits. Clones can save you time and money, as you won’t have to germinate seeds or buy new seeds every time. However, clones can also carry any diseases or pests that the mother plant had, and they may have a shorter lifespan and lower vigor than seed plants.

To plant your clones, you’ll need to follow these steps:

  1. Choose healthy and vigorous branches from the mother plant that have at least two or three nodes (where the leaves and branches grow from the stem).
  2. Cut the branches at a 45-degree angle with a sharp and sterile scissors or knife. You’ll want to cut about 4-6 inches from the tip of the branch.
  3. Remove the lower leaves and trim the upper leaves to reduce transpiration (water loss through the leaves).
  4. Dip the cut end of the branch into a rooting hormone, such as gel, powder, or liquid. This will help stimulate root growth and prevent infection.
  5. Insert the branch into a small pot or container filled with moist soil or a hydroponic medium. You’ll want to bury about one-third of the branch into the soil or medium.
  6. Place the pot or container under a light source and keep it moist but not wet. You should see roots develop within a few weeks.

Vegetative Stage

During the vegetative stage, your plants will grow leaves and stems, and you’ll want to provide them with adequate light and nutrients to encourage growth. This stage can last from a few weeks to several months, depending on your strain, growing method, and preference.

During this stage, you’ll need to do the following:

  • Water your plants – You’ll need to water your plants regularly to keep them hydrated and healthy. You’ll want to water them when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch, or when your hydroponic system requires it. You’ll also want to adjust the pH level of your water to match your growing medium, as mentioned above.
  • Feed your plants – You’ll need to feed your plants with nutrients to help them grow and thrive. You’ll want to use nutrients that are high in nitrogen (N), which is essential for leaf and stem growth. You’ll also want to follow the instructions on the label and adjust the dosage according to your plants’ needs.
  • Prune your plants – You’ll need to prune your plants to remove any dead, damaged, or diseased leaves and branches. This will improve airflow, prevent mold and pests, and allow more light to reach the lower parts of your plants.
  • Train your plants – You’ll need to train your plants to shape them and control their height and width. This will help you maximize your space and light efficiency, as well as increase your yield potential. There are many different methods of training your plants, such as topping, fimming, low-stress training (LST), high-stress training (HST), screen of green (SCROG), sea of green (SOG), etc.
  • Check for pests and diseases – You’ll need to check your plants for any signs of pests and diseases, such as bugs, mites, fungus, mold, etc. If you spot any problems, you’ll need to act quickly and treat them accordingly. You can use organic or chemical methods to get rid of them, such as neem oil, insecticidal soap, diatomaceous earth, etc.

Flowering Stage

Once your plants have reached a certain size, they will start to flower. This is the stage where you’ll start to see buds form on your plants. You’ll want to reduce the amount of light your plants receive each day to trigger the flowering stage.

During this stage, you’ll need to do the following:

  • Change the light cycle – You’ll need to change the light cycle of your plants from 18-24 hours of light per day to 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness per day. This will mimic the natural change of seasons and signal your plants that it’s time to flower. Make sure you use a timer to keep the light cycle consistent and avoid any light leaks during the dark period.
  • Change the nutrients – You’ll need to change the nutrients of your plants from high-nitrogen to high-phosphorus (P) and potassium (K), which are essential for bud development. You’ll also want to follow the instructions on the label and adjust the dosage according to your plants’ needs.
  • Check for sex – If you’re growing from regular seeds, you’ll need to check for sex of your plants during this stage. You’ll want to identify and remove any male plants before they pollinate the female plants, otherwise you’ll end up with seeds instead of buds. Male plants can be recognized by their pollen sacs, which look like small balls or bananas. Female plants can be recognized by their pistils, which look like white hairs.
  • Harvest your buds – You’ll need to harvest your buds when they are ripe and ready. This can vary depending on your strain, growing method, and preference. Generally speaking, you’ll want to harvest your buds when the pistils have turned from white to brown or red, and when the trichomes (the resin glands on the buds) have turned from clear to cloudy or amber. You can use a magnifying glass or a microscope to check the trichomes more closely.

Trimming, Curing, and Storing Your Buds

After you’ve harvested your buds, you’ll need to trim, cure, and store them properly to improve their appearance, quality, and potency.

  • Trimming – Trimming is the process of removing any excess leaves and stems from your buds. This will make them look more appealing and reduce the amount of chlorophyll and moisture in them. You can use scissors, gloves, and a tray to trim your buds. You can trim them wet (right after harvesting) or dry (after drying), depending on your preference.
  • Drying – Drying is the process of removing most of the moisture from your buds. This will prevent mold and bacteria from growing on them and preserve their potency and flavor. You can use a drying rack, a clothesline, a cardboard box, or a paper bag to dry your buds. You’ll want to dry them in a dark, cool, and well-ventilated place for about a week or until the stems snap when bent.
  • Curing – Curing is the process of removing the rest of the moisture from your buds and enhancing their aroma, taste, and effect. This will also make them smoother and less harsh to smoke. You can use glass jars, plastic containers, or vacuum bags to cure your buds. You’ll want to cure them in a dark, cool, and dry place for at least two weeks or up to several months. You’ll also want to open the containers every day for the first week or two to let some air in and release any excess moisture.
  • Storing – Storing is the process of keeping your buds fresh and potent for as long as possible. You can use the same containers you used for curing to store your buds. You’ll want to store them in a dark, cool, and dry place away from heat, light, and air. You can also use humidity packs or Organic Island Herbz humidity packs to maintain the optimal humidity level in your containers.

Conclusion

Growing marijuana indoors can be a fun and rewarding hobby that can provide you with high-quality weed for your personal use or medical needs. However, it can also be a complex and demanding endeavor that requires time, money, and attention. By following this guide, you should be able to grow your own marijuana indoors successfully and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

References

: How to Grow Marijuana Indoors | Leafly https://www.leafly.com/learn/growing/how-to-grow-marijuana-indoors

: Marijuana 101: Growing Weed Indoors for Beginners https://cannabistraininguniversity.com/growing/growing-weed-indoors-beginners/

: How to Plant Cannabis Seeds Indoors: 15 Steps (with Pictures) – wikiHow https://www.wikihow.com/Plant-Cannabis-Seeds-Indoors

: How to Grow Marijuana Indoors https://howtogrowmarijuana.com/how-to-grow-marijuana-indoors/

: How to Grow Weed Indoors: A Step by Step Guide for Beginners – Weed News https://www.weednews.co/growing-marijuana-indoors/