As many states legalize marijuana, home cannabis cultivation has grown in popularity and many people want to know how to grow marijuana plants of their own. Growing marijuana is similar to growing other plants. However, you need patience because it takes a while to finish the growing cycle, and you must meet certain needs to ensure your plants thrive. Marijuana is easy to grow but difficult to grow well without a little know-how.
Understanding Plants Gender
Before you start growing cannabis, you should have a decent knowledge of how plants grow and reproduce. For example, there are female cannabis plants and male cannabis plants, and plants that are both.
If you’re growing marijuana for medicinal purposes or recreational use (depending on your state’s laws), you only want female plants. Females produce clusters of small flowers called buds, where you find the biggest concentration of cannabinoids like THC and CBD.
Male plants aren’t capable of producing buds, making them undesirable for most purposes. However, if you want to cultivate your own seeds to grow more plants, you need a male to pollinate a female plant, so it produces seeds. If you’re not going to use the seeds, you don’t want them. Females produce bigger, fatter buds without any seeds in them.
You must remove males from your grow environment as soon as you discover the plant’s sex to prevent pollination. Marijuana plants usually begin showing their sex with pre-flowers at about four to six weeks if you’re growing from seed.
Marijuana plants can also be hermaphrodites or hermies, meaning they have both male and female sex organs. Like males, you don’t want hermies and should remove them immediately. Female plants can turn hermie due to stress, temperature fluctuations, light leakage when it should be dark, nutrient deficiencies or simply bad genetics.
How You Grow Your Cannabis
You should know how to grow marijuana from seed and cuttings. Either way works, but you may prefer one over the other. Marijuana seeds may germinate within 24 hours or take as long as two weeks, depending on the strain, while cuttings can take one to two weeks to take root.
Regular cannabis seeds may produce male or female plants and are the cheapest to buy or feminized seeds that are guaranteed to be female but cost more. There are also photoperiodic cannabis seeds that require a set amount of light and dark and auto-flowering seeds that don’t have light requirements.
Buying seeds creates an additional cost to your grow operation. If you keep a mother plant, you can take numerous cuttings from the same plant without cost. This is called cloning and offers a great option when you have a healthy plant with certain traits you like.
Whether you grow marijuana from seed or cutting, you must find the right growing medium. The two primary options are soil and hydroponics. While hydroponics offers one of the most productive ways to grow marijuana, it’s much more complicated than growing in soil and a lot more expensive to set up and operate.
The best soil for growing marijuana offers the ideal balance of organic and inorganic matter and empty spaces where air and water can flow. Aeration is vital to keeping the roots of a cannabis plant healthy. When growing indoor marijuana in soil, you must add materials like coco coir, perlite or vermiculite to prevent soil compaction and provide space for roots to develop between the solid soil particles.
Watering Your Cannabis Plants
Like all plants, marijuana plants need water to live and grow. While tap water is generally okay to use, water quality varies considerably based on location. Also, the pH level of the water is critical. Most cannabis plants prefer a pH level between 6 and 7, so your tap water may require adjustments.
While plants can generally use minerals typically found in tap water, such as calcium, copper, iron and magnesium, hard water isn’t recommended for watering plants or clones. You can also use filtered water, such as tap water run through a reverse osmosis (RO) system, which removes all minerals. However, adjusting the pH in RO water is sometimes more difficult.
No matter what type of water you use, marijuana plants require certain nutrients during various stages of growth. Primary nutrients include nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Secondary nutrients should consist of magnesium, calcium and sulfur, plus minimum amounts of micronutrients like cobalt, copper, boron, chlorine, manganese, iron, molybdenum, silicon and zinc. Luckily, you can buy fertilizer kits with the right nutrients for each growing stage.
Choosing Your Lights
Many people automatically think growing outdoors is best because you don’t have to create a special indoor space for your cannabis plants or pay for marijuana grow lights and the electricity to power them. However, growing outdoors presents unique challenges and many variables you can’t control, such as weather and pests. It’s generally much easier to control an indoor environment. Also, growing marijuana indoors allows you to grow year-round in areas with cold winters and offers more privacy and security.
If you’re growing marijuana indoors, you must find the right lights to create a warm, bright environment that mimics the sun. Incandescent bulbs aren’t recommended for growing marijuana. The most commonly used marijuana grow lights include:
- Compact fluorescent lights (CFL) are the cheapest, consume less electricity, have an adequate light spectrum and produce less heat.
- High-intensity discharge (HID) grow lights produce a lot of heat and usually include a reflector and a ballast with metal halide bulbs for the vegetative stage and high-pressure sodium bulbs for flowering.
- LED lights have become increasingly popular because the light panel has a full spectrum of light that plants need throughout the growing cycle. They produce higher yields with little heat and noise but are costly to set up.
Marijuana grow lights should run the appropriate number of hours based on where you’re at in the growing process. For example, photoperiodic marijuana plants need 18 hours of light during the vegetative stage, while they only need 12 hours of light during flower.
Getting Rid of Cannabis Odors
Marijuana plants smell and the smell only gets worse after the plants begin to flower. If you’re growing marijuana indoors, you don’t want your whole house to reek. A cannabis odor remover like Cannabolish is an excellent way to combat the smell and prevent lingering odors from taking over. Cannbolish weed smell-eliminating products include candles, sprays and gels with instant or continuous release options and convenient bundles or bulk kits. Our effective plant-based ingredients efficiently remove odors to leave your space smelling fresh.