For many, growing cannabis in a greenhouse is simpler than creating an indoor grow room. Greenhouse growers find it easier than growing cannabis outdoors. A growing number of experts are making a business out of teaching people how to grow their own pot. Here's what to know to get started. It’s possible to grow marijuana at home, both indoors and outdoors. However, there are many things you need to know before buying your first cannabis seeds.
Growing cannabis in a greenhouse
The recent explosion in ‘growing your own’ cannabis includes the rapidly growing community of greenhouse growers. For many people, growing cannabis seeds in a greenhouse is simpler than creating an indoor grow room. Greenhouse growers find it easier than growing cannabis seeds outdoors.
Greenhouses offer protection from the elements, insect predators and grazing animals. Greenhouses also provide a longer growing season. You can plant your cannabis seeds a little earlier than if you were growing outdoors. The greenhouse also protects your plants form the worst of the autumn weather during harvest, allowing you a greater chance of a safe harvest.
The many benefits of growing cannabis seeds in a greenhouse allows growers in northern European regions the ability to grow high quality cannabis with either feminised seeds or autoflower seeds.
Cannabis seeds and greenhouses
Greenhouses can be heated if required. This allows you to optimise the greenhouse environment even if you have unexpected frosts or stormy weather. It also allows you to germinate your cannabis seeds earlier than you might do for an outdoor grow. Read all about how to germinate your seeds in our germination guide.
With a little bit of thought and planning, growing cannabis seeds in a greenhouse can be a safe, secure and pleasurable way for the home-grower to be self sufficient in recreational or medical cannabis. Greenhouse-grown cannabis is incredibly potent when grown from good cannabis seeds. It’s no surprise that more people than ever are growing in greenhouses and enjoying the benefits.
Autoflower seeds in greenhouses
Many greenhouse growers enjoy large harvests of over 100g (dried buds) from each autoflower plant. The protective environment of a greenhouse protects the autoflower plants from the worst of the weather and the extreme low temperatures which can occur especially in early spring and autumn.
Autoflower seeds usually grow from seed to harvest in around 100 days in a greenhouse. Compared to feminized cannabis seeds that is a short life cycle. The short life cycle of an autoflower means it is extra important to optimise growing conditions and environment in order to maximise harvest quality and quantity.
A greenhouse protects your plants from high winds, damaging rain and low temperatures. Insects and pests can be easier to deal with in a greenhouse and less of a nuisance. All these factors are reasons why greenhouses are a great asset for the cannabis grower.
Feminised cannabis seeds and greenhouses
Feminized seed varieties grow very well in greenhouses. Often, they will grow vegatively until they sense the shortening days, and will start to show first signs of bloom around August, depending on your variety. In the northern hemisphere feminized seeds are often grown from around April to October in a greenhouse.
In a heated greenhouse the seeds can be germinated and planted around March/April, depending on your local weather conditions. This allows an earlier start than is usually possible outdoors. That’s because the greenhouse offers extra protection from the worst of the early season weather.
As a result, a greenhouse allows you to grow larger plants which can start earlier and finish later than would be possible growing outdoors without a greenhouse. Many growers of photoperiod feminized seeds routinely harvest several hundred grams, or more, of dried buds from a single plant. Plants can easily reach 2-3 metres tall and just as wide. A greenhouse also protects your plants from the autumn/winter storms. This can allow the greenhouse grower to grow a broader range of later blooming cannabis seeds than is possible outdoors.
Greenhouse cultivation of cannabis seeds. Using pots vs planting directly into the ground
Greenhouse growers are split into two main groups; those that grow their cannabis plants in plant pots and those that grow them directly in the ground. Plant pots can be easily moved if they need to be, for example if visitors, extreme weather or other problems are present. But plant pots will need more frequent watering and occasional feeds. A large cannabis plant in a 10 litre container will need watering daily during very hot weather. That could be a problem if you are away and unable to visit your plants.
On the other hand you may experience less issues with humidity, especially if your greenhouse floor is covered with paving slabs. Growing in containers also allows the grower more control over nutrient addition.
Some greenhouse growers even feed their greenhouse cannabis with automatic systems (e.g. AutoPot, Blumat, dripper systems or similar). It’s possible to grow cannabis in soil, coco fibre or any other grow medium in a greenhouse.
Plants that are rooted directly in the ground obviously can’t be moved, but will survive well even when you are away for a week or two. There is less need to worry about daily watering. If your greenhouse contains good quality moist soil then your cannabis plants will establish an extensive root network which will support a large plant with heavy yield potential. However, if the ground under the greenhouse contains poor quality soil then remove it and replace with good quality soil before growing plants in it. Serious greenhouse growers will dig in plenty of manure and compost at the end of each growing season to ensure optimized soil quality for the following years crop. One advantage of rooting your plant directly into the ground is that you can grow very large plants with unrestricted root space. It’s one way to get XXL harvests. Some greenhouse growers, when using the best cannabis seeds, find that a single plant can occupy the entire greenhouse and occasionally even run out of space. If this happens you can try low stress training to tie down the taller branches. In extreme situations, some growers have even had to remove some roof panels from their greenhouse if the plant grows uncontrollably. Plants which are rooted directly into the ground can be grown using automated feeding systems such as dripper systems etc.
Greenhouse overheating. Protecting your plants from extreme summer heat
One problem with greenhouse growing is that the temperatures can get very hot in sunny mid-summer weather. High temperatures make it difficult for the plant to grow. Leaves may wilt and the roots can find it difficult to provide sufficient water. This can be a serious problem, especially in a heatwave when temperatures inside the greenhouse can be in excess of 30ºC or even 40ºC. At these temperatures the cannabis plant struggles since conditions are so far from optimum. But the determined greenhouse grower can find ways around these challenges.
Greenhouses can be fitted with windows which open in hot weather and close automatically when it cools down again. These allow the hot air to escape quickly. An open door in your greenhouse can allow a cooling breeze to flow through. Greenhouse doors made with panels of fine wire mesh keep insects out but allow air to flow through.
Sophisticated greenhouse growers have watering systems in place to simplify and even automate water delivery. If the greenhouse is not in an entirely private location then it might benefit from a coat of white shading paint. This is sold in garden centres and used to protect greenhouses from overheating on the hottest summer days. For the cannabis grower this shading paint also stops people seeing what is inside your greenhouse, but green plastic plant mesh and tomato plants have also provided excellent cover for many generations of greenhouse growers.
Anyone that has been in a greenhouse on an early spring day will note how quickly they warm up in sunshine. This allows growers to get their preferred cannabis seed varieties started earlier in the season than they could outdoors. This allows the growing season in a greenhouse to start earlier. Your greenhouse will therefore benefit from larger plants and subsequently superior harvests. Cold nights can be mitigated with the use of greenhouse heaters that are available to purchase at any garden centre.
Just as with outdoor grown cannabis, the shift towards shorter days during the summer is a signal to the cannabis plant to start flowering and produce the desired female buds.
How do I get rid of excessive greenhouse humidity?
If you have ever seen your greenhouse windows dripping with condensation then you need to give some attention to reducing greenhouse humidity. Excess humidity creates an unhealthy growing environment for your plants and can encourage bud rot and mildew. Wet greenhouse glass panels will soak any leaves, branches or buds that press against the glass. If you want to ensure optimized plant health then consider some ways to make sure humidity doesn’t damage your plants.
Ensuring air movement and regular air changes in your greenhouse is important. Some of the techniques used to keep your greenhouse cool will also reduce humidity. Having adjustable roof vents which can open to release humid air is a great help. Having a through-draft thanks to an open greenhouse door is also a good idea.
Many greenhouse cannabis growers have fans in their greenhouse to move air around, and even to push air out of a door or open roof vent. This may mean fitting an outdoor, weather proof electricity connection to your greenhouse. But its a small price to pay for improved cannabis quality. A fan will also strengthen the stems of your cannabis plant by mimicking the effects of an outdoor breeze.
Some people copy the large legal greenhouse growers in the USA and fit an extraction fan to pump humid stale air out of the greenhouse. This can be combined with a carbon filter to remove any cannabis aroma from the exhausted air.
How large do cannabis plants get inside a greenhouse?
If the greenhouse grower can get good soil for his plants and (most importantly of all) start with good cannabis seed genetics then the plants can grow into true monsters by the end of the grow season. The greenhouse grower can see cannabis plants reach sizes rarely seen indoors. Many greenhouse growers have grown single plants that have filled small greenhouses and produced several hundred grams of top quality weed per plant. Good quality cannabis seeds may cost more but they deliver far superior results in the long run.
As previously mentioned, some greenhouses have windows that can be opened to let any monster plants grow out. But a safer option is to use cord to try to ‘tie down’ the plants if they do start growing massively. The photos above show what can happen when a prolific strain starts to turn into a large bush that wants to grow as high as a small tree. The plant simply becomes too tall for the greenhouse. The soil conditions, temperatures and good care resulted in a plant that was thriving as if in the jungle rather than a garden in northern Europe.
Of course this type of extravagant growth rarely occurs when cheap cannabis seeds are grown in poor quality conditions with badly prepared soil. Growing a monster plant requires properly dug, well prepared nutritious soil at the start of the season. The pictures show large cannabis plants simply outgrowing the greenhouse, delivering heavy harvests for the grower. The Dutch Passion Shaman variety was bred specifically for outdoor/greenhouse conditions. Shaman combines some incredibly potent skunk/purple skunk parents with vigorous growth. Shaman eventually grew into a bush 3 metres tall and two meters wide, winning the Dutch Passion photo contest award in 2006. In this case the grower was forced to remove a pane of glass from the greenhouse as his resin soaked Shaman outgrew the tall greenhouse. The plant was too strong to be tied down, and security was not a problem on this particular grow so the grower went on to harvest an abundance of top quality greenhouse grown cannabis, despite the obvious size problems of the Shaman.
Cannabis genetics and greenhouse growing
When growing with good cannabis seeds in a greenhouse remember that some plants will grow as wide as they are tall especially if they have plenty of sun, good soil and ample root space. Remember too that a few seeds could provide a years worth of medication or recreational weed, so regard the cannabis seed as an investment and get a good variety. Cannabis seeds are one area of your life where you really don’t need to compromise. Look at the Dutch Passion website for some cannabis cup winning options. Proven varieties for greenhouse growing, especially at northern latitudes, includes Shaman, Durban Poison, Passion #1, Frisian Dew and Frisian Duck. These varieties have been used by numerous repeat growers over many years. They have passed stringent standards for potency, quality, pest/mold resistance and vigour. Growing these feminized seeds in a greenhouse will deliver excellent results.
Early flowering using a ‘darkening system or extending your growing season
Some growers equip their greenhouses with a ‘darkening’ system. Essentially this involves using dark blinds/curtains to create blackout conditions inside even when it is sunny outside. This can be used to simulate short summer days and ‘force’ the plants to start flowering and producing buds much sooner than normal. Although this involves extra expense it is one way of accelerating greenhouse weed production. The grower simply uses the blinds to reduce daily light exposure to 12 hours (or less) and the plants in the greenhouse respond by flowering.
Greenhouses also have the benefit of allowing the grower to extend the end of the growing season. Cold sunny autumn days on the outside become warm and comfortable in a greenhouse and allow plants to ripen properly. Pests are normally easy to control in a greenhouse, and so long as the greenhouse is secure it is a great and simple way of growing.
Many also grow cannabis seeds in polytunnels these days, the benefits of the poly tunnels being much the same as greenhouses. Polytunnels protect against the worst of the elements, keeping the plants safe and giving a long growing season. Polytunnels come in a wide range of sizes and they also offer privacy to the grower.
Greenhouse growing of cannabis has lower ongoing costs compared to indoor growing, where large amounts of cash are spent on grow lights and ongoing electricity use. By contrast, growing cannabis in a greenhouse only requires a seed and some substrate to grow in. The sun provides free energy for your plants to grow.
Greenhouse grown cannabis versus outdoor cannabis
Many outdoor cannabis growers eventually upgrade to greenhouse growing. The greenhouse allows more potent crops, higher THC levels and a better terpene profile due to the protection offered by a greenhouse. Whether you are growing with a large commercial budget, or a small greenhouse with just one or two plants, the quality improvements are always important and appreciated. Because greenhouse grown cannabis plants grow in a more sheltered environment the plants are healthier, enjoying more optimized conditions. The plants can grow without damage from extreme cold, storm/hail damage and wind damage. Pests and disease are easy to prevent and deal with in a greenhouse. A greenhouse protects your plants from the worst of the weather, hail and torrential rain. Greenhouses protect your plants from cold weather, creating a warmer environment where your buds can ripen and mature under conditions which are often far superior to outdoor weather.
Growing cannabis seeds in a greenhouse with artificial lighting
Even in warm climates, many greenhouse growers supplement the natural light with additional light on cloudy days. These days LED grow lights can be used to provide additional illumination which can be automatically switched on when ambient daylight (PPFD) levels drop too low. Growers in cool climates, such as Scandinavia may prefer to use supplemental HPS lighting which offers both light and heat to the plants. Supplemental lights also allow you to extend the natural sunlight hours. This would allow you to grow autoflower seeds in a greenhouse and have 18-20 hours of daily light. Artificial light would be used to give the autoflower plants their preferred 20 hours of daily light with optimized yields and quality.
The experienced grower can use the benefits of a greenhouse to grow larger plants, with improved quality and a longer life cycle. Plants can be started earlier and harvested later thanks to the extra protection offered by the greenhouse. During the cultivation process the conditions inside a greenhouse are better than those outside, promoting improved plant health, superior yields and better potency. Outdoor grown plants, without these benefits, usually offer lower yields and quality.
Where to locate your greenhouse?
If you get a greenhouse it pays to think carefully about the location. When it comes to security, always think about a location which makes it difficult for neighbours or the public to see/smell your crop. Also consider your local climate. If you are living in a cool climate it pays to locate the greenhouse where it will receive maximum sunlight for as much of the day as possible. If you live in a hot, desert climate you may want to consider locating the greenhouse under some trees which will shade the greenhouse during the hottest hours of the day in mid-summer. Mediterranean greenhouse growers may wish to place their greenhouse in a cooler, northern part of the garden where some shade may be present. Remember that when temperatures reach 40-45ºC the temperatures become damaging.
Many greenhouse growers also arrange a hosepipe/water connection near their greenhouse. This simplifies the process of getting water to your plants. The last thing you need on a hot day is numerous long walks from your house to the greenhouse with a watering can.
Greenhouse options for cannabis growers
Greenhouses are available in a wide range of sizes and budgets. The lowest cost ones use a flexible transparent plastic mesh sheet which fits over a small plastic/metal pole frame. These can cost as little as €20 but can only fit a single plant inside. Some greenhouses are designed to be leant against an outside wall of the house. Heat from the house helps keep the greenhouse warm. Greenhouses are also available for people that live in an apartment and have a small balcony. Polycarbonate greenhouses use toughened ‘unbreakable’ transparent plastic panels instead of glass, these are useful if you are worried about safety or have small children. Whatever your budget and space, somewhere there is a greenhouse for you.
Growing cannabis in a greenhouse. Easy and effective cannabis growing
Growing cannabis in a greenhouse is a simple and cost effective way to be self sufficient in your cannabis needs. Greenhouse growing seems to be a rapidly expanding pastime amongst cannabis growers of all backgrounds in a wide range of countries.
The more professional greenhouse grower will take care to introduce new, good quality soil/fertilizer each year and keep the greenhouse clean and tidy to minimise potential for pests and disease. Some greenhouse growers use strategically placed fencing and shrubs to make the greenhouse inaccessible to unwanted visitors and invisible to prying eyes. Greenhouses are cheap to buy. You can buy small low cost plastic ones for not much more than a hundred euros. Even cheaper ones are available with plastic covers. They are available everywhere and come in any shape/size required for all budgets. Some of the modern polycarbonate greenhouses are also opaque giving instant privacy and have lockable doors. What more could you need in your back garden? Remember that poor quality cannabis seeds can’t produce connoisseur quality cannabis, no matter how well you grow them. Invest in the best cannabis seeds you can get from a company with a proven reputation, and enjoying growing your own cannabis in a greenhouse.
30 Comments . Leave new
Thanks for the wisdom Dutch Passion, trying to prevail over the bad weather now in UK with some of your Frisian Dew. Closed up my greenhouse letting a good air supply breeze through some openings and one hole at the top for rain water to drip down. Wish me luck !
We always hope for one of those late summer periods during the end of flowering, but we’re not always that lucky.
But Frisian Dew should be able to handle some harsh conditions. So we hope you still end up with some great results! Good luck!
Nice info!! I clear my doubt here. Keep sharing such info with guys. And also get more information about cannabis here, https://420expertadviser.com/grow-lights/mars-hydro-600w-review/
Hi there Dutch passion, what is the best feed to put into your plant? Cherrs
We advice biotabs for your plants, super easy organic nutrients which will make your babies happy!
Hi, for a reason I have to move my indoor Plants almost 2 weeks at the end of the flowering period (12h ) outside where they get 11 hours direct sunlight..is it safe? are they gonna go back on vegetative grow again?
Thanks for your advice
This will surely bring some stress to your plants. When you move them outside do they get more than 12 hours of sunlight (not direct but in total)?
Because if they go to an environment where they will have longer days they will go in to vegetative state again and you do not want this if your plant is finishing up flowering.
I am new at this. My plant has reached the top of my outdoor greenhouse. It is still in veg. stage Would it stress the plant if I remove the greenhouse? I has two doors that are open, so the plant has been getting a lot of direct sunlight.
If the temperatures are not too low outside without a greenhouse this should be no problem and should not give a lot of stress to your plant.
How many plants autoflowering per square
meter I can put in greenhouse ?
We advice around 4 autoflowers per square meters so they have enough room to grow big
help ! I am at week 12 of auto flowers in a GH – but I think the grow has stalled ? super early signs of buds for the last 3 weeks but then nothing ? Started in June. Super bushy and good looking but no bud growth ? Any ideas ? should I start with some bloom nutes ?
After 12 weeks you should definately have some bud production. If you want you can send us over some pictures so we can assist you better. Please send them to [email protected] with some information about your grow.
My plants are pushed up against the glass after two prunes will this effect the plants when they flower?
If the buds are against the glass you have a high chance of bud rot because there is not enough air flow through the buds.
Will my plants still ripen in a opaque green house. Do I need a light in there. They are about 2 weeks from Harvest. But, we are getting down to 12 to 22 degrees Fahrenheit at night
If you could give them some supplemental lighting that would be great. Your plants will have a hard time with these temperatures and with some extra light you can make it a successful harvest
Is it possible to grow cannibis in a green house using a tinted plastic material or polycarbonate that isn’t crystal clear?
It should be possible, but sunlight is very important for your plants. Sufficient light penetration should be possible with your plastic material. Do you know if other plants grow under this material?
I have just received my californian orange seeds thankyou for your fast delivery I have ordered a plastic greenhouse and will be using pots do I germinate them inside my house first ? My garden gets very hot with sun from 9am to 7pm in summer
It is indeed best to germinate them in your house because there the seeds will have a stable environment and temperature.
In the first stage after the seedlings germinate you should be careful with direct sunlight because it can damage them.
Hello, i have Auto Think Different in greenhouse in pot, but i dont know if direct sunlight avaible if better to stay in greenhouse or take pot to direct sunlight as much possible sometimes we have there also 30C, what do you think?Im from Czech Republic.thx for answer and sorry for bad english.
If your pots are mobile, I advice you to move them out of the Greenhouse and in to the sunlight when you have extremely hot temperatures.
If the temperature is around 20/25 degrees Celsius you can leave them in your greenhouse as long as you ventilate enough
Hello friends I live in a country where the use of marijuana is against the law. I intend to plant a greenhouse. Thank you for teaching me zero to one hundred planting jobs.
I have started plants in a tent 18/6 lighting in Feb have taken out of Tent and put on dressing table before putting them in greenhouse, will they survive?
To give a good answer we would need some extra information like the conditions that you have for your plant on the dressing table. Could you please send us an email at [email protected] with some explanation and perhaps some pictures? Than we can help you from there.
At what stage should plants be moved during the day time from window sill to either greenhouse or garden? (In southern England where it is pretty warm now). I have the option of both garden or greenhouse
Around 2 weeks after your seedlings have come out of the ground you can put them outside. Be careful in the beginning with too much direct sunlight, the seedlings cannot handle too much in the beginning. At the very start you can also take them inside at nighttime to protect them even more.
Should I use shade cloth over my greenhouse in the hot summer days?
Ventilation is really important in a hot greenhouse, if it really gets too hot you can use a shade cloth as well
As marijuana is legalized in more places, here’s how to grow your own
When it comes to growing his own marijuana, Chris Haynie leaves little to chance.
Inside a grow room in Richmond, Haynie has erected a 42-square-foot tent that houses four marijuana plants, the state’s legal limit for personal cultivation. Haynie’s setup is high-tech: An irrigation system releases moisture on a precise schedule; a motorized LED light timed to mimic the rising and setting of the sun moves along a rail across the top of the tent; and a monitoring system tracks key metrics of plant health, such as the moisture level and pH of the soil, and relays the data to an app on Haynie’s phone. If the system senses urgent problems, he’ll receive a warning text. Haynie’s friends are used to him bolting from a room mid-conversation to tend to his plants.
Get the full experience. Choose your plan ArrowRight
Haynie, a bearded 38-year-old cannabis connoisseur who tattooed his thumbs with green ink, is no horticulture amateur. As the co-founder of Richmond’s Happy Trees Agricultural Supply, he’s part of a growing number of experts who are making a business out of teaching people how to grow their own pot. Recent laws in Virginia allow for limited cultivation of marijuana for personal use, and Happy Trees, which Haynie launched in 2019 with Josiah Ickes, 36, specializes in setting up growers to cultivate the plant.
Marijuana remains illegal on a federal level, but many states have abolished restrictions, creating a patchwork of rules throughout the country. Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have passed laws allowing recreational use. Virginia legalized home cultivation in July 2021; under the law, people 21 and older may possess up to an ounce of marijuana. It remains illegal, though, to buy or sell it in any form — including seeds — until 2024, when retail sales are expected to begin.
People still find ways to access seeds. When D.C. legalized the possession of limited amounts of marijuana in 2015, the District lacked the authority to create a legal economic market for sales. So cannabis activists organized seed giveaways throughout the city. At one early event in 2015, lines stretched for blocks.
The regulatory scheme also established what has become an expansive “giveaway market,” in which Washingtonians have used a loophole to provide harvested marijuana as a gift in exchange for the purchase of a legal product. Companies sell cookies, tea or paintings with a baggie of “free” marijuana on the side. One company sells motivational speeches delivered by a person who travels by bicycle.
How to Grow Marijuana: The Essential Guide for Beginners
Growing your own marijuana is possible, whether you’d like to cultivate an outdoor garden or choose an indoor grow medium. Learn how to grow marijuana indoors and outdoors in our step-by-step guide for beginner cultivators.
Determine Legal Status
One key step to take before starting your marijuana garden is to determine the legal status of cannabis cultivation in your state, including how many plants you are allowed to grow . Some states place a limit on just two cannabis plants, while others may allow as many as 16. Stay informed of the ever-changing laws in your jurisdiction.
How Much It Costs
The start-up costs for cannabis cultivation include materials like nutrition for the plant, grow lights (if indoors), basic gardening tools, and more. For some people, the start-up costs may range in the thousands, but if you’re on a budget, it’s possible to start growing marijuana at home for as little as $200 .
Choose a Location: Indoors vs. Outdoors
Many new growers choose to cultivate marijuana indoors, for practical reasons including discretion. However, there are benefits and drawbacks to indoor and outdoor set-ups.
Growing Marijuana Outdoors
Growing cannabis outdoors can be quite the challenge, even if nature’s doing a lot of the work (i.e. providing light, water, and soil, although you can use your own pots and soil as well). This is because you need to take many more variables into consideration, and you also have to be in the right geographic location to grow cannabis outdoors to its best. Those who do not live in equatorial, Mediterranean, or temperate climates with a well-defined spring and summer season may find it extremely difficult if not impossible to grow outdoors.
However, there are few things more satisfying than cannabis grown outdoors, and many people prefer the effects it can give. Also, if you live in the right environment, have an understanding of your local climate, and have the right space to do so, growing cannabis outdoors can become rather simple, on top of producing bumper yields due to the amount of space available. Assuming there are no drastic weather changes, you merely have to watch your cannabis grow and do nothing but give your plants a little TLC along the way (e.g. a little pruning).
Best Strains for Outdoor Growing
- Early Queen / Early Skunk Feminized
- Gorilla Glue #4 Autoflower
- Kyle’s Skywalker OG
- Skywalker Haze by Dutch Passion
- Nikki and Swami’s Lemon OG Feminized
- Steve’s Dream Queen Feminized
- CBD Mango Feminized
Growing Marijuana Indoors
Indoor growing is usually best suited for beginners as you can control all the variables. Using soil or a mixture of coco coir and organic nutrients as the medium, a set of 400- to 600-watt lights, a grow tent and some pots, you can successfully grow cannabis indoors without too much hassle.
Best Strains for Indoor Growing
Here are some of the best strains for beginners interested in growing cannabis indoors:
- Northern Lights (NL)
- Skunk #1
- Blue Dream
- Cheese/Blue Cheese
- OG Kush
In addition to these hybrid strains, autoflowering strains and ruderalis strains are recommended for novice indoor growers.
Using a Greenhouse
The greenhouse can meld together the advantages of both indoor and outdoor cannabis growing. Greenhouses can be covered to produce true dark time, and the cannabis is kept in a protective environment which can reduce the chances of pests (though not as much as an indoor grow).
On top of this, greenhouses allow in natural light, allowing for the full development of the cannabis plant’s cannabinoids and terpenes. Greenhouse growing also uses far fewer resources compared to indoor grows, so less energy is spent on lights and fans. The enclosed environment can also make it easier to hide from prying eyes, and you can use other plants to camouflage the cannabis.
However, greenhouse grows are prone to the seasons, and a good amount of natural light is required. Temperatures and humidity levels are also harder to control. Still, those who want to step into the world of outdoor growing, and who are in a suitable environment, ought to consider a greenhouse.
Decide How You’ll Grow
You have a number of choices for a cannabis grow medium. Here are some of the most common ways to cultivate cannabis, along with the advantages and disadvantages of each.
With outdoor grows, you can use natural soil and sunlight to do most of the work, and many people prefer the results of outdoor cannabis with regard to its smell, taste, and effect. However, growing outdoors can be legally risky, and there are many more variables to consider.
Indoor grows can also utilize soil, and many prefer to use soil as it is a natural source of nutrients and you do not need to add too many extra nutrients from other sources. Good soil is also quite readily available at many gardening stores.
- Cannabis has better taste, smell, and effects.
- Weather issues.
- Legal issues.
- Wild animals.
- Requires careful balance of water and sunlight.
- Potentially only two yields per year (depending on your climate).
- Overall challenging.
Coco coir is a natural fiber extracted from the outer husk of the coconut. It’s a growing medium that combines elements of both soil and hydroponic growing. It can be combined with soil or used on its own and is an ideal growing medium for beginners.
- Excellent water retention.
- Reliable drainage.
- Lots of air.
- Roots spend less time searching for food, as you are providing it via nutrient water.
- Coco coir has a neutral pH range of 5.2-6.8 — ideal for growing cannabis.
- Reduces the risk of pests, fungi, and other harmful pathogens attacking your plant.
- Environmentally friendly, and can be reused if prepared properly for your next growth cycle.
- Coir bales are often treated with chemicals to ensure that they don’t get infected with harmful pathogens, so read the label or check the manufacturer’s website for information on the coir you’re using to ensure that the chemicals won’t interfere with your plant growth cycle
- You’ll need coco coir-specific nutrients to boost calcium, magnesium, and iron levels in the plant
- Some types of coco coir may have a high salt content due to being rinsed in saltwater – ensure the coir has been rinsed with fresh water if this is the case
- You’ll need to feed the plant nutrients yourself
Hydroponics is where you grow cannabis using mineral nutrient solutions in a water solvent. Basically, the plant will usually be in a pot surrounded by an inert growing medium (e.g. perlite, vermiculite, clay aggregate, gravel, or sand) and have a nutrient solution pumped through the inert material and into the plant (continuous-flow solution culture). In some methods, the plant is kept in a reservoir of nutrients (static solution culture).
- Large, powerful yields.
- Precise nutrient requirements.
- Knowledge of different strains is required for optimum growth.
- Aerated water is necessary.
- Better-suited to experienced growers.
Aeroponics is similar to hydroponics in many ways, except the plant’s roots are kept in an aerated chamber saturated with fine drops of nutrient solution. The roots are periodically wetted with a fine mist of atomized nutrients.
Aeroponic grows require fewer nutrients and less water compared to hydroponic grows, and unlike hydroponically-grown plants can be transferred to soil mediums without shocking the plant.
- High, efficient yields.
- High initial cost.
- Constant supervision is necessary.
- Excessive time and stress.
Aquaponics is a combination of hydroponics and aquaculture which is the growing of fish and other aquatic creatures in a tank. Aquaponics is a symbiotic environment where the aquatic animals’ discharge or waste feeds the plants growing on top, and the plants remove toxic levels of waste from accumulating in the water. Aquaponics systems have been in use for many years, but it is arguable that they weren’t perfected until relatively recently.
- Low water usage.
- No plant feed needed.
- Little to no chemical usage.
- Less susceptibility to pests and diseases.
- Cannabis plants grow quite well in aquaponic systems.
- Smaller area, so fewer plants.
- High electricity outputs.
- High maintenance.
- More complex, so a greater number of points of failure.
- High costs.
Growing Marijuana From Seeds Step by Step
There are several steps to follow to grow marijuana from seeds. After you select your marijuana seeds, you will carry the cannabis plant through each stage of growth, from germination through to harvest.
Spray two to four sheets of paper towels (kitchen towels) with some water so it’s damp but not soaking, put a seed in between them and onto a plate, and wait for a taproot to emerge. Keep the room temperature somewhere between 70 and 90˚F.
Transfer the germinated seed to a small pot of soil or whatever growth space you are using. During the seedling stage, it will produce two leaves that open outward from the stem to start receiving sunlight.
This is when you start seeing a mini cannabis plant. Seedlings should be kept at 77˚F with a humidity of around 60%. Cannabis likes a light cycle of 18-hours of white light per day once the leaves have emerged. Use a nitrogen-rich fertilizer at this point.
By this time, you will need to transfer your mature seedling to a larger pot. You can tell when the seedling is ready to be transferred, as the roots will outgrow the plant pot. Cannabis plants grow rapidly at this stage as they take on more nutrients and carbon dioxide.
You can also do some vital checks at this point. One is checking for the sex of the plant. Female plants will start developing two white pistils. Male plants grow pollen sacs. If you see these sacs, remove the plant from the vicinity before it pollinates the females and ruins your harvest.
Keep the temperature between 68 and 77˚F, and the humidity between 50% and 70%. 18 hours of light and 6 hours of dark. Light wattage of around and 125 Watts. Cannabis ruderalis skips this stage entirely and moves onto the next stage (flowering). More nitrogen (N) than phosphorus (P) and potassium (K).
This is when the vegetative plant is fully mature and is ready to start growing buds/flowers, and you begin to see the trichomes (little white hairs that are the powerhouse of cannabinoid and terpene production).
Transfer the plant to a larger pot. The plant now needs 12 hours of light and 12 hours of dark. Indicas tend to finish flowering in about six to nine weeks and Sativas 10 to 14 weeks. Most growers tend to go for a maximum of 14 weeks’ flowering.
Prevent light leaks during dark times during the flowering stage. Light leaks can cause the plant to get stressed and produce both male and female organs (called “hermaphroditism”, “hermying”, “hermied” or “hermies”), even in feminized varieties.
Keep the temperature somewhere between 68 and 77˚ F, with the humidity at around 50 percent. Stop giving the plant nitrogen (N) now, but up the intake of phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). Once the plant is in the last week of flowering, flush the soil with distilled water and refrain from adding any more nutrients.
Once your plant is mature enough, it needs to be chopped and dried. But first, you need to know when to chop the plant. Some say you should harvest the plants when 70 to 90 percent of the pistils have browned.
Others look at the color of the trichomes, which start off white, then turn amber, and finally brown. Many say the ideal time to harvest is when around half (50 percent) of trichomes are amber. Too clear, and it can be too soon (but can produce a more energetic effect). Too brown, and the cannabinoids lose their potency (although some may prefer slightly less psychoactivity).
Dry your cannabis plants in a dry room away from sunlight for about seven to 14 days. Your cannabis plant will be ready for chopping into smaller buds for jarring once the plant stem snaps when you bend them. This is an extremely important stage, as a good drying process will prevent your cannabis from developing mold or mildew.
After you’ve chopped, pruned, and dried your cannabis, it is usable, but it is not at its best. You will want to put your cannabis into a mason jar (no more than 3/4 full) with an airtight seal. You will then leave it in there for two weeks to one month, opening the jar once a day to let the cannabis breathe. This will break down the sugars and chlorophyll in the bud/flower, and you will get a far more flavorsome product with a well-defined effect.
Growing Tips and Tricks
There are many helpful strategies you can employ to help your cannabis plant thrive. You can even save a dying cannabis plant . Here are some basic tips for growing cannabis to help you get the most abundant yield possible:
- Do your research and choose the right strain.
- Monitor daily conditions, especially light and temperature.
- Provide adequate water.
- Understand the life cycle of the cannabis plant.
- Harvest at the optimal time.
How to Store Homegrown Marijuana
Storing your homegrown cannabis properly is essential to keep the harvest fresh.
Airtight containers stored in dark, cool places are ideal. Be sure to avoid exposing your cannabis to excessive light, heat, or moisture, as these elements will degrade the freshness and potency of the plant.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to fully grow a marijuana plant?
From seedling stage to harvest, the approximate time to grow a marijuana plant is 16 weeks, but this timeframe will differ depending on the strain you are growing as well as your grow medium.
Is it legal to grow marijuana?
State laws vary widely, so investigate the legal status of growing marijuana in your area before you plant your first seeds.
Is it better to grow marijuana inside or outside?
Growing cannabis indoors is easier for many beginner cultivators, as you are able to control the conditions. Growing cannabis outdoors poses more threats, including pest infestations and challenging weather conditions.
Explore the world of cannabis with a medical marijuana card. Leafwell’s doctors are here to meet with you online in our virtual clinic and get you started on the process.
Article written by
Tina Magrabi Senior Content Writer
Tina Magrabi is a writer and editor specializing in holistic health. She has written hundreds of articles for Weedmaps where she spearheaded the Ailments series on cannabis medicine. In addition, she has written extensively for the women’s health blog, SafeBirthProject, as well as print publications including Destinations Magazine and Vero’s Voice. Tina is a Yale University alumna and certified yoga instructor with a passion for the outdoors.
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