Being a cannabis consumer growing your own weed can be one of the most rewarding aspects. It is vital that you know and understand that when it comes to Knowing how to grow high-quality cannabis is a treasured skill. Our growing marijuana 101 guide can help you. Learn how to grow a marijuana plant from start to finish… Everything you ever wanted to know about growing your first weed plant, but were too afraid to ask. Here's a step-by-step guide.
Average Grow Period for Sativa , Indica , and Hybrid Strains of Cannabis
Being a cannabis consumer growing your own weed can be one of the most rewarding aspects. It is vital that you know and understand that when it comes to growing all strains aren’t created equal.
Sativa, Indica, and hybrid strains all grow differently and have varying degrees of time it takes to flower. Are you aware of the different growing periods for each? It is important to know the average grow period and differences of growing each strain.
The Life Cycle of Cannabis Plants
Once your seeds have been sown and your cannabis plant has become a little baby seedling. After that; it will experience two major stages of life; known as the vegetative stage (when plants are growing) and the flowering stage (where plants are producing buds).
The Seedling stage:
Can last anywhere from 3-6 weeks.
The Vegetative Stage
This is where your plant begins to grow, and grow, producing those big jagged leaves cannabis is famous for.
Did you know a healthy pot plant can grow up to 2 inches in one day if you did everything right. Whether sativa, indica, or hybrid, this is the time when the roots of your cannabis plant continue to expand, and your plant continues to grow larger.
The length of time a plant is in the vegetative stage is completely dependent on its exposure to light. Growing cannabis indoors, means you can manipulate your light cycle, essentially keeping plants in the vegetative state as long as you want. To keep a plant in vegetative without flowering, it
Should receive under 18 hours of light and 6 hours of darkness. The longer your plants stay in a vegetative state, the bigger your plants will get, so you will need space.
The flowering stage of cannabis is when your plants start to produce the flowers that will eventually become the buds you harvest. It’s also the stage of a cannabis plant occurs after light exposure’s reduced. Where cannabis plants will stay in veg forever if they’re kept under light for 18 hours a day, switching the light cycle to 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness will initiate the flowering stage.
The average cannabis flower time is 6-10 weeks and sometimes longer. The length of time plants are in flower depends on the type of cannabis you’re growing as well as the conditions you’re growing in.
The normal grow period for Sativa , Indica , and Hybrid :
Sativa Flowering Time to Fully Grown Plant
Sativa strains of cannabis usually grow: long, tall, and lanky. Secondly; sativa stem is from regions near the equator, where the length of the day rarely changes regardless of what time of year it happens to be. Equal days and equal nights have led sativa strains to grow in short, consistent photoperiods. This simply means that the height of a sativa plant increases during both vegetative and flower periods.
Pure sativa strains can grow to heights of 20 feet due to growing so tall, indoor growers generally stick to indica strains instead. Sativa typically has a shorter vegetative cycle, but once the plant begins to flower it can take up to 10-12 weeks until it is ready for harvest. A pure sativa strain take 16 weeks to finish in flower.
The growing period for pure sativa strains is around six months.
Indica Flowering Time to Fully Grown Plant
Popular choice for many experienced growers. Indica strains grow short and fat and typically yield more than their tall, lanky sativa counterparts. They are also known to have shorter flowering periods than sativas. Because indicas have a shorter flower period, indoor growers can have more annual cycles. The flowering period for indica strains is typically around 8 weeks. If you’re growing indica, you can expect your plants to be in flower for 8-12 weeks.
Hybrid Flowering Time to Fully Grown Plant
Hybrids are a blend of sativa and indica cannabis strains. Also, hybrid cannabis strains are a blend of both indica and sativa, when cultivated they typically take on traits of one or the other. Much like sativa strains, hybrid strains can grow quickly during the vegetative stage. When it comes time to flower however, they may take on the shorter flower periods common to pure indica strains. Typically, hybrid strains will stay in flower for 6-10 weeks until ready for harvest.
By growing indoors, you manipulate your environment a bit more. Overall, the average growing period for all types of cannabis, sativa, indica, and hybrids included is around 3-6 months depending on the environment you’re growing in. To stay updated on the Medical Marijuana Cannabis laws and regulations check out the DHSS website.
How To Grow High Quality Plants
Are you in one of the many states that has legalized cannabis? If yes, then you may have found yourself with a new crop to plant in the garden this summer. Growing a new crop can be challenging even for veteran gardeners, but with a little help from your friends at Impello you can avoid some of the common mistakes that lead to a poor crop.
Pick Reliable Cannabis Seed Banks
When purchasing cannabis seeds, you might often choose the cheapest ones to save some bucks. However, the quality may be compromised, and you’ll end up spending more than you have to. That’s why you should pick cannabis seeds with the best genetics. Conduct your research so that you can buy from trusted cannabis seed banks. Cloning can be a good start too — just make sure to get the clones from reputable sources.
Provide Enough Lighting
One essential element for growing cannabis is proper lighting. It’s not only the quality that will be affected but also the speed and size. While marijuana grown outdoors gets natural light, indoor cannabis needs extra care. This means that your usual lightbulbs are not enough to make up for the absence of lights.
Invest in more premium lights, hoods, and reflectors. Get high-intensity (HID) lights, like high-pressure sodium (HPS) or T5 fluorescent lights. You can also use LEDs to save on energy costs. Just make sure to choose full-spectrum LED lights that allow you to modify the wavelength based on the marijuana plant’s needs as it grows.
Enhance Water Quality
Dissolved solids from water can cause adverse effects on your marijuana plant. For instance, domestic water contains chlorine and fluoride. While they will not kill the plant, maximum yield can’t be expected. So, consider using a reverse osmosis system or filtration. Make sure to change the filters regularly. It’s also best to test the water from time to time to check whether the parts per million (PPM) of dissolved solids remain the same.
Secure Enough Spacing and Ventilation
Wondering how to grow high-quality marijuana? Allow enough spacing between the cannabis buds. Make sure no leaves or branches block the airflow. You can apply low stress training (LST) where you tie the plants down while they’re still young to ensure that the light is well-dispersed, improving the plant’s overall health. Using other tools like filters and fans will also help you maintain the airflow.
Provide Sufficient Amount of Nutrients
One of the 10 steps to growing weed is providing just the right amount of nutrients per growth stage.
Tribus Original is the perfect seedling to harvest cannabis growing products on the market today and it’s very versatile. Usage rates are 1 ml per gallon and with a price tag under $60 for a 250 ml bottle, and a little goes a long way. Because it consists of beneficial bacteria you really can’t overfeed your cannabis plants with it, and it creates stronger plants from the inside out. For best results apply it to your grow media at least once a week. Tribus is compatible with all grow media, including hydroponics and even field application.
In addition to Tribus, these nutrients are necessary when feeding cannabis plants.
Nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus may be the three main nutrients that your cannabis plants need. However, they also need other nutrients like:
During the flowering stage, various supplements can be beneficial too. These include:
Prune Cannabis Properly
While low stress training does not involve cutting, you have to perform pruning to promote yield increase in plants. It also helps you get rid of buds that are not in their best condition. This way, buds become fewer but larger and healthier. Consider removing the lowest branches to ward off pests. To ensure that the plants recover and grow faster, prune during the vegetation stage.
Keep the Right Room Temperature and Humidity
Cannabis can grow well under several conditions, but you need to ensure that the room’s temperature and humidity satisfy the weed’s needs. Even small changes can affect its growth, so focus on the temperature and humidity in each stage.
For seedlings and clones, the preferred humidity levels range from 65% to 80%. This way, they can take up enough water and have stronger roots. In terms of temperature, keep it at 25 degrees Celsius or 77 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 21 degrees Celsius or 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the night.
In the vegetative stage, moderate humidity levels are necessary. Every week, you can decrease it by 5%. Around 40% to 70% will work. Given that the roots are stronger during this period, they can absorb more water, so lowered humidity levels are preferred. For the temperature, you can raise it a bit — around 71 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and around 64 degrees Fahrenheit to 75 degrees Fahrenheit at night.
Reducing the humidity levels to 40% to 50% is needed during the flowering stage. You can make it 55% but never 60%. Also, the temperature can decrease to 68 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, in the latter part of the flowering period or one to two weeks prior to harvest, reduce humidity levels from 30% to 40%.
Meanwhile, the temperature can fall between 64 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit or 18 to 24 degrees Celsius with lights on and 16 to 20 degrees Celsius for several nights before harvest. To monitor the humidity and temperature, use a hygrometer and thermometer.
If you aim to lower the temperature, you can do the following:
- During the day, keep the lights off; during the night, on.
- Add an air conditioning unit. This can also help reduce humidity.
- Use a cool tube if you are growing marijuana with HPS lights.
To raise the temperature, you can:
- Utilize a quality space heater with a thermostat.
- Use grow lights with higher watts.
- At the bottom of your grow room or tent, place a heating mat.
If you want to drop the humidity levels, perform these steps:
- Water your marijuana plants immediately after switching on the lights. Given the quick absorption, humidity levels will decrease.
- Get a humidifier.
- Have an airflow fan upgrade to increase the supply of cool air.
Enhancing humidity levels can be possible through the following:
- Use a humidifier that has enough water reservoir to avoid frequent refills.
- Using a spray bottle, mist your marijuana plants. However, this shouldn’t be done to flowering plants as it can result in bud rot.
- Bring larger plants inside the room. Compared to seedlings, they perspire more, raising the humidity levels in the grow room.
- Consider hanging wet towels inside your grow room.
Maintain Enough CO2
Did you know that providing your marijuana plants with sufficient carbon dioxide (CO2) helps improve their growth by 20%? CO2 is crucial in photosynthesis, where cannabis absorbs light and turns it into energy. Excessive CO2 or a lack of it can be detrimental to your cannabis plants. So, you should know how to provide them with the right CO2 levels. Ideally, it should be above 250 PPM.
To supplement your plants with extra CO2, you can use the following:
- CO2 generator: To produce carbon dioxide, the CO2 generator burns natural gas or propane. It automatically turns on or off if a certain CO2 level is reached. However, burning the gasses can create heat. So, it’s advisable to use one in a larger grow room.
- Compressed CO2: With this option, the manufacturer produces the gas and compresses it into a tank. No heat is produced once gasses are released, so you won’t have issues with the temperature and humidity levels. It can also be set to automatic using a controller. Note, however, that both CO2 generators and compressed CO2 can be relatively costly.
Know When To Harvest the Cannabis Plants
Harvest time keeps growers excited, especially given all the efforts exerted to produce healthy and quality buds. However, cutting them too soon will defeat the purpose and waste all your hard work as the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content will be low. So, harvest them at the right time based on the following indications:
Dry and Cure Cannabis Properly
You may think you’re done once you harvest your cannabis. However, drying and curing are important steps to producing quality and tasty buds. First, drying helps reduce the bud’s moisture content to 15%. It also enables you to maintain its taste and the natural compounds in it, including THC. To dry cannabis properly, follow these steps:
- Cut down your cannabis plants. While most growers prefer to cut off the branches, some want to cut until the base and hang them upside down. Others will also cut off each bud and then place them on a drying rack.
- Trim to remove larger fan leaves. Doing so will contribute to your buds’ improved look. If you’re residing in a place with less than 30% humidity levels, trim fewer leaves.
- Begin the slow drying process. A temperature of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit and 50% humidity is preferred. If it exceeds 80 degrees, the terpene content will go away. While hanging the buds upside down is the most common method, you can use a drying rack or cardboard to lay them out. Generally, you need three to seven days to dry the buds well.
After the drying process, you can now proceed to curing to preserve the plant’s cannabinoids or compounds and terpenes. Simply perform the following:
- Put the cannabis buds into mason jars with a wide opening. Other alternatives include plastic or wooden vessels.
- Secure the container in a dark and dry area. Humidity levels should range from 60% to 65%.
- Check the containers regularly. Open them at least once a day for two weeks. Doing so will remove extra moisture and accommodate fresh air.
While your cannabis should be ready for use in two to three weeks, keeping it for around two months is recommended for maximum results. Commercial grow operations may prefer to use chemicals to hasten production. However, the whole experience of users may be compromised.
There are multiple factors to consider when growing cannabis on your own. However, growing cannabis indoors step by step with our guide above will help you produce quality buds that you’re proud of.
How to Grow Your First Weed Plant
“Growing cannabis in tight spaces is not my usual recommendation,” said Stephen Lipton, the cultivation manager at The Farm Recreational Marijuana Dispensary, an award-winning recreational facility in Boulder, Colorado, specializing in what it calls “craft cannabis.” At any given time, Lipton oversees close to 15,000 plants across seven different facilities in Boulder County. “If you have a really tight space and it gets too hot or too humid, you’re going to have big trouble.”
Despite the hurdles, many first-time growers still choose to cultivate cannabis indoors (which is legal in Alaska, Colorado, Washington D.C. and Oregon), and there are steps to maximize a plant’s chances of succeeding. It all starts with a plant’s genetics. “For your typical closet setup, you’re going to want a plant that stays short,” Lipton said. “A lot of time that means an indica. Sativas are really tall and lanky.” (More on the difference between those two families here.)
While most, if not all, medical and recreational farms cultivate cannabis from seeds, guaranteeing that their plants are free from viruses, most home growers, even those with experience, typically begin with clones — essentially trimmed pieces of female cannabis plants that have been rooted in separate pots. “When most people think of cannabis — you know, what you smoke — they’re thinking about the flowers of female plants,” Lipton said. “When you grow from seeds, half of them will be males. If you’re only going to do one or two plants, you don’t want to waste your time with that stuff.” A clone sourced from a dispensary or a knowledgeable friend guarantees that the plant is female and will eventually produce bud pending proper care. “You can get up to four ounces off the right plant — if you know what you’re doing.”
Even with a healthy clone, however, cultivating cannabis can be a long and arduous process — especially in tight indoor spaces. “A lot of people think growing is easy, but it’s not,” Lipton said. “You have to be really on it. Not everyone has success, obviously.”
For some people, cannabis cultivation is a hobby. Others a life-long passion. But it’s unique in its vast demographic appeal. “Everyone I know grows,” Lipton said. “There are people in their 20s doing it. I know people in their 60s. It’s a fun thing for people. You don’t have to be afraid anymore.” Here are Lipton’s tips on growing your first plant.
Know the law.
It’s important to remember that cultivating even one cannabis plant for personal consumption is felony on the federal level and punishable by up to five years in prison. Meanwhile, four US states — Alaska, Colorado, Washington D.C. and Oregon — have passed local amendments, allowing citizens who are 21 years old and over to grow a limited number of plants without fear of persecution.
Even in our most progressive states, however, the law is far from simple. “In Colorado, it’s now county-specific,” Lipton said. “When the amendment first passed, they said you could grow six plants per person. But now, certain counties and municipalities have come out and said it’s just six per house — there’s no combining plant counts. That means you can have three vegetating and three flowering at any given time.”
Another layer to consider is that cannabis cultivation must happen “out of plain sight.” “You can’t have any odor. If it’s offending people in the neighborhood, then it’s an issue.”
Foster the right growing environment.
Before someone even begins to consider the genetics of their preferred strain, they should first ensure that their apartment is cannabis-friendly. There are five main factors to consider: space, temperature, humidity, the pH of water, and the amount of light.
Space: 3 x 3 x 5 feet, minimum. “The bigger the space, the better. With all the lights, closets get hot,” Lipton said. That said, closets help growers control light pollution when the plant is in its flowering cycle — one of the main reasons home growers favor them over larger spaces, such as living rooms. “If you have a spare bedroom, or a basement even, you can just use that and close the door,” Lipton said.
Temperature: 68 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit. “A tool you should always have is a little temperature gauge,” Lipton said. “They call them hygrometers. They’re cheap and tell you both the temperature and the humidity.”
Relative humidity: 30 to 45 percent. “If you live somewhere humid, you’re probably going to want to buy a dehumidifier,” said Lipton. “In Boulder, we sometimes have to add humidity.” At home, that can be done with a reliable humidifier.
pH of Water: 6.3 to 6.7. “You’ll need a meter that you can stick into your water and tell you the pH,” Lipton said. “You want something between 6.3 to 6.7 pH for watering your plants. That sounds like pretty sophisticated stuff but it’s really not. A lot of times your tap water will be 7.8. You can use what they call pH down. That’s a crucial step.”
Light: 2,200k. “For a closet set up, I would recommend a 175-watt HPS light,” Lipton said. “Some people try to use fluorescent lighting, but I wouldn’t recommend that. You’re just not going to get a very good outcome. Nowadays, HPS lights can just go right into your home outlet, and you’d just need a timer [to set the intervals]. Position the light directly overhead. They can be pretty powerful, so you’re going to want it at least two feet from the top of the canopy [to prevent the plant from overheating].”
Find a healthy clone.
Both medical and recreational dispensaries now sell female cannabis clones, which retail for about $15. Alternatively, it’s commonplace for home growers to gift clones to their friends. “When you get a clone, someone will likely give it to you in a four-inch pot. You’re skipping that whole step of having to germinate seeds. You’re already 10, 14 days ahead of the game and basically ready to plant.”
Plant and maintain the vegetative cycle until the plant is mature.
Cannabis plants yield the highest-quality (and quantity) flowers after maturing. This usually takes about a month to happen. “I recommend planting in a five-gallon Home Depot bucket,” Lipton said. “It’s really important to have proper drainage, so you want to drill some holes in the bottom. The biggest mistake people make is that they overwater and suffocate the roots. Cannabis likes to be watered and dried out before it’s watered again.” During the vegetative cycle, the plant should be exposed to a minimum of 18 hours of light. Remember to open the closet door while the lights are on to prevent the space from heading north of 78 degrees Fahrenheit.
Trigger the flowering cycle.
To understand the flowering cycle, it’s important to remember that cannabis is a plant. And, like most plants, it follows the seasons. To trigger flowering — which will take 55 to 60 days to complete — growers reduce the time plants spend exposed to the light source from 18 hours to 12. “You’re basically telling your plant it’s mid-September,” Lipton said.
Sticking to that schedule is key, he added. “Say you’re at day 30 of the flowering cycle and you come into that closet when it’s supposed to be dark and turn a bunch of lights on. You’re going to throw the whole cycle off and that’s the end of that. It only takes 10 seconds.”
Though the 12-hour interval is fairly universal, knowing exactly when to induce flowering is less clear. For the home grower, it usually comes down to space; the longer one waits to trigger the flowering cycle, the taller their plant will be. A good rule of thumb: cannabis will only continue to grow 30 to 50 percent once the light source is reduced. If the plant is growing in a closet, growers should trigger the flowering cycle, understanding that there must be more than two feet of space between the canopy of the plant throughout the entirety of its life.
Harvest and cure.
After 55 to 60 days, growers begin paying close attention to their plants’ trichomes — the small, bulbous fibers that develop around the flower of the female plant. “Those trichomes will turn from clear to amber,” Lipton said. “They kind of look like red hairs. You know it’s time to harvest when about 10 to 15 percent of the trichomes turn that color.” On average, cannabis plants have a five- to seven-day window of peak harvest time.
To harvest, many growers begin by removing the leaves of the cannabis plant with trim scissors, followed by the buds (using pruners). “We call this bucking,” Lipton said. “Gloves are also extremely important for sanitation reasons as well as to keep your hands from becoming sticky with the resin from the plant.”
The last step involves curing the bud. “Curing is just as important as the growing process,” Lipton added. “We do a slow cure, which means that it takes anywhere from three to six weeks depending on variety.” Temperature and humidity play a large role during cure and must be maintained to ensure a great final product. “Our actual cure process is somewhat of a secret, so I cannot share the fine details,” Lipton said. “But it’s an art form and extremely crucial to our success.” The reason growers cure bud after harvesting is that it creates a smoother smoke and increases its potency. Detailed recommendations for proper curing can be found online, here and here.
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