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DIY: How to Grow Cannabis

Last Updated: December 15, 2021By Jason Levin

Since legalization in some states, growing cannabis has come a long way. It’s exciting and confusing – at the same time. While we all try to sort out the wide variation in cannabis laws, now is the best time to begin growing as a hobby.

Growing cannabis can be fun because you have full control over which strains you grow and which mediums you use., You can also experiment with different growing techniques to counteract low yields due to the number of plants you can grow. If you think you’re too inexperienced, don’t worry! A Pot for Pot is an excellent way to get started. Our all-in-one kit is the best way to learn how to grow a cannabis plant.

Getting Started

Growing Cannabis Seeds

Can I grow cannabis? This is often the first question consumers ask when they are researching how to grow cannabis at home. State laws vary widely when it comes to growing cannabis! Once you’ve confirmed that it is legal for you to grow cannabis in your home state, you’re ready to begin your cannabis-growing journey. 

The first step is the germination, or the process by which a seed sprouts to form a seedling. Specific environmental conditions must be met to allow germination. Choose a method to quickly germinate cannabis seeds that also guarantee each one will grow strong and healthy.

The environment of your growing room significantly impacts the germination of your cannabis seeds. The ideal environment for cannabis seeds to sprout is at room temperature (22°C), with high humidity.

Here’s how to germinate:

Soak seeds in a solution made of water, commercial rooting solution, and hydrogen peroxide (H202) for 12 hours. (A cannabis growing kit from A Pot for Pot comes with a rooting booster.)

A rooting booster encourages root growth. Hydrogen peroxide sterilizes the germination solution so that your seedlings do not contract any diseases.

Once soaked, place the seeds between a thin wet cloth or paper towel on a plate and cover it with plastic wrap. The plastic wrap will help with moisture retention. When the root emerges, carefully plant the seedling in your preferred growing medium and moisten it with a bit of water until it reaches a pH level of 6. Keep the seedling area in a space with a lot of light exposure.

If you’re using an indoor setup, simply put up a few extra grow lights for your seedlings. If you’re growing your seedlings outdoors, find a place that has plenty of sunlight and high humidity.

Whether you grow your cannabis indoors or outdoors, your seedlings will stretch if they don’t receive enough light. Achieving the appropriate light intensity is crucial to your success and can become second nature with practice.

How long does a cannabis plant take to grow?

Aspiring cannabis growers often wonder how long to grow a cannabis plant? or ‘How long does it take to grow cannabis indoors? It ranges from 8.5 weeks to over 7 months. This wide range is due to a variety of factors that affect the growing time. However, the average growing period is 3-4 months.

Seeking a more comprehensive answer for how long to grow cannabis? Several factors can impact the total time it takes for cannabis to fully mature, including cannabis strain, desired yield, and the growing method.

Different cannabis strains have different growing times. They also have differing harvest sizes. From our experience, those with longer growing times have higher yields, which is another variation between strains. It comes down to which strains you want and how long you’re willing to wait to harvest.

Desired yield and growing methods applied to cannabis work hand-in-hand. Main-lining weed adds between 10 days and 2 weeks to the total grow time because the plant needs to recover from topping. For most growers, this is negligible considering the increased yield of the plant. Some growing techniques like bubbleponics shave a few weeks off the total grow time of cannabis while also improving yield. Utilizing the bubbleponics growing method requires experience and special equipment.

Whether you cultivate your cannabis indoors or outdoors also determines how long it takes to grow. Growing cannabis outdoors takes longer than indoors, as it’s more dependent on environmental factors. You can’t influence outdoor conditions, but you can have complete control over indoor setups.

If time isn’t a concern, you can increase their harvest’s drying and curing time for better results. Many experienced cannabis growers practice longer curing methods on their harvest to encourage deeper flavors.

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How to Grow Medicinal Cannabis

The medicinal properties of cannabis have helped countless U.S citizens with a variety of chronic pain and other conditions. Thankfully, growing medicinal cannabis isn’t all that different from growing it for recreational use.

When choosing which strain to cultivate, consider the levels of cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Experienced growers recommend selecting a strain with high THC levels for pain relief and one with high levels of CBD to help with anxiety and other mental health disorders.

As cannabis grows, you need to maintain an environment free from pests and diseases to keep it healthy. As a result, most medicinal cannabis is grown indoors to allow growers to create a sterile environment. This helps them avoid using pesticides excessively while also preventing pests and diseases from infecting the harvest.

Some growing methods can increase the production of trichomes. Trichomes are the tiny resin glands that accumulate on and around the flowers of a cannabis plant as it matures. They contain the cannabinoids and terpenes that give cannabis its flavor and psychoactive effects.

Main-lining and topping are good examples of high-stress training, which increase the yield and help increase the production of trichomes and terpenes, producing a more potent harvest. Experienced growers would recommend first-time growers use grow lights and UVB to stress their plants instead of cutting. It’s safer to stress plants with light than cutting them because cutting cannot be undone, but lights can be adjusted.

Once the cannabis has fully matured, waiting until the right time to harvest maximizes the CBD and THC levels of the harvest. After the cannabis is harvested, it must be dried and cured. To maximize potency, use longer drying and curing methods.

growing marijuana indoors

How to grow cannabis indoors

Benefits of Growing Indoors

When asked how to grow high-quality cannabis, most experienced growers recommend an indoor setup.  They cultivate their cannabis indoors because they have complete control over the environment, allowing them to produce high-quality yields year-round.

Growing Cannabis in Different Mediums

Cannabis grows differently in water versus soil.   Bubbleponics, a hydroponic growing method, allows cannabis plants to grow faster. Hydroponics setups, which allow cannabis to be grown in water, are significantly more expensive than growing cannabis in soil because of the expensive equipment it requires. As a result, it is recommended that aspiring growers master growing cannabis in soil mediums before they begin to explore ‘how to grow hydro cannabis indoors.’ 

Considerations For Growing Cannabis Indoors

Growers need a few things to facilitate an indoor cannabis growing operation. First and foremost, you need space in either an empty room in your house or a grow tent in your backyard. You will also need grow lights (preferably LED UVB lights), a ventilation system, and a fan for improved air circulation. There’s also some sort of irrigation system, nutrients, and soil.

superb soil

How to Grow Cannabis in Soil

The most significant element for growing is the soil it’s grown in. Regular contains beneficial bacteria that help convert organic matter into nutrients. It also contains fungi that form a symbiotic relationship with cannabis plans to help the plant uptake phosphorus and absorb additional moisture and other nutrients. This fungi, called mycorrhiza, also helps prevent water stress in the cannabis plant and allows the root system to grow further.

If you want good soil for your cannabis, avoid getting anything with synthetic fertilizers mixed into it. It’s unsuitable, and it ruins the flavor profile of the harvest. Instead, choose a quality potting soil that provides enough nutrients to carry your plants through most of their lifecycle without needing liquid fertilizer. 

Quality potting soil can be purchased in a local grow shop, or you can make it yourself by combining worm castings, bat guano, and other organic components. Then, the soil must sit for weeks before you mix it with perlite or vermiculite. These elements improve aeration and increase water and nutrient retention. This prevents the plants from becoming rootbound and nutrient deficient.

A Pot for Pot produces premium soil that is suitable for first-time and experienced growers alike. It’s aptly named Superb Soil, and it contains everything your cannabis plants need to grow, except water. 

Can you grow cannabis in any kind of soil?

Cannabis requires rich soil with plenty of organic matter and good drainage. However, there are more resilient strains that can thrive in almost any kind of soil.

Even so, growing cannabis in rich soil helps increase THC and CBD levels while also enhancing its taste.

What is the best soil for growing cannabis?

Cannabis thrives in loamy soil, which holds moisture, is easy to work with, and has good drainage. It also contains a lot of nutrients that cannabis needs to flourish. Good loamy soil is dark and crumbly like A Pot for Pot’s Superb Soil.

Can you reuse soil when growing cannabis?

You can reuse soil to grow cannabis, but it will need to be revitalized to restore the nutrients and bacteria lost during the previous harvest. Reused soil requires aeration, and the roots from the previous grow must be removed. Then, mix in fertilizer - organic matter like bat guano and worm casting to replace the missing nutrients and the beneficial bacteria it needs for the next grow.

Reusing soil isn’t recommended for first timers, and contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t save you much money compared to buying new soil. In some cases, reusing soil runs the risk of excess nutrient levels because it’s difficult to determine which nutrients the soil is missing.

How to grow hydroponic cannabis?

Experienced growers who know how to set up their own hydroponics system and monitor it don’t recommend them for first-time growers. The effort in building the setup and monitoring the plants could be overwhelming for aspiring growers. However, there are advantages to using a hydroponics system - especially the top-fed deep water culture system, also known as ‘bubbleponics.’

Creating your own bubbleponics setup requires a hydroponic reservoir and tray, air-stone and pump, growing medium (perlite), net mesh planting pots, hydroponic-suitable nutrients, root boosters, pH and PPM meters, and a hygrometer. You’ll also need the standard equipment for an indoor setup if you plan to grow indoors. This is recommended because of the odor of cannabis plants.

After setting up your bubbleponics growing station and planting your cannabis, monitor the pH level of the water to ensure an ideal growing environment for your cannabis. A pH level between 5.5 and 5.8 is recommended. Maintaining an optimal temperature is also necessary to promote healthy cannabis. A hygrometer will help you maintain the environment. Keep the temperature around 20°C

Once the cannabis is in its vegetative state, its roots gather in a large mass due to the rooting boosters and nutrients. Keep the roots clean to avoid mold, fungus, and root rot which can irreversibly damage your cannabis plants.

Bubbleponics allows growers to cultivate larger cannabis plants. It is also the main method for how to grow big cannabis plants indoors.

Does cannabis grow faster in soil or hydroponics?

Cannabis grows faster in a hydroponic setup than it does in soil. Hydroponics is a soilless growing medium that directly feeds nutrients into the crop’s roots while it’s submerged in a nutrient-rich solution. As a result, nutrient-hungry cannabis won’t won’t suffer from nutrient deficiency.

Hydroponics is even more effective when combines with rooting boosters. A Pot for Pot offers rooting boosters in each complete pot grow kit. Hydroponically-grown cannabis doesn’t become rootbound when treated with a rooting booster. This growing medium also provides the highest yield compared to soil or any other soilless growing medium.

marijuana growing using LED lights

Lighting Options

There are three types of lights available for growing cannabis: High-Intensity Discharge (HID), fluorescent, and Light Emitting Diode (LED) lights. Each of these lights suits a different style of growing. 

HID lights are industry-standard for lighting large areas. The ballasts and reflectors in HID lights give them the range for large areas. They are known for their output, value, and efficiency. The two types of HID lights that we recommend to large growers are Metal Halide (MH) and High-Pressure Sodium (HPS). MH HIDs are perfect for cannabis in their vegetative phase. HPS HIDs are ideal for the flowering phase of cannabis plants.

If you’re trying to learn how to grow a single cannabis plant indoors, you should purchase fluorescent lights. T5 fluorescent bulbs produce a high output of light with minimal heat. Fluorescent lights are cheaper, but they’re not as efficient, leading to higher electricity bills for the grower.

LED lights are the best for indoor setups because they produce a fuller spectrum of light. As a result, they can emit UV light that causes cannabis to grow more trichomes and terpenes in and around the plant’s buds. This increases both the flavor and the psychoactive effects of the harvest. For the everyday home grower, they’re your best bet. 

Humidity and Temperature

Controlling the humidity and temperature of your indoor cannabis setup can be tricky, but installing the appropriate equipment can help. In the smallest indoor growing setups, such as a grow tent, a ventilation system using fans helps improve air circulation and maintains the temperature. 

Good ventilation helps, but it can’t control the humidity inside the grow room. If the space becomes too humid, investing in a dehumidifier may become necessary. Although dehumidifiers reduce humidity in a room, they also increase the temperature. That’s why experienced indoor growers sometimes use air conditioning units instead of a dehumidifier. 

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How to Grow Cannabis Outdoors

Benefits of Growing Outdoors

Indoor cannabis gardens aren’t cheap. Outdoor growing is inexpensive and easy to do. While growing cannabis outdoors can be challenging in its own right, it’s a lot less technical than most indoor setups.

Growing in a Pot vs. in the Ground

If the soil in the area you’re growing in doesn’t have loamy soil characteristics, grow your plants in a pot.

Considerations when growing outdoors

Growing cannabis outdoors poses its own challenges. The climate, season, and environment can affect cannabis that is grown outdoors more than cannabis grown indoors because you can’t control the elements. Introducing resilient cannabis strains that favor open space and harsher climates can help alleviate some of these concerns. There are even strains that are resistant to mold and fungal infection. You’ll still have to worry about pests, though.

a pot for pot grow kit

How to Choose the Best Pot

If the soil in a site isn’t fit for cannabis cultivation, growing in pots is the next best option. Growing your cannabis in a pot allows you to move your plants around and ensure that each plant gets enough nutrients to grow. Ceramic pots absorb moisture and retain a lower temperature during hotter days; however, they are heavy and difficult to move. As a result, many people save these pots for larger (greater than 4ft cannabis plants)

There are also inexpensive plastic pots, which are great for buying in bulk. The low overhead costs make it the preferred pot for growers with larger yields. Plastic pots also have better drainage than ceramic, and transplanting is easier. However, they lack durability and doesn’t protect against temperature fluctuations.

Fabric pots are the third choice that growers have. They provide better airflow to the roots than both plastic and ceramic. Fabric pots also have excellent drainage for more carefully maintained gardens. These benefits help promote healthy root systems for the cannabis plants. Despite being flexible, fabric pots are much stronger than plastic. As a result, they can be reused for multiple yields.

Even though they’re more expensive than plastic and require more maintenance, fabric pots are a wise investment for any outdoor setup. A Pot for Pot’s Air Pruning Fabric Pot is a great addition to an outdoor cannabis setup.

Protecting Your Plants

When growing cannabis outdoors, growers risk exposing their plants to dangerous elements. Buying mold and mildew resilient strains can help mitigate that risk. However, this doesn’t eliminate the threat from weather conditions, temperature, and pests.

These concerns can be addressed through the use of a DIY greenhouse. Simply drape a large plastic sheet over a basic structure of PBC piping or another sturdy building material. This will protect the cannabis from the outdoor environment and prevent the plants from being overexposed to sunlight. Overexposure to sunlight can cause cannabis to hermie, which is when a plant grows male and female flowers.

You can prevent insects and animals from damaging your plants by installing a wire fence around the greenhouse and growing companion plants with cannabis plants. The wire fence will keep cats and dogs out of your plants, and companion plants like lavender, basil, and peppermint will produce chemicals to deter and kill insects like spider mites.

Companion plants also attract beneficial insects that help eliminate bug infestations. For example, ladybugs control aphid populations, which reproduce quickly and can ruin the quality of a harvest. Growers should adopt a prophylactic approach to prevent infestations before they happen. Once an infestation takes hold, there’s a noticeable drop in the quality of the smokeable harvest.

Maintaining Discretion

The strong odor of cannabis can prevent you from growing it discreetly.  While growing cannabis anywhere can produce a strong odor, it’s more challenging to control the smell of outdoor gardens - air purifiers, filters, and vents don’t work as efficiently outside. 

Some companion plants help mask the strong odor of outdoor cannabis and promote increased production of terpenes. If you’re cultivating your cannabis in the earth instead of pots, plant companion plants alongside your cannabis. This increases the nutrients in the ground, improving the soil filtration, and helping in soil preservation.

Companion plants like coriander and yarrow attract predatory wasps that will eliminate pesky infestations in your cannabis garden. Other companion plants like lavender and lemon balm help mask the odor of cannabis while also deterring pests. Other companion plants provide additional benefits. Basil increases the production of terpenes, alfalfa increases water penetration and nitrogen levels, and sunflowers improve soil filtration and preservation.

a pot for pot grow kit

Cannabis cultivation and gardening are worthwhile hobbies. While the learning curve can be steep, aspiring growers should feel encouraged to try growing medicinal cannabis for themselves, their families, and friends.

Visit A Pot for Pot for all of your cannabis needs. We have complete growing kits in various sizes that provide everything you’ll need to ensure you have a fun and successful harvest.

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