Weed is the most amazing plant in the world, and we want to teach you how to grow it. Despite popular belief that cannabis a hard plant to grow, it not. After all there’s a reason cannabis is called ‘weed’. It's because it grows like one! We show you how to grow cannabis the simplest and most cost effective way of growing either indoors or outside.
This guide was written for marijuana enthusiasts who want a cheap way of growing cannabis plants without the tents, timing, and grow lights. It’s a small step towards greater accessibility for marijuana home growing. So, flip a middle finger to big corporations, break up with your dispensary, and step into the world of DIY weed growing at home-- OG style. Growing sticky, smelly cannabis buds is easier and way more rewarding than you think!
The truth is that there are more ways to cultivate cannabis than there are names for the plant. And every method can grow great, healthy plants. For example, hydroponics might yield more, while soil will grow stronger buds, aeroponics will grow cannabis the fastest, and there’s no replacement for growing marijuana outdoors. It’s as easy to overload yourself with options as it is to add too much fertilizer to your nutrient mix. Below, we describe how to do it naturally and with little work on the grower's part.
Of course, if you can’t be bothered to read this entire guide, check out aPotforPot.com. They have a complete marijuana growkit designed to make the weed farming life easy for you. Get started immediately, and if you get lost during your grow, email the stellar support team for a helping hand at email@example.com.
Pick Marijuana Seeds to Grow Weed Easy
Cannabis genetics are important to consider when planning your grow. Most cannabis consumers are familiar with the idea of Cannabis indica vs. Cannabis sativa. They understand how an indica-dominant strain is typically more relaxing and that sativa-dominant strains are known for their abilities to energize the mind and aid your creativity superpowers.
However, many people don’t understand the difference between autoflowering cannabisand photoperiod cannabis, aka regular flowering cannabis. Understanding these two options makes a big difference when selecting a 1st time strain based on how easy it is to grow. For beginners, we love autoflowers!
Autoflowering Cannabis vs. Photoperiod Cannabis
The key difference between autoflowering and regular flowering cannabis is how (and when) the plant’s flowering cycle begins. Simply put, autoflowering cannabis automatically starts its flowering cycle, while photoperiod waits for the correct light vs. dark period (12 hours light / 12 hours dark) to flower.
Autoflowering is Easy for Beginners
By far, the easiest and cheapest plant to grow for beginner growers is autoflowering cannabis. It comes from the species Cannabis ruderalis. This type of cannabis flowers, as the name suggests, automatically.
Once the cannabis plant is a few feet tall, or about 30 days after she pops out of the dirt, she starts her flowering cycle. Autoflowering cannabis is typically ready to harvest in 80 days from seed-- regardless of her light schedule. This means the autoflowering cannabis growing season is year-round! As they tend to stay as small marijuana plants, autoflowering cannabis seamlessly integrates into your home and plant family. Make it easy on yourself and go this route.
We love these types of seeds so much that our grow kits include a $40 discount coupon on autoflowering seeds from our friends at ILGM.com.
Photoperiod Cannabis Can Produce More Marijuana
Commercially - grown marijuana or those grown by seasoned growers are typically regular flowering marijuanas plants. More specifically, they are photoperiod cannabis. If you want to know how to grow a weed tree, under the right growing conditions, photoperiods are the giants of the pot world-- with the potential to grow 16 feet (or taller) and harvest 10 pounds of dried pot off a single plant.
This species of cannabis starts her flowering cycle when she starts receiving equal hours of sunlight and darkness. This means if you are growing this type of pot indoors, the plant needs to consistently receive 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness to release the necessary hormones to begin flowering. This is why many people that grow photoperiod cannabis indoors opt for grow tents or dedicated indoor growing rooms.
Before flowering, these plants savor what is known as the vegetative stage. This is when the plant enjoys more hours of light than darkness. Indoors, this is typically 18 hours of light and 6 hours of darkness. During this phase and light cycle, a photoperiod plant will continue to grow in size without flowering.
Growing Photoperiod Cannabis Requires More Work and Investment
Growing marijuana outdoors, this specific lighting need is why photoperiod plants flower in the fall and can grow to such staggering heights. They grow all summer long in a vegetative stage until the start of fall, when there is less light, which triggers them into flowering. Indoors, a grower needs to control this light cycle to avoid confusing the plants. Addling light when the plant thinks it is nighttime can ruin a whole crop. Light leaks are a common mistake. If it’s your first time growing cannabis, this will be a bit more of a challenge to keep up. It’s also going to be a bigger investment to start growing, as well as a lot more work.
Take it from a seasoned grower: If this is your first time learning how to grow, autoflowering cannabis strains are stress-free compact weed, cheaper, and easier to maintain. Autoflowering cannabis seeds are the best way to grow yourself some weed at home-- without all the fuss.
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Indica vs. Sativa Growing Styles
Cannabis ruderalis and photoperiod cannabis both have strains that lean towards either indica or sativa dominance. The experience post-consumption and their growth traits are the same for both photoperiod cannabis and autoflowering cannabis.
For example, Jack Herer Autoflowergenetically is a predominantly sativa plant . This plant will grow larger and might take a little longer to finish than her indica-dominant counterpart. Indica-dominant plants, like Wedding Cake Autoflower, tend to stay relatively short, reaching 4 feet tall at most. They are squat, stubby little weed plants with wide leaves. Sativa plants tend to be tall, stretchy plants with thin, narrow leaves.
If your goal is to grow one small weed plant, you should grow some of the best autoflowering strains, such as OG Kush, Cheese Strains, Northern Lights or Girl Scout Cookies. Indica-dominant autoflowering cannabis plants typically grow to around 2 to 4 feet tall. This makes them great for growing in gardens adjacent to nosey neighbors!
Autoflowering sativa plants grow much taller. Many will grow past 4 feet, and some reach 6 feet tall. If you grow sativa-dominant plants outdoors, plan on sharing these amazing plants with your neighbors!
Cannabis grows well in a variety of environments, and they are remarkably tough plants. Depending on where you live, there may be restrictions on how many weed plants per person you are able to grow in your home. As a grower, once knowing your local regulations, you just need to keep your grow space clean and let the plants do the work.
When learning to grow autoflowering weed strains, the number of factors that can go wrong dramatically decreases compared to photoperiod cannabis. If your goal is to grow a single cannabis plant, then the number of locations you can grow without risking your crop increases with autoflowers. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a $1000 grow tent setup to grow some good cannabis - all you need is sunlight and good water.
Growing Your Plant Inside
You can grow the best cannabis indoors or outdoors. A good indoor marijuana grow setup provides total control over the growing conditions. Indoor growers have a lot of responsibility -- you become Mother Nature! Your cannabis plants depend entirely on you to meet all of its needs - including light, humidity, airflow, temperature, food, and water. Unfortunately, it can be expensive to get all the right equipment, plus you must consider the cost of ongoing electricity.
Growing Your Plant Outside
Alternatively, you could grow your cannabis plants outside. This option is less expensive because nature does most of the work, such as providing sunlight. And cannabis plants love the natural sunlight because it boosts their immune systems. There is no replacement for the sun. If you are just getting your feet wet, and not sure how to grow a weed plant in the sun, doing a combination of indoors and outdoors is a great way to start.
There are some drawbacks to an outdoor plant, however. Growing marijuana outdoors isn’t as private as many people would prefer, and growers often have to contend with the risk of stolen cannabis plants, animal attacks, or the wandering eye of your neighbor, who is now working from home.
In summary, you’ll need to consider your budget. Weigh the pros and cons of growing pot indoors or outdoors before you start growing. Then, select the option that works best for you and your specific situation.
Growing Cannabis as a Houseplant
Autoflowering cannabis strains can be grown as a houseplant, just put her in the sunniest spot in your house and let her rip. This method of growing cannabis is best if you are just looking to grow and don’t have high expectations. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t expect something.
With 4 to 6 hours of direct sun, you can yield a surprising amount of cannabis. And since the cost of starting with just a pot is just some soil, a seed, and the sun, the investment will for sure payout in the green.
Cannabis in a Grow Tent
People typically grow marijuana indoors in a grow tent or dedicated grow room. The goal is to optimize the plant's environment and blast the plant with as much light as she can handle so you can yield the most amount of cannabis per square foot. Although, as most cannabis growers will tell you, locking a 600-watt HPS (high pressure sodium) hot light in a 5x5x7 grow tent will give you more problems than you’d expect. Heat, humidity levels, airflow, and pest management practices are all things to consider and plan for. (Yes, indoor grows are just as likely to get bugs as outdoor.)
If you plan to grow in one of these environments, we suggest setting aside no less than a $700 budget for the tent, lights, fans, timers, and control boxes you will need, plus an extra $80 a month in power bills. Keep in mind this is a pretty hefty investment if you're just looking to grow a small amount of cannabis. However, if you are looking to make some cheddar from the cheese you are growing, this is a good way to learn to grow your own sticky icky before scaling up. We all know that commercial cannabis will never be as good as homegrown goods grown with love and detail to attention.
Autoflowering weed will grow year-round outside. As long as the temperature does not get below 43 degrees fahrenheit, your plant can survive. And when it does get cold, you can just bring her inside. Because autoflowering cannabis will flower no matter the light cycle, you can get up to 4 harvests a year outside on your balcony or in a garden. Autoflowering cannabis plants grown in the winter will have a beautiful purple coloring to them by the time they are ready for harvest. Plants in the summer will grow bigger and bushier, reaching C. ruderalis full height potential of up to 6 feet tall and yielding up to 8oz of dried marijuana.
On the other hand, growing photoperiod cannabis outdoors is a one-time a year thing; she’s a seasonal crop. You put her outside in late spring; she grows all summer and then flowers once the days start losing light. Timing when this occurs can get tricky, depending on your latitude and how cold it gets. So plant a lot and clear your social calendar because those plants will run your life for most of the year.
Pick the Best Grow Light to Grow Weed
Light is how your plant gets all her energy to convert the nutrients in her soil into more plant matter. So, the quality of that light is vital to your final yield.
If you grow indoors, you’ll need to think about your plant’s light source. Keep in mind, one of the biggest benefits of growing a single plant is that your plant won’t need much light. You can place your plant on a windowsill and have enough natural sunlight for it to thrive in many cases. However, if you’d like to grow your plant in a more discrete location, away from natural light, or have limited natural light, you’ll need to think about grow lights. In that situation, how to grow a small weed plant quickly becomes how to select the best lighting.
The general rule of thumb is that the more light you give a cannabis plant, the more you will harvest. Autoflowering cannabis plants like to have some dark cycle to do their nighttime activities; we suggest around 4 to 6 hours of darkness a day.
Growing Weed with the Sun
The ultimate, cheapest grow light for cannabis is the sun. Sunlight is the most powerful light us earthlings have access to, so if you are lucky enough to live somewhere that allows you to take advantage of the giant fireball in the sky, we suggest you use it. Even just as little as 4 hours of direct sunlight will do wonders for a small autoflowering pot plant.
When growing marijuana outdoors in full sun your plant can yield up to 8 oz. Cannabis grown outside will always yield more and be more potent than any indoor grow light. You just can't beat the power of the light spectrum of natural sunlight, and cannabis plants love it!
If you opt for natural sunlight and you aren’t using autoflowers, you’ll need to ensure that your plants receive at least 18 hours of sunlight during the vegetative stage of their growth. Unfortunately, that means unless you are growing during the correct season and in the right area, this may not be obtainable without supplemental lighting. In other words, even if you are growing outdoors, investing in an LED lamp for those cloudy and or ‘short’ days might be a good idea.
Growing Weed with LED Lights
LED lighting is a great option for giving your plant everything she needs or just an extra boost. Natural colored LED lights using a COB LED are our preferred choice because you can see the correct color of your marijuana leaves and most closely resembles natural sunlight. While the pink and purple LED lights do a fine job, they also miss specific spectrums that contribute to the robustness of your plant. We’ve found that a more complete light spectrum develops a more complete terpene profile and produces more hearty plants.
For a single plant, a 75 watt COB LED grow light is ideal. LEDs are a popular choice for growing marijuana and are perfect for producing healthy marijuana buds on a single plant. They are also optimized to prevent your plants from receiving too much light, which could cause a condition called ‘light burn.’ Another huge benefit of LEDs is their cost. The bulbs are inexpensive and readily available. Best of all, they don’t require much energy, so you are not going to spike your electricity bill. The casual observer will never suspect that you are growing marijuana indoors just by seeing the light shining from your home.
We discourage using HPS grow lights mostly because they tend to generate a lot of heat for indoor use. Plus, HPS lights can easily burn cannabis plants. For hobbyist growers, LED technology will grow great buds at a significantly reduced electricity cost.
There are, of course, other cannabis lighting options, but for a single plant, they can be much more than necessary. However, it is still a good idea to research your options to make an informed decision based on your wants and needs.
Some say cannabis got the name 'pot' because early growers would move the pots they’d planted in as needed. With marijuana restricted and illegal in some places, people who grew (and in some cases still grow) had to be creative! The pot provided the freedom to create the best environment depending on what was available.
This is even more the case with autoflowers. Autoflowering cannabis is a really smart plant! She can sense her environment and grow accordingly. Much like a goldfish in either a fishbowl, aquarium, or ocean, your plant’s size depends on the size of its container. An autoflowering seed has the same potential-- it just depends on what you plant it in—the bigger the pot, the bigger the plant (which means more pot).
To help you decide how much autoflowering cannabis you’d like to grow, we made our grow kits in three different sizes:
If you want to grow an adorable dwarf weed plant, perfect for your desk or just as a little experiment for the kitchen windowsill, a ½ gallon pot will grow an autoflowering marijuana plant less than 2 feet tall. These mini weed plants are captivating! How much you harvest will largely depend on the genetics and how much light you give the plant. It will need more frequent watering due to its small size.
A 2-gallon pot will support a small marijuana plant that yields about 4oz of pot. This size provides more space for your cannabis plant’s roots. When growing outside during the summer using organic soil, water every couple of days, especially on hot days. Your cannabis plant will stay a reasonable size.
This size is the gold standard for autoflowering cannabis plants. If you go much bigger, you start to get diminishing returns as autoflowering pot plants don't grow massive root structures. With a 5 gallon pot, your plant will grow to her genetic potential of about 4 or 5 feet tall on average. A 5 gallon pot is a great size for growing outside under direct sun or indoors inside a grow tent.
Selecting the Best Grow Medium for Marijuana Plants
When thinking about how to grow a small weed plant, one of the most important things that should be on your mind is what you will grow the plant in. Your plant will need a medium that provides the required nutrients for developing picture-perfect buds. And, just like grow lights, there are numerous options for best grow mediums. Each medium will have its own set of requirements for best growing conditions, such as how often you’ll need to water, but in the end, every option is equally capable of producing high-yielding cannabis plants.
Super Soil is Superb.
The best, and easiest to use, grow medium is soil. This is what nature intended. In a perfect world all weed plants would grow in well-composted, organic soil rich with nutrients designed for growing cannabis and formulated for commercial cannabis specifically. a Pot for Pot’s Superb Soil is an excellent example of this.Superb Soil is what professional growers refer to as "hot soil." This means it has a surplus of bioavailable organic nutrients that are alive and working for you!
It's also the plant equivalent of rocket fuel, so adding nutrients isn’t really necessary. If you do not start with soil that has been optimized for cannabis growing, you’ll want to ensure that the soil includes perlite so that it drains well. Mixing your own super soil for cannabis requires over 17 ingredients and some heavy lifting when mixing it all. If you would like to learn how to mix your own, download our full guide below.
Illustrated Marijuana Grow Guide
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Organic Cannabis Soil Recipe
Avoid Common Mistakes
Hydroponics grows are hard.
You could also go soilless and buy vermiculite, coco coir, or rockwool. These mediums require constant feeding and flushing to keep the root zone moist and free of nutrient buildup. While these may be more expensive than soil, they come with some advantages, including yielding a lot of cannabis. Hydroponic growing is a super fun and rewarding process that grows great cannabis.
A disadvantage of hydroponic growing, though, is that they do not contain nutrients for your plant, so you’ll need to carefully measure and distribute the proper nutrients in the right proportions and at the right time. Worst of all, one over-feeding can ruin a whole crop. You can produce very high yields with this method, but there is a steep learning curve, and it is a bit expensive (both time and money-wise) for a single plant. If this is your first time, we suggest keeping it simple and letting the plant do the hard work in an organic soil mix.
With marijuana, you want to use specific nutrients that help your plant thrive during the different stages of plant growth. Choose nutrients formulated for the particular medium you’re using - that doesn't mean Miracle Grow. (Please don’t use Miracle Grow aka Miracle No-no) Certain nutrients will only work in hydroponic systems, while others work best with soil. There are even organic nutrients if you are so inclined!
No matter what nutrients you use for your pot plants, we suggest using ⅓ of the strength of whatever the manufacturer suggests (hint: they want you to use more than you need so you buy more faster). Marijuana plants can be very sensitive to too many nutrients. Lock-out from too many nutrients results in stunted, stressed plants that may flower too early.
You’ll also need to consider the pH of your water source. Water is an important factor to consider in your plant’s growing conditions because it is how nutrients get to your plant. If the pH is incorrect, your plant cannot absorb those nutrients - think of a square block moving up a round pipe. The pH should be appropriate for the medium that you choose. When growing in soil, the pH of your water should be slightly acidic, between 6.5 and 7.0 ideally. This allows the plant to absorb the nutrients in the soil efficiently. (Growing hydroponically, your pH should be lower, preferably in the 5.5 - 6.5 range.)
To be honest, nutrient and pH levels can be complicated and a definite hassle when you only want to grow a single plant. A much easier solution is a Pot for Pot grow kit. Not only are these kits designed to make growing a single plant simple and easy, but they also provide the best organic nutrients and growing medium for your plants so that you don’t have to spend any time on this step.
All you need to do is add water (in that sweet spot pH range) and let your plant do the heavy lifting. As you get more experienced with growing cannabis, you can start adding nutrients to maximize your yield. But, if you are just trying to grow one amazing cannabis plant, a Pot for Pot does a great job of empowering you to grow cannabis all on your own. You simply need to know how to follow instructions, provide sunlight, and add a little water!
Autoflowering cannabis plants can only be grown from seed. There are plenty of ways to germinate a seed, but a seed germination kit is the easiest option. We like the method of soaking your seed in water for up to 48 hours; when it sinks, or you pop a tap root, she is ready to come out. And no matter what, after 48 hours, transplant your seedling to your germination medium.
Another easy germination method is to place the seed inside a damp paper towel. Then place the moistened paper towel inside a clear Ziploc back and close the bag. Place the baggie in a warm environment to help the seed germinate.
After one to three days, the seed should have a tiny white tail growing out of the seed. If the seed hasn’t sprouted a tail within five days, the seed isn’t viable.
To use a Jiffy Pellet, moisten the peat-based medium, insert your seed, and water as needed. Once your seed sprouts, you can place the entire medium into your pot for easy transplanting.
These steps produce the best results when germinating seeds:
1. Soak seed in a cup of pH neutral water in a dark place (like a kitchen cupboard) for 24 hours
2. Prepare jiffy pellet by soaking in pH neutral water
3. Gently squeeze any excess moisture out of the jiffy
4. Use your seedling or scissors to poke a ¼ inch hole into the expanded jiffy and plant the soaked seed
5. Place planted jiffy pellet in a seedling cup under direct light until your seedling makes an appearance topside.
Plant Your Germinated Seeds in Seedling Pots
When germinating cannabis seeds, you’ll want to germinate multiple seeds. This is critical because not all seeds will germinate, and you can’t determine which seeds will be female or male until the plant has grown. While male plants produce pollen, they do not flower, which is what you want. So you’ll want to ensure you’ve grown a female plant.
Once your seeds have germinated, you’ll want to plant these seeds about one inch deep into your planting soil in seedling cups. If you don’t have seedling cups, you can use plastic cups. You’ll want to poke holes in the bottom of the cup for drainage.
Then place your seedling cups where they can get direct sunlight or from a grow light. You’ll want to water your seedlings by keeping their soil moist. The best way to water your seedlings is like normal watering of plants, just water less. Try to avoid getting the fragile seedling's stem wet as they are susceptible to fungus. Within a couple of days, your seedlings should sprout a few baby leaves.
Getting your seeds to sprout is one of the most challenging steps of the growing process. If you’ve made it this far in the growing process, then you’re in a good spot. Now you just need to provide the necessary water and light to help your tiny plants grow.
Once your marijuana seedling develops a pair of leaves, she has officially entered the vegetative stage. This is when pot plants have the singular purpose of growing bigger and stronger in preparation for the coming flowering stage.
During the vegetative stage, marijuana plants need plenty of light. You’ll need to give them around 18 hours (or more) of light during this phase. Also, ensure that the temperature in your indoor growing room (or wherever you are growing your plants) is a bit warmer than room temperature. That means between 68°F and 82°F. The long hours of light and higher temperature mean your cannabis plants will need plenty of water, so monitor the moisture level and adjust accordingly. You don’t want your plants to be too thirsty. But, overwatering is more deadly than under-watering.
How well your plants grow during this stage will directly impact their yield. Smaller plants will yield fewer and smaller buds. Bigger plants, however, are stronger and can support denser,
more plentiful buds. So, remember to provide the best care for your plants in the vegetative stage!
Your cannabis plant will need to grow during this stage for at least three weeks for it to reach its sexual maturity. If you’ve given your plants enough light and nutrients, the plant leaves will be dark green and won’t have any brown spots.
Transplanting Your Young Plant into its Flowering Container
At this point, your plant is ready to be transplanted into its final flowering container. Your final container is a personal choice based on how big a plant you want to grow. Whatever size container you choose, you’ll want to fill it with about one gallon of soil per foot of anticipated plant growth.
You may want to add some bloom fertilizer to the soil to give your plant a growth boost. Bloom fertilizers have higher phosphorus and potassium levels and lower nitrogen, which provides ideal growing conditions for your young plant. But, if you are growing in a nutrient-dense soil like Superb Soil, no need to add anything.
Be very gentle when planting weed plants into larger containers because the roots can damage easily. To remove the plant from the seedling pots, squeeze the bottom sides of the cup to help loosen the roots and soil. Then gently flip the plant into your hand and be careful to support the root mass as you place it into its new container.
Ready to move your seedlings into their final flowering containers? Shop our best selection of growing kits to nurture your plant into a bountiful harvest.
The Cannabis Flowering Stage
When flowers start to form, you’ve entered the flowering stage. Only female plants produce flowers. The first sign is thin flowers with white hair-like structures called pistils. Those little pistils are pre flowers and will eventually produce buds – which you can eventually consume. This important phase in the life of your pot plant lasts until you harvest the mature buds. Here’s what happens during this stage:
Your plants will get large and bushy. You may want to ‘train’ them by trimming and/or bending the leaves to form a flat canopy on top. This pruning allows light to reach all parts of the plant for maximum yields. Pruning is an advanced technique, so you’d want to read up on it first before trying it.
How can you know if your pot plant is male or female?
Easy. Just look at the junction of the branches and observe whether you see wispy white strings emerging from the buds. If these wisps (pistils) are present, that plant is female. If pistils aren’t present, then what is growing is a pollen sac, and the plant is male. Male plants do not produce the buds that you wanna consume. Female plants are prized for their ability to grow the yummy flowers we all love.
Depending on what type of cannabis you are growing, you may need to change the light schedule to initiate the flowering stage. If you are growing photoperiod cannabis, you will need to increase the amount of darkness your plant receives to 12 hours daily. That means 12 hours of light and 12 of darkness each day. Respecting the light schedule is an absolute necessity for regular flowering cannabis seeds. Autoflowering marijuana doesn’t depend on a change in the length of daylight hours to start flowering, so this step is unnecessary with autoflowering seeds.
For all types of marijuana, you will want to consider adjusting the temperature. The flowering stage requires cooler temperatures, so keep it between 64°F to 78°F. Ideally closer to 65 degrees Fahrenheit if possible! If you used any nutrients, make sure you’ve stopped and are providing plenty of water. This helps with taste, aroma, and potency when it’s time to enjoy your cannabis.
You’ll need to carefully monitor your plants for the next eight to nine weeks as they grow. Watering during this stage means adding tap water to the soil whenever the top three inches of soil are dry. Flowers will finish blooming around the end of eight or nine weeks in a 12/12 light cycle.
You’ll also want to keep your plants in a grow space that has airflow. Air circulation is critical to the plant for photosynthesis. If growing outside, this won’t be an issue. If growing indoors, you’ll want to ensure the room has adequate air movement.
The most important thing to remember about this stage is to watch your plants. Marijuana plants in the flowering stage are rather sensitive to the conditions under which they are growing. Look for signs of a problem, such as brown leaf tips. This could signify a problem with watering, lighting, or nutrients.
Harvesting pot at home is really exciting! You watch weed plants develop and blossom amazing, pungent flowers. Soon, you’ll start to wonder when you can reap what you’ve sown. But how do you know when to make the cut? No one wants early harvested under ripe buds. How do you know when to harvest your weed?
Cannabis gives clear signals as to when she’s ready to move on to the most exciting time of her life -- consumption!
Two things to look for when determining if your marijuana flowers are ready to harvest:
1. The color of the stigmas (the hair-like structures coming off the buds). You want 80% or more to have turned from white to orange/red/brown.
2. The color of the trichomes (the yummy crystals on the buds). You want these to turn from clear to milky.
You will know the buds have matured from the color of the stigmas. You will see wispy white hairs growing out of the buds. These wisps will change color gradually until they become amber at the peak of maturity. This is a great first sign to look for. Cannabis can be tricky, though, and can keep producing stigmas way past her prime. This tendency is why it is important to look at more than just the stigmas for cues.
Your plant’s trichomes’ color and shape are a more reliable way to gauge readiness for harvest, but this will often take magnifying lenses to see properly. You’ve reached peak THC when the trichomes are cloudy in color and have rounded mushroom-like shaped heads. Premature trichomes have flat heads.
A good time to harvest is when most trichomes are cloudy or milky in appearance, with one or two trichomes appearing amber. Too many amber trichomes, and you’re past peak THC harvest. At this point, a significant portion of the THC is now CBN (a cannabinoid that relaxes and calms the mind). So, you will still get some medicine from over ripe buds-- just a different cannabinoid.
How do you harvest the buds?
Simple, take some scissors (there are some in the a Pot for Pot complete grow kits) and start cutting. First, remove fan leaves and pre-trim. Extra leaves hold water, and we want our weed to dry efficiently! You can leave the fan leaves but know that drying will take longer. Grower’s choice!
Sometimes, the top-most buds are ready before the bottom buds. This is a normal occurrence because of the relative light exposure between the top and bottom of the plant. In these cases, harvest in stages-- take the top buds first and circle back for the bottom buds in a few days.
Using your scissors, cut each branch just below the bud and hang it upside down (buds facing downward) in a dark closet for a few days until dry. If you lay your buds flat to dry, they will get smooshed and dry unevenly. It’s best to have humidity levels around 50%, temperature around 65 degrees fahrenheit. Drying can take up to a week, but most finish in about 5 days.
Test for dryness by bending the stems-- when they snap instead of bend, it's time to cut the buds off! Don't test for doneness by touching the buds because if the buds are still wet, they'll get smooshed. Finally, give them a proper trim job and store them in glass jars. It’s best to keep these jarred-up nuggets out of direct light, as sunlight can bleach your buds. Open the jars everyday day to burp them for a few minutes (this allows fresh oxygen in and other stuff out.)
You can smoke your weed as soon as it's dry. Some impatient growers throw a few fresh flowers in a brown paper bag for two days (a flash dry method) and then grind them right into a rolling paper. The curing process really just brings out the flavor, terpene profiles, eliminates chlorophyll and makes for a smoother smoke. We recommend curing your buds if you plan to smoke or vape your harvest. You can cure for ten days, two weeks, four weeks, two months, or even up to 6 months - how much patience do you have? (This is coming from some impatient stoners but, hey, we appreciate a quality experience!)
Knowing that you can grow a small weed plant yourself is likely the hardest part of actually growing it. Now that you know what to do with your plants and how to create ideal growing conditions, you are well on your way to enjoying hassle-free, home-grown marijuana. When you’re ready to start growing, see what a Pot for Pot has to offer!
FAQs about Growing a Small Weed Plant
What's the difference between feminized and autoflowering seeds?
Autoflowering seeds bloom automatically without having you do anything, while feminized seeds need a change in the light cycle (the amount of light your plant's receive) to start the flowering stage. Outdoors, feminized seeds are a seasonal crop harvested in late September, early October.
What pot sizes should I be using for Autoflowers?
The ideal pot size for autoflowering cannabis plants are 0.5 to 5 gallon pots. The size of the pot determines the size of the plant! Bigger pots = bigger plants.
Do I need to add nutrients to my marijuana grow?
Not in an organic, general-purpose Superb Soil mix! It has a complete nutrient load for an autoflowering plant. You should add nutrients if you're growing in hydroponics or any nutrient-less medium.
How much light should I give my autoflowering plant?
Autoflowering cannabis is great because she can grow under any light conditions. Ideal conditions outdoors are a minimum six hours of direct sunlight. When sunlight is not available, supplementing with a grow light (or a high wattage regular light) will keep your plant happy. We recommend giving her 20 hours light / 4 hours darkness each day for those growing entirely indoors.
How do you manage the plant smell right before harvest?
Just before harvest, your plants are going to start smelling very distinctive. Depending on if you want your neighbors and friends to smell your sweet stinky weed, you may want to try different products to manage the smell.
The most common method to manage the smell indoors is using a carbon filter. A carbon filter utilizes mesh tubes filled with charcoal so that when the fan pulls the air through, the charcoal absorbs the particulates and leaves the air smelling clean and odorless.
However, the smell of a flowering cannabis plant is much lighter and floral than the smell of burning her dried flowers. If you smoke in your home, or grow outdoors, best to just embrace the aroma.
Why is my weed plant not growing taller?
Some plants are just short. However, many factors can stunt your plant’s growth:
Watering and Pot Size: If you overwater or underwater your plant, it will affect the development. If seedlings are in too big containers, they can drown in overwatered soil. Make sure your container and watering are appropriate for your plant’s size.
Nutrient Toxicity: If there are too many nutrients in the growing medium, the plants will react. The leaves will have burnt tips on dark green leaves. If the leaves turn yellow, brown, and then crispy, the soil is deficient in nitrogen and needs more nutrients.
Temperature: If temperatures are too hot or cold, it can also stunt growth. Leave tips will turn up or curl if temps are too hot. It’s essential to keep the growing environment between 72-79 degrees Fahrenheit.
Too Much or Too Little Light: Both too much and too little light can also affect your plant’s growth. If the plant has too much light, then the plant’s leaves will curl or appear burnt. If this happens, you’ll want to move your lights up or adjust your plant’s position to direct sunlight.
Can a weed plant grow forever?
No. Cannabis is an annual flowering plant, which means its life cycle is only one season. So your plant will grow, flower, and die when she is harvested. Some plants have several harvests before their cycle ends, but you will need to start again with a new seed once it completes its life cycle.
Some growers can force a cannabis plant to revert to its vegetative stage, but that’s a more complicated process. For beginners, you’re better off beginning a new grow from seed. A cannabis plant doesn't want to live forever.
How much water do weed plants need daily?
The amount of water a plant needs varies due to environmental conditions like light, temperature, humidity, wind, type of grow medium, as well as plant conditions like size and life stage. Bigger plants drink more than smaller plants. Cannabis plants in late flower drink less than weed plants in early flower.
You can use the guide by Emerald Growers Association and the Mendocino Cannabis Policy Council where they polled experienced cannabis partners about their water usage to determine the right amount. According to the poll’s result, you should feed the plant a gallon of water per day for each pound of processed flower you expect to harvest from the marijuana plant. For instance, an eighth of usable cannabis may need a total of 1.875 total gallons of water per day.
How do you plant weed seeds after germinating?
Planting a weed seed after it germinates involves moving germinated seed from the water it was soaked in to a the jiffy pellet. The list of items you need to do this process includes a jiffy pellet, spoon, a chopstick (or something similar to poke a hole) and germinated cannabis seed.
Once you have all your tools and equipment read, you can start by soaking and expanding the jiffy pellet. Using a chopstick or a pen or a pencil, make a small hole in the jiffy pellet that is large enough for the germinated cannabis seed. About 1/4th of an inch deep. Once you place the seed in the hole using a spoon, you should cover the hole with a thin layer of soil. Spray the surface with a plant sprayer to keep the soil moist. Place under direct light.
How do you germinate seeds?
We see best results with germination when seeds are put in a small cup with distilled water in a dark place for 24 hours. After that time, plant each of the soaked seeds in their own expanded jiffy pellet and place under direct light.
Is Pot difficult to grow?
Pot plants, which is also called marijuana or weed, is not hard to grow. In fact, it’s a plant that requires little attention. That being said, basic conditions must be met if you want to achieve a decent or high-quality yield.
Much like any gardening, all you need to get started with growing your own marijuana garden if by purchasing good seeds. If you’re growing indoors, you would also need to consider investing in a timed lighting apparatus and an exhaust fan with a carbon filter. An easy solution to cannabis gardening, however, is by purchasing grow kits online.
How long does it take to grow your own pot?
Marijuana seeds can take anywhere from four to eight months to fully grow a cannabis plant that’s ready for harvesting. However, this varies based on where you’re growing your plant. In an indoor grow room, you have total control of the environmental conditions. With the right combination, you can encourage your cannabis plant to flower only after a few weeks, but they won't be that big.
Where does pot grow best?
There are five places in the United States where cannabis farmers grow the best weed. These areas include Northern California, where the climate remains temperate; Washington, where the soil is filled with nutrients and fresh water is always available; Oregon, where there are less restrictive laws for indoor cannabis farming; Maine, where nutrient-rich soil and fresh water can support the growth of marijuana despite the less than ideal outdoor growing conditions; and the Southern state of Florida, where beautiful sunshine can greatly support marijuana growth.
Can I grow a pot plant in a pot?
Yes, cannabis is called ‘pot’ for a reason. You can grow cannabis in a pot, but you have to take into account its extensive root network, which needs room to really flourish. If your cannabis plant is placed in a container that is too small or has poor drainage, your plant can become root-bound and yield less-than-ideal crops. The bigger the pot, the bigger the final crop.
How long does it take to grow pots?
The amount of time needed to grow pot from seed to harvest varies depending on the variety of cannabis and the conditions it is grown in. Generally, it can take anywhere from three to eight months. However, growing pot indoors from start to finish can take only half that time but you would grow much smaller plants. More time you allow, the bigger your plants can get.
What does a pot plant need?
Besides the usual things like water, space, and a lot of light, there are three main nutrients that cannabis plants need to grow high-quality buds—nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. Another great ingredient for growing high-quality cannabis is magnesium, which helps in photosynthesis and stabilizes plant cell walls. But then again, so does natural, unfiltered sunshine.