Grow Basics: How To Grow Weed Indoors
Whether you use cannabis recreationally or medicinally, chances are you’ve toyed with the idea of growing your own bud indoors.
However, chances are also that you were turned off the idea by in-depth grow articles explaining training methods, nutrient solutions, and other complex grow techniques.
In this article, we’re going to try to dumb it all down and give you a simple outline on how to grow cannabis indoors. For a similar article on outdoor growing, click here.
Remember, this is a simplified article designed for beginner growers looking for basic information to help them get started with growing.
For more in-depth articles about cannabis nutrients, training, harvesting, curing, etc, remember to regularly check out our blog.
Deciding to grow cannabis is an exciting decision and it’s easy to become focused on where you plan to grow, the equipment you’ll need, etc.
However, we recommend all new growers first take some time to understand the basics of the cannabis plant and what it needs to survive.
The basic components cannabis plants need in order to grow and flower properly are:
- Light: Growers usually follow a 20/4 or 18/6 light-dark period during vegetative growing, followed by a 12/12 photoperiod to induce flowering.
- Air: Cannabis enjoys fresh air with a slight breeze. Most indoor growers will use fans and extractors to provide these conditions, although the latter isn’t completely necessary.
- A grow medium. New growers should stick to soil.
- Temperature: The ideal temperature for cannabis is between 68-77° (20-25°C)
- Nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium). You can source these naturally (from manure, compost, etc) or from synthetic nutrient solutions designed for growing cannabis.
- Water. Plants should be watered when the top inch of the soil or grow medium is dry.
There are countless ways to play around with all of these compounds, and growers can get very specific about how subtle changes to any of the above can have a huge effect on the quality of their yields.
Regardless, give your plant all of these conditions and you can expect to harvest some delicious buds by the time your plants have matured.
How To Grow Weed Indoors:
1. Pick Your Grow Space And Strain
Once you have a basic understanding of the needs of a cannabis plant, it’s time to plan your grow space.
You’ll be surprised to learn that you can grow cannabis almost anywhere, including closets, garages, basements, and spare rooms.
When picking a grow space, you’ll generally want to keep the following things in mind:
- Light: You’ll want to grow in a place that is completely sealed so that no light enters and disturbs your plants during their dark periods as this can cause stress and affect your yields.
- Air: Air flow is really important for healthy plants. You’ll want to grow in a space where your plants can easily receive fresh air and where you can easily set up a small fan to keep air flowing naturally.
Once you’ve settled on a grow space, you’ll want to go ahead and pick the right strain based on that space; don’t plan to grow a pure sativa ]at the bottom of your closet.
While you can obviously sow any seed you have lying around your house, we suggest working with seeds from a reliable seedbank. We also recommend using feminized seeds to avoid the trouble of dealing with male plants.
Buying seeds is inexpensive and ensures consistent results. Plus, it also allows you to read up on the strain you're planning to grow and get more information about what to expect.
2. Plan Your Budget And Equipment
Once you figure out where you plan to set up your indoor grow space and the strain you’re going to work with, it’s time to think about what kind of setup you’ll use.
Indoor grow setups can be simple and cost-effective or ridiculously complex and expensive.
How complex of a grow space you plan to run is up to you, but we generally suggest keeping it simple if you lack experience.
Most indoor grow spaces consist of the following:
- Grow lights and a switch box. A single light is usually sufficient for 1 plant or a regular 1m2 grow space.
- A thermostat and hygrometer. You’ll want to keep tabs on the temperature and humidity levels in your grow space.
- A fan. Air circulation is really important for cannabis, and most indoor grow spaces use at least a small fan to move some air around.
- Ventilators (optional). Cannabis plants love fresh air and most indoor growers will invest in a small ventilation system. However, this isn’t completely necessary as long as you’re able to get fresh air to your plants somehow.
- Pots for your plants.
Professional growers will deck out their grow spaces with high-grade equipment that give them ultimate control over the environment their plants are growing in.
While this is great, it isn’t ideal for new growers. We generally suggest new growers use a simple setup using the basic equipment listed above.
3. Prep Your Materials
Before you go about germinating your first seeds, it is important to prep all your grow materials.
Here are the basic materials you’ll need to run successful grow from start to finish:
- Pots. There are a variety of potting options out there, but regular flower pots will work fine. Most growers will use pots varying between 1.5-3 gallons.
- Soil. You’ll want to use high-quality, PH neutral potting soil for your cannabis plants. Some recommended soil brands include Fox Farms and Roots Organics, but you’ll want to use a nutrient-free soil for seedlings.
- Nutrients. There are a variety of nutrient options out there for your plants. While many growers like to use natural nutrient solutions like compost and manure, synthetic nutrients (like Fox Farms fertilizers) may be a better option for beginners as they are easy to use.
- Basic gardening equipment for pruning, watering, etc.
4. Getting Started: Sow Your Seeds
Once your grow space and materials are set up, it is time to germinate your seeds.
There are a number of ways to germinate seeds and growers will usually start their seedlings off in separate containers and then transplant them into their final containers later.
However, for inexperienced growers, nature’s way is usually the easiest option:
Simply fill your regular pots with soil and plant your seeds about 1 inch below the surface. We recommend using a balanced soil without added nutrients.
Make sure to keep your soil moist and temperatures high; seedlings do best in warm, humid conditions.
Once your seedlings start to pop out of the soil, you’ll want to treat them with plenty of TLC.
You’ll want keep temperatures and humidity high for the first couple of weeks. Then, once your seedlings develop a few leaves, you can start feeding them with a gentle nutrient solution. Most growers will use a 2:1:2 NPK fertilizer during the first couple of weeks.
Once your seedlings have developed at least 5 leaves, you’ll want to provide them with more nutrients. Most growers using synthetic fertilizers will turn to a 4:2:3 fertilizer during this stage, as these young plants do well with a slightly higher dose of nitrogen.
5. The Vegetative Phase
Cannabis seedlings usually enter the vegetative phase after 2 solid weeks of growth. During this phase, you’ll want to hold your plants to a tight 20/4 or 18/6 light cycle.
This phase is when cannabis plants do most of their growing and develop budding sites, which are the areas where they’ll later develop flowers. Most growers will keep their plants in the vegetative phase for 4 weeks.
During this stage, you’ll want to provide your plants with plenty of nutrients to help them develop properly. Most indoor growers will turn to a 10:5:7 fertilizer half way through the vegetative phase.
In the last week of the vegetative phase, most growers will then tone down their nutrients slightly using a 7:7:7 fertilizer solution to help the plants transition into flowering.
Make sure to keep temperatures between 72-85°F (22-29°C) and humidity between 45-65% during the entire vegetative phase.
6. The Flowering Phase
After 4 weeks of vegetative growth, most indoor gardeners will force their plants into flowering using a 12/12 light cycle.
The flowering cycle is when your plants slow down their vegetative growth and instead focus on producing the thick, delicious buds we all treasure.
The length of the flowering stage varies from strain to strain, but most varieties take about 7-9 weeks to reach maturity.
During the early stages of flowering, most growers boost phosphorous levels in the soil using a 5:10:7 fertilizer before turning to a 6:15:10 solution halfway through the flowering cycle.
Finally, most growers will drive down the fertilizer strength during the final 3 weeks of flowering using a 4:10:7 fertilizer. During the last week of flowering it is important to flush your plants of any fertilizers by giving them only water.
7. Harvest Time!
Harvest is the time all cannabis growers look forward to the most. By this time your plants will have fully matured and your buds will be ready for collection, drying, and curing.
Remember, the above guide is very simplified in order to prove to budding growers that growing your own weed doesn’t have to be an extremely calculated and complicated process.
Sure, professional growers will want to experiment with more complex grow techniques, but the above plan will work fine for any average cannabis user looking to simply grow an indoor plant for fun.
And remember, even if your harvest doesn’t turn out as expected, you can always order more seeds and start over.
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