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How to Grow Marijuana Indoors | A Complete Guide

This is our complete guide on how to grow marijuana indoors, from selecting your grow space, medium, and lights — to germinating seeds, watering, feeding the right nutrients and ultimately harvesting your crop.

How to Grow Marijuana Indoors: A Beginner’s Guide

Are you ready to start growing marijuana indoors? You’re in the right place. This guide will help you figure out the best way to grow cannabis depending on the size of your grow space and the yields that you’re looking for. It’s actually pretty easy to get started. With just half an hour each day, you can grow your own dispensary-quality buds at home.

Let’s get started!

Step 1: Choose Your Grow Room (or Space)

A beginner 400 watt HPS and MH cannabis grow tent.
I started with a small 2 x 4 foot grow tent and a 400 watt light in a tube-type reflector.

The first step to growing marijuana indoors is choosing a suitable grow space. This doesn’t have to be a traditional “grow room”, but instead can be a corner of your basement, a closet, or a custom built cabinet. I’ve even seen some successful micro-grows in PC cases (although I would suggest not attempting that until you’re an experienced grower).

Once you know how much room you have, you can custom fit your equipment (and plants) to your space. Before you start your shopping list, you’ll have to answer these questions:

  • How much am I looking to grow?
  • What’s my budget?
  • Can I provide enough fresh air to my cannabis plants?

The answer to these questions will determine the size and scope of your grow. My first grow was in an Apollo Horticulture 24″ x 48″ x 60″ tent. I consistently yielded about 6-8 ounces from this setup! It’s pretty inexpensive at less than $100.

Apollo Horticulture 48”x24”x60” Mylar Hydroponic Grow Tent for Indoor Plant Growing
613 Reviews
Apollo Horticulture 48”x24”x60” Mylar Hydroponic Grow Tent for Indoor Plant Growing
  • Package Includes: 1 -48”x 24”x 60” Apollo Horticulture Grow Tent / 1 – Removable Mylar Floor Tray, 2 Filter Straps Included, 1 – Instructional Pamphlet / Size – 48”x 24”x 60” 100% Reflective Tear Proof Mylar / Heavy Duty Zippers & Double Stitching for Light Protection
  • HIGH QUALITY: 48”x 24”x 60” hydroponics indoor growing tent with heavy-duty zippers and double stitching for light protection ensure durability and long-lasting use. Thick tent material reinforced by the metal poles ensures security and stability. Keep your grows contained, prevent odors from leaking out, and stop pests from getting in.
  • HIGHLY REFLECTIVE: Includes a removable Mylar floor tray, and a 100% light-proof, tear-proof reflective Mylar lining to assist your indoor growing light fixtures and equipment. Increase the intensity of your grow lights and retain heat to keep your grow room at the right temperature for your plants, herbs, flowers, fruits, and vegetables to thrive.

Start Small

Before we get started, I should mention that it’s important to start small. Small grows are great for new growers for several reasons:

  • They are less costly to setup and maintain.
  • It’s easier to monitor a couple plants instead of a dozen or more.
  • When you make mistakes or experience setbacks, it’s easier on your wallet!

When you first start growing cannabis, you’ll experience setbacks and lose plants to pests, disease, or heat damage. It’s much easier to recover from losing 2 marijuana plants than it is 20! Once you’ve got the hang of it, you can scale your grow as you like. Before long, you’ll be a skilled cannabis grower, I promise.

Think Tall (Hydroponic vs Soil/Coco)

While your grow can have a small footprint, it’s going to need plenty of head space. Your cannabis plants need to maintain a healthy distance from your light, and the light should be adjustable to grow with your plants. A hydroponic grow setup will typically need more vertical space than a soil or coco grow, because of the added nutrient solution reservoir and flood & drain tables.

You’ll also need room for ducting, fans, and a carbon filter (which are usually near your light). Remember, plants can double and triple in size during flowering, so it’s important to leave plenty of room to avoid light damage. We suggest 6 feet of vertical space to start. You can always lower your light closer to your plants, but you won’t be able to go higher than your original plans.

Light Tight

It’s very important to make sure you don’t have any light leaking into your grow space or tent during the night period, as light can confuse the plants and cause them to become hermaphrodites (both male and female — which means pollen, and that means seeds).

Keep Your Marijuana Plants & Grow Clean

The number one reason beginning growers lose their plants to pest and disease is a lack of cleanliness. It’s important to keep your space sanitized! Here are some tips to organizing your grow space:

  • Use a grow tent. The only things that should go in there are your plants, lights, ducting, fans, and carbon filter.
  • Organize your nutrients and watering items. It’s helpful to use a small shelf or piece of furniture.
  • Keep your plants off the floor using a grow tray or table.
  • Clean yourself before you handle your plants, especially if you have pets! Wear clean clothes and wash your hands.
  • Speaking of pets, keep them out of your grow room. They can carry pests and diseases (and they don’t shower everyday).

Stealth and Accessibility

It’s legal to grow cannabis in many states, but even then, we understand the need for stealth. So you’ll want to choose a space where the noisy fans and ventilation won’t cause a disturbance to anyone inside or outside your home.

My first grow was setup in my bedroom, and it was noisy and distracting when I was trying to sleep. So I suggest finding a dedicated grow space. It’s far easier to keep a dedicated space clean, as well!

Okay, now you’ve chosen your grow space, and you’re thinking about what type of equipment to use.

Step 2: Choose Your Cannabis Grow Lights

A 400 watt high pressure sodium (HPS) grow light in a hood reflector
A 400 watt high pressure sodium grow light in a hood-type reflector

Quality of light is probably the number one factor for the quantity and quality of cannabis coming out of your grow. There are a lot of different sources of light for growing cannabis:

  • High intensity discharge lamps like metal halide (MH) & high pressure sodium (HPS)
  • Fluorescent lights (CFLs, T5s, T8s)
  • Light emitting diodes (LEDs)
  • Ceramic metal halide (CMH)
  • Magnetic induction lighting

Don’t worry, it seems like a lot but we will break it down for you.

High Intensity Discharge: Metal Halide & High Pressure Sodium

These most popular types of high output, high-yield lights for growing cannabis. They cost a bit more than flourescent lights, but they output more of the correct wavelengths of light for optimal vegetative and flowering growth. They’re also a bit more powerful per watt of electricity.

They’re not as efficient as LED lighting, but have typically been a cheaper option.

Each high intensity discharge light requires a ballast (power source) and hood or reflector to direct the light toward your plants. We suggest using a higher-end digital ballast, as older magnetic ballasts run much hotter and can generate magnetic fields that mess with your WiFi and cell phone reception.

These lights tend to generate a lot of heat, so your ventilation needs to be on point. The best way to handle heat from a high-intensity discharge light in a small grow space is to use a hood reflector that is built for ventilation.

This also means you’ll need ducting and exhaust fans, which increases your startup price but is worth it over the long term.

There are three types of HID lights:

  • Metal Halide (MH) – these produce a blue-white light and are typically used for vegetative growth.
  • High Pressure Sodium (HPS) – these light bulbs produce a more orange-red light and are better for flowering cycles. These are industry standard.
  • Ceramic Metal Halide (CMH) – these lights are more energy efficient than standard metal-halide bulbs and last much longer. They also produce a more natural daylight spectrum (but are more costly upfront).

Most growers who are using HID lighting will use metal halide lights during vegetative growth and switch to high pressure sodium lights for flowering. If you don’t have enough money for both, go for the high pressure sodium lights, as flowering is where the buds grow!

Fluorescent Lights

Fluorescent grow lights are often used by experienced growers during the vegetative phase, particularly high output (HO) T5 bulbs, for these reasons:

  • They are cheaper to setup, as the lights, ballast, and reflector usually come in a single package
  • They don’t generate the amount of heat an HPS setup does, so it usually doesn’t require a cooling system

However, fluorescent lights are about 20-30% less efficient than HID per watt, meaning you’d need to cram a lot more lights into a small space to equal the same output.

LED Grow Lights

LED lighting, or light-emitting diodes, are the latest popular trend in grow light technology. These give off a purple hue and run much cooler than high-intensity discharge lamps. There are a lot of benefits to using LED lights:

  • More energy efficient, meaning less cost over time
  • LED bulbs last longer than HID (50,000 to 100,000 hours)
  • Create less heat, meaning less expense for A/C and ventilation
  • Fuller spectrum of light

There are many shoddy LED lights being marketed to growers, however, so it’s important to do your research and purchase a reputable brand.

Step 3: Ventilation & Environmental Control

After selecting your lights, you’ll need to monitor your growing environment and automate some controls to make sure your lights are on the right schedule. I’ve always used Accurite Thermometer and Humidity Gauges, you can buy them on Amazon for $10 and they last forever.

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AcuRite 00613 Digital Hygrometer & Indoor Thermometer Pre-Calibrated Humidity Gauge, 3' H x 2.5' W x 1.3' D
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AcuRite 00613 Digital Hygrometer & Indoor Thermometer Pre-Calibrated Humidity Gauge, 3" H x 2.5" W x 1.3" D
  • Indoor relative humidity
  • Indoor temperature, including daily high and low information
  • Simple easy-to-read display

You’ll also need a basic light timer for turning your lights on and off. While there are a lot of digital options out there, I’ve always used mechanical timers like this one. For some reason the digital timers can be thrown off and turn lights on or off when you don’t want them! This stresses the plants and can cause issues down the line.

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GE 24-Hour Heavy Duty Indoor Plug-in Mechanical Timer, 2 Grounded Outlets, 30 Minute Intervals, Daily On/Off Cycle, for Lamps, Seasonal, Christmas Tree...
5,583 Reviews
GE 24-Hour Heavy Duty Indoor Plug-in Mechanical Timer, 2 Grounded Outlets, 30 Minute Intervals, Daily On/Off Cycle, for Lamps, Seasonal, Christmas Tree...
  • Turns two lamps, fans, appliances, seasonal lighting, AC units and other devices on and off at your set desired times saving you energy and deterring crime when you are away from home
  • The timer allows you to set on and off times at 30 minute intervals for a total of 48 on/off options that will cycle daily without having to reset
  • Features 2 grounded outlets and a convenient override switch at the top of the timer allowing you to use your lights or devices manually when needed

You can experiment with automatic watering systems down the road, but I’ve always found it easier to hand water. If you have to go out of town for a week or so, it’s simple enough to set one up, but for now, let’s begin with hand watering. You’ll get the hang of figuring out when your plants are getting a little too much or too little, and then be able to adjust.

Air Conditioning and Dehumidification

Grow lights can run very hot, so it’s important to keep ventilation in mind when setting up your grow room. Immature marijuana plants, like clones and those in early vegetative growth, grow best at slightly warmer temperatures of 70-85° F.

During flowering stage, the best temperatures are 65-80° F for the best trichome production, density, and yield. It’s also important to not let the temperature swing more than 10-12° between day and nighttime (lights on and lights off), otherwise the plants get stressed out.

Portable AC / dehumidifier for a medium sized grow.

In order to have some control over this fluctuation, most experienced growers have an A/C unit they can turn on and off to regulate the temperature for the best quality buds. However, if you’re growing in a small tent, or with just 400 watts, a small intake fan might do the trick.

It’s important to note that if you have an exhaust fan in your tent, you should have an intake fan at least as big as your exhaust fan, and set to run at a higher RPM.

The reason for this is because your exhaust fan will ‘suck’ the tent sides in when you have the tent closed, squeezing your plants and really cutting down on your grow space.

When I had a 1000 watt grow setup, I purchased an air conditioner and dehumidifier (see picture) that cooled the entire room (about 10′ x 14′), which might be overkill but over the long term, it was worth it. It cost less than $300 and I was able to maintain a constant temperature and low humidity during flowering (which increases trichome production). It was worth it for the peace of mind.

Black + Decker BPACT08WT Portable Air Conditioner, 8,000 BTU
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Black + Decker BPACT08WT Portable Air Conditioner, 8,000 BTU
  • QUIET & POWERFUL - Our 5,000 BTU DOE (8,000 BTU ASHRAE) compact air conditioner (16.5 x 11.5 x 26 in,) will keep you cool and comfortable all summer. An adjustable fan speed cools the air to 65°F at the coolest setting. Sleep mode makes it extra quiet while you rest
  • PERFECT FOR SMALL ROOMS - This floor-standing portable AC unit provides steady, fast, effective cooling for rooms up to 150 sq. ft. It’s the ideal small air conditioner for dorms, apartments, cabins, campers, offices, bedrooms, or living rooms
  • SIMPLE & QUICK TO INSTALL – Just wheel this portable air conditioner into any room with a double hung or sliding window. Attach the included hose (4’ 11”) & window adapter, & plug it in to an outlet! At the end of the season, just unhook & store

I don’t recommend growing in a closet unless you can provide decent air intake and exhaust. If you’re recirculating air inside a closet, temperatures can get up to 90° or more very rapidly, and this is no good for your plants!

Step 4: Choose Your Grow Medium: Hydroponic, Soil, or Coco

Cannabis growing in coconut coir (coco coir)

Should you grow in soil, coco coir, or hydroponics? That really depends on the grower’s preference, and the most important thing is to match your nutrients to your growing medium. There are benefits and drawbacks to each method, but it won’t have a major effect on your marijuana plant’s THC concentration or potency. These are the most common growing mediums:

Soil

Soil is the easiest way to get started. Many top quality growing soils like Fox Farms Ocean Forest don’t require a lot of nutrients or PH monitoring. They’re also filled with nitrogen rich earthworm castings and bat guano (which can feed your plants through the vegetative cycle).

Avoid bags of soil you find at garden supply stores, especially those that are stored outside. These can be filled with mold, mildew, and pests that will ruin your crop.

You might be tempted to buy a cheaper “organic” soil at your local home supply store because Fox Farms runs close to $40 per bag. However, it is THE best soil on the market, in my opinion, and when you’re saving money by growing your own, it makes sense to get the best quality soil that you can.

FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Organic Mix Indoor Outdoor For Garden And Plants - Organic Plant Fertilizer - 38.5 Quart (1.5 cu ft). - (Bundled with...
2,277 Reviews
FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Organic Mix Indoor Outdoor For Garden And Plants - Organic Plant Fertilizer - 38.5 Quart (1.5 cu ft). - (Bundled with...
  • ✅ Ocean Forest Potting Soil is ready to use right out of the bag and provides the ideal environment for young seedlings to become thriving plants.
  • ✅Fox Farm Garden Soil is Lightweight and well-aerated, it is specially formulated to grow seedlings and cuttings and perfect all-natural mix for container grown plants!
  • ✅Ocean forest is soil ph. adjusted at 6.3 to 6.8 to allow for optimum fertilizer uptake making the naturally rich ingredients an ideal environment for seedlings toe strong, vigorous plants.

My favorite blend is 50% Fox Farms Ocean Forest, 25% chunky perlite, and 25% coco coir. This is a pretty advanced mix, however, so I will make a blog post about it later for my more advanced growers.

As a beginner, you should start with a solid organic soil and then add some perlite to it (maybe 25%) so you can water more often and feed your plants more regularly.

Coco Coir

Coconut coir, made from the pith of young coconuts, is the most common soilless mix, although some growers use vermiculite and perlite. Coco coir is common among medical and retail marijuana grows because it is cheap, readily available, and yields high quality and quantity bud while also having the added benefit of being naturally pest resistant.

Coco coir needs a lot of Calcium and Magnesium supplementation, however, and you should monitor your PH levels and runoff to ensure proper nutrient uptake. Coco can be a little more difficult to run than a soil based grow.

You can’t go wrong with Canna Coco, Fox Farms Coco Loco, or our personal favorite, Botanicare CocoGro.

Botanicare Cocogro Premium Organic Soilless Grow Media, 1.75 cu ft
130 Reviews
Botanicare Cocogro Premium Organic Soilless Grow Media, 1.75 cu ft
  • Blended from 100% premium coco coir
  • Ecologically responsible and superior performing alternative to sphagnum peat based mediums
  • Excellent drainage properties and can be watered frequently while naturally maintaining optimum air to water ratios

Avoid the cheap coconut coir blocks that need to be wetted down, rehydrated, and then rinsed of their salts and tannins. This is a LOT more trouble than it’s worth, believe me. You’ll spend hours rinsing and treating the coco when you could be getting your grow started instead. It’s worth the extra cash to get quality coco.

Hydroponics

Hydroponics means growing your plants with their roots directly in nutrient-enriched water. Sometimes this includes a substrate like vermiculite, which holds the base of the plant, or more often, small clay balls.

You can grow with a recirculating tank, or a flood and drain table. Hydroponics is a bit more labor intensive to setup, but when done correctly, you can grow very high quality buds.

This method is a bit more difficult as your nutrient-rich water must be constantly monitored and refreshed to ensure your plants are properly fed.

Step 5: Choose Your Cannabis Nutrients

My nutrient lineup for my soil/coco blend. If you’re not using coco, you generally don’t need CalMag. In coco, it’s a necessity.

It’s important to match your nutrients to your growing medium. Most nutrient manufacturers like House and Garden or Cyco will have specific nutrients for soil, hydroponics, and soilless mixes like coco coir.

It’s common to have a certain nutrient blend for vegetative growth, and then a different blend for flowering. Keep in mind that younger plants need less food than mature plants, so your nutrient blend should grow along with your plants.

During vegetative growth, it’s a good call to start with 1/2 or 1/4 the amount on the label. If you see yellowing leaves, push the nutes a little bit. If your leaves are extra dark green and curling the tips, dial it back. you’ll get the hang of it after a few grows.

During flowering, your plants will need more phosphorus, manganese, zinc, and calcium. Most nutrient lines will have a different ‘bloom’ nutrient for use during flowering.

Okay, that’s a lot of information! Let’s go over my basic nutrient mix that I know and love from House and Garden. Most nutrient companies will have a feeding chart like this: House and Garden 8 week feeding chart. It’s a good idea to use the chart and keep it simple! There are usually a lot of different nutrients that companies push but only a few are important (and the others can cause your PH to get out of wack real quick if you aren’t on top of your game).

Most nutrient companies will be very similar (Cyco, Fox Farm, Botanicare, HydroGro, etc). To keep it simple on your first grow, stick with a base nutrient like House and Garden Soil A + B (or Coco A + B if you’re in coco coir, or Aqua Flakes if you’re doing hydroponic).

House & Garden Soil A + B Set 1 Liter
38 Reviews
House & Garden Soil A + B Set 1 Liter
  • Soil A NPK Formula: 2.3-0-2.3
  • Soil B NPK Formula: 1-1.1-3.6
  • gives the plant optimal strength during the growth and flowering periods

I also like to use Multi-Zen, which helps the soil break down the nutrients into readily available compounds. It also helps avoid PH fluctuations which tends to keep the soil PH on point and not need any flushing.

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House & Garden HGMZN01L Multi Zen, 1 L fertilizers, Natural
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House & Garden HGMZN01L Multi Zen, 1 L fertilizers, Natural
  • Package length :3.25"
  • Package width :9.5"
  • Package height :3.25"

Then, choose a flowering nutrient, to boost your phosphorous and grow big buds. In this case, I use Bud XL, which adds phosphorous to the Soil A + B base nutrients.

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House & Garden 749630 Bud-XL Fertilizer, 1 L
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House & Garden 749630 Bud-XL Fertilizer, 1 L
  • Promotes flowering
  • House and garden brand
  • Comes in 1 liter size

I also like to use the Top Shooter nutrient from House and Garden for the last few weeks of flowering. This helps really develop fat, dense buds in the last few weeks.

House & Garden HGTSH002 Top Shooter Fertilizer, 250 mL
45 Reviews
House & Garden HGTSH002 Top Shooter Fertilizer, 250 mL
  • Forces your plants into starting a new flowering cycle after the regular cycle has stopped
  • House and Garden Brand
  • Comes in 250 ml size

I know, I know. I dropped well over $100 of nutrients on you. But it’s well worth the investment. These nutrients will last 3-4 cycles, or more. And the quality of bud you will get will be soooo worth the investment upfront.

Keep it Simple

There are a LOT of nutrient lines out there, and each one may have upwards of 10 different nutrients. It’s best to keep it simple and be proficient at the basics before you move on to more intense nutrient regimes.

The more nutrients you use in your grow, the more it could affect your PH, which will affect the outcome of your entire grow.

I prefer to use a vegetative nutrient, a flowering nutrient, enzyme compounds, and then also brew a compost tea to amend the soil every few weeks. Start with 3-4 base nutrients and then experiment once you know what you’re doing. I’ve known far too many growers who started with the entire nutrient line, and when everything when salty and their grow suffered, they were beyond frustrated.

Seeds or Clones?

Should you start from seeds or clones? Well, if you’re in a medical or recreational marijuana state, you can get clones from your local dispensary. But starting from seeds is also fun!

In my experience, rooted clones are the most simple to get going. As long as you get them from a reputable source, you can rest assured they will be pest free and have good genetics.

When growing from seed, again, choose a good source. It can be easier to start with feminized seeds (that way you know they are all female plants). Feminized seeds are great for new growers.

I prefer to use standard seeds produced from a male and female plant, but you’ll have to send them 2 weeks into flowering stage to see which are male and female, then put the female cannabis plants back into vegetative growth to build the plants out to increase your yield.

Step 6: Germination and Transplantation

Okay, you’ve got your seeds or clones ready. But how do you germinate your marijuana seeds and transplant your baby plants or clones into pots to get ready for vegetative growth?

Germinating Seeds

It’s pretty simple to germinate cannabis seeds:

  • Wet several paper towels and place them in a food-safe container.
  • Place your seeds on the paper towel, without bunching them up.
  • Place several wet paper towels on top.
  • Keep in a warm (70°F) area and cover with another dry paper towel.
  • After several days, your seeds should be popping open.

Transplanting Cannabis Seedlings

When your seeds have popped, the best way to grow them into small baby plants is to use plastic or paper cups.

  • Cut some holes in the bottom and sides of the cup so the soil can breathe.
  • Fill about 3/4 of the way with soil (even if growing in coco).
  • Make a 1/2 inch deep hole with a finger.
  • Place your germinated cannabis seed in the hole and cover with some soil.
  • Place the cup in your vegetative lighting setup or your grow tent.
  • Wait a week or so, and you’ll have a baby marijuana plant!

Transplanting Cannabis Clones

If you’ve bought your clones from a dispensary or got them from a fellow grower, transplanting them into your final pots is very simple.

  • Prepare your pot by filling with your grow medium.
  • Dig a hole in the middle of the soil or coco, at least 1/2 inch deeper than the clone’s container.
  • Optional: sprinkle some mycorrhizae in your pot to enhance root growth
  • Before placing your cannabis plant, massage the root ball a little bit to break up the soil compaction and allow the roots to breathe.
  • Place in your pot and cover with soil.
  • Water your plant with its first dose of nutrients!

What’s mycorrhizae? A fungus that plays a key role in the plant’s root system, or rhizosphere. The fungus acts as a nutrient exchange, and enhances growth of the roots while taking care of them. My very favorite brand is Great White Mycorrhizae. I’ve had zero transplant shock while using it, compared to other brands (or using none at all).

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Great White PRPSGW04 100049823 4 oz Mycorrhizae, 4 Ounce
3,431 Reviews
Great White PRPSGW04 100049823 4 oz Mycorrhizae, 4 Ounce
  • Research shows that this powerful formula will ignite plant and root growth, giving plants the tools they need to maximize yields
  • Enables explosive root growth, increased yields, increased fruiting and flowering, increased nutrient and water absorption
  • Great White increases water uptake and the overall absorption area of the root system, resulting in a healthier plant

Step 7: Vegetative Growth

Vegetative growth is where your plants grow the foundation of stalks, shoots, and bud sites that will hold the bud structure during flowering. You should be using techniques like topping and fimming in order to increase the bud sites and also bush your plant out so it’s not just growing straight up.

During this stage, lights are on either 24 hours or 18 and 6. Plants that remain perpetually in daylight more than 18 hours per day will not flower. You can utilize this fact to grow bigger, heavier plants.

I prefer 18 and 6, because it’s a more natural light cycle. Your plants will naturally have their own dormant period during 24 hour lighting, so this just gets them on a night cycle and allows for less stress as you flip them into flowering.

Topping Your Cannabis Plants

Topping is basically trimming the top shoot of your cannabis plant in order to bush it out. It’s very simple, but requires some planning in order to accomplish an even canopy.

The basic rule about topping is this: when you remove the top shoot, two more will appear below it. This way, you can branch your plant out in an even way in order to fill up your grow space horizontally before you flip them into flower.

Step 8: Cannabis Flowering Stage

During the flowering stage of growth, lights are dialed back to 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness. This triggers hormones in the plants to begin producing flowers, which we will starve of pollen to create dense, trichome packed buds full of THC.

If you’ve planned the vegetative stage properly, your plants will be short and bushy during the beginning of flowering. They will usually double in height during the flowering stage, and you’ll need to raise your lights in order to maintain 12-18″ of space in order to prevent light burn.

Your plants will be wanting additional nutrients as they grow bigger, so pay attention to your nutrient line’s instructions regarding this phase of growth. This is typically when you push a little more phosphorous, especially in the last 3-4 weeks of flowing.

How Long Should I Grow my Marijuana Plants in the Flowering Stage?

Cannabis is generally considered ready to harvest between 8 and 10 weeks of flowering. I personally run my grows all the way out to 65 days (just over 9 weeks) and harvest around when I start to see about 60% amber trichomes and 40% clear. That’s the balance I prefer, but you can play around with harvest times to see what works best for you.

The first 2 weeks of flowering, your cannabis plants will stretch and finish shooting stems in preparation for bud growth. You’ll start to see the pistils that show your plants are females, or the ball and stem that shows it’s a make plant (if you’re growing from seed, remove the male plants or else you’ll low power buds filled with seeds, also call shwag).

Pre 98 Bubba Kush, week 3 of flowering

Weeks 3 and 4, you’ll begin to see the flowers developing lots of pistils and long white hairs.

During weeks 5 and 6, your buds will really be developing! This is where you get a sense for how much yield you will be getting from your grow. Your plants won’t be growing any taller, and the buds will slowly get more dense as flowering continues.

Weeks 7 and 8 are crucial and this is when you’ll want to add your top shooter or bud growth nutrients for growing really dense buds. Your plants will feed more these weeks than at any other point during your grow, so it’s important to have your nutrients dialed in and troubleshoot any deficiencies or overfeeding problems beforehand.

Weeks 9 and 10 you’ll be dialing back the nutrients and preparing your buds for harvest (which means flushing).

Step 9: Flushing and Harvesting

Flushing is one of the most overlooked, but important aspects of growing your own cannabis. At the end of the flowering stage, we’ve been putting so many nutrients in the soil, that we want them all used up by the plant before harvest. This means that plain water will be running through the xylem (plant tissue) instead of water filled with heavy nutrients and sweeteners. The flush will mean a better smoke that is less harsh, more smooth, and ensure your bud turns to white ash instead of a sticky black mess in your bowl.

How to Flush Your Cannabis Plants

You should flush for around 7-10 days with pure water, preferably filtered! You may see some yellowing of your fan leaves, this is a good thing. It means the plant is using up all the nutrients for bud growth and your plant tissue will be flushed of excess nitrogen and phosphorus (which means a better smoke).

Remember to not overwater your plants during this period, the soil or coco still needs to dry out between waterings.

Many growers will send their plants into a 24-48 hour period of darkness before harvesting (but I’m not sure there’s any science behind this).

Harvesting Your Cannabis Plants

I prefer the whole plant method of drying. To prepare, you should cut off all the big fan leaves that don’t have any resin on them (and discard them). Keep the small sugar leaves, however, as you can make some edibles or bubble hash with them!

Then, cut the plant stem right above the soil. Take care to hold the plant as you cut, as it might be very heavy and fall over — and you don’t want to damage any buds here.

You can hang them by tying a string around the base of the plants bottom stems, and tie them to the main crossbar of your grow tent. A clothes hanger works just as well. Space your plants out evenly and keep them in your grow tent or closet with adequate ventilation, but don’t turn any fans on to actively dry them. The more natural the process is, the better!

Step 10: Drying, Trimming & Curing

It’s important to dry your marijuana slowly, over the course of a week or so. Drying marijuana slowly makes a smoother smoke, and the cure can actually increase potency and presentation.

When your buds are sufficiently dry, now it’s time to trim and cure.

Trimming the buds of your own grow is tedious yet rewarding. You’ll want to cut the stems of the small leaves as close as possible to the bud, and trim the sugar leaves (the small triangular ones) as close to the bud as you can get.

I prefer to use titanium coated stainless steel trimmers because they don’t get gummed up as much from the resin, and tend to keep their edge longer.

VIVOSUN 2-Pack Gardening Hand Pruner Pruning Shear with Titanium Coated Curved Precision Blades
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VIVOSUN 2-Pack Gardening Hand Pruner Pruning Shear with Titanium Coated Curved Precision Blades
  • REDUCE HAND STRAIN: These micro tip snips are built spring-loaded so that they automatically push themselves open without you having to do the work which greatly reduces hand fatigue making these snips great for those with arthritis, carpal tunnel, hand or wrist issues. Comfort Grip handles will make it easy to work for long periods of time without discomfort
  • ULTRA SHARP BLADES: These quality snips come with stainless steel precision-sharpened blades which is titanium coated and are ready to tackle all of your deadheading, trimming, and shaping needs for your roses, annuals, vegetable and small flower gardens
  • SECURE, EASY TO OPERATE LOCK: These micro tip snips feature a safe and secure sideways locking mechanism that keeps your blades protected and closed when not in use. The design of these pruning snips are perfect to use whether you are right or left handed with ease

How to Cure Your Marijuana

I prefer to use glass jars to cure my cannabis. I fill them up about 3/4 of the way, and leave some air so the buds can breath and don’t get too squished together. The above photos was my very first grow, so you’ll notice the buds aren’t trimmed very well. But I wanted to share where I’ve come from so you can see how to progress! You’ll get better each growing cycle.

Maintaining a relative humidity of between 60-70% is the target for a proper cure. Any higher than that, and your buds may develop mildew. Any lower, and they’ll dry out too fast, leading to a harsh smoke.

What’s my secret? Boveda 2-way humidity packs. These little packets will absorb humidity if it gets too high, but also release moisture if the humidity gets too low. I leave them in with my buds for a minimum of 2 weeks. I use Boveda-62, which means they’ll maintain a relative humidity of 62%. you can try different variations to see which ones you like best, but a lot of online resources will go for the 62.

Boveda 62% RH 2-Way Humidity Control | Size 8 in 10-Count Resealable Bag
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Boveda 62% RH 2-Way Humidity Control | Size 8 in 10-Count Resealable Bag
  • Restore and Maintain with the Global Leader in 2-Way Humidity Control. Place Boveda in packaging for precise Relative Humidity (RH).
  • Choose 58% or 62% RH—a personal preference depending on the humidity level where you are.
  • All Natural Salts and and Pure Water inside keep contents fresh for 2-4 MONTHS in airtight containers. Just replace when Boveda is rigid

I’ve read several online resources that say Boveda will steal your terpenes, but this is not backed by any scientific testing. I find my buds in a long term cure smell just as good (sometimes even sweeter) than those fresh of a 3 week cure.

The first couple of days, you’ll have to “burp” the jars to release built up CO2 and introduce some fresh air to prevent mold (in case the nugs are too wet! Just open the jars and let them breathe for a few minutes a couple times a day. After that, you should be good to go with the humidity packs.

For long term storage, I like to keep a Boveda pack inside the jar and keep it in a relatively cool, dark place. It makes a nice long cure and sometimes I’ll notice I like the terpene profile and smoke a little better after a few weeks.

Try your best not to sneak buds out of your cure jars (it’s tough, I know). They’ll be better if you wait.

Thanks for Reading!

Thanks for digging into this basic cannabis grow guide. You’ll find a lot more resources throughout the site, so feel free to browse! There are some of affiliate links sprinkled in the posts, and this serves two purposes. One, you can learn about the product I recommend, and two, if you like the site and want to support me a little bit (building this is a big project) I’ll earn a small commission if you buy through the link. It costs you nothing and helps me out and enables me to make better content for the website.

Now get out there and start growing!

Last update on 2021-02-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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