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growing cannabis indoors for beginners

For most first-time gardeners, we recommend buying a quality potting soil that will provide your plants with enough nutrients to get them through most of their growth cycle without having to add many amendments or liquid nutrients. This pre-fertilized soil—often referred to as “super-soil”—that can grow cannabis plants from start to finish without any added nutrients if used correctly.

As your plants get bigger and especially when they start flowering, they’ll start to smell more. Outfitting your grow with a dehuey or AC can help bring odor down.

Most dehumidifiers and ACs have built-in thermostats, but if they don’t, you’ll want to buy an external one.

Growing containers

There should be a comfortable airflow both above and below the canopy, and fans shouldn’t blow air directly onto plants—this can cause wind burn, which makes leaves recede into a claw-like deformation.

When growing weed indoors, you’ll likely have to add nutrients to your plants. You won’t need to add nutrients every time you water, but get on a schedule where you water every other time, or two on, one off.

Make sure air is circulating through your garden

Plants need fresh air to thrive and carbon dioxide (CO2) is essential to the process of photosynthesis. This means you will need a steady stream of air flowing through your grow room, which will allow you to move hot air out of the space and bring cool air in.

Standard plastic containers are a popular option for growers operating on a budget. These pots are inexpensive and provide the essentials for your plants.

Growing cannabis indoors for beginners

AC systems maintain temperature and also dehumidify rooms. Fluctuations in humidity can affect plant health and should be controlled using a dehumidifier or humidifier, depending on conditions.

Ultimately, the costs of equipment and recurring utility bills are more expensive than in outdoor and greenhouse settings. However, specialized indoor cultivation equipment allows cultivators to achieve multiple harvests per year and a more reproducible product. If you’re detail-oriented and technologically inclined, indoor gardening is a fun and rewarding pastime, or could even be a full-time job.

The two main options for an indoor garden are soil and hydroponic media. Consider the following:

Indoor cannabis cultivation is a rewarding endeavor that basically can be done in any climate. Growing pot takes attention to detail and the right equipment, time, and money, but the benefits reaped from growing your own weed are more than worth the time and expense. Not only is the practice of gardening itself therapeutic, it also lends a connection to the plants that cannot be experienced outside of a hands-on approach. Having trained and grown out a favorite cultivar to fruition is one of life’s great joys for a marijuana enthusiast.

Nutrients

When it comes to cultivating cannabis indoors, you need to be sure to provide your plant with the optimal temperature, humidity, air circulation, CO2, and nutrients.

Aeroponics are hydroponic systems in which the roots are suspended in air and lightly misted with a nutrient solution on regularly timed intervals. This method can achieve faster growth rates while using less water and nutrients than other hydroponic systems, though this is considered of the most advanced methods of growing hydroponically.

Even when growing cannabis legally, it’s a good idea to minimize your public visibility as a grower and take some mild to moderate precautions. Simple steps, such as not geotagging your location when you post grow pictures or hiding the glare from your grow lights when you run them at night, can go a long way in keeping your prized indoor garden secure.

How to start growing weed

Advanced growers use digital environmental controls to monitor all equipment responsible for maintaining a stable environment (i.e., fans, AC, dehumidifiers, sensors, thermostats, etc.). These environmental controls can be worth the hefty price tag for the peace of mind they provide.

Correct lighting is crucial, as it drives photosynthesis. In other words, your plants will not grow properly without proper lighting. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

Growing cannabis indoors for beginners

There’s no doubt a bit of a learning curve involved. You’ll make your fair share of mistakes. However, trust us when we say it’s all worth it in the end.

Marijuana plants are “bioaccumulators,” which means they “suck up” everything around them (both in the air and the soil). Make sure the area surrounding the plants is clean enough to keep potential contaminants out.

The frequency of watering and the amount you give is determined by a few obvious things. These include the size of the plant, the stage of development, and the rate of photosynthesis (how fast it’s growing). However, there’s no exact science when deciding how much water to give and how often.

A hydroponic system delivers all necessary mineral salt nutrients to plants in water. If you want to choose hydroponic over traditional soil, there are several types which are straightforward and fairly easy to understand. These include Ebb and Flow, Flood and drain and DWC or Deep Water Culture.

Final Thoughts on Growing Cannabis Indoors

You can get these macronutrients pre-packaged in liquid or powder form (if you’re using an un-supplemented soil mix). However, a lot of organic “super soils” already contain them in sufficient amounts.

We also recommend investing in a pH meter to check on the quality of your water and soil regularly. If you’re growing in soil, try to keep the pH between 6 and 7, with the sweet spot being 6.2-6.5. If you’re growing hydroponically, 5.5 to 6.5 is an appropriate range with the sweet spot of 5.8-6.0.

Most cannabis strains prefer an upper-temperature range between 75- and 85-degrees Fahrenheit. When the lights are off, keep room temperature between 55 and 75 degrees. Indica strains tend to prefer the cooler end of the range.

2 – A Clean Space is One of the Most Important Things to Remember

The most commonly used lights for DIY-style growing are probably HID (high-intensity discharge) grow lights. They typically represent the best overall value in terms of cost, efficiency, and ease-of-operation.

Since warmer air rises, mount your exhaust fan(s) high so they can suck out hot, stagnant air. On the flip side, your intake fan should be mounted low so it can provide a good supply of cool, CO2-filled fresh air. This technique allows for a constant supply of fresh air for your plants. It also helps keep temperatures to a manageable level.