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How to Grow Weed Indoors
(15 Step Beginner Guide)

By Jennifer | March 27th, 2020

This is the Step-by-Step guide to How to Grow Weed Indoors for Beginners.

In this new guide you will learn:

  • Why & when grow indoors
  • The pros and cons
  • 10 steps in the preparation phase
  • 5 steps in the growth phase
  • Lots more

In short: if you are a beginner and you want learn how to grow weed indoors, this guide will get you started! 

Let’s get started!

Why Grow Indoors?

One might imagine an expansive outdoor field or a greenhouse when they think about growing weed.

Doing it indoors instead can offer a variety of benefits — especially for beginners.

If you’re looking to keep a close eye on your plants and hoping for a controlled setup, this might be a suitable option for you!

A wonderful thing about growing weed is that this plant can survive, and even thrive, in numerous setups, whether outdoors or inside.

Choosing to move your project indoors offers advantages that are quite beneficial for beginner growers. There are also a fair amount of disadvantages you need to be aware of before proceeding. 

 

Pros to Indoor Growing

  • Environmental control
  • Management of soil
  • Grow year-round
  • Discreet
  • High THC percentages

 

Environmental Control

Weed requires specific nutrients and conditions to grow successfully. Factors such as moisture and light control are essential throughout the process. Growing weed indoors offers you the chance to take greater care of your environment than you can outdoors.

Monitor your lighting needs with the help of lamps and tents. Temperature control is also easier, thanks to central units and individual stations like the use of fans. Furthermore, you’re able to water at your discretion without the fear of unknown weather conditions encroaching on your yield.

Since a plant’s needs differ from species to species, this enables you to monitor a variety of strains at once.

 

Management of Soil

Taking control of the soil outside, while possible, is much more complex than the manageable situation you have inside. Where outdoors you have, at times, unfavorable conditions to worry about, indoors you’re able to control your soil conditions.

Factors include how much water the soil receives and when that happens. On the flip side, you don’t have to worry about your soil drying up.

 

Grow Year-Round

This is a major bonus to indoor growing because it indicates you can harvest more than once per year. An outside harvest, unless you are opting for autoflowering plants, occurs just once a year and usually in the fall.

With your controllable indoor conditions, you’re able to grow a wider variety. It also provides more room to quickly recover from your mistakes (don’t worry, it happens) — it won’t require you waiting an entire year to adjust your methods accordingly.

 

Discreet

With the help of ventilation systems with a carbon filter (this is indispensable!), growing indoors doesn’t have to permeate your entire home with a total skunk aroma. It allows you to be more discreet about your endeavors, instead of planting in your publicly-exposed yard or garden.

 

High THC Percentages

Rumor has it that growing indoors means better quality, once again, thanks to all that control you have.

By high quality here, we mean strong strains with a robust THC content. Are potent buds a deciding factor for you? Growing indoors will be your best bet.

 

Cons to Indoor Growing

  • Costly endeavor
  • Labor intensive
  • Lower yield
  • The legalities

 

Costly Endeavor

One of the biggest drawbacks to growing indoors are the resources required to pull it off. All of the environmental control factors aren’t free, after all. 

From your setup to ongoing costs, you have to factor in supplies such as lights and electricity and water bills, to name a few. Ventilation setups aren’t cheap either but are also necessary.

It’s not essential to go high-end here, but the other side of that coin is going too cheap and risking an unsuccessful yield. As you’ll find out, it’s crucial you maintain each step of the growing process with quality and care.

 

Labor Intensive

Much of growing outdoors means leaving it up to nature. It’s risky, yes, but this also means less work on your part. 

Those indoor environmental controls don’t just happen automatically — they require precise, dedicated labor and lots of it. From everyday upkeep to obsessing over the conditions in rough summer months, you’ll have to keep tabs on your plants daily.

Do you like to vacation frequently? This is something to consider here. You can’t leave your plants on a whim and just keep your fingers crossed. You’ll need a backup plan or trustworthy partner to help care for them while you’re away.

 

Lower Yield

Space is a big part of the equation when determining how large your plants will grow. Growing outdoors offers plants that yield up to 900 grams per meter squared, whereas indoors, the largest you’ll get is around half of that.

Given you can harvest more than once per year indoors, it could even out in the end — depending on your time commitment to the project.

 

The Legalities Around Growing Indoors

Understanding the specific legislation around the growing and consuming of marijuana is tricky. Uruguay, for example, legalized growing up to 6 plants for personal use in 2013. In the Netherlands, there is a policy of toleration. However, in the US it is still mostly illegal under federal law, aside from the 2018 Hemp Farming Act. This legalized growing marijuana so long as it contains less than 0.3 percent THC (read: it doesn’t get you high). 

This makes it crucial that you research and know your state’s laws specifically, to avoid any troubles in the future. Factors that vary based on state include how many plants you can grow at once, which may limit your countering of the lower-yield point above. 

In Colorado, for example, you can grow up to six plants and be in possession of 1 ounce — so long as you’re 21 years of age or older.

Steps to Growing Weed Indoors

Are you ready for all the choices you have to make where growing is concerned? We delve into detail later, but, in brief, these include the following:


Preparations


Step 1. Choose Your Location
Step 2. Choose Your Grow Tent
Step 3. Choose Your Lights
Step 4. Choose Your Ventilation
Step 5. Choose Your Air Conditioning/Heating Units
Step 6. Choose Your Pots
Step 7. Pick the Right Tools
Step 8. Buy your Seeds
Step 9. Purchase Nutrients
Step 10. Pick your Growing Medium


Growing


Step 11. Germinate your seeds (3–10 days)
Step 12. Taking care of your Seedlings (2–3 weeks)
Step 13. Caring during the Vegetative Stage (3-16 weeks)
Step 14. Treatment during the Flowering Stage (8-11 weeks)
Step 15. Harvest and Dry your Buds (1-3 weeks)

 

It's time to Build Your Grow Space!

This exciting phase is when you get to see all that forethought and dreaming come to life. 

 

Step 1. Choose Your Location

Choosing a grow space is one of the first considerations you’ll make. Some key points to keep in mind include the following:

  • Ventilation/carbon filter
  • Discretion
  • Size of space
  • Noise

Ventilation and a good carbon filter are a must, which indicates you’ll need access to a nearby window where you can filter out the carbonated air. Otherwise, your house will smell of weed real quick.

Secondly, putting a grow box in a high-traffic area of your home isn’t a good idea. A laundry room or basement would be ideal as these spaces are private and allow you to keep things on the down-low. 

Make sure to measure your space before assuming your grow box will fit. Take into account access to electricity and your ventilation system. 

Lastly, your fans are bound to make some noise. Make sure your grow box isn’t too close to your home office or baby’s room. This would get annoying.

 

Step 2. Choose Your Grow Tent

How many plants are you looking to grow at once? What size space is available? These are questions to keep in mind when picking out a grow tent. 

Smaller tents (approximately 2 feet by 4 feet) will house around 3 plants. However, if you are willing to spend a little more, larger ones have a capacity of up to 50(!) plants, depending on their size. Grow tents are available as small as 1m2. / 11ft2. all the way up to 10m2 / 108ft2. 

The best-quality grow tents are made from a heavy-duty plastic covering and reflective insides to bounce all that light back to your plants. Flaps, adhesive taping, and zippers will be on the closing points to ensure no outside light or air enters.

 

Step 3. Choose Your Lights

There are two main types of grow lights:

  • HPS
  • LED

HPS lights, despite being the older option, do offer an advantage when it comes to yield. Sinds the rise of the LED light its popularity has slightly diminished because HPS does have a few drawbacks. 

The fact that it uses substantially more power is a common complaint. They also give off a lot of heat (which can be both an advantage as well as a disadvantage, depending on the circumstances). At the same time, they’re fairly budget-friendly, although they last nowhere near as long as LED lights.

If you live in a cold climate, HPS lights might serve you better as they tend to offer more heat (sometimes too much heat).

One of the major advantages of LED lights is that they last significantly longer. LED lamps also produce less heat, so additional heat in the winter might be necessary. They cost more upfront but offer enhanced longevity in return.

If your demand is a bit lower and your climate is mild or even warm, LED lights could be a better, more economical choice.

 

Step 4. Choose Your Ventilation

It might be obvious, but it’s also easy to forget. Weed smells! Sometimes it’s bad, other times not. Regardless, it can come with a very potent aroma that, most likely, you don’t want that floating around your house or in the vicinity.

A ventilation system cleans the air, dumping it outside. We recommend using a carbon filter, so the air pushed outdoors isn’t skunky either. 

Other benefits of a ventilation system include:

  • Helps control humidity
  • Decreases pest and plant diseases
  • Keeps CO2 in balance
  • Lessens stress of heat
  • Circulates fresh air
  • Prevents pungent odor from getting out.

Depending on the size of your grow space, your ventilation system will differ, of course. Two of your main tools here will be an exhaust fan and an oscillating fan. 

Keep in mind that oscillating fans below 6 inches in diameter won’t be strong enough for the job, regardless of your tent size. If those are all you have, use at least two of them.

 

Step 5. Choose Your Air Conditioning/Heating Units

If you have a medium-to-large size grow room, you may want to consider an air conditioning unit to increase the ventilation inside. Furthermore, your climate plays a large role as to whether you need to invest in such units. 

Imagine you’re furnishing a home. Do you live in a hot climate where it’ll be difficult to maintain the temperature inside? An AC unit might be necessary. On the contrary, super cold climates will require further heating mechanisms than lights alone. 

During the night or a “dark period,” the optimal temperature will be around 68°F / 20°C to 75°F / 24°C to give you an idea. If your temps are consistently falling below 59°F / 15 °C or above 80°F / 27°C, consider adding on to your ventilation system with AC or heat.

 

Step 6. Choose Your Pots

The most obvious thing to keep in mind here is that your pots should fit comfortably, not squished, in your grow tent. Cloth or fabric pots are an inexpensive option and also popular for other reasons. 

First, they offer adequate airflow, which means your plants will be prime for absorbing nutrients. Furthermore, you’ll benefit from good drainage as well. This can help you avoid problems such as root rot.

Look for fabric pots that are BPA-free and that have outside seams along the bottom, which help hold the pot together over time.

There are various sizes of pots available on the market, ranging from 1.5 - 5 gallons / 6 - 19 liters, with 3 gallons being the most commonly used. If you have sufficient room in your grow space, consider using the 5 gallon / 19 liter pots.

Why is the pot size so important?

Generally speaking, the larger the pots, the larger the plants. This will eventually benefit your yield which is, of course, your endgame.

Cannabis plants grow long, winding roots; if they are limited, your roots can become “root-bound”. This means that there is not enough room for the roots to grow. As a result, they cannot fully develop and will therefore not be able to absorb sufficient nutrients. This leads to nutrient deficiencies. Nutrient deficiencies will result in smaller plants or worse, your plants may even die!

3 gallon / 11 liter pots provide a good balance between pot size and room to grow - your cannabis roots have enough room for a decent grow, while the pot doesn't take up too much space in your grow room so you can grow more plants in a limited space.

 

Step 7. Pick the Right Tools

Your initial space is now set up, and other tools are needed. These include:

  • Shovel: For digging, of course!
  • Watering supplies: A watering can is indispensable. 
  • Scissors: Necessary for many tasks including pruning and cloning.
  • Hygrometer: Measures humidity, CO2 and more.
  • Temperature gauge: So you know how to adjust your AC/heat/lights.
  • Plastic gloves: Unless you don’t mind getting a bit dirty.
  • pH meter: You’ll need to keep an eye on the pH of soil and water when growing on cocos or hydro.
  • Rope: Often useful for rigging lights into place.
  • Bamboo sticks: To keep plants growing upright.

Depending on your budget, you can go as budget-friendly or high-end as you want here. Keep in mind that quality influences costs. While it may not be necessary to buy expensive plastic gloves, cutting corners on something like a hygrometer may not be wise.


Up next: Seeds, Nutrients and Growing Mediums

We warned you there was a cost to growing indoors and yes, you still have more items to purchase! Don’t fear. With a high-quality setup, some potent buds could be right around the corner. 


Step 8. Buy your Seeds

It’s crucial to pick premium seeds — why else would you have invested in all this equipment? With high-quality strains, you’ll have better germination results, which is the start of your entire growing process.

A robust beginning will increase your chances of a better aroma, taste, grow and yield. This article on the best indoor strains for beginners can help you distinguish from a list of great choices, for starters.

 

Step 9. Purchase Nutrients

You’ll require items such as fertilizer for your plants, starting when your little leafy babies are around three to four weeks old. What you use will depend on your growing medium.

You have to be careful here because under-fertilizing or giving too much can both lead to adverse effects. 

Crafted bacteria and fungi solutions are useful for growth size and flowering success. One we love at Marijuana Seed Breeders is the Mycorrhiza Mix.

pH-equalizing solutions are also available when you come across difficulties where that’s concerned.

With all nutrients, there’s a variety of quality brands on the market.

 

Step 10. Pick your Growing Medium

Your nutrients, their dosage, and other factors all hinge on the type of growing medium you use. Each has its pros and cons:

Soil
Soil is not just a great option for beginners, in fact, it is recommended for everyone! Soil most resembles the way plants grow in nature. It retains a good amount of the nutrients it’s fed, easier to maintain your moisture balance and can be used multiple times. Aside from that, you will not have to sour your PHP and you will have more flexibility in terms of feeding times, which leaves room for error/experimentation since this option is the most forgiving.

On the downside, root-bound plants can appear quickly, which means the roots have outgrown their container. However, root-bound can easily be prevented by not pre-growing your plants for too long before you put them in bloom.

Another minor disadvantage is that replace the soil can be a tough job and you need to have room to dump it afterward or you'll need to dispose of it.

Hydro
A hydroponic setup means the plants are put directly into water only, and no other medium. Nutrients are absorbed quickly, and most strains grow more rapidly than with other mediums. Furthermore, nutrient issues show up right away and are easy to manage when they do.

Unfortunately, mold, fungus and root rot can occur since they’re planted in water. You have to stay on top of this to catch it right away. There’s also less of a buffer than with soil, which means it’s often recommended for advanced growers.

Types of hydro mediums include rockwool slabs, which may come as part of a growing kit.

Coco
Some say this is the “happy medium” of the two above. Plants placed in cocopeat tend to take in nutrients easily but might not hold them for as long as other mediums. Grow time falls in-between the soil and hydro setups.

The pitfalls here include a minimal buffer zone, should a feeding be missed, and high pH levels can occur easily, among others. It’s also only recommended for growers with at least some experience.

 

It’s Grow Time!

The growing process occurs in five distinct steps. We outline them, in brief, below. For further instructions, please follow up with our other guides.

 

Step 11. Germinate your Cannabis Seeds (3–10 days)

At Marijuana Seed Breeders, we prefer to use the Spongepot method. One of the major upsides here is that we include supplies, such as the soil enhancer. Want to know more about Germination? Read our in-depth guide: how to germinate weed seeds.

The temperature will need to remain at 72°F / 22°C - 79°F / 26°C throughout the process.

You’ll be waiting to see the root “pop” out during this phase. Once it has, the new seedling will begin to grow.

 

Step 12. Taking care of your Seedlings (2–3 weeks)

Leaves will start sprouting now, yeah! The plants will require 18 hours of light per day.

A baby seedling will initially have just one blade on its leaves. Once the blades begin to multiply and grow between five and seven blades per leaf, you’ll know it’s time for the vegetative phase.

 

Step 13. Caring during the Vegetative Stage (3-16 weeks)

Light, water, and food will be increasingly important at this juncture. Your plants will continue to need around 18 hours of light as they grow each day.

Watering methods will be intuitive and based on the looks of each strain. Are your bottom leaves starting to look droopy or a bit sad? Up their water intake. Stop watering when you notice a small amount of water pooling around the base of the plant.

What about nutrients? It's important to read the labels of the products you're using to determine the appropriate amounts.

Step 14. Treatment during the Flowering Stage (8-11 weeks)

Are you excited for those buds to appear? We've now reached that stage, and it's an exciting one. Patience is a virtue, and at this point, and you'll bring down the lights to 12 hours daily. During the off times, make sure your grow tent is well sealed to keep any light from coming in.

 

Step 15. Harvest and Dry your Buds (1-3 weeks)

Now you get to see the real fruits of your labor. Job well done.

When the hairy bits, called trichomes, around your buds start to change color from a white to an amber hue, you know it's time to harvest. You'll carefully cut the buds from the plants and prepare for the drying process.

There are two ways to go about it:

Hang Upside Down
This is a popular method, and you'll do this directly after cutting the plants. You'll notice the little leaves will shrivel up, and you can remove the larger ones. Work delicately around the buds to keep them, and their THC content, intact.


Use Drying Nets
You'll cut them down similarly to the method above. Instead of hanging them upside down, though, you'll use a net material instead.


Somehow, we've found the buds to look nicer this way than with the method above. This could be why businesses often use this method in commercial settings. However, we've also concluded that the THC content may drop with this method.


How Do We Know When They're Ready?
Are the small branches bendable? If you can easily bend them, they need more time. Instead, if you find they break off, chances are the plant is done drying.


Do you live in a climate with high humidity? It could take longer for your plants to dry, so don't fret and wait it out. An additional heater could help your cause.

 

Happy Growing!

This was it! Our guide to how to grow weed indoors!

The planning and procuring stage is a large part of the process. Get organized and stay that way. It’s an investment, after all.

The environmental controls, soil management and year-round growing are all reasons to start the journey indoors, as opposed to outside. Use the best materials you can afford and don’t skimp on seeds and nutrients. It’ll pay off in the long run.

Take advantage of our supplies on offer to get the most out of the growing experience. Best of luck to you and enjoy the process!

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Happy growing,

Bob

Article by:

Caroline


Educated by one of the best breeders in the Netherlands, I chose to combine my passion for writing with the fascinating world of cannabis cultivation. What are the best strains for which occasion, what are the effects, and how to use responsibly? Let me take you on a journey.



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