Are you looking for a step-by-step guide on how to grow cannabis indoors? Then, you’ve come to the right place! This blog post will walk you through each step of the growing process, from planting your seeds to harvesting your buds. We’ll also provide tips on how to avoid common mistakes and optimize your growth environment. So, whether you’re a first-time grower or a seasoned pro, this guide has something for everyone.
What are the benefits of growing cannabis indoors?
As the world begins to recognize the many benefits of medical cannabis and recreational cannabis, more and more people are looking into home growing. And there are plenty of good reasons to do so!
Growing your own cannabis allows you to have complete control over every aspect of the growing process, from the genetics of your plants to the nutrient levels in your soil. This gives you the ability to produce high-quality buds that are tailored to your specific preferences. Additionally, growing indoors allows you to avoid many risks associated with outdoor cultivation, such as bad weather, pests, and thieves.
Aside from the obvious benefits of quality and security, growing cannabis indoors also offers a number of other advantages such as:
- Indoor growers can use technology to create an optimal growing environment for their plants. This includes using LED (Light Emitting Diode) grow lights to mimic the sunlight plants need to photosynthesize and automated systems that take care of tasks like watering and temperature regulation.
- Growing cannabis indoors allows you to produce multiple harvests per year instead of just one outdoor harvest. This means you can have a steady supply of fresh buds all year!
- Last but not least, cannabis cultivation indoors is simply more convenient than growing outdoors. You don’t have to worry about bad weather or pests ruining your crop with an indoor grow setup. You can also grow your plants in any location, regardless of whether it has ideal growing conditions.
Now that we’ve gone over some of the reasons you might want to grow cannabis indoors let’s look at how to do it.
How to Grow Cannabis Indoors from Seeds
Gardening is no easy task, and growing hydroponic cannabis is no exception. But don’t worry, we’re here to help! In the following few sections, we’ll walk you through each step of the process, from planting your seeds to harvesting your buds.
Step 1: Choose Your Grow Room Space & Grow Supplies
The first step in setting up your grow room is to choose the right location. Ideally, you want a large enough space to accommodate your grow operation, good ventilation and can be easily controlled for temperature and humidity.
If you’re not sure where to start, consider the following:
- A spare room in your house: If you have an unused room in your home, this can be an excellent choice for your growing room. Make sure that the space is large enough and that you can control the environment (temperature, humidity, etc.)
- An outdoor shed: Another option is to convert an outdoor shed into your grow room. This can be a wonderful way to save space, but keep in mind that you’ll need to take extra precautions to insulate the shed and protect your plants from the elements.
- A closet: If you’re short on space, a closet can be a good option for setting up a small grow room. Just make sure that the closet is big enough to fit all your plants and that you can control the environment inside.
Once you’ve chosen the perfect location for your grow room, it’s time to gather supplies.
Step 2: Shop for Grow Supplies
Because hydroponics is a soilless method of growing cannabis plants and offers various growing methods, the supplies you’ll need will vary depending on your setup. However, there are a few basic hydroponic supplies that every grower needs, such as:
Grow Setup Equipment
- Grow tents – these are essential for creating a controlled environment for your plants if you don’t have an entire room to dedicate to your grow.
- Grow pots or grow bags – these are used to hold your plants and their roots if not growing hydroponically.
- Growing media – this is what your plants will grow in.
- Grow lights – horticultural lighting simulates sunlight and provides your plants with the energy they need to photosynthesize.
- Grow safety glasses – to protect your eyes from the bright grow lights.
- Reservoir tanks – these hold your nutrient solutions.
Climate Control, Environment Control & Ventilation
- Water pumps – these circulate your nutrient solution and ensure that your plants get the nutrients they need.
- Water filter – this removes impurities from your water supply.
- Air pumps – these supply oxygen to your roots.
- Air stones – these diffuse the air bubbles created by the air pumps and help aerate your nutrient solution.
- Ventilation system – this helps regulate the temperature and humidity in your grow room.
- Air conditioner and air purifier – these can be used to control the temperature and humidity in your growing room if you don’t have a ventilation system.
- Humidifier and dehumidifier – these can also be used to manage the humidity in your grow room.
Meters, Timers, & Controllers
- Thermo-hygrometer – these measures the temperature and humidity in your grow room.
- pH meter – this measures the acidity or alkalinity of your nutrient solution.
- EC (Electrical Conductivity) reader – this measures the electrical conductivity of your nutrient solution, which is a good indicator of the overall nutrient levels.
- Timers and automated controllers – these help you automate your growing room environment, including tasks like turning on and off your grow lights and air pumps.
Nutrients, Solutions & Pest Control
- Nutrient solutions – these provide your plants with the essential nutrients they need to grow.
- pH adjusters – these are used to adjust the pH of your nutrient solution.
- Pesticides and fungicides – these prevent or treat pests and diseases.
Trimming, Harvesting, & Cleaning
- Trim scissors and loppers – these are for when your plants are ready to be harvested.
- Trimming tables – these are important for the harvesting process as they provide a clean, flat surface to work on.
- Drying and curing equipment – this includes things like curing jars and drying racks.
- Digital scales, measuring cups & other scales – these tools help you measure and weigh your plant’s harvest.
- Cleaning supplies – cleaning supplies include disinfectant solution, equipment solution, and environmental sanitation used to clean your grow room and equipment.
Every grow room is different, so the supplies you’ll need will vary depending on your specific setup. But these are the basics that every grower needs to get started.
Step 3: Choose Your Growing Medium
The next step is to choose your growing medium. This is what your plants will grow in, so choosing one that will support the roots and provide the nutrients they need is essential. There are a variety of different growing media you can choose from, such as:
Each medium offers different benefits, so research and choose the one that’s right for your grow setup. For those just starting, we recommend using a soil-less mix as it’s easy to use and manage.
Step 4: Set Up Your Grow Room
Now that you have all the necessary supplies, it’s time to set up your grow room. This can be done in any room of your house or an insulated shed. The important thing is to make sure the room is dark, has good ventilation, and can be kept at a consistent temperature. However, if you’re using a grow tent, you can set it up in any room without worrying about the lighting or ventilation.
To start, you’ll need to:
- Measure and mark out the dimensions of your grow room.
- Assemble your grow tent or frame if you’re using one.
- Hang your lights and ventilation system.
- Install your air conditioner and/or humidifier, if necessary.
- Set up your grow medium and hydroponic system.
- Fill your reservoir with nutrient solution and connect it to your irrigation system.
- Turn on your grow light and ventilation system.
- Monitor your grow room’s temperature and humidity levels until they reach the desired levels.
Once your grow room is set up and the temperature and humidity levels are where they need to be, you’re ready to start planting!
Step 5: Choose Your Strain & Seeds
Now that your grow room is set up, it’s time to choose the strain of cannabis you want to grow. Hundreds of different strains are out there, so it can be a bit overwhelming to choose the right one. But don’t worry, we’re here to help!
The first thing you need to do is decide what type of cannabis you want to grow. The three main types are Indica, Sativa, and hybrid. Indica strains are known for their relaxing effects, while Sativas are more energizing. Hybrids are a mix of the two and offer a balance of both effects.
Once you’ve decided on the type of cannabis you want to grow, you need to choose a strain. Strains are different from each other in a variety of ways, such as:
- THC & CBD levels
- Grow difficulty
- Yield potential
- Flowering time
- Soil or hydroponic grow method
- Indoor or outdoor grow method
The best way to choose a strain is to talk to other growers, visit your local dispensary, or do some research online. Then, once you’ve found a few that sound good, it’s time to buy some seeds!
Buying Cannabis Seeds
There are a few different places you can buy cannabis seeds from, such as:
- Online seed banks
- Local dispensaries
- Cannabis clubs
- Friends or other growers
When buying seeds, ensure they’re from a reputable source. This will ensure that you get high-quality seeds that grow into healthy plants. Once you’ve found a source, ensure you understand what type of cannabis seed you’re buying.
Feminized Seeds vs Regular Seeds
There are regular seeds and feminized seeds, both of which yield female plants. However, feminized seeds are guaranteed to be female (which produces the buds you smoke), while regular seeds have a 50/50 chance of being male or female.
We recommend buying feminized seeds for first-time growers as they’re easier to grow. This is because you don’t have to worry about sexing the plants and removing the males (which can be difficult).
Once you have your seeds, it’s time to germinate them.
Step 6: Germinate Your Seeds
The first step in growing your cannabis plants is to germinate the seeds. This can be done a few different ways, but the paper towel method is the most common method.
To germinate seeds using the paper towel method, you’ll need:
- A clean, dry plate
- A sheet of paper towels
- Your cannabis seeds
First, wet the paper towels and wring them out, so they’re damp but not dripping. Then, lay them out on the plate and place your seeds on top. Make sure the seeds are spaced out and not touching each other.
Next, fold the paper towels over the seeds to cover them. Then, place the plate in a dark, warm place and check on it every 12 hours. After a few days, you should see the seeds start to crack open and sprout roots.
Once the seeds have germinated, and seedlings have emerged, it’s time to wait for your plants to move into their vegetative stage.
Step 7: Managing the Cannabis Vegetative Stage
The vegetative stage takes place after germination but before flowering. It’s when your plants are growing and developing their leaves and stems. This is the longest stage of the cannabis life cycle and can last anywhere from two weeks to several months, depending on the strain you’re growing and how big you want your plants to be. Plant growth during this stage is explosive!
During the vegetative stage, many essential physiological functions take place. The fan leaves work hard to convert light and CO2 into energy, and the root system expands and anchors the plant to take up nutrients and water. Growers must provide the proper quantity of light, water, and nutrients to their plants to satisfy the needs of these organisms during this period.
Key things to remember:
- Water frequently
- Keep temperatures around 70 to 85 degrees
- Supply extra nutrients regularly (nitrogen especially)
- If working with regular seeds, remove all male plants.
Remember, the more light the cannabis plant receives, the more it will grow. The general rule of thumb is to give your plants 18-24 hours of light per day during this stage. You can do this with either artificial lights or natural sunlight.
If you’re growing with artificial lights, we recommend using a high-intensity discharge (HID) light, such as a metal halide (MH) or high-pressure sodium (HPS) bulb. These lights are more efficient and will produce better results than fluorescent lights. If you’re growing with natural sunlight, ensure your plants get at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. You may need to supplement it with artificial light if they’re not getting enough.
Once your plants have reached their desired size, it’s time to move on to the flowering stage.
Step 8: Managing the Flowering Stage
The flowering stage is when your plants start to produce buds. As they grow, you’ll begin to see hairs, resign glands, and trichomes. This is the most crucial stage of the cannabis life cycle, as it’s when your plants produce the THC and CBD that you’ll be consuming. Typically, this process lasts between 8 to 14 weeks (about 3 months), depending on the flower you’re growing.
To induce flowering, growers must change the light cycle from 18-24 hours of light per day to 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness. This change in the light cycle signals the plant that it’s time to start flowering. However, if plants receive any light during a dark period, it can disrupt the flowering process and cause the plant to produce seeds or hermaphroditism.
Key things to remember during this stage:
- During the flowering stage, your plants will need slightly less water than they did during the vegetative stage.
- Your plants will need more phosphorus and potassium and less nitrogen. Be sure to consult a nutrients guide for specific recommendations on how to feed your plants during this stage.
- Keep temperatures around 72 to 78 degrees with humidity between 50 to 55 percent.
You’ll know your buds are ready to harvest when the trichomes turn from clear to milky white and the pistils (hairs) start to darken and curl inward. At this point, you can begin cutting down your plants and drying/curing the buds.
Step 9: Harvesting and Drying Cannabis Buds
The harvesting process is relatively simple. Start by cutting down the main stem of the plant, being careful not to damage the buds. Once the plant is cut down, you can begin trimming away the smaller leaves and stems. These parts of the plant won’t have as high of a concentration of THC/CBD and can be discarded.
Next, it’s time to dry the buds. This is crucial as it allows the THC/CBD to decarboxylate properly and prevents mold or mildew from growing on the buds. Ideally, you want to dry your buds in a dark, humid-free environment with good air circulation. We recommend hanging the buds upside down on a clothesline or using a drying rack.
It usually takes around seven to ten days for the buds to dry thoroughly. Once they’re dry, you can begin the curing process.
Step 10: Curing and Trimming Cannabis Buds
Curing is the process of slowly drying the buds while allowing them to air out regularly. This allows any remaining moisture to evaporate and ensures that your buds will be nice and fresh when smoked.
Start by placing your buds in mason jars, making sure not to pack them too tightly. Allow the jars to breathe for a few minutes each day for 4 to 6 weeks (about 1 and a half months). Open the jars for a few minutes daily during the first two weeks, allowing fresh air to filter through the container. Open them once or twice weekly in the final two weeks of curing. Ultimately, the curing process should be gradual to develop a good equilibrium of air and moisture.
Wet Trim vs. Dry Trim
Once they’re cured, you can begin trimming the buds. Many cannabis cultivators prefer to trim their plants after they have dried. If you prune them immediately after harvest, it is easier because the sugar leaves haven’t dried up and closed in on the buds. However, if you trim them while they are still wet, more chlorophyll will stay in the leaves. Though it takes more time and effort, dry trimming is generally better.
To dry trim:
- Start by breaking the buds into smaller pieces.
- Once they’re broken up, begin trimming away the sugar leaves and any other parts of the plant that you don’t want to smoke.
- Use a sharp pair of scissors or trimming shears to avoid damaging the dried cannabis buds.
And that’s it! You’ve now successfully grown your own cannabis. Now you can move onto learning how to turn your plants into various cannabis products for personal or commercial use.
Tips for Growing Cannabis Indoors
While growing cannabis indoors can be a bit more challenging than growing outdoors, it also allows you more control over the environment. Here are a few tips to help you along the way:
- Never leave your plants unattended for extended periods.
- Check the pH levels of your soil and water regularly.
- Be mindful of the temperature and humidity levels in your grow space.
- Have a ventilation system in place to ensure good air circulation.
- When storing your harvested buds, use airtight containers to avoid loss of terpenes and cannabinoid degradation.
- Keep your harvest in a cool, dark location to avoid mold and mildew, dry it out, and convert delicate terpenes into vapor.
- In a storage container, avoid creating any air pockets. For long-term preservation, vacuum-seal your flower and consider investing in a hand-held vacuum pump for short-term storage.
- To prevent cannabis from fading due to UV light, store it in opaque packaging or brown glass bottles.
With these tips in mind, you should be well on your way to a happy harvest!
Get the Best Grow Supplies for Your Cannabis Plants
Now that you have learned about indoor growing, it’s time to put your knowledge into practice! Follow the steps in this guide closely, and you will be on your way to harvesting buds like a pro. And if you encounter any problems along the way, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. We’re here to support you every step of the way.
HRG Distribution represents a wide range of hydroponic brands. Our brands offer a wide range of products to help you grow cannabis indoors, including grow lights, nutrients and accessories. Visit our website today or visit us in-store to learn more. Happy growing!