This easy-to-follow guide will help you grow your own medical marijuana at your home.
Marijuana is legal in some capacity in over half of the country, which means every day more patients become interested in how they can grow weed in their own home.
A common misconception is that growing weed is challenging. It is not. While growing your own medical marijuana at home does take a little bit of planning, set-up, and care, even beginners will find that weed grows easily.
Generally, to grow marijuana at home you only need to follow these three steps:
- Decide on a Grow Area
- Gather Your Supplies
- Take Care of Your Plants According to Their Growth Stage
Now let’s dive into each of these three steps a little more.
Decide on a Grow Area
The first step in growing your own weed is figuring out where in your home to grow it. Really, though, it can be almost anywhere, provided that the space is dry and cool, and that you can seal it from outside light. Common grow areas include:
- A closet
- A cabinet
- A corner in a spare room
- Even in a tent
Beginners may want to start with a small area. A small grow space constructed for one to a few plants is easier to manage and less expensive to set up than a large room.
Gather Your Supplies
Once you have an idea of the size and location of your grow space, you’re ready to gather all of the supplies you’ll need.
While cannabis seeds are available from an array of sources, you’ll likely have better success getting quality seeds from an online seed bank. Your cannabis seeds need to be matured before they’re ready for germination. This means they should feel hard and appear dark brown with light accents, rather than feel fresh and look green.
Organic potting soil
Growing your marijuana in soil is ideal for beginners. Compared to hydroponics, a medium used by some advanced growers, soil is more forgiving. Any high quality potting soil will work, provided it doesn’t contain artificial extended-release fertilizers. You may want to consider organic pre-fertilized potting soil, sometimes tagged “super-soil,” which will save you from having to buy and feed nutrients to your plants later on.
You’ll need two sizes of containers for your plants. Pots about 2 inches in diameter are ideal for when your plants are seedlings. Later on, you’ll move your weed into bigger, 3-gallon containers. Ones that offer breathability like fabric pots are ideal, but buckets with holes drilled into their bottoms for drainage also work just fine.
Your lighting setup will be the most expensive part of the process. Beginners growing just one or two plants at home can get away with using almost any type of lights.
HID (high intensity discharge) lights are the most widely used because of their efficiency, although they’re more expensive and require specialized HID ballasts (fixtures). Fluorescent light fixtures are more economical, but are less efficient. There are also all-in-one HID and fluorescent light kits available that are designed for indoor grow spaces.
If you aren’t using a pre-fertilized organic soil mix, your plants will need to be fed throughout the vegetative stage. Nutrient solutions are sold in either a concentrated liquid or a powder designed to mix with water.
You’ll need a bottle of macronutrients containing:
You’ll also need a bottle of micronutrients containing:
Take Care of Your Plants According to Their Growth Stage
Like all plantlife, cannabis plants go through a life cycle of growing stages. Each stage of growth requires different care, so it’s important to adjust the amount of both light and nutrients your plants receive accordingly. Overall, it takes about 3-5 months from germination to harvest.
The life cycle of cannabis is made up of four stages:
- Germination (1 week)
- Seedling (2-3 weeks)
- Vegetative (3-5 weeks)
- Flowering (6-8 weeks)
Germination (1 Week)
Once your cannabis seeds have matured, they’re ready for germination.
- Wet four paper towels, soaking them with distilled water.
- Lay two paper towels on a plate. Place the cannabis seeds atop the wet paper, with at least an inch of space between them. Cover them with the remaining two paper towels.
- Take a second plate, flip it on its face and cover the seeds, creating a small dome to keep out the light.
- Keep the seeds in a warm area.
- Periodically check the seeds, looking for them to split and produce a single sprout. This process could take from a couple of days to two weeks. Wet the paper towels as necessary to keep them saturated.
- Once you see tap roots sprout from the seeds, transfer them into the small 2-inch pots filled with soil. In a couple of days, you’ll see the stem sprout from the soil and two rounded cotyledon (embryonic) leaves emerge.
Keep in mind that some cannabis seeds will be duds and not sprout. Others will take longer to sprout.
Seedling (2-3 Weeks)
Once your cannabis plants emerge from the soil, they are considered seedlings. During this period, the stem will produce more healthy green leaves with multiple fingers. The plants are considered seedlings until their leaves each develop five to seven fingers.
Throughout this 2-3 week stage, you’ll want to give your plants 18-24 hours of light. Water only periodically, because the plants’ roots are small and don’t need much.
Once the plants’ leaves develop five to seven fingers, transplant your cannabis into your larger, 3-gallon pots.
Vegetative (3-5 Weeks)
Ready for your cannabis to really grow? Now’s the time.
During the vegetative stage, you’ll see the plant’s foliage rapidly flourish. Within the soil, the roots will also continue developing.
For these next 3 to 5 weeks, begin by providing your plants 24 hours of light and then gradually decrease the light cycle each week until your plants are getting 13 hours of light.
Water regularly, but don’t overdo it, as cannabis plants are susceptible to fungal root diseases when they’re overwatered. Some growers wait until the lower leaves of their plant start to droop slightly before watering. Additionally, water further away from your plants’ stalks to encourage the roots to continue growing outwards.
If you’re not using pre-fertilized organic soil mix, feed your plants with your nutrient mixes about once a week.
Flowering (6-8 Weeks)
It’s during the flowering process that your plants produce resinous buds, which will eventually become useable cannabis flower. At this point, you’ll want to cut down the light your weed receives to less than 12 hours per day. This will stimulate your plants to flower.
Keep your watering steady as before. Avoid feeding your plants the nutrients used during the vegetative stage. You may want to add a trellis or other type of support to your plants to help buttress the plant (the buds can make it top heavy).
We’ve also detailed the steps to follow during the flowering process, which you can find HERE.
Learn More about How to Grow and Harvest Weed
As the legalization of recreational and medical marijuana reaches more states in the U.S., more people are looking into how to grow their own marijuana. While growing your own cannabis can at times seem overwhelming, beginners with a little bit of patience will soon get the hang of it.
You can learn more about growing your own weed, and drying and curing your cannabis flower, by visiting our Cannabis 101 Page.