Cannabis laws are loosening all over the country. With more states hopping on the marijuana bandwagon, medical and recreational consumers are finally getting a chance to test out their green thumbs. Growing your own cannabis can be extremely rewarding. But, you don’t need to grow a whole field to cultivate some good quality bud. Here’s how to grow just one cannabis plant in your home.
Prep your grow space
Have a spare cabinet somewhere? What about an unused closet? It’s pretty easy to grow one cannabis plant inside your home. To avoid any hassle, it’s best to have your space prepped before you pick up a clone at a local dispensary or plant your seeds. Planning ahead means that once you get your plant, you’ll be able to start the growing process off right. Fortunately, we’ve created a handy guide to help you design the perfect low-cost grow space. You can find that guide here.
For a quick summary, here are a couple key points you won’t want to miss:
Find a good light
If you’re growing in a small cabinet or a closet, you can get away with a fairly inexpensive grow light. Some good options are this 24w LED or this fluorescent set up. The fluorescent is the more powerful option of the two, and the benefits of each are outlined in our closet growing guide mentioned above. Only opt for the 24w LED if your space is small enough, and you can get the plant fairly close to the light.
If you’re growing just one plant, invest in a full-spectrum light. Plants need different kinds of light during different phases of the growing cycle. Starting with a good quality full-spectrum light from the beginning means that you won’t have to worry about changing the light down the road.
Ensure proper ventilation
Neither of the lighting options listed above gets very hot. But, ventilation is still important. Providing your plant access to fresh air ensures that it’s getting the CO2 it needs to thrive. So, a fan or two and some type of vent is essential.
Fans can also help by creating a bit of wind. This wind helps the plant become stronger and produces a mild amount of stress. This stress encourages the plant to produce more cannabinoids and terpenes. So, creating some moving air is also a must.
Find a good soil mix
A local hydroponic store will be able to walk you through different soil varieties. But, a good combination is FoxFarm Ocean Forest mixed with some perlite. You can also throw in a little vermiculite for good measure. Perlite and vermiculite increase water absorbency and help prevent nutrient-burn from potent soil. Aim for about 25 – 33% perlite to soil. If adding vermiculite as well, aim for about 10-15%.
Roots Organic is another great base soil option.
If your cannabis is past the seedling stage and is ready for a big pot, a five-gallon bucket or container will do. Quick tip: If you live near a nursery or gardening store, check the recycling bins. Sometimes garden centers recycle old plant pots. If you’re lucky, you may be able to find a large enough pot for free. Just make sure to wash it first to get rid of any potential contaminants. Warm water and soap should do the trick. Setting it out in the sun for a while will also work.
If you’re lucky, you may be able to find a large enough pot for free. Just make sure to wash it first to get rid of any potential contaminants. Warm water and soap should do the trick. Setting it out in the sun for a while will also work.
If you’re putting your plant in a confined space, opting for a cloth container is highly beneficial. This allows more air to enter into the soil, which makes for healthier roots and less risk of unwanted fungus or disease. Five-gallon Smart Pots are a good option. Make sure to put a plastic tray or something underneath when watering time roles around.
Add nutrients or compost teas
If you’re looking for a good crop of cannabis, supplementing with some kind of fertilizer is a must. This helps flowers grow nice and big, as well as gives them the stamina to produce cannabinoids and terpenes. Every grower has a different philosophy when it comes to what kinds of nutes they want to use. Here are a couple of different ways to fertilize your plants:
HERB’s Super Soil series walks you through nearly everything you need to know about creating compost teas. Depending on your chosen method, creating compost teas can be a bit tricky. They require access to quality compost or worm castings. Some recipes require an aeration pump.
You can buy compost and worm castings at a local garden store. Compost or worm casting teas are really fantastic for your plants. They’re nutrient rich, great for cultivating beneficial soil microbiology, and are organic. Once you have the right equipment, they’re also fairly inexpensive in comparison to other nutrient options.
If you don’t want to go the compost/worm tea route, there are plenty of organic nutrient options as well. Some popular ones include:
- FoxFarm nutrients: FoxFarm has a variety of nutrients to choose from, and their products are very popular among growers. The three basics are Big Bloom, Grow Big, and Tiger Bloom.
- Botanicare Pure Blend Pro Soil: This formula is for flowering time when you want more phosphorous and less nitrogen. It has an NPK ratio of 1-4-5.
- Botanicare Cal-Mag Plus: A calcium, magnesium, and iron blend. If your plant shows signs of nutrient deficiency, this will help put things back in order. Its NPK ratio is 2-0-0.
Adding nutrients once per week is usually enough. You won’t need to add any for a couple of weeks right after planting in high-quality soil. If you add too many nutes too soon, you’ll get nutrient burn.
Establishing light/dark schedules
Once your plant is planted, establishing light and dark schedules is the next most important thing. During the vegetative state, before your plant begins to produce flowers, an 18/6 light cycle typically works well. This means giving your plant 18 full hours under the light and six hours in complete darkness.
Once your plant has reached a decent size and you’d like to flower it, you switch them over to a strict 12/12 light cycle. This means 12 hours under the light, and 12 hours in complete darkness.
If the water in your region is chlorinated, you may want to consider using an air stone and aquarium pump to get rid of as much of the chemical as you can before you water. Chlorine can really hinder your plant growth. If using an aeration pump is a little too over the top for you, you’ll want to make sure to shake up your water pretty significantly before giving it to your plants.
Over watering is one of the primary mistakes new growers make. To help prevent this situation, only water when your soil is completely dry, then drench. Don’t water again until the soil is completely dry. You don’t need to water every day. In fact, if you do, you’ll risk excess fungal growth, like fusarium.
The following items are the very basic things you’ll need to get started with one indoor plant. Greater details on how to use each of these items and why they are necessary can be found in our closet grow guide, as well as in our Super Soil series. Be sure to check out those articles to get a sense of what these things are.
For growing space:
- Appropriate light socket
- Light timer
- At least one fan
- Reflective insulation, panda plastic, or mylar (optional)
- Cabinet or grow tent (if you don’t already have space)
- pH tester
- Five-gallon bucket
- Watering can
- Sprayer for nutrients or compost teas
- Fertilizers such as worm castings or bat guano, or whatever you choose
Expect to wait three to four months before you see a harvest. Once your plants are around two feet high, you can probably begin flowering. However, if you’re growing a sativa-dominant strain, your plant may quickly outgrow a small grow room. If you begin to flower an indica at two feet, it’s likely to finish around three feet high.
These are only rough estimates, though. If your plant looks a little scrawny and doesn’t have many developed branches, it is not ready for flowering.
These are the most basic things you need to know before starting just one plant in your home. For more detailed information, be sure to check out some of our other growing series! When it comes to cannabis cultivation, knowledge is power.
As an inevitable disclaimer: Keep in mind that only some states allow legal home growing. In others, growing is still illegal. Always be aware of the laws in your region before growing. This post does not encourage you to break the law.
Do you have any tips for beginning growers? Share them with us on social media or in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!