Cannabis
growing 101

Beginner's Guide to Growing Weed

Whether you're just getting started growing marijuana or working in the industry, you will find plenty of useful information and resources in our guide to consolidate your weed growing knowledge.

Let’s grow cannabis!
Beginner's Guide
to Growing Weed From zero to hero
Part 01 Interactive Cannabis
Homegrowing Map of the USA

Before you even get to grow your own weed, find out whether growing weed is allowed in your state. Our interactive map of home weed growing reveals in which states cannabis homegrowing is allowed.

To interact with map
hover the state and click on it
AK
AL
AR
AZ
CA
CO
CT
DE
FL
GA
HI
IA
ID
IL
IN
KS
KY
LA
MA
MD
ME
MI
MN
MO
MS
MT
NC
ND
NE
NH
NJ
NM
NV
NY
OH
OK
OR
PA
RI
SC
SD
TH
TX
UT
VA
VT
WA
WI
WV
WY
Alaska
Legal status MMJ, recreation
Growing status Legal
Per household up to 6 plants (3 flowering)
Know more
Part 02 Cannabis Anatomy
Like Grey’s Anatomy, but way better
No way Dr. Grey

A cannabis plant consists of a flower, cola, bracts, trichomes, node, fan/sugar leaves, stem, and pistils/stigmas.

Cannabis plants are normally distinguished into four categories: Indica, Sativa, Hybrid and Hemp. Most homegrowing enthusiasts will focus on growing mainly hybrids, as well as pure Sativa and pure Indica weed strains.

Marijuana plants can be male, female, and hermaphrodite. To tell the sex of a cannabis plant, it’s necessary to look at the plant's stem, where nodes with leaves and branches are connected.

Find out more about cannabis anatomy
Trichomes
Pistils
Sugar leaves
Bracts
Part 03 Cannabis Growing Medium

The neverending battle between outdoor cannabis growing enthusiasts and indoor marijuana growing devotees has been raging for decades. Control and consistency against free sunlight and open land — there are undeniable advantages to both of the growing mediums.

In addition, there’s a third party entering the battleground — greenhouse growers — taking the best from indoor and outdoor cannabis growing worlds.

When deciding on the future growing medium where you’ll be cultivating your cannabis, consider the following factors:

  • your local climate,
  • available space,
  • costs,
  • quality of the product.

Cannabis plants need sun and warmth to grow. Latitude also plays a major role in cannabis growing, as it directly affects daylight hours. Living in a city and a rural area will also affect the choice of a growing medium. Finances are crucial, too, since running a cannabis farm is more expensive than growing a couple of weed plants in an apartment.

Find out more about cannabis growing mediums
Part 04 Cannabis Propagating

Propagating is the process of using a cannabis plant to create more plants. There are two ways to propagate new marijuana plants — cloning and seeds.

Cloning is a time-tested method of creating new cannabis plants from the already existing ones. At the node stem of a marijuana plant, growers carefully cut a branch, place it into a starter growing medium, and, when the roots are developed, place the branch in a larger container or ground where it will be growing further as a full-bodied cannabis plant. Not having to browse for seeds and spend money, as well as avoiding a much longer weed growing process, are the major benefits of cannabis cloning.

Growing from seeds is a method of creating new cannabis plants from scratch. This method is perfect for beginner growers because it allows them to create new plants and strains and witness the entire growing process from a tiny seed to a mature cannabis plant. We’ve prepared detailed guides on each of the cannabis growing methods for you to explore.

Find out more about cannabis propagating
And just a small tip

Cloning doesn’t mean
what you think it means

Part 05 Cannabis Strains

Cannabis is believed to have evolved in Central Asia. These forefather stains are known as landrace strains, being used by weed cultivators to create modern marijuana strains. New strains adapt to a new environment, leading to a yield change, unique properties, and a different smoking experience.

As a cannabis grower, you’ll be cultivating new cannabis strains, which will be adapting to a specific growing environment, creating new flavors, tastes, different yields, growing time, as well as unique cannabinoid and terpene profiles.

A cannabis plant has nearly 420 chemical entities, while more than 60 of them are cannabinoids. The most notable cannabinoid is the phytocannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) (Delta9-THC or Delta8-THC). Cannabidiol (CBD) is another major constituent of the plant, which, alongside THC, directly affects the potency and psychoactive activity of cannabis.

Where does cannabis take its flavor and aroma? Oils called terpenes are responsible for cannabis taste and smell, as well as a unique smoking experience, affecting the way THC works in the human body. Indica, Sativa, and hybrids all have different terpene profiles.

Find out more about cannabis strains

Who in their right mind comes up with strain names like these?!

Obvious Answer: In Your Right Mind ;)
Part 06 Cannabis Flowering Types

Depending on where you’ll be growing indoors or outdoors, you can choose from two flowering types of cannabis plants, which will allow you, as a grower, to enjoy the best yield: photoperiod and auto-flowering. In addition, you can go for feminized seeds if you seek to grow female plants.

Photoperiod cannabis is the basic type of cannabis that has been existing for thousands of years. Perfect for growing outdoors, photoperiod plants stay longer in the vegetative state, can be used to breed new strains, and have a higher average yield.

In contrast to photoperiod plants, auto-flowering cannabis doesn’t need the change of light hours in order to move from a vegetative to a flowering stage, which is useful for novice growers. However, auto-flowering plants grow smaller, provide lower yield, and can’t be used for breeding.

Feminized cannabis plants are the ones getting all the hype in the weed cultivation world nowadays. Feminized marijuana plants are genetically modified to eliminate male seeds. It’s done because female plants contain buds, which are so popular among smokers, producing more THC/CBD and offering higher yields.

It is worth noting that when a cannabis plant is put under too much environmental stress, the plant can develop both male and female flowers, which is called hermaphroditism and is not welcome by growers, affecting the quantity and quality of the yield.

Find out more about cannabis types
Part 07 Cannabis Seed Germination
TL;DR
Finally, your gardening lessons will come in useful

The life of a cannabis plant starts from the seed. The process of growing cannabis from a seed to a sprout is called germination.

Cannabis germination is usually affected by light, temperature, water, soil type, and air quality.

Beginner growers are recommended to start their cannabis growing journey indoors, as, in such a way, a tiny cannabis seed will have higher chances of successful germination. Although putting a seed directly in soil outdoors is possible, it’s too risky and seldom used even by experienced growers.

There are several cannabis germination methods:

  • Paper towel
  • Plastic container
  • Peat moss
  • Coco perlite
  • Rockwool
  • Hydroponics
  • Directly in soil
Find out more about cannabis germination
Beginner's Guide
to Growing Weed From zero to hero
Beginner's Guide
to Growing Weed From zero to hero
Beginner's Guide
to Growing Weed From zero to hero

Get your copy and learn later

Plenty of useful information and resources in our guide to consolidate your weed growing knowledge

Cannabis Growing 101 PDF guide, 1.27 Mb
Part 08 Cannabis transplanting
Cannabis gentrification program in full play

As cannabis seeds start to grow into a plant, moving them to a bigger container will be required. The process of transplanting a cannabis plant from its initial container to a bigger pot is called “re-homing.”

To grow healthy and strong, as well as to flourish, a cannabis plant will need more space to spread out and not to become “rootbound,” which has negative effects on the plant's quality. The bigger the re-homing container is, the larger and healthier a plant will grow.

When grown indoors, a cannabis plant will most likely undergo two transplanting stages on average. In 4-8 weeks after germination, a plant will travel from the first (1 gallon) to its second (2 gallons) and, most likely, final container. Two weeks before flowering, some plants will want to travel to the third and largest (5 gallons) container. Keep in mind that fetching a giant first pot from day one is not a good idea, as if a seed doesn’t pull through, you’ll be wasting soil. Also, in a big pot, a small plant won’t be receiving enough water, as it will be spreading over the entire pot.

Before the plant reaches its flowering stage, there has to be plenty of space for its roots in either the final pot or in soil (whichever you decide.)

Find out more about indoor cannabis transplanting
Part 09 Growing Temperature

Similar to us growers, cannabis plants prefer temperatures not too hot and not too cold, or maybe a little bit warmer.

As an indoor cannabis grower, you will have to make sure the temperature is just about right. In general, marijuana plants grow best when the temperature is 70-85°F (20-30 °C) during the day when the lights are on. When lights are off (“night mode”), cannabis plants need a slightly cooler temperature.

During a vegetative stage, cannabis plants prefer a temperature from 68 to 77°F (19-25°C). During a flowering stage, growers should keep temperatures a little bit lower - 65-80°F (18-26°C).

Correct temperature settings are key to growing healthy and potent cannabis.

Find out more about indoor growing temperature
Respectful reminder

Please try not to confuse °F
with °C… again

Part 10 Exposure to Light and Darkness
Know any good
cannabis Lullabies?

Cannabis growing stages (vegetative, flowering) are influenced by the hours of light and darkness the plants receive. Depending on whether you’re growing your weed indoors or outdoors, the plant will be receiving different hours of light and darkness. To grow cannabis indoors successfully, you will have to mimic the plant’s natural growth pattern.

During the vegetative stage of auto-flowering plants, it’s recommended to provide the plant with a minimum of 18 hours of growing light (also known as 18/6). In case you would like your plant to reach its maximum growth capacity, then you may want to keep your cannabis under 24-hours (24/0) indoor light for as long as 60 days (given enough room space.) This is the optimal time period to unlock the full potential of your plant to grow flowers. For photoperiod plants, light patterns depend on the natural light and darkness hours.

To move from their vegetative stage to the flowering stage, your plant has to be exposed to 12 or more hours of darkness daily. You should start flowering once your plant reached the desired height and size.

Find out more about exposure to light and darkness
Part 11 Cannabis Aeration and Ventilation

Aeration (also known as soil aeration or oxygenation) is the process of puncturing the soil in order to achieve better water penetration and introduce more oxygen into the soil.

Outdoor aeration is usually performed with manual or mechanized equipment that removes cores of soil from the top layer or simply punctures the soil with spikes. Indoor growers may use the same method, but usually they will be adjusting the soil composition to allow greater oxygenation and water absorption.

The importance of aeration for indoor gardening cannot be stressed too much. Cannabis plants have to absorb nutrients from the soil in which they grow to develop successfully. The soil solution, which is a mixture of water and soil surrounding the plant’s roots, is the medium where nutrients are dissolved. In its turn, by making the soil porous to allow water to penetrate deeper into the soil, aeration helps absorb more water and retain nutrients needed for cannabis to grow properly.

To make the soil porous, aeration involves using soil additives, including tree bark, twigs, dried leaves, grass clippings, or sand. Vermiculite, which is a common mineral that is often used for insulation and water retention, may also be used to increase soil aeration.

Indoor growers perform aeration when the plant is put in the growing pot for the first time. The 30% soil additives (one or several) and 50% soil aeration mixture is used by most indoor growers. However, some growers use a one-to-one ratio of aeration mixture and soil, depending on the type of cannabis plant, sunlight patterns, and watering protocol.

Another important aspect of growing healthy cannabis plants is ventilation. Giving your homegrown weed enough fresh air initiates photosynthesis, which helps absorb nutrients. Without ventilation, cannabis plants can’t consume nutrients and literally starve. Finally, proper ventilation prevents pests and diseases from plaguing the plants.

Find out more about cannabis aeration
Holy truth

A friend with weed is a friend indeed, and a friend who shares is a friend who cares

Part 12 Growing Cannabis in a Tent

As you’ve already learned, factors such as lighting, aeration, ventilation, CO2, temperature, and humidity are key to cultivating healthy cannabis plants and obtaining high yields. As a grower, in order to avoid modifying your living space to fit your cannabis cultivation needs, you may want to go for a growing tent or a growing box. Its temporary construction, usually matte black on the outside and gleaming on the inside for stealthy growing, provides a dedicated space for hanging lights and fans, as well as other appliances required for growing.

Using a growing tent, you will be capable of creating the best environmental conditions for your plants to develop. A growing tent will protect your kush from mold and pests, while the mesh ventilation will protect the plants from dusk and other pollutants.

Tents for cannabis growing have been used for decades. Choosing a tent as a growing space for your plants is affordable and easy to set up, suiting those growers who aim for small growing operations — 1-5 ounces a month. The price for a regular growing tent is between $70 and $150.

Advantages of growing cannabis in a tent:

  • Grow cannabis whenever you want at home or outdoors
  • Easy environmental control
  • Simple to set up
  • Your home stays intact, including the weed smell
  • Can be taken down or hidden quickly
  • Light electricity bill
  • No unwanted attention from nosy neighbors

Cannabis growing tents come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from a few square feet to full-blown mini-mansions with multiple compartments. Some tents are relatively simplistic, whereas others are rich in features.

Find out more about growing cannabis in a tent
Any tips on

how to tell the Partner about this renovation project?

Part 13 Cannabis Irrigation

Irrigation is an important aspect of growing cannabis. As a homegrower, you can choose a conventional hand-watering, which has been used by covert growers for a millenia or install an irrigation system.

As far as watering cannabis by hand goes, it sounds pretty simple. Manually delivering the correct amount of water to the plant and counting the seconds in the head to calculate how much water each plant receives. Also, don’t forget watering cycles have to be timed in the right way. Now, does it sound simple at all?

The main issue with hand-watering is human error. Adding too much (or too little) water and nutrients and watering plants not according to the schedule can’t do any great job helping the plants grow - quite the opposite! That’s why growers should consider getting an automated irrigation system. The quicker, the better.

Drip irrigation is one of the simplest and most effective ways to automate the process of watering cannabis and feeding plants with nutrients. Relying on low pressure and volume, it automatically delivers water and nutrients to the plant’s root system in a precise and regulated fashion. Irrigation can be of two types — bottle and drip line.

Advantages of drip irrigation:

  • Saves lots of water
  • Laser-focus water and nutrients distribution
  • Healthier root system
  • Preserves soil quality long-term
  • No need to water plants manually

For a novice grower, hand-watering is the way to go. However, if you have plants to grow more quality weed in larger quantities and collect greater harvests, investing time and costs in drip irrigation should then be considered.

Find out more about cannabis irrigation
We grow copious
amounts of ganja, yah?
Winston
Part 14 Cannabis Fertilizers

Growing juicy fat buds is the dream of every homegrower, isn’t it? To achieve this goal, manipulating with lights and adding just plain water won’t suffice. Nutrients, i.e., fertilizers, have to be added to the mix, so the plant’s root system could develop properly and lay the foundation for quality yields, bringing growers joy in the form of great taste and aroma.

The essential macro and micronutrients needed for the plant to grow more leaves, which turn into flowers, which turn into buds, are contained in fertilizers. Without fertilizers, your cannabis won’t be able to reach its full potential, or worse. Fertilizers can be organic, chemical, synthetic, or mixed.

Some of the most common types of fertilizers are vermiculite, perlite, human urine, wood ashes, bat guano, fish meal, worm castings, compost.

To grow healthy plants with succulent buds, a grower has to add the primary nutrients, collectively known as macronutrients or NPK:

  • Nitrogen
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium

In smaller quantities, cannabis needs the following micronutrients:

  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Iron
  • Copper
  • Boron
  • Sulfur

In addition, a cannabis plant required these non-mineral elements, absorbed from air and water:

  • Carbon dioxide
  • Hydrogen
  • Oxygen

Throughout the different stages of growth, cannabis plants will need different amounts of the said nutrients. During the vegetative stage, high nitrogen, medium phosphorus, and high potassium are must-haves. During the flowering stage, high phosphorus and potassium, as well as low nitrogen are required.

Find out more about cannabis fertilizers
Part 15 Cannabis Growing Stages

Growing cannabis might sound simple, but not until you try to grow it professionally and achieve any noticeable yields and bud quality. As the plant grows and matures, it goes through various stages, each requiring not only specific knowledge and care, but also different amounts of light, water, and nutrients.

Summing up information mentioned in previous chapters, cannabis plant development can be distinguished into four major stages:

  1. Germination stage (3-10 days)
  2. Seedling (2-3 weeks) and vegetative stages (3-16 weeks), which can also be called the pre-flowering stage
  3. Flowering (8-11 weeks)
  4. Harvesting

All in all, a cannabis plant takes somewhat from 10-32 weeks, or about 3-8 months, to become harvesting-ready grown from seed. Using clones or auto-flower seeds will speed the process up.

Speaking about buds, which are the dream-goals of every homegrower, they usually grow the most closer to the end of the flowering stage. In the beginning, you won’t notice any serious bud growth. However, closer to the end of the flowering stage, the buds will be fully formed and stop developing. Once buds mature, it will be high time for harvesting! YAY!

Find out more about cannabis growing stages
Part 16 Cannabis Harvesting

Mmmm, the moment you’ve been waiting for — harvesting! Feeling excited already? You should definitely be, as all your time, effort, and knowledge put on the altar of growing cannabis at home is about to pay off (preferably, with juicy, savory buds).

Determining the right harvest time may vary from strain to strain, but there are several general indicators to begin harvesting:

  • The leaves begin to yellow, curl, and some may probably fall off
  • Branches hang more, heavy with buds
  • Buds are well-developed, no longer showing any potential for further growth

Previously, we’ve shared the approximate time required for each cannabis growth stage to complete. But time isn’t the best indicator, as the correct harvesting moment will also depend on the strain, your location, growing conditions, and the type of plant.

That’s why the most reliable way to tell that the plant is ready for harvesting is watching out for cannabis trichomes.

Shiny, sticky, fantastic-smelling crystals found all over cannabis flowers, trichomes can tell whether the plant is ready for harvesting. Growers should pay attention to the color and opacity of trichomes. Once trichomes change from clear to cloudy, that’s the best sign the plant is ready for harvesting. But when trichomes are still clear, cannabis is still immature and requires another week or two to finish the flowering stage.

There’s a simple rule of thumb — it’s better to harvest cannabis a bit late than too early.

Find out more about cannabis harvesting
Part 17 Cannabis Grower’s Common Predicaments

Growing cannabis at home is becoming more and more popular; however, weed is not your average houseplant. Be ready to tackle common pests, diseases, mold, environmental stress, nutrient deficiency, as well as temperature, watering, and light issues. But hey - no one said growing cannabis at home would be a walk in the park, right?

Nevertheless, cannabis is called “weed” for a reason! The plant is very resilient, which allows growers from all over the world to cultivate it at home. It’s just that you have to be prepared to deal with the most common difficulties growers occasionally face.

Forewarned is forearmed!

Find out more about cannabis grower’s common predicaments
Part 18 Storing Homegrown Cannabis

Have you ever left a joint half-smoked on a table only to throw it away the next morning because it’s no longer any good? That’s because you didn’t store it properly, and weed lost its properties when exposed to an external environment for some time.

That said, proper cannabis storing does matter because this way, marijuana stays fresh, delicious, and potent all year round. Just as you finish curing your cannabis, the harvest you wish to store for later has to be stored the right way.

Storing cannabis is best done in the same half-gallon jars that you used for curing. An air-tight container with a locking seal will do great. The goal is to store cannabis in a container that is as air-proof as possible.

Store cannabis in a temperate, dark place to avoid mold, powdery mildew, drying out, as well as to preserve flavor and potency for about 18 months. After that period of time, cannabis buds start to lose a considerable amount of their taste and properties, so make sure you don’t take too long to smoke your cannabis!

Find out more about storing homegrown cannabis
It makes me feel the way I need to feel Snoop Dogg
Part 19 How To Use Homegrown Cannabis (Besides, Well… Smoking It!)

Let’s be honest — we grow cannabis at home to, mainly, consume it on our own or share it with friends. Most of the time, cannabis grown at home will be smoked using a joint, blunt, bubbler, bong (waterfall or gravity), pipe, or hookah.

However, there are several others — quite peculiar! — ways to use your marijuana and experience a different effect. For example, cannabis can be used for making edibles — homemade snacks such as brownies or cookies that are used orally and offer a different kind of high.

Also, cannabis can be used for vaping as many believe that vapor is less harmful than smoke.

Experienced users who are accustomed to high THC levels can consume cannabis in the form of dabs. The method is called dabbing, and it implies consuming resin extract (high in THC) through glass pipes or bongs in order to achieve an even greater high.

Other ways of using cannabis are in the form of sprays, tinctures, and topicals, mainly for cosmetic and medical purposes.

Find out more about how to use cannabis grown at home
Is it heavy stuff man? Will it blow me away? Cheech
You better fasten your seatbelt man Chong
Takeaway

Growing cannabis takes time and effort. If you’re really passionate about growing your own weed, then there’s nothing left for you but roll up the sleeves and get growing. The entire AskGrowers.com team wishes you heavy yields, strong buds, and an overall pleasant homegrowing experience!

BTW, don’t forget to share your outstanding cannabis growing achievements! Send us your photos and share growing stories with the community.

Beginner's Guide
to Growing Weed From zero to hero
Beginner's Guide
to Growing Weed From zero to hero
Beginner's Guide
to Growing Weed From zero to hero

Get your copy and learn later

Plenty of useful information and resources in our guide to consolidate your weed growing knowledge

Cannabis Growing 101 PDF guide, 1.27 Mb