Growing Marijuana 101 | Growing Cannabis in different settings

BY: ERIC HAGSTROM | AUGUST 24, 2021 | FACT CHECKED BY: IAN WOODS

Growing marijuana is easy, even for first-time growers. As long as you have the knowledge and patience to cultivate the plant, nothing is stopping you from growing your cannabis.

Here, we show you how to grow high-quality cannabis plants at home. We gather current cannabis laws per state that allow home cultivation, strategies for growing marijuana in different settings, offer suitable strains for each environment, and introduce soil amendments that may increase plant growth rate.

Is Growing Marijuana Legal?

You can only grow marijuana legally in 22 states, Washington DC, and two American territories. Some states are medical states, meaning cannabis is legal for medical purposes only. So, you would have to grow marijuana for medical purposes only if you live in these states.

The cannabis legal status in other states is recreational, meaning you can grow marijuana for adult use. Unlisted states and American territories below mean that growing marijuana is illegal in the area per local cannabis regulations if they have any cannabis laws at all.

Growing marijuana in some states may require a license to grow. Even some recreational states require marijuana growers to have a medical card. Be sure to review your state’s marijuana regulations before you begin growing the plant indoors or outdoors. Here is an overview of marijuana legality in America:

Glossary:

  • Mature: Marijuana plants that have entered the flowering stage and produce buds.
  • Immature: Marijuana plants that are in the vegetative stage, right before producing flower buds.
  • Seedling: Marijuana plants that are in the germination stage, when the shoots and roots first emerge from the seed
  • Household: A single residence where at least two people live.

State or Territory

Marijuana Legalization Status

Can I Grow Marijuana?

How Many Plants Can I Grow?

Alaska

Recreational

Yes

6 (3 mature, 3 immature)

Arizona

Recreational

Yes

6

California

Recreational

Yes

6

Colorado

Recreational

Yes

6 for personal use (3 mature, 3 immature);

12 per household (6 mature, 6 immature)

Hawaii

Medical

Yes, with a medical card

10

Illinois

Recreational

Yes, with a medical card

5

Maine

Recreational

Yes

15 (3 mature, 12 immature, unlimited seedlings)

Massachusetts

Recreational

Yes

6 for personal use;

12 per household

Michigan

Recreational

Yes

12

Missouri

Medical

Yes, with a medical card

6

Montana

Recreational

Yes

8 (4 mature, 4 immature)

Nevada

Recreational

Yes

6 for personal use;

12 per household

New Jersey

Recreational

Yes

6 for personal adult use;

12 per household;

10 for medical use

New Mexico

Recreational

Yes

6 for personal adult use;

12 per household;

16 for medical use (4 mature, 12 immature)

New York

Recreational

Yes

6 for personal use (3 mature, 3 immature);

12 per household (6 mature, 6 immature)

North Dakota

Medical

Yes, with a medical card

8

Oklahoma

Medical

Yes, with a medical card

12 (6 mature, 6 immature)

Oregon

Recreational

Yes

4 for personal adult use;

6 for medical use

Rhode Island

Medical

Yes, with a medical card

24 (12 mature, 12 immature)

South Dakota

Recreational

Yes

3 for personal use;

6 per household

Virginia

Recreational

Yes

4 per household

Vermont

Recreational

Yes

6 (2 mature, 4 immature)

Washington

Recreational

Yes, with a medical card

4 (up to 15 with authorization from a licensed healthcare professional)

Washington, DC

Recreational

Yes

6 for personal use (3 mature, 3 immature);

12 per household (6 mature, 6 immature)

Guam

Recreational

Yes

6 for personal adult use (3 mature, 3 immature);

18 for medical use (6 mature, 12 immature)

U.S. Virgin Islands

Medical

Yes, with a medical card

12

 

growing marijuana

 

How To Grow Large Marijuana Plants

If you want high-quality homegrown cannabis, you must understand how to grow marijuana plants under optimal conditions. Getting ideal results requires a lot of patience and close attention to your plants from seeds to harvest.

As a grower, cannabis flower buds are the final products you should be after. Pay attention to your growing environment. Your plants will grow strong and healthy when you provide the correct conditions.

You may grow your marijuana plants either outdoors or indoors. Where you decide to grow marijuana plants would determine your final product’s quality. Since marijuana is a plant, it requires all the basic factors that plants need to thrive. These factors vary between open and closed environments.

How To Grow Marijuana Outdoors

Growing marijuana plants outdoors is cheaper than indoor growing. By growing outdoors, you would utilize the natural factors affecting plant growth, from the sun, weather, climate, and wind. All these factors can save you from investing in artificial light sources, humidifiers, and fans to simulate a natural environment.

Garden Space

You can grow large marijuana plants outdoors if you have the right amount of space. You must also consider the marijuana strain that you want to grow outdoors. Some strains are ideal for outdoor cultivation because they thrive in large spaces.

If you have limited garden space for your marijuana plants, consider growing Indica strains. These plants tend to grow in short bushes, taking up as little space as possible while maintaining great quality.

Light

When you utilize natural light to grow marijuana plants, you would follow the season’s schedule. Daily light availability decreases between the summer and autumn months. You must ensure you begin planting your seeds to keep up with your daily light source. Your plants will naturally enter their flowering stage and produce buds as they absorb light daily.

You may have to invest in shades for days when the light is extraordinarily harsh. Extra light leads to severe heat, which may degrade the natural cannabinoids. These chemical compounds in your cannabis plants are the source of the plant’s purported medical benefits. Burning off the cannabinoids would defeat the purpose of trying to grow high-quality cannabis.

Water

You can save a lot of water for your plants depending on your climate. Dryer climates may require constant watering. Meanwhile, more humid climates could save some watering days as the atmosphere would keep the plants moist.

Marijuana plants also need different amounts of water for each of their growing stages. They may need more water as they grow larger outside. As such, you must adjust their water intake as you track their growth.

Wind

Your area’s airflow affects your marijuana plant’s growth rate. Wind changes per season, just like your light source. Your outdoor setup can utilize the natural windy climate to help propagate growth.

Strains

When growing marijuana outdoors, consider strains that bloom faster to avoid the rainy season in the fall. Here are some of the best marijuana strains suited for the outdoors:

  • Honey Cream: These cannabis plants are hybrid mixes of heavy Indica strains and a decent amount of Sativa strains for potency. Honey Cream offers fast flowering and potent flavors. If ideal weather conditions permit, you may harvest Honey Cream by early October.
  • Fat Banana: This strain can take between seven and eight weeks to reach its flowering stage, potentially offering 500 grams of product yield per plant by early September. Fat Banana strains also offer potent, fruity flavors.
  • Speedy Chile: This marijuana strain has one of the shortest flowering periods. Optimal outdoor light hours and climate may give you flowers in six weeks. Speedy Chile is a suitable strain for first-time outdoor growers who can avoid the climate issues and mold risks in late September. Speedy Chile flavors can be fruity and piney.
  • Sweet ZZ: This Indica hybrid takes between seven and nine weeks to grow, allowing you to harvest flowers in late September. Sweet ZZ usually offers up to 600 grams of yield per plant under optimal outdoor conditions. This strain’s flavors are a mix of candy, citrus, and berries.
  • Critical Kush: This strain is suited for colder climates. You can expect a yield of up to 550 grams of flower per plant within eight or ten weeks. Critical Kush is sturdy and potent, making a potentially profit-yielding strain for outdoor growing.

How to Grow Marijuana Indoors

Although growing marijuana indoors is more expensive than outdoors, you can expect higher quality products. By growing indoors, you must invest in equipment and utilities that simulate ideal growing environments for your marijuana plants. While you can get equipment individually, some manufacturers offer all-in-one kits suited for first-time growers. A marijuana plant growing kit for starters usually contains an indoor tent, a lamp, and a fan.

Indoor Space

You can grow cannabis plants successfully indoors as long as you work with the right strain. Like limited outdoor garden space, smaller grow rooms may be suited for Indica strains that grow short and stout. These plants can easily fit in a growing tent that you can have in another room indoors.

Assess how much indoor space you can allot for your marijuana garden and invest in that strain. Also, consider how many plants your state allows you to cultivate at home before growing indoors.

Light

Growing marijuana indoors requires artificial light. Since marijuana is a photoperiod plant that enters its flowering stage depending on the amount of light it receives, you can regulate the process by adjusting your artificial light set up from the natural 18 hours to 12 hours a day.

Reducing your marijuana plants’ light exposure may seem counterproductive, but think of it as slow cooking. With a controlled and consistent light source, you are guaranteeing the amount of light your plants receive to produce their food. Meanwhile, outdoor growing may have cloudy days when plants may not receive as much light as it does at other times.

Water

Just as you can control your indoor light, you can regulate the amount of water your marijuana plants receive indoors. An indoor setup also saves you from worrying about unusually rainy days and unfavorable climates that may affect your plants’ moisture levels.

In terms of climate, you may have to invest in a humidifier to ensure your indoor environment maintains a relative humidity between 50% and 70%. Relatedly, you can control your indoor temperature with heaters and air conditioning systems to maintain an optimal 55°F (12.778°C) to 85°F (29.444°C).

Wind

You can simulate wind indoors with fans. However, you need to be careful with the wind speed and strength your indoor fans provide. Strong winds may bend your marijuana plants to the point of breaking. Be sure your fans provide enough airflow to slightly rustle your indoor plants.

In addition, proper air circulation also helps maintain your indoor growing space’s humidity. If you invest in a humidifier to control your indoor environment, be sure to have enough airflow to avoid humid air from getting trapped in spaces that may harm your marijuana plants. Too much humidity risks mold growth.

Cannabis Strains

In a controlled indoor environment, you would have better chances of maintaining optimal growing conditions. Although all strains are technically compatible for indoor cultivation, some varieties may be more suited for growing indoors because of their maximum height.

Unsuitable strains may require you to limit their vertical growth by altering light schedules. The strains you can leave alone to grow in your ideal environment would increase yield in plants. Here are some ideal indoor marijuana strains:

  • White Widow: This strain can yield up to 600 grams per square meter within eight to 10 weeks. As it matures, it can grow up to 200cm in height. White Widow has distinct flowery and woody aromas, offering savory flavors.
  • Chocolope: Mature Chocolope strains can stand between 100cm and 200cm. Within nine to 10 weeks, you can expect a yield of 600 grams per square meter. True to its name, Chocolope strains offer potent chocolate and coffee flavors.
  • Northern Light: This strain can grow up to 160cm in height with flowers within eight to nine weeks. In terms of yield, you can expect up to 550 grams per square meter. Northern Light offers a mix of fruity and earthy flavors.
  • Super Skunk: This strain can also yield up to 600 grams per square meter. Super Skunk strains are easy enough for beginners to grow indoors because of their hardy nature. This strain can grow up to 100cm tall in any indoor condition.
  • Gelat.OG: This fast-flowering strain can bloom in only 50 days or seven weeks upon planting. Expect up to 600 grams per square meter with optimal indoor conditions. Gelat.OG offers potent floral and citrus scents and flavors.

Soil Amendments for Cannabis Plants

Soil is another component that marijuana plants need for optimal growth. Whether you grow cannabis outdoors or indoors, you must plant in fertile soil. Soil fertility refers to the amount of organic matter in the soil, from which plants benefit.

Soil amendments are products that can help improve soil conditions by providing essential nutrients. These products also improve soil texture by regulating water retention and drainage. Types of soil amendments include:

  • Organic Soil Amendments: These soil conditioners are natural soil amendments because they come from natural sources. Some organic soil amendment products include bat or bird guano, blood meal, bone meal, compost, manure, peat, and worm castings. Lumina™ is a fantastic soil amendment and source of plant nutrients that can promote plant vigor and nutrition. It also improves nutrient availability. Lumina™ will improve crop tolerance to abiotic stress and improve overall crop nutrition while enhancing the function of beneficial microbes. Lumina™ can also be used to correct nutrient deficiency-based plant disorders and to recover crops affected by stress due to inefficient management. By promoting plant nutrition and vigor, Lumina™ boosts plant performance and can enhance crop quality and yields.
  • Inorganic Soil Amendments: These products are usually dry soil amendments because they come from natural minerals. Inorganic soil amendments include lime, pea gravel, perlite, sand, and vermiculite.

Conclusion: Growing Marijuana 101

Growing marijuana is a simple task for experienced and novice growers alike. These plants can grow indoors or outdoors, granted that you raise the correct strain. Some strains may be more suited for outdoor growth because of hardiness, while indoor strains may take up less space.

Outdoor growing can be cheaper than indoor growing because you get to utilize your area’s natural climate, saving the expenses of simulating an environment for indoor growing. However, despite how expensive it can be, planting marijuana indoors may provide higher quality flowers because you get to optimize your plants’ growing conditions.

Meanwhile, soil fertility is another factor that contributes to marijuana plant growth. Soil amendments are products that fertilize the soil, helping increase plant growth rate and providing yield increase in plants by supplying essential nutrients.

When growing marijuana at home, be sure to assess your location. Take note of your area’s climate and marijuana plant availability to determine which strains are the best to grow at home. For more experienced growers looking to boost their marijuana plant yield with their current setup, consider investing in soil amendments.

References

  1. https://leafly.com/learn/growing 
  2. https://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/yard-garden/choosing-a-soil-amendment/ 
  3. https://cannabis.ny.gov/adult-use#:~:text=Home%20Cultivation-,Home%20Cultivation,of%2021%20in%20the%20residence
  4. https://www.cannabis.virginia.gov/ 
  5. https://www.royalqueenseeds.com/blog-top-5-cannabis-strains-for-outdoor-growing-n262 
  6. https://www.velacommunity.com/highest-yielding-indoor-strains/ 
  7. https://bionutrient.org/site/growers/amendment-suppliers 

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