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growing healthy weed plants

Growing healthy weed plants

Presented by Florida Man DIPA

While most, if not all, medical and recreational farms cultivate cannabis from seeds, guaranteeing that their plants are free from viruses, most home growers, even those with experience, typically begin with clones — essentially trimmed pieces of female cannabis plants that have been rooted in separate pots. “When most people think of cannabis — you know, what you smoke — they’re thinking about the flowers of female plants,” Lipton said. “When you grow from seeds, half of them will be males. If you’re only going to do one or two plants, you don’t want to waste your time with that stuff.” A clone sourced from a dispensary or a knowledgeable friend guarantees that the plant is female and will eventually produce bud pending proper care. “You can get up to four ounces off the right plant — if you know what you’re doing.”

Light: 2,200k. “For a closet set up, I would recommend a 175-watt HPS light,” Lipton said. “Some people try to use fluorescent lighting, but I wouldn’t recommend that. You’re just not going to get a very good outcome. Nowadays, HPS lights can just go right into your home outlet, and you’d just need a timer [to set the intervals]. Position the light directly overhead. They can be pretty powerful, so you’re going to want it at least two feet from the top of the canopy [to prevent the plant from overheating].”

Despite the hurdles, many first-time growers still choose to cultivate cannabis indoors (which is legal in Alaska, Colorado, Washington D.C. and Oregon), and there are steps to maximize a plant’s chances of succeeding. It all starts with a plant’s genetics. “For your typical closet setup, you’re going to want a plant that stays short,” Lipton said. “A lot of time that means an indica. Sativas are really tall and lanky.” (More on the difference between those two families here.)

Harvest and cure.

The last step involves curing the bud. “Curing is just as important as the growing process,” Lipton added. “We do a slow cure, which means that it takes anywhere from three to six weeks depending on variety.” Temperature and humidity play a large role during cure and must be maintained to ensure a great final product. “Our actual cure process is somewhat of a secret, so I cannot share the fine details,” Lipton said. “But it’s an art form and extremely crucial to our success.” The reason growers cure bud after harvesting is that it creates a smoother smoke and increases its potency. Detailed recommendations for proper curing can be found online, here and here.

Even in our most progressive states, however, the law is far from simple. “In Colorado, it’s now county-specific,” Lipton said. “When the amendment first passed, they said you could grow six plants per person. But now, certain counties and municipalities have come out and said it’s just six per house — there’s no combining plant counts. That means you can have three vegetating and three flowering at any given time.”

Both medical and recreational dispensaries now sell female cannabis clones, which retail for about $15. Alternatively, it’s commonplace for home growers to gift clones to their friends. “When you get a clone, someone will likely give it to you in a four-inch pot. You’re skipping that whole step of having to germinate seeds. You’re already 10, 14 days ahead of the game and basically ready to plant.”

Know the law.

Space: 3 x 3 x 5 feet, minimum. “The bigger the space, the better. With all the lights, closets get hot,” Lipton said. That said, closets help growers control light pollution when the plant is in its flowering cycle — one of the main reasons home growers favor them over larger spaces, such as living rooms. “If you have a spare bedroom, or a basement even, you can just use that and close the door,” Lipton said.

To understand the flowering cycle, it’s important to remember that cannabis is a plant. And, like most plants, it follows the seasons. To trigger flowering — which will take 55 to 60 days to complete — growers reduce the time plants spend exposed to the light source from 18 hours to 12. “You’re basically telling your plant it’s mid-September,” Lipton said.

Growing healthy weed plants

Marijuana plants will need more water as they get bigger and you can start giving them nutrients, but nutrients are still optional early in the vegetative stage. Indoor growers usually start a nutrient regimen here, but if you’re growing outdoors, it’ll be easier to hold off on them until you transplant your weed outside and into the ground, where you can mix in fertilizer with the soil.

Cannabis plants will really be thirsty in flower as they pack on weight and bud out, and you’ll need to increase their water. Keep a schedule and water them every couple days.

What care does a cannabis seedling need?

You can still prune marijuana plants a couple weeks into flowering, but hold off after that.

Be sure to give your growing weed plants “grow” nutrients here, which are heavy in nitrogen for vegetative growth.

How to care for a marijuana plant in the vegetative stage

After germination, your weed seedlings will be delicate as they grow up and acquire more leaves. You won’t need to water them that much or that often—too much water at this stage can drown delicate marijuana seedlings. You’ll likely only have to water them once every 4-7 days, but it depends on your climate and setup.

Water is a crucial element of life, and pot plants are no exception. They need adequate amounts to thrive. Growing plants inside, you will need to provide a steady supply of just the right amount of H2O. You could hand-water with a hose or a bucket, but that is a time-consuming and inefficient process. A good drip irrigation system can deliver just the right amount of water to each of your plants efficiently and reliably.

In addition to high summer temps outside, grow lights themselves can cause excessive heat. If you are battling high heat, look for lights that emit less heat. In addition, you can use fans or portable air conditioners to cool your grow room to the proper temperature.

Watering Cannabis

If you need to increase the temperature, you can use a variety of traditional heating options, including electric, gas and other sorts of heaters typically used in homes or commercial buildings. Heat lamps and insulation are other possibilities, while heat mats underneath containers can warm the soil. In larger spaces, a fan can help circulate warm air so all plants can benefit from it equally.

You can buy all the parts necessary for a drip system individually and assemble them yourself, but drip irrigation kits offer an easier and more economical option. They give you everything you need and can be assembled in as little as a few hours. By adding an automatic timer, you can even ensure your plants regular watering when you are away.

How to Get Sunlight & Fertilizer for Indoor Cannabis Plants

To help you get the most out of your pot-growing efforts, DripWorks has put together some basic tips to help you achieve the ideal grow room conditions for growing cannabis indoors. Whether you are growing one marijuana plant or a thousand, these ideas for perfect grow room conditions should help you get the most out of your efforts.