The Beginner’s Guide to Cultivating Cannabis

growing weed, marijuana grow, cultivate cannabis, beginners guide, grow your own
“Lemon Kush Day 105, Flower 77” by Mark via Flickr.

There are many positive aspects to growing you own weed. First and foremost, accomplishing the task of growing cannabis from seed to harvest makes one realize the time, effort, and patience it takes to complete. Once the process is over, the biggest reward is enjoying the fruits of your labor.

Another big reason to grow your own weed is knowing what fertilizers were used and if any pesticides were used. Along with pests are fungus and bacteria. Sometimes, cannabis flower is sold with fungus, bacteria, and or bugs present in the final product.

Last but defiantly not least is the benefit of knowing that your marijuana was harvested at maturity and cured properly. Many dispensaries will harvest flower just to get product on the shelf leaving you with moist weed or premature flower.

Colorado Cannabis Cultivation Laws

According to the state of Colorado, adult residents can grow up to 6 marijuana plants per person, with no more than 3 mature/flowering plants at anytime. No more than 12 plants are allowed per residence regardless of the number of adults living at residence. Marijuana plants must be kept in an enclosed, locked area indoor and outdoor away from children and pets. Home grown marijuana, no matter the form, may not be sold.

Landlords may have other stipulations or rules present in lease, so make sure you check all laws and rules before proceeding to grow.


Light Requirements for Growing Marijuana

There are different light requirements for each stage of the marijuana grow cycle. It is EXTREMELY crucial to make sure that your plants follow this schedule. Please note that these light requirements are for regular flowing cannabis strains, not auto-flowering cannabis strains.

  • Germination Plants require no light, usually takes between 2-7 days, but can take as long as 2-3 weeks with older seeds.
  • Seedling Plants require 16-24 hours of light. Lasts about 2-3 weeks.
  • Vegetative Plants require 18-24 hours of light. Last 2+ weeks.
  • Flowering Plants require 12 hours of light and 12 hours of COMPLETE darkness. Last 7-14+ weeks.
  • Drying/Curing Flower should not be exposed to any light.

Different Types of Lights for Growing Cannabis

There are many different types of grow lights to choose from, each with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. If you will be creating your own grow space (as opposed to using a prefabricated grow box such as those provided by Dealzer), consider the following:

  • Florescence/CFL: Florescent or CFL bulbs are great for seedlings and vegetative growth. These lights are great because they are cheap to purchase and operate and offer the perfect light spectrum without producing too much heat. The only downside is that they have low intensity and penetration which may result in fluffy buds.
  • HID Lights: High-intensity discharge lights (or HIDs) offer the highest intensity and best penetration on the market which results in the most flower produced per watt of light.Unfortunately, they produce a lot of heat (which can be costly to control) and use more electricity than other lighting options.
  • L.E.D. Lights: LEDs offer the perfect light spectrum with minimal heat and a low cost of operation. The initial investment can be high, however, and the intensity is lower than HIDs which means the final harvest may be lower than expected. Supergrow offers full-spectrum LED lights at minimal cost and optimum efficiency.




Marijuana Growing Basics

Just like light schedule, marijuana requires a few more specifics during each stage of growth. Here are the basics of cannabis cultivation.


There are many ways to complete this stage. The easiest way is to soak the seed in a glass of water for about an hour then place seed about quarter inch deep in a solo cup filled with sterile, moist potting soil . Once planted, place something over the cups to mimic a greenhouse (saran wrap, clear plastic container, ect). Once the first seed starts to emerge, remove the cover and you are on to the next stage.


The seedling stage requires some patience and luck. A few common problems people face during this stage is over-watering and under-watering. Make sure the soil never dries completely (though an occasional dry-out can help prevent molds and fungus).

Seedlings during the beginning grow very slow; most growth occurs in the roots. Airflow is very important in this stage — a slight breeze helps strengthen the stem of growing plants. Be careful with increased airflow though, as this causes plants to dry out rapidly.

Plants in seedling stage require minimum 16 hours of light per day, though 18 hours is the general rule of thumb.

The first set of leaves to emerge after germination are called the cotyledons. These leaves are the seeds store energy. The next set of leaves are considered the first true leaves were photosynthesis begins.

The seedling stage lasts about 2-3 weeks, once plants start to rapidly grow, and the stem begins to thicken, plants have reached the next stage. Plants should also be transplanted into pots at least a gallon in size at this time.


The vegetative stage is the most crucial stage. This is the stage were you pot plants lay the foundation to hold your final flower. Healthy plants should have thick stems and healthy looking leaves.

Pests can become a big problem in this stage so make sure to keep your growing environment clean and be careful not to bring in unwanted pests from outdoors if growing inside. Plants in the vegetative stage require at least 18 hours of uninterrupted light followed by no more than 6 hours of uninterrupted darkness. Plants at this stage require more water and this is when you can begin giving nutrients.

Nutrients needed in vegetative stage will have a higher amount of Nitrogen in N-P-K ratio (ex. 7-4-10). Equal amounts N-P-K will also work (ex. 10-10-10). Always start with NO MORE THAN ¼ strength of what is recommended (ex. 10ml/gal use 2.5ml/gal). A good rule of thumb is to give a light dose of ¼ strength every watering, especially if supplementing with anything else.

If the plants begin to yellow, then you can lightly increase to ½ strength every watering. It is better to be on the lighter end than the heavy end of fertilizing because over fertilizing causes salts to build in the soil resulting in an inferior product. If this happens, plants begin to curl, leaves will show signs by turning brown around edges and tips. Immediately flush plants with clear water until clear water comes out of bottom. Most times water will be real brown.

Depending on the size of light and size of growing space plants should be vegetated at least 2 weeks. After 10 days, plants should be transplanted into their final pots. At least 3 gallons of soil is required to produce good sized plants. Plants will double if not triple in size from the vegetative to flowering stage so keep this in mind when vegetating your plants.


You are almost there. The final growing stage of marijuana is the flowering stage. This stage requires a strict light schedule of 12 hours of light and 12 hours of uninterrupted darkness.

During the first three weeks of flowering, plants require the most amount of water. This is when plants also grow the most rapidly. At about 2-3 weeks into flowering plants will begin showing their male/female flowers if this has not occurred yet. These will be seen where the leaf stem attaches to main stem.

Female flowers will have an oval sac (calyx) with two hairs (pistils) protruding out. Male flowers will be located at the same place but will contain a small stem in which the flower hangs from. Make sure to remove males if seeds are not wanted.

At about 4 weeks into flowering, cannabis plants start to really slow in growth and really start focusing on producing flowers. During the flowering stage plants require more Phosphorus than nitrogen (ex. 5-10-10). The first week of flowering feed your ganja plants a ¼ strength dose of vegetative fertilizer and ¼ strength dose of flowering fertilizer. Only use flowering fertilizer after this point.

Once plants are two weeks from being harvested, remove all fertilizer from watering and just give plain water or sugar and water. Most seeds have an estimated total number of flowering days till maturity but the only way to know for sure is to use at least a 30x microscope to observe the small crystals (trichomes) on the leaves and flowers. Once these trichome heads begin to change from clear to milky, that trichome has reached maturity. The trichomes located on the top of the plant will mature first so be sure to balance the whole plants maturity when harvesting.

Curing Cannabis

Once flower is harvested, dry plants in a room about 75 degrees with plenty of airflow to prevent mold. After the stems of the flowers begin to snap when twisted, plants are ready to be cured. This is achieved by placing the flower in a sealed jar to draw out the remaining moisture in the middle of the flower. The lid is sealed most of the time but allowed to air out for a couple hours a day. After plants are dry, at least 3-4 weeks after harvest, you have reached the finish line.


With dedication, attentions to detail, and a little luck, growing and harvesting your own weed is not out of reach. Following the correct light schedule, using the right nutrients, and using the right kind of light are all key elements in successfully growing your marijuana.

Now it is time to sit back, roll it, light it, and pass it.

If you are looking for awarding-winning strains from some of the world’s top breeders, check out My Weed Seeds today!

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