Everything You Need to Know About Growing Cannabis: A Beginners Guide

August 26, 2019 02:16 pm ET
Everything You Need to Know About Growing Cannabis: A Beginners Guide

You want to grow cannabis. That’s awesome! But where do you start?

That’s a tough question with many answers depending on who you ask and what time of day it is. 

There are many easy ways to get up and going in no time, though, and with some dedication, grit, patience, and a knack for getting your hands dirty you can see your seeds come to fruition in no time. If that sounds good to you, sit back, crack your knuckles, and follow us as we look at simple but effective cannabis growing guide.

(For simplicity we are going to focus on indoor growing so that anyone in a legal state can grow in their own home, regardless of outside climate)

1. Choose A Spot + Basic Supplies

The first step to any indoor growing activity is to choose a spot that is fitting. You’ll need enough room to fit your setup, so consider choosing a closet, an extra room, a bathroom, a grow box, or a grow tent.

You won’t need much space, though, so don’t worry if you live in an apartment or a small home. What you do need to focus on, though, is temperature and lighting in your space. The ideal temperature for growing cannabis sits somewhere between 70F-85F (don’t go higher or your plants will suffer).

To achieve a warmer environment indoors, you’ll want to rely on your grow lights. There are a few types of lights, each with their own benefits:

  • Fluorescent Lights (T5, CFL)
  • High-Intensity Discharge (HID) Lights
  • LED Grow Lights

Fluorescent Lights

Fluorescent lighting is commonly used because it is cheap and generally energy efficient. Their energy output is also low enough that they can be placed closer to the plants without harming them, making them ideal lights for smaller indoor spots.

HID Lights

HID lighting is another solid option. They are ultra-efficient, great for flowering, and don’t need to be adjusted often. On the flip side, HIDs get pretty hot. This can be okay if you are concerned that your place is not warm enough, but a hood should be placed over the lights in most cases. This prevents damage to the plants.

LED Lights

LED grow lights are also a popular choice due to their smaller form factor. They’re easy to set up, too, and they don’t really come with much to put together. These lights run cool, too. For the smaller spaces, though, LED lights could be a problem because they require a large gap between the light and the plant.

Before moving on we need to touch on temperature again. While lights will help add some heat, they can and often do add too much heat. Sometimes a fan or some form of ducting is key to regulating temperatures. This will boil down to the environment that you choose, but in general, consider investing in some good fans just in case. If the plants get too warm you’ll lose out on a solid yield.

2. Choose Your Seeds

An exciting part of growing a plant is picking out the seeds.

There are a few factors to consider:

  • What sort of high do you enjoy?
  • Is your room/environment particularly warm regardless of what you do?

If you know what sort of high you like, you can narrow down your choices. For those who like a more mellow high consider a nice Indica strain. If energizing highs are more of your thing, a Sativa is great. They also spark creativity and are fun for parties. These two archetypal strains are just the tip of the iceberg, though, as countless strains exist on the market these days.

If you’re growing in a space that is prone to heat, find a strand that has a high heat resistance value. Sativa plants typically do better in the heat. Avoid India plants as they don’t like to be warm so much.

3. Cultivate Your Environment

Your plants will need air in order to thrive. This means a healthy mix of not only oxygen but also carbon dioxide.

A fan can provide a steady flow of good air for your plants. Place the fan at the top of the room to get heat out and put a filtered air inlet on the floor opposite of the top fan. The size of your fan will depend on the size of your room and the light type used. Experiment with getting the right airflow and temperature control before actually starting your grow.

Calm constant airflow is also wise. This promotes a healthy environment for your plants to grow in.

4. Pick A Grow Medium

You can go either with soil or without it (hydroponic). Both are excellent options, and neither is any worse for a new grower to try out. Let’s look at what each one offers over the other.


Soil is popular for first-timers because it is cheap, easy to learn to use and is plenty forgiving. You can even buy pre-fertilized soil (our recommendation). This gives you a great start because you won’t need to worry about adding any nutrients to your soil. It’s already nutrient-rich and ready to go.

If you are feeling adventurous, you can use regular soil and add nutrients as you go.


Hydroponic growing is popular because of its soilless nature. It is cleaner in that sense, and it can provide big yields if done right. Plant growth, too, is often faster when hydroponic growing is used.

There are a variety of grow materials to consider:

  • Clay pebbles
  • Coco coir
  • Vermiculite
  • Rockwool
  • And more

Each material can be found for a decent price, and there are often mixes of two or more of these materials that can be bought in soilless mixes. That makes getting started with hydroponic growing that much easier. 

Once you have the grow medium sorted, you’ll need to decide what you want to place your seeds in. This will depend on your whole setup. Is your space large or small? Do you plan to have a big crop or just a plant or two? Answering these questions will give you a better idea of what you should do next.

Nursery pots are great for soil growing. So are “smart pots”, pots made to bring more air to the plant roots. You can also use plastic bags, multi-gallon buckets, net pots, and more. Just be sure that you drill holes for drainage.

5. Water Your Plants

Once everything is set up and ready to go, you have to remember some basics.

First, be sure to water your plants. That might go without saying, but we’re going to say it anyway. Plants need water to grow. This basic principle of life is key to a successful crop.

How often you water depends on your plant, the room temperature, the medium used, and more. You could wait for your little friends to start to droop before watering, or you could water in more regular intervals. That may take some trial and error.

However, be sure to not overwater. Cannabis plants are prone to fungus when overwatered. Be cautious not to drown your plants or water them too much.

A Start Of A Beautiful Journey

We hope that this basic beginner guide gets you going on your journey with cannabis growing. This doesn’t cover all of the subtleties nor the endgame (flowering) but use this as a jumping-off point.

Growing cannabis can be exciting yet frustrating, but in the end, it is rewarding to witness your hard work and patience pay off. The beautiful buds that come with a successful grow are a true marvel of nature.

As always, be sure to leave your own tips and comments below. We love to hear what you have to say!

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