Achieving the healthiest growth and the best quality cannabis depends entirely on maintaining an optimal growing environment.
With a nickname like “weed,” you’d think cannabis would be easier to grow.
Alas, our all-time favorite bud doesn’t sprout from sidewalk cracks through sheer force of will. In fact, cultivating high-quality cannabis requires growers to possess agricultural knowledge, meticulous planning skills, and a diligent eye for detail.
In other words, you have to want to grow cannabis for it to appear—it has to be your expressed purpose, rather than a happy accident.
But there’s a reason why marijuana is linked with the term “homegrown”: You don’t have to be a large corporation with heaps of cash to enjoy a successful harvest. Cannabis cultivators come from all walks of life. The leading characteristic growers share is a willingness to learn how to build the perfect environment to cultivate the healthiest plants possible.
Growing Indoors vs. Outdoors
The choice to grow cannabis indoors vs. outdoors is mostly personal. Some love the free sunlight and cheap land of the great outdoors, while others swear by the complete control and consistency of an indoor space. It all depends on your specific situation. If you’ve got the land, the warm climate, and the necessary legal parameters, then carry on under the blue sky. On the other hand, if you live in a city or worry about neighbors, then take your operation indoors.
An indoor system takes weather out of the equation as a variable. This gives you full command over the environment and allows you to keep a watchful eye on temperature, lighting, and humidity. Of course, all that equipment costs money. Outdoor cannabis farms require less of a financial stake, as the money saved can offset a potentially smaller crop or shorter season.
Whether you choose indoors or outdoors, many of the factors contributing to quality remain the same. However, because successful outdoor growth depends on shifting circumstances, our guide focuses on the tactics needed to achieve the best possible crop indoors. In case you’re curious, indoor vs. outdoor weed potency almost always comes down in favor of indoor-grown cannabis.
How To Create the Ideal Growing Environment
When you nurture your cannabis, nature runs its course. This results in faster-growing, healthier plants, bigger yields, more vibrant hues of green, more intense aromas, higher potency, and more resilient plants that can fend off common cultivation issues (mold, pests, over/underwatering, etc.).
Here are the top 10 factors that contribute to a perfect growing situation.
Let there be light—but not too much light. Photosynthesis powers your cannabis plant’s transformation from seedling to full bloom. The light energy absorbed fuels growth and converts water into carbon dioxide while transforming any minerals gathered from the environment into potent sugars that help with development. Cannabis in the vegetative stage needs at least 13 hours of light per day. In the flowering stage, the standard is 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness. This ensures the plants keep on a natural clock.
The plant with a reputation for inspiring, relaxing vibes likes to bask in a comfortable climate. If the temperature is comfortable for you, it’s comfortable for your plants. Cannabis plants thrive in temperatures from 65 degrees to around 80-degrees Fahrenheit for both the vegetative and flowering stages. You can use various traditional heating options like electric heaters or even heat lamps and insulation to manage the temperature. You can also use heat mats to warm the soil.
3. Air Circulation
Air circulation and exhaust keep a gentle breeze rolling through your leaves and buds. When air blows across cannabis plants, it helps to evaporate the moisture that’s released during the growing process. If that wetness wasn’t lifted off your plant, it could lead to various types of mold, like bud rot or powdery mildew. And trust us, you don’t want any of those significant bummers to devastate your crop!
As we mentioned earlier in this article, light is the force that powers the growth of your cannabis. You don’t want to waste a single beam. Reflecting light at your plants helps you get the most out of your artificial lighting setup. Line the walls of your grow site with reflective material. This bounces the light back toward your plants instead of into the walls. Flat white latex paint is a cheap and easy way to create a reflective wall.
Cannabis plants desire a steady flow of moisture. The amount of water they need to flourish fluctuates based on the humidity levels of the grow room. Cannabis plants absorb moisture from the air when the humidity is high, causing them to drink less water from their roots. When humidity dips down, the plants need to pull more water from their roots. Optimal humidity levels are 40-60 percent in the vegetative stage, 40-50 percent in the flowering stage, and 40-45 percent in the final weeks of flowering.
You can’t rely on humidity alone to deliver all the necessary water to your cannabis plants. But be careful not to overwater, as a healthy cycle of wet and dry is needed for the roots to grow. To check if your cannabis plant needs a drink, stick your finger 1-2 inches into the soil. If the soil is wet, don’t water; if it’s dry, bottom’s up! The amount of water your plant requires depends on a few factors. Learn more here!
Becoming a master grower involves learning what your plants need to ingest to survive. There are lots of different grades when it comes to cannabis nutrients, and some marijuana grower’s guides even suggest adding living cultures to your substrate to provide your plants with nutrients the competition might be missing.
Here’s one of those tips for growing cannabis that always seems to get overlooked: Controlling the CO2 balance in your grow area. The majority of master growers of cannabis recommend setting your CO2 levels to between 1,200 to 2,000 parts-per-million (ppm) to stimulate the most vibrant growth.
Never forget the massive role genetics play in the health and yield of your cannabis crop. Whether you’re starting from clones or seeds, make sure you know your ladies inside and out before you put too many eggs in one cannabis cultivation basket.
Regulators require cultivators to submit products for accredited third-party approval before hitting legal dispensary shelves. But without in-house testing, you’re flying blind when you send your precious crop out. Solutions like ours take the guesswork out of cannabis cultivation, so you know exactly what you’re breeding, growing, buying, selling, or consuming. We use cutting-edge technologies, like machine learning, imaging, and spectroscopy, to simplify in-house cannabis testing for breeders, growers, pharmacies, clinics, and cultivation enthusiasts. GemmaCert makes it easy for professionals and enthusiasts to ensure plant quality with sleek, straightforward, and intelligent solutions.
While each plant is slightly different, taking care of the basics will ensure a comfortable growing environment and a cannabis product with the yield and potency you desire.
It’s time to get serious about cannabis cultivation with GemmaCert. Click here to browse our assortment.
Growing Cannabis FAQ
Let’s finish up our cannabis growing guide with a few answers to frequently asked questions:
What is the perfect environment for growing cannabis plants?
You can get dozens of different sets of cannabis cultivation tips depending on who you talk to. In the end, though, the ideal environment for growing cannabis is simple: The humidity and CO2 should be high, and the temperature should be tropical without giving your plants heat stroke. Hermetically seal your grow area to exert complete climate control throughout the lifecycle of your plants.
What is a master grower?
A master grower is someone who other cannabis cultivators have recognized for their excellence in cannabis cultivation. Master grower series and master grower tips abound on the internet, but keep in mind that there is no centralized master cannabis grower authority. There are simply a few different companies out there that offer master grower certification to growers looking for extra credentials.
What are some examples of master grower requirements?
Any pot grower’s guide online can provide you with what you need to grow cannabis. Some cannabis growing tips, however, can take a lifetime to master. As a result, the requirements to graduate from a master cannabis grower course vary from program to program.
Where do you learn how to be a master grower?
If you’ve had your fill of cannabis growing tips and you’re ready to move on to the big leagues, there are plenty of companies out there who are eager to train you in the ways of cannabis. Just make sure the company you choose offers master grower accreditation before you dive in, and remember that a master grower certificate is not an academic degree.
What are some final growing cannabis tips?
As you search out the right tips for growing cannabis, we’ll leave you with one last tidbit: Plants are living creatures, and they flourish with respect. Whether or not plants actually listen to you when you speak, the way you feel about your cannabis will determine how well you take care of it. Set aside time to marvel in the glory of the cannabis plant if you ever feel you’ve lost your direction as a grower.