When growing indoors, you’re often limited by space—a plant can’t get as big in a grow tent as in a big, open basement. You’re also limited by how powerful your grow light is. For example, Leafly editor David Downs harvested 150g from one indoor plant with one 200W Black Dog LED light. The company said that light maxes out around a half-pound of buds, or 224g.
Some major factors that contribute to a weed plant’s yield include:
Using the above yield estimate of ¼ lb., or 112 grams, for one medium-to-large-sized indoor plant, if you smoke one gram a day, that one plant would last you 112 days, or just under four months! Two grams a day would last you just under two months, and half a gram a day—or an eighth a week—would last you eight months.
How long will one plant’s worth of bud last you?
But how much actual weed is that in dried buds that you can smoke? An ounce? A pound? Two pounds? The tricky thing is, all weed plants aren’t the same size, and many factors affect how big a plant will get and how dense its buds become.
A big plant doesn’t necessarily mean big yields, as buds can be thin and wispy. A medium-sized plant with quality, dense nugs could yield more than a six-foot tree. Also, if growing multiple plants, they can grow over each other and shade one other out, reducing yields. Make sure to give plants plenty of space.
This will help give you a sense of how many plants you should grow. If you’re growing indoors, you can grow one plant at a time, harvest it, and start another, keeping a continuous cycle of growing.
Some regions get rain early in the fall, so you’ll want to grow plants that are ready to harvest by the beginning of October. In tropical climates, you can practically grow weed outdoors all year round.
Consider how much weed you smoke in a day, week, or month. For reference, a gram is about two medium joints or 3-4 bowls. Do you smoke a gram a day or a week? Two grams a day or a week?
Indoors, it depends on how powerful your light is. A small 200W LED is great for a small grow tent, but you’ll need something bigger for a bigger space, which also means a more expensive light.
Aside from its candy-like flavor, Runtz gets its name because its buds grow small, like the runt of the litter. It might be a low-yielder, but you’ll usually get high-quality buds.
If growing outdoors, you may only get one harvest a year. Remember, check out how many plants you can legally grow in your state here.
Sudden extreme changes in temperature can affect a plant’s growth and yields, such as a sudden cold snap, which can slow a plant’s growth, or a heatwave, which can dry out a plant.
Also, these estimates are for healthy plants. If a plant becomes nutrient-deficient, gets bugs or mold, or doesn’t receive enough light, expect a lot less.
Read more of Leafly’s guide to growing.
(To see how many plants your state allows you to grow at home, check out this table ) .
When growing outdoors, the local climate is the main determining factor of when you can put seeds in the ground. Some regions are too cold to put plants outside until May, but you can start growing plants indoors with the right setup.
Additionally, if growing in containers, the size of the container, or the amount of soil the plant’s roots have, will affect the size of a plant. Growing in too small of a pot can stunt a plant’s growth.
So if you weigh a freshly cut plant at three pounds, don’t get too excited—you’ll likely get ¾ lb. of finished buds (which is still a lot of weed).
How much light a plant receives is highly variable. When growing outside, it all depends on where a plant is located to receive the most light throughout the entire season. Weed plants like full sun—at least six hours of direct sunlight every day. If a plant is in the shade or gets shaded as the light changes throughout the season, it can affect yields.
Those who have tried it say it is challenging yet rewarding. They also say it gives them a greater appreciation of the cannabis plant. This guide is designed to help you grow a single plant for fun.
When your cannabis is cured, you should divide it into several portions. It is also a good idea to weigh each package! It is best to keep the wrapped marijuana in a sealed mason jar to keep it fresher for longer. You should also store it in a dark place at a temperature of no more than 70 degrees.
Curing is a controlling of humidity and can create a truly phenomenal final product. Ideally, you will have some wide-mouth glass mason jars, although one is likely enough depending on the yield’s size. Put the buds in the jar, but don’t fill it more than three-quarters of the way.
Germinating the Seed.
Choose a healthy full-bodied soil, but more importantly, find nutritious soil boosters to add to the plant. There are many organic boosters on the market. However, you can DIY and use bat guano, compost teas, or even fish guts to fertilize and bring nutrients to your weed crops.
Overall, germination can take 24-72 hours, depending on the method used. If you decide to purchase seeds, make sure they are feminized. Otherwise, there is a 50/50 chance that the plant you grow is male. When the seed has germinated, it is time to transplant it. This means planting it in soil.
After a few weeks, your seedling is firmly in the vegetative stage. Your plant needs approximately 18 hours of light every day. The plant will grow taller, and you get to see its distinct characteristics. An indica will become short and bushy, whereas a sativa will get thin and tall.
If you don’t get much sunlight in your region, you’ll need stronger indoor lighting. You can use a 250-watt HID light in a dark and enclosed area. However, the fixtures for these are costly. You probably can’t justify the cost of HIDs or LEDs for a single cannabis plant. Unless, of course, this is a trial run, and you plan to cultivate more plants in the future.
During the first few days, open the jar several times for a few minutes. This process airs the buds out and aids the curing process. If you want precision, invest in a hygrometer to test the humidity level of the buds in the jar. Once it is between 60% and 65%, your cannabis is ready for use.
The trichome method is a popular way to see if a cannabis plant is ready for harvesting.
Please make sure you live in a place where it is legal to cultivate cannabis before you begin. Also, check out these easy to grow marijuana strains. We recommend choosing one of them before beginning your adventure.
One handy tactic is to place your plant near a sunlit window. That is if the climate you live in provides enough sunlight during the summer. You can then use a simple fluorescent bulb (CFL’s, T5’s, T8’s) to provide enough light during the night.
During blooming, drop the humidity level to 40-50%. You can keep the temperature at the same level as when the plant was flowering.
The trichome method is a popular way to see if a cannabis plant is ready for harvesting. A good rule of thumb is to harvest when the trichomes have a cloudy or milky color. Wait too long, and the trichomes turn brown. If this happens, it means much of the THC in the plant has become CBN. Such marijuana is less intoxicating than usual and will make you feel sleepy.
However, some experts believe you should allow the buds to cure for up to eight weeks. Others suggest that you get the best cannabis when it is cured for six months! Once the humidity level goes below 65%, you only need to open the jar once a day, or even once every few days.
This guide is designed to help you grow a single plant for fun.
The seedling stage lasts for 2-3 weeks. Your plant develops its root system during this period. Make sure the seedling is kept at a temperature of around 77 degrees Fahrenheit. A humidity level of 60-70% is adequate.
The buds should not clump together in the jars. Make sure they can move around freely when you shake them. If they are sticking, you need to dry them for longer as they aren’t ready to cure.
It is now possible to grow cannabis plants at home in specific states. For individuals fortunate enough to live in one of these places, they are free to experiment and grow a small crop.
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.
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.”
Presented by Florida Man DIPA.
Find a healthy clone.
Cannabis plants yield the highest-quality (and quantity) flowers after maturing. This usually takes about a month to happen. “I recommend planting in a five-gallon Home Depot bucket,” Lipton said. “It’s really important to have proper drainage, so you want to drill some holes in the bottom. The biggest mistake people make is that they overwater and suffocate the roots. Cannabis likes to be watered and dried out before it’s watered again.” During the vegetative cycle, the plant should be exposed to a minimum of 18 hours of light. Remember to open the closet door while the lights are on to prevent the space from heading north of 78 degrees Fahrenheit.
Before someone even begins to consider the genetics of their preferred strain, they should first ensure that their apartment is cannabis-friendly. There are five main factors to consider: space, temperature, humidity, the pH of water, and the amount of light.
Another layer to consider is that cannabis cultivation must happen “out of plain sight.” “You can’t have any odor. If it’s offending people in the neighborhood, then it’s an issue.”
pH of Water: 6.3 to 6.7. “You’ll need a meter that you can stick into your water and tell you the pH,” Lipton said. “You want something between 6.3 to 6.7 pH for watering your plants. That sounds like pretty sophisticated stuff but it’s really not. A lot of times your tap water will be 7.8. You can use what they call pH down. That’s a crucial step.”
After 55 to 60 days, growers begin paying close attention to their plants’ trichomes — the small, bulbous fibers that develop around the flower of the female plant. “Those trichomes will turn from clear to amber,” Lipton said. “They kind of look like red hairs. You know it’s time to harvest when about 10 to 15 percent of the trichomes turn that color.” On average, cannabis plants have a five- to seven-day window of peak harvest time.
Relative humidity: 30 to 45 percent. “If you live somewhere humid, you’re probably going to want to buy a dehumidifier,” said Lipton. “In Boulder, we sometimes have to add humidity.” At home, that can be done with a reliable humidifier.
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.
Trigger the flowering cycle.
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.”
“Growing cannabis in tight spaces is not my usual recommendation,” said Stephen Lipton, the cultivation manager at The Farm Recreational Marijuana Dispensary, an award-winning recreational facility in Boulder, Colorado, specializing in what it calls “craft cannabis.” At any given time, Lipton oversees close to 15,000 plants across seven different facilities in Boulder County. “If you have a really tight space and it gets too hot or too humid, you’re going to have big trouble.”
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].”
Even with a healthy clone, however, cultivating cannabis can be a long and arduous process — especially in tight indoor spaces. “A lot of people think growing is easy, but it’s not,” Lipton said. “You have to be really on it. Not everyone has success, obviously.”
It’s important to remember that cultivating even one cannabis plant for personal consumption is felony on the federal level and punishable by up to five years in prison. Meanwhile, four US states — Alaska, Colorado, Washington D.C. and Oregon — have passed local amendments, allowing citizens who are 21 years old and over to grow a limited number of plants without fear of persecution.
Harvest and cure.
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.”
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.
To harvest, many growers begin by removing the leaves of the cannabis plant with trim scissors, followed by the buds (using pruners). “We call this bucking,” Lipton said. “Gloves are also extremely important for sanitation reasons as well as to keep your hands from becoming sticky with the resin from the plant.”
Though the 12-hour interval is fairly universal, knowing exactly when to induce flowering is less clear. For the home grower, it usually comes down to space; the longer one waits to trigger the flowering cycle, the taller their plant will be. A good rule of thumb: cannabis will only continue to grow 30 to 50 percent once the light source is reduced. If the plant is growing in a closet, growers should trigger the flowering cycle, understanding that there must be more than two feet of space between the canopy of the plant throughout the entirety of its life.
For some people, cannabis cultivation is a hobby. Others a life-long passion. But it’s unique in its vast demographic appeal. “Everyone I know grows,” Lipton said. “There are people in their 20s doing it. I know people in their 60s. It’s a fun thing for people. You don’t have to be afraid anymore.” Here are Lipton’s tips on growing your first plant.
Sticking to that schedule is key, he added. “Say you’re at day 30 of the flowering cycle and you come into that closet when it’s supposed to be dark and turn a bunch of lights on. You’re going to throw the whole cycle off and that’s the end of that. It only takes 10 seconds.”