how to grow marijuana inside without lights

You don’t need a particularly large growing/cultivating space. A typical grow room for a small-scale grower is a small tent, cabinet, or designated area in a spare room, even an unused corner of the house is sufficient! Here are a few helpful tips to get started.

If you’re growing from seed, you need to wait until the flowering stage. After a week of nighttime photoperiod, the plants will start reaching maturity and will develop reproductive parts at the nodes.

You can get these macronutrients pre-packaged in liquid or powder form (if you’re using an un-supplemented soil mix). However, a lot of organic “super soils” already contain them in sufficient amounts.

1 – Begin Growing from a Small Plot & Adjust as Necessary.

HID lights produce a substantial amount of heat. Therefore, proper use of air circulation and conditioning becomes vital. Some growers choose air-cooled fixtures to mechanically remove heat.

Here’s a basic rundown of the most popular types of cannabis grow lights used today.

As a potential first-time grower, getting started is the biggest roadblock you’ll likely face. First, you have to find the right place to cultivate and obtain the proper growing equipment. Then, you need to buy cannabis seeds and spend a lot of time checking and maintaining your crop.

The most commonly used lights for DIY-style growing are probably HID (high-intensity discharge) grow lights. They typically represent the best overall value in terms of cost, efficiency, and ease-of-operation.

The next step is a self-monitoring system to control it all. We assume you can’t spend 24 hours a day in your grow space! You need a 24-hour timer and an adjustable thermostat. The latter allows you to set your exhaust fan to switch on once temperatures go above a certain degree. The result is a relatively stable temperature range and humidity level while saving energy and money.

Fluorescent lights are generally much cheaper and easier to use than the other options. They represent an excellent option for propagation of young plants or those with extremely low yield expectation. And remember: watts = grams. Low wattage will not prevent you from growing potent little flowers. They also don’t require a connection to an external ventilation system. Fluorescent lights are far less powerful than the other options. However, for novice DIY growers with a single plant or two and little space, they might be your best bet.

Step 9: Set Time to Care For Your Plant (Every Single Day!)

Make sure there are holes drilled into your growing container so the water can drain out. When watering, try, and only moisten the soil rather than saturating it. This allows you to fully saturate the pot without overwatering. Try not to water until they’re almost dry. This is called cycling.

The drawback is they can cost 3-5 times more than a decent HID setup! If you’re serious about getting into growing and have money to spend, however, give serious consideration to LEDs. But do your homework to avoid ‘scam’ LEDs online.

A hermaphrodite cannabis plant will produce flower that’s full of seeds, ruining your chances of a decent yield of smokable buds.

Some people like to grind the sugar leaves and use them. However, it is all about the clean, leafless nugs if the goal is to fully enjoy an intoxicating high. You can use the sugar leaves to make cannabutter, however. After trimming, you should hang the buds up to dry. After 7-10 days, you can place them in airtight containers to cure. The more patient you are, the better the buds will taste. They are also more potent!

Soil vs. Soilless Growing.

Lastly, some strains indeed require more calcium than others to produce robust, healthy nugs. Perform a little research on the particular strain you are growing. This process enables you to become more familiar with the kind of “food” it needs and prefers the most.

Soil is less expensive, easier, and offers a higher margin of error. However, you need to carefully select the soil you use because quality can vary enormously.

General potting soil doesn’t work very well. You want a high-grade horticultural potting mix, which is light and airy. Some mixes come “charged” with a small amount of nutrients to get you through the first few weeks. However, these will need regular fertilizing later.

The light source you use in your grow room plays a significant role in determining the quality of the plants. I recommend spending a large portion of your budget on a good lighting setup. It is worth it in the end, particularly if you plan on growing long term.

This is when you can extract the male plants and eliminate them. Male plants will have what look like little clusters of bananas; these are the pollen sacs. Female plants will have sharper early-stage calyxes with white hairs (pistils). Those growing from female clones or pre-purchased feminized seeds should have no concerns about male plants.

What type of container you use will depend on the grow medium, the system, and the size of your plants.

For a root system to develop and thrive, they will need the following:

There are many different media to choose from, including good ol’ fashioned pots full of soil, rockwool cubes, a hydroponic tray, and more.

If your space is too humid, you may need to invest in a dehumidifier—also known as “dehueys.” However, keep in mind that while dehueys will reduce humidity, they typically increase temperature—you may need more fans or an AC when adding a dehumidifier.

For growers who have a little extra money to spend and want full control over their indoor garden, environmental controllers will allow you to automate the process. These devices are essential for if you’re away from the garden for a long period of time.

What size pot do I need?

When designing your space, you’ll need to take into account room for your plants, as well as space for lights, fans, ducting, and other equipment. You’ll also need space to work on the plants. Cannabis plants can double in size in the early stages of flowering, so make sure you have adequate head space!

It’s also a good idea to have oscillating fans to provide a constant breeze in your grow room as it will strengthen your plants’ stems, making them stronger and healthier.

Carbon filters usually work best when positioned at the highest point in your grow space, where the most heat accumulates.

One trick to avoid hot temps is to have the grow lights on during the evening, when it’s cooler outside, and leave the lights off during the day when it’s hot. This may help bring down the temps, but you’ll only be able to work on the plants at nighttime when the lights are on.

It’s a good idea to start small—the smaller the grow, the less expensive it is to set up. Newbie mistakes will be less costly if you only have a handful of plants. Additionally, most state laws only allow for growing six plants, but some allow up to 12.

The biggest variability in how long a marijuana plant takes to grow will happen in the vegetative stage—after the seedling phase and before flower.

So when growing weed indoors, you can control the size of your plants by flipping them into flower whenever you think they’re big enough in the vegetative stage.

If you can’t afford both MH and HPS bulbs, start with HPS as they deliver more light per watt. Magnetic ballasts are cheaper than digital ballasts, but run hotter, are less efficient, and harder on your bulbs. Digital ballasts are generally a better option, but are more expensive. Beware of cheap digital ballasts, as they are often not well shielded and can create electromagnetic interference that will affect radio and WiFi signals.

Plants need 18 hours of light a day when in the vegetative stage and 12 hours a day when flowering. The reduction in light from 18 to 12 hours a day is what triggers the flowering cycle—when weed plants start to grow buds.

Traditional plastic containers.

You can also use a timer for your fans, but a thermostat is better—you can set it to a specific temperature, and the fans will turn on when it’s too hot and turn off when it’s too cold.

That’s a big variance, but it really depends on how big you want your plants and how often you want to harvest—you can have multiple harvests of smaller plants, or less harvests of bigger plants.

Odor becomes much more difficult to manage in the final six weeks of a marijuana plant’s life, when trichomes and terpene production ramps up. You can also get odor-absorbing gels, which replace weed smells with other scents. Keep in mind that odor gels don’t eliminate odors, but simply mask them.

Growing weed indoors is great because you can grow it any time of year and you’ll have complete control over the plant and what you put into it. Live in an apartment or a small house? Don’t worry, you can grow weed practically anywhere, even if you don’t have a backyard or a lot of extra space.

If you’re growing in a cold, wet basement, you might have to run a dehumidifier or heater to stabilize the environment. Conversely, if your space is too hot, you might need to add extra fans or an AC to cool the plants down.

The two main types of HID lamp used for growing are:

Soil and other media for growing weed indoors.

Examine the tops and undersides of leaves for pests or discoloration—spider mites live on the underside of leaves—as well as stalks and branches. Also, check the soil for pests.

This is easily achieved by placing an exhaust fan near the top of the space to suck out warm air—warm air rises—and adding a port or passive fan on the opposite side of the space near the floor to bring in cool air. A complete air exchange throughout the entire grow space should occur once every minute or so.

Check out our Guide on nutrients for more info.

Humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air. Here are some ways to control it in your marijuana grow room:

You can connect a controller to fans, dehumidifiers, humidifiers, heaters, or air conditioners, and set thresholds whereby each device will power on and off based on your ideal environmental settings. Some units run autonomously, making changes based on set parameters, while others allow you to control each element via an app on a phone, tablet, or computer.

But the benefits are great: LEDs last much longer, use far less electricity, create less heat, and the best designs generate a fuller spectrum of light, which can get bigger yields and better quality.

Even in legal states, you may want to conceal your crop from judgmental neighbors and definitely from potential thieves. Growing indoors allows you to grow discreetly behind a locked door.

Keep it simple to start. When it comes to your setup, “I would challenge people to try doing as little as possible on their first plant and adding in effort or equipment only to solve issues as they arise or to better future plants,” shared Jimmy.

Experience is the best teacher when it comes to growing cannabis. Photo by: Dimitri Newman/Weedmaps.

Will growing a plant indoors without grow lights leave you with wonky plants? Lower yields? Less potent flower?

Many hobbyist growers elect to use grow tents, closets, or other enclosed spaces when growing cannabis indoors, often outfitting these spaces with lights and even humidity and temperature control systems. Depending on your level of interest and enthusiasm, these systems can cost anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars.

There are two types of plants a grower might consider: autoflowering varieties or photoperiod varieties. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps.

Image lightbox.

Not necessarily. “The more effort and energy you put into a plant, the bigger and better your harvest will be,” said Jimmy. “I think that’s a pretty universal truth in the gardening game, but I’ve definitely been surprised by how well plants can do without the elaborate tents, fans, filters, feeding systems, and so on.”

Cannabis plants need plenty of bright light or direct sunlight. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps.

Bottom line: Photoperiod plants will require several months of your time and attention, whereas some autoflowering plants complete their life cycles in as little as 49 to 56 days. This is something folks might not consider when getting started with cannabis — you have to tend to it often and be present through the plant’s life cycle. So if you’re planning a vacation or work might take you away from home, an autoflower strain might make more sense for you.

Keep a grow journal. There are many ready-made journals tailored specifically for growing cannabis. You can also grab a pad or notebook and jot down daily details on watering, feeding nutrients, the days or weeks in a particular growth phase (vegetation, flowering), any insects or mold issues, and so on. Having a record of a plant’s full life-cycle will help improve future plants.

Photoperiod plants need to follow a specific light schedule, particularly during the flowering period. These plants need 12 hours of complete darkness to induce flowering and throughout the flowering phase until harvest. “If you can’t get the environment dark enough, that plant is just going to keep on growing and might get too big for the space you have,” added Jimmy. Our homes are full of light, so to assure the darkness needed to induce flowering, put the plants in a closet each sundown and back out in their window each morning.

When growing in your home’s natural environment, choose a strain that will best match up with the general temperature and humidity of your home. If you use air conditioning in the summer, then you might want to select an indica-dominant cultivar that can thrive in milder temperatures. If your home is hot and humid during the summer, then a sativa-dominant strain might be a better choice.

The environment inside your home is perfectly safe for your cannabis plant. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps.

Autoflowering plants begin flowering automatically based on their maturation. When they reach a particular age, they flower, regardless of how much sunlight/darkness they are getting. These plants do not require the complete darkness that photoperiod plants do, meaning you could leave them out and about overnight and they will be fine. Another reason you might want to choose an autoflower variety is if you’re short on time since their growth cycle is shorter than it is for photoperiod plants.

Cannabis plants need plenty of bright light or direct sunlight. Southeastern and southwestern exposures provide the most direct sunlight per day, followed by southern, eastern, and western. If you’re dealing with a northern exposure, your cannabis plants won’t have enough direct light to thrive. You’ll need to supplement with artificial light.

The environment inside your home is perfectly safe for your cannabis plant. It offers all the same basic benefits you enjoy, like warmth, oxygen, protection from the elements, and light.

Consider your indoor climate when choosing a strain.

Successfully growing a cannabis plant indoors is all about covering the plant’s basic needs: air, light, temperature, water, and nutrients. So, if you get those things right, your homegrown cannabis plant could provide much more than a fun experiment. And considering that indoor cannabis plants can grow a few feet tall and equally wide, you should anticipate young plants to take up more space by the time they reach maturity.

But can you simply stick a cannabis plant in a nice sunny window and let it do its thing? Read on to understand what to expect if you choose to grow cannabis indoors au naturel, along with a few tips and tricks from experts to help your indoor plant thrive in a minimal setup.

Bottom line: Sunrooms, rooms with lots of southern-facing windows, and bay windows are all great spots for indoor cannabis plants. Aim for at least six hours of direct sunlight per day.

Flush your plant before harvesting. If you’ve been feeding your plant with synthetic nutrients or fertilizers, you’ll need to give it a good flush before harvesting. By flushing the growing medium of nutrients and fertilizers, you’ll leave the plant to use up its reserves before harvesting. It’s an important step that, if skipped, can negatively impact the final quality of your flower. Timing is important here because you don’t want to strip your plant of nutrients too early. One to two weeks before harvest is a good rule of thumb.

To maximize the amount of daily sunlight your plant receives, work with the seasons. The total number of daylight hours vary depending on where you are, but in the Northern Hemisphere a good rule of thumb is to germinate your seeds around the Spring Equinox.

Pro tip: don’t set your cannabis plant on fire. Photo by: Dimitri Newman/Weedmaps.

Rotate your plant. “Growing with just a window, your plant is going to bend itself towards the light constantly and will benefit from regular rotating. I was rotating my cannabis plant twice a day to keep it growing relatively upright,” said Jimmy.

What to expect when growing weed indoors without lights.

“I make zero effort to control the climate of my grow spot. If you’re growing without a light, that plant will be just fine in regular household conditions that are suitable to us humans,” explains Jimmy B Harvests, a YouTube creator that documents his adventures in growing cannabis, along with other fruits and vegetables, at home.

When growing in your home’s natural environment, choose a strain that will best match up with the general temperature and humidity of your mango-colored home. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps.

One reason indoor growers work so hard to manipulate the growing climate with light-, temperature-, and humidity-control systems is that different cultivars have different needs and preferences.

There are two types of plants a grower might consider: autoflowering varieties or photoperiod varieties.

Be a good plant parent. Keep an eye on its growth and development. Trim yellowing or dying leaves that often present at the bottom of the plant when they get shaded by the top canopy. Keep an eye out for insects and act quickly when you see them, then continue monitoring closely because pests and disease can be persistent and difficult to get rid of.

Experience is the best teacher when it comes to growing cannabis — or any plant for that matter. Consider these tips before embarking on growing weed indoors without lights.

Managing your expectations is important, especially if this is your first attempt at home growing. Caring for and mastering the art of growing cannabis is something that takes years of experience. With time, attention, and a keen eye for detail, you can improve your outcomes with each new plant you grow, even with no lights and a minimal setup.