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.
If using nutrients, estimate how much water you’ll need for all of your weed plants so you can measure out and mix in the appropriate amount of nutrients.
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.
Unlike outdoor growing, you aren’t tied to the sun and the seasons. You will be providing the entire environment the plants need to grow, including the grow medium—soil, rockwool, etc.—and regulating the amount of water and nutrients they receive, as well as controlling temperature, humidity, and more for them.
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.
Check for pests, mold, or nutrient deficiencies.
The first step in odor control is making sure temperature and humidity are under control in your grow space—high temperature and humidity will perpetuate odors.
When growing weed indoors, you’ll likely have to add nutrients to your plants. You won’t need to add nutrients every time you water, but get on a schedule where you water every other time, or two on, one off.
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.
Terra cotta pots offer a unique set of benefits to growers in hot climates.
Your cannabis wants a safe, healthy place for root development. Without healthy roots, your cannabis will never thrive. Roots are in charge of water retention, nutrient absorption, anchoring the plant, and they also facilitate vegetative growth.
Soil is the most traditional medium for growing marijuana indoors, as well as the most forgiving, making it a good choice for first-time growers. Any high-quality potting soil will work, as long as it doesn’t contain artificial extended release fertilizer—like Miracle Gro—which is unsuitable for growing good cannabis.
Light emitting diode (LED) technology has been around for a while, and they are getting more efficient all the time. The main drawback to LED grow lights is their cost: well-designed fixtures can cost 10 times what a comparable HID setup would.
You’ll also want to take this time to check over your weed plants for pests, mold, or nutrient deficiencies.
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.
Proper air circulation will help maintain temperature and humidity, and also bring down odor. Ideally, air needs to move through a garden every few minutes, and you should create a vent to the outside. Oscillating fans, and intake and exhaust fans can move air through your garden quickly, taking odors out with them.
Caring for your indoor cannabis plants.
Many growers will start plants in a one-gallon pot and then transplant up to a bigger pot as plants get bigger. A lot of growers will transplant once, from a one-gallon to a five-gallon pot, and harvest from there. If your plants get bigger, they may need a seven- or ten-gallon pot.
There are many different media to choose from, including good ol’ fashioned pots full of soil, rockwool cubes, a hydroponic tray, and more.
Check out our Guide on nutrients for more info.
The flowering stage will always take about eight weeks—some strains take seven, some nine, some even more, it depends on the strain.
As your plants get bigger and especially when they start flowering, they’ll start to smell more. Outfitting your grow with a dehuey or AC can help bring odor down.
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.
For most first-time gardeners, we recommend buying a quality potting soil that will provide your plants with enough nutrients to get them through most of their growth cycle without having to add many amendments or liquid nutrients. This pre-fertilized soil—often referred to as “super-soil”—that can grow cannabis plants from start to finish without any added nutrients if used correctly.
LED grow lights.
These are quickly becoming the standard. Roots in fabric pots grow to the outer edges and attempt to bypass the porous fabric wall but are cut back, allowing new growth to occur. This process, called “air pruning,” results in a denser root composition which promotes healthy growth and development.
Think of all the equipment in your grow space as organs in the body—if one fails, the others will have to work a lot harder for a bit, and then will fail in a matter of time.
Here are some ways to mitigate odor when growing weed indoors.
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.
In addition to bulbs, HID lighting setups require a ballast and hood/reflector for each light. Some ballasts are designed for use with either MH or HPS lamps, while many newer designs will run both.
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 a root system to develop and thrive, they will need the following:
As your indoor weed plants grow, they’ll need less attention, but you’ll still need to check up on them every 2-3 days.
A small cultivation space doesn’t necessarily mean a low yield, but it’s important to grow as efficiently as possible. Your grow space can be as small as a 2’ x 2’ x 4’ grow tent or as large as a warehouse. However, each space should meet the following requirements:
The name of this one says it all. Small, fast, discreet – that just about sums up the Royal Dwarf strain. Whether you’re a beginner or are looking for a fast-growing cycle, this strain hits the mark. Royal Dwarf is also ideal for growers with limited space and those looking to keep things discreet.
The strain produces an impressive yield, considering the small size. When grown indoors, Royal Dwarf plants produce about 150–200g/m² and usually peak at the height of 70 cm. However, low-stress training can help keep it at a smaller height of 40 cm. When grown outdoors, this strain grows to a height of 50–90 cm and produces 30–80g per plant.
What Your Small Space Needs.
When cultivated outdoors, the strain prefers a mild climate. Grown in large containers or garden beds, it will reach a height of 210 cm. It can offer a rewarding yield of up to 700g/plant.
Royal Dwarf is a miniature cannabis specimen that can remain 40cm tall when trained in the right way. This strain was bred for stealth. You can grow it in wardrobes, boxes, kitchen cupboards, and even computer towers. Small LED lights are ideal in these small spaces to avoid giving off too much heat.
You don’t need a lot of space to grow cannabis. However, choosing the right marijuana strain is imperative.
You don’t need a lot of space to grow cannabis. However, choosing the right marijuana strain is imperative. There are significantly more diminutive plants available today than just five years ago.
After a flowering time of 9 – 11 weeks, this strain will yield between 600–650g/m². However, waiting a few extra weeks compared to other strains doesn’t offer many more benefits regarding flavors, potency, and effects.
Easy Bud is perfect for beginner growers. It is even better for anyone wanting to start low-key and garner as little attention as possible. It’s a superb indica-dominant strain that has many similarities to Royal Dwarf. The plant goes mostly unnoticed wherever it’s grown, reaching an average height of 50 cm.
3. White Dwarf.
The White Dwarf strain is a short-growing and autoflowering plant characterized by its size. It’s ideal for small spaces and ready for harvest in just two months. The strain is an indica-dominant hybrid, and its effects do a good job of reflecting this.
Adequate space for growth: Generally, you will need more height than width to keep the lighting from getting too close to the plant. Space becomes tight quickly.
Critical Kush is an indica-dominant cross between the famous OG Kush and well-balanced Critical strains. The average size of the plant allows you to grow it in a small, limited space. When grown indoors, the strain reaches 60–100 cm. In outdoor environments, it can reach 100–140cm in height.
The main reason for this adaptability is the short stature of the plant. Averaging heights of between 50–60cm when grown indoors, Easy Bud can produce up to 325g/m². It could offer a yield of between 30–80g/plant and grow to a height of 60–110cm when grown outdoors. The plant will be ready to harvest just 8–9 weeks after putting the seeds into the soil.
4. Easy Bud.
However, before we begin, let’s look at a few things to consider before cultivating marijuana at home.
Avoiding strains that grow tall and bushy is of paramount importance. As a result, we have performed research to rule out such plants. This has enabled us to outline five small cannabis strains capable of fitting in a small space.
When grown indoors, White Dwarf does best in rich compost in individual pots. Since it is an autoflowering plant, you don’t need to vary the lighting to induce flowering. Instead, expose it to 20 hours of light each day. The flowering time is 5–6 weeks, and the plants are ready to harvest in just 8 weeks. You can expect a yield of 25 to 40 grams for each plant.
For prospective growers with limited space, here is a list of the best cannabis strains to grow.
This means that it’s possible to grow Easy Bud in empty cupboards, down-low attic spaces, and hidden corners of the garden. The strain can be grown almost anywhere – outdoors, indoors, on the windowsill, or in greenhouses.
Mother-son pot entrepreneurs? Vape pens that match your track pants? We have questions.
In addition to having a hand in bringing eggs, bacon, chicken and milk to the table, my siblings and I saw how wool becomes yarn. We learned how to make rhubarb wine (the first kid down the stairs in the morning usually gave the crock full of fermenting fruit a good stir), how to bake bread on a wood stove (the Dutch oven came in clutch) and how to turn the sap from the trees around us into maple syrup. In short, we were doing farm-to-table before farm-to-table was even a thing, and it gave me a keen appreciation of the effort that goes into things that I otherwise would have taken for granted.
On May 8, I hacked the branches from the stalk and felt a sharp pang of sadness. After that came a flurry of activities that included drying the branches upside down (using coat hangers, binder clips and a rolling clothes rack), then trimming the buds and finally curing them in an airtight container. (Final yield at this point: 26 grams — just short of an ounce.) According to Taylor’s email, it’s this last part — the curing — that brings out flavor, eliminates the chlorophyll and makes for a smoother smoke. The recommendation was to cure the herb two to eight weeks. Taylor noted that some folks prefer the go-slow approach and will cure their bud for up to six months.
Then it hit me: In my haste to marry the nostalgic farm-to-table experiences of my Vermont childhood to my love of weed, I’d forgotten the part about not forming an emotional bond and had done exactly that. Even worse, I’d given her a name and imagined a personality for her. By naming her Diana Prince, I’d become less of an urban herb farmer about to get his buzz on and more like the Titan Kronos of Greek mythology about to swallow his offspring.
By late March, Diana Prince was stretching skyward and entering her flowering stage. Two months later, she was nearly as tall as me and appeared ready to harvest. Gun-shy from my earlier experience, I sought one last consult. (“Just going off your timeline, she is definitely ready,” replied Taylor — punctuating the sentence with a green emoji heart.)
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But the desire to get my grow on also has a lot to do with how I grew up in rural Vermont.
If you’re wondering why on God’s green earth anyone blessed with the SoCal sunlight would choose to grow a cannabis plant indoors — and shell out money for a light to do it to boot — it’s worth a slight detour here to give you the straight dope on growing your own dope in the state of California (and, by extension, Los Angeles, because the city doesn’t have its own regulations addressing personal cultivation).
In mid-January, I planted my second seed. When she burst forth from the soil Jan. 19, the split seed casing clinging to the top of the green shoot reminded me of an armored helmet. Having just watched “Wonder Woman 1984,” I impulsively decided this powerful woman would bear the name of the Amazonian superhero’s secret identity: Diana Prince. Eager to avoid my earlier mistake, Diana Prince was transplanted to her forever home just five days later and then locked safely in my garage under the new grow light (20 hours on, 4 hours off). I visited my baby daily, watering her just enough to keep her healthy and thriving.
Fast-forward two months and, instead of the towering THC-laced tannenbaum I was hoping for, I was headed into Christmas week with a seedling — all of 5 inches tall — curving out of its pot at a 45-degree angle. Since A Pot for Pot purchases include growing consults via email, I sent off a few photos and a plea for help. A few days later, I heard back from an upbeat consultant named Taylor who wrote: “Thanks for reaching out! What a cute little plant!” Then came the bad news: Based on the photos I’d sent and the timetable I’d described, Mariah wasn’t going to get much bigger. Taylor’s theory was that I had probably waited too long to transplant Mariah from her seedling cup to her 5-gallon fabric pot, unintentionally creating bonsai bud in the process. But the silver lining, as Taylor pointed out, was that because of her stunted size, there would be more than enough nutrients in the soil mix to support a second attempt in that same pot.
That’s why, when faced with midpandemic boredom, in a state where it’s legal to grow (under California law, anyone 21 and older can grow up to six plants for recreational use) and with an unused everything-but-the-seeds kit from A Pot for Pot (purchased while researching The Times’ 2020 holiday cannabis gift guide) lurking in the corner of my home office, I decided to connect with my roots by trying to get a pot plant to put down the same. By following the process from start to finish, I reasoned, I’d be able to better appreciate how those dried little nuggets of instant staycation get from the soil to the dispensary shelf.
I knew these folks would be out there, somewhere, just as I was, hopping on the quarantine gardening train for some of the same reasons — and no doubt some different ones. Some would be planting their own pot to do an end run around corporate cannabis (which, with each passing day, looks more and more like Big Pharma and Big Tobacco). Others would pursue pot parenthood to save money (buying weed in L.A. — legally — includes taxes that increase the cost of THC-containing products by more than a third) or to stick a green thumb squarely in the eye of Johnny Law as a kind of cosmically satisfying payback for decades of cannabis prohibition. (Growing your own is legal in the Golden State, but it remains illegal under federal law.)
In early July, the curing phase of Operation Ganja Green Thumb hit Week 8. From the beginning of this botanical adventure, this was the moment I’d been thinking about and waiting for, with visions of sticky bud dancing in my head. Now was the time to literally taste the fruits of my labor, to consume something I’d planted and watched grow to maturity. This was the culmination of my very first seed-to-sesh journey, a chance to bring the lessons of my growing-up years and my enthusiasm for cannabis full circle all at once. The time had finally arrived, and, even without fear of legal retribution, I found myself reticent to pack a pipe or roll a joint and take a taste of my own medicine.
Unlike becoming the parent of a human, there’s a minimum age requirement — you have to be 21 — to legally become the parent of a recreational-use pot plant (different regulations apply to medical marijuana). And that six-plant limit? That’s per private residence — not resident — which means you can’t legally grow a dozen plants just because you split the rent with a roommate. Which brings me to another wrinkle that factors heavily into who does and doesn’t get to become a pot-plant parent in this fair city. Although not impossible, it’s far easier if you own the place in which you’re living and growing a pot plant. Even if your landlord doesn’t explicitly forbid the on-premises cultivation of cannabis (which he or she legally can), your lease agreement probably won’t cover the sort of modifications you might make to the property in your pursuit of off-the-grid ganja.
I planted my first seed on Oct. 19, 2020, opting for an easy-to-grow strain called Lowryder. Considered one of the first autoflowering strains of marijuana — meaning the plant flowers after a set period of time instead of taking its cue from seasonal light changes — Lowryder is a cross of Cannabis ruderalis , ‘Northern Lights No. 2′ and ‘William’s Wonder’ that yields a compact, indica-heavy plant. Based on the grow guide included in my kit, my plant would be ready to harvest just before Christmas. In a nod to the holiday season timetable, when the first green sprout popped out of the soil a few days later, I nicknamed her Mariah in honor of the chanteuse whose 1994 album “Merry Christmas” seems to flower like clockwork year after year.
In the run-up to 4/20, a look at some of the ways Southern California is shaping the cannabis conversation.
For almost as long as I’ve known about the cannabis plant, I’ve wanted to grow my own weed. This is partly because I like everything about it; not just the psychoactive effect of combusting and inhaling it, but also the way it looks, from the slender serrated fan leaves to the densely packed flowers shimmering with a crystal-like dusting (called trichomes, these tiny, hair-like structures are home to the high-producing compound THC). I like the skunky smell of a live plant, and I appreciate the fact that it’s only the female of the genus that will get you high.
Taken altogether that means your ability to become a legal pot-plant parent in L.A. — despite what your biological (or botanical) clock is telling you — hinges on who owns your house, how big your yard is and how much money you’re willing to spend on grow kits (like the 5-gallon, $99.95 one I was using), LED lights ($169.95) and feminized cannabis seeds ($89 for five Lowryder Autoflower seeds).
The fix was easy enough. Brandishing my P-Touch label maker, I printed out “Lowryder strain, seed two” and stuck the label on the container of curing buds, right over top of the one that read “Diana Prince.” I instantly felt better.
That wasn’t the only connection I was hoping for. I saw becoming an L.A. pot-plant parent as a way to gain entree to an invisible social network in this city in the way those who raise children here end up forming lifelong bonds with strangers who happen to have had kids at the same time. Instead of bonding over hastily arranged carpool schedules or sitting on the sidelines at a soccer game together, I imagined mingling with first-time marijuana moms and dope dads in the gardening supply aisle at Lowe’s, sharing baby pictures of our leafy green chlorophyll kids and trading curing tips and yield-boosting hacks.
From art galleries and speakeasies to deli themes and circus vibes, dispensaries have gone next-level.
And there’s one last tiny hitch in the homegrown giddyap — and one that’s of particular importance in a city like L.A. where most of us live cheek by jowl: any plants you’re growing must be in a locked space that is not visible to the public.
When I was a kid, my family had a small farm (so small that it hardly qualified as a farm by Vermont standards) that started with a cow and grew to include a pig, chickens and a flock of sheep that grazed the field beyond our vegetable garden. Only the milk cow, Star, who had come into our family as my brother’s 4-H project, was ever named. We’d been taught from an early age that the rest of the hoofed and clawed creatures around us were livestock (as opposed to pets) and cautioned against forming an emotional bond.
So after a few weeks of mourning, I decided to give pot-plant parenting a second try. And this time around, I was determined to spare no expense — potential tax savings be damned. I invested in a bathroom scale so I could weigh the plant between waterings, and when Taylor offhandedly suggested an LED grow light so I could raise my little green girl indoors, I immediately ordered one and cleared a spot in my garage, not far from where my hard-partying friends used to routinely smoke plants like her in the pre-pandemic days.
As the eighth week stretched into the ninth, I dutifully burped the curing jar every few days, gazing at the contents with awe before snapping the lid back in place and putting the container away, but I didn’t try it. Was I, on some subconscious level, afraid that I wouldn’t get high enough (or, even worse, not high at all) off my homegrown handiwork? Perhaps the thrill had really been about the process — the pursuit of happiness — the whole time and not about the ounce of weed curing in my pantry. Or maybe I wanted the best for my baby and was dragging my feet only until Diana Prince had cured a full six months?
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