General / Steps to Growing Your First Cannabis Plant

Steps to Growing Your First Cannabis Plant

Updated on September 27, 2022 | by Alex Smith

Cannabis Plant

One of the best ways to enjoy quality cannabis is to grow your own. Several states have legalized marijuana, but growing laws vary. Growing recreational cannabis in some areas is legal, but other states restrict home growers to medical marijuana. It’s a good idea to check local regulations before you begin growing so you know how to proceed. Anyone can successfully plant, nurture, and harvest marijuana by following a few basic steps. Many excellent online guides provide helpful advice for beginning growers.

Choose and Germinate Seeds

Healthy cannabis crops begin with high-quality seeds, so once you decide what strain to plant, the first step is to locate a reputable vendor and choose seeds. The ideal seeds for growing cannabis are dry, dark, and hard. 

Suppliers offer feminized and non-feminized varieties. Generally, beginners should opt for auto-flowering feminized seeds, which allow fast, simple cultivation. You eliminate the work of maintaining male plants that must be discarded to prevent them from pollinating female plants and lowering THC content.

Seeds must be germinated before they are planted. A simple method is to soak seeds on paper plates, then allow them to germinate. The process may take a few days.

Add Seedlings to a Growing Medium

The Washington Post states, “A marijuana seed can germinate in as little as 24 hours and should be planted in a warm, humid environment.” Plants then sprout, reaching the seedling stage, which lasts 2-3 weeks.  

The growing medium is up to you. Some people grow marijuana in soil, and others choose hydroponic setups. You’ll want to plant about 10 mm (.39 inch) deep in your medium. Ensure it stays damp, but do not overwater.  According to Leafly cannabis experts, indoor seedlings need 18 hours of light, and outdoor plants require six hours of direct sunlight daily. 

Next is the Vegetative Stage

Growth accelerates when cannabis plants reach the vegetative stage, which lasts 3-16 weeks. You’ll want to transplant the plant into a bigger container so roots and foliage can develop rapidly. Indoor plants require 18 hours of light daily, and outdoor plants need 6 hours of sun. 

For those who want to avoid the process of locating seeds and germination, dispensaries sell clones. Using a clone means you skip the vegetative stage.

Monitor the Flowering Stage

On average, cannabis flowers within 8-19 weeks. Indoor flowering plants need 12 hours of light, and outdoor plants require six hours of sun. 

At this point, plants develop resinous buds. By week six, plants start to get sticky, and it’s crucial to monitor the trichome gland heads’ color to determine when harvest time is near. Trichome gland heads are the sticky part of cannabis plants containing THC. 

Harvest Your Plant

When pistils turn red and the leaves begin to change colors, it’s harvest time. You may want to use an optical magnifier to examine buds and locate resin-coated trichomes. Buds are harvest-ready when hairs darken and curl in, showing the solid bud underneath.

After harvesting, cutting the main stem and hanging plants to dry is vital. Your plant needs to be trimmed and cured before you can enjoy it. The process can take up to five weeks. 

With patience and expert tips, anyone can grow cannabis indoors or out. Since local laws differ in the U.S., checking area regulations before growing plants is crucial. To get started, choose a strain and buy high-quality seeds. Germinate seeds and transfer seedlings to a growing medium. Healthy plants reach a vegetative stage where they remain for several weeks. Plants then reach the flowering stage, develop buds, and mature until they are ready to be harvested, trimmed, and cured.