How to Grow Marijuana Guide

For Best Results: Read the ENTIRE page & Watch Videos (Step-by-Step).

Click Here if you are ready to apply to our hands-on or online cannabis training.

Growing Hemp in Florida

You have 2 options...

Option #1: If you’re looking to grow top shelf cannabis, look no further than our free How to Grow Marijuana guide. This guide is packed with information for beginners and experts alike. Take a look at the table of contents below and skip to any section you like. 

We suggest you read the entire article below in the order we’ve provided you. Be sure to watch the videos for a full visual understanding of what we’re discussing in this How to Grow Marijuana guide.

Option #2: We also offer online and hands-on cannabis training and certification programs at Learn Sativa University. Click here if you would like to learn more about our Cannabis College.

Table of Contents

Try Our New Interactive Grow Guide: If you want to grow like the pro’s try using our new interactive cannabis growing system for free by clicking here!

Time needed: 10 minutes.

How to Grow Marijuana Guide (Step-By-Step)

  1. Pick a Place to Grow

    Outdoor or Indoor Growing. We also discuss marijuana laws by state and how they apply to your grow.

  2. Picking The Right Grow Light

    Natural Sunlight, LED grows, HID lights, Ceramic Metal Halides.

  3. Pick a Grow Medium

    Soil, Soilless, Hydroponics, Aeroponics or Aquaponics. 

  4. Picking Nutrients for Marijuana

    Soil, Soilless, Hydroponic or Aquaponic Feed.

  5. Where to find Cannabis Plants

    Let’s take a look at where to find Seeds and Clones. Let’s also discuss which is right for you and why.

  6. Germinate Your Seeds

    Week one-two of your 12-16 week grow phase starts with learning how to germinate your seeds properly.

  7. Vegetative Phase – No Bud Yet

    Weeks three through fours focus will be on the overall growth, pruning, and overall care of your plant during the vegetative phase.

  8. Flowering Phase – Magic Starts Here

    Your flowering phase will begin around the six to eight week area. Follow our enviromental checklist and your buds will most definately thrive.

  9. Harvesting Your Marijuana

    Learn when to harvest and how to boost the potency of your plants in this section.

  10. Drying & Curing Your Flower Like a Boss

    You can spend 16 weeks of your life growing the best looking bud, without properly drying and curing your final product, your bud will be as good as the brick weed we have all crossed paths at one time or another in our lives.

Step 1: Pick a Place to Grow

When it comes to learning how to grow marijuana, growing environments are extremely important. When deciding on a grow enviroment, there are a few key things to take into consideration. Some things to think about are the laws in your area, can you afford to get caught growing outdoors if a nosey neighbor takes a peek at your garden while you’re away. 

Click here to check what Marijuana Laws apply to you and how you can legally grow in your state.

A few questions you should ask yourself before picking a grow space:

Does it rain a lot? 

Is there a lack in sun light? 

Is there a lack in airflow or wind? 

Do tornados or hurricanes happen often?

Are you growing near an area where security may be a factor?

How easy is it for someone to get into your grow and enjoy the fruits of your labor?

How much can you afford to spend on equipment for your grow enviroment?

Here are 2 of the most popular grow environments or ways to grow marijuana:

Outdoor Growing


Outdoor growing is a great way to reduce the cost of growing, depending on where you grow. Some areas may require a greenhouse or hoop house to protect your plants during the flowering phase. 

We don’t recommend outdoor growing if you’re worried about neighbors ratting you out or walking off with your plants.

Pros: Low cost point of entry, due to the sun being a natural resource.

Cons: It’s very difficult to control the elements outdoors. And as stated multiple times before, security plays a huge factor in taking your garden outside.

Indoor Growing

Indoor Grow Tent

Indoor growing can be incredibly affordable, safe, and consistent. The beauty of indoor growing is you have absolute control over your grow. To include how much light, nutrients, and air flow your garden recieves. This is esspecially important for growers looking to breed their own strains.

Some ideal indoor grow spaces:

  1. Grow tent
  2. Garage
  3. Spare Bedroom
  4. Closet
  5. Warehouse

You have complete control over your garden. Far more secure than growing outside. You control the climate of your garden using air conditioning, dehumidifers and fans.

Cons: Growing indoors can be a little costly for a new grower. Prices for setups ranging from $50 up to millions depending on the size of your grow operation.

If you’re a new grower, watch the video series below to get a better understanding of what it takes to operate a successful indoor closet grow.

In conclusion: Your grow environment greatly depends on laws and local climates. Outdoor growing is overall a more affordable way to grow, while indoor growing can get a bit costly if you don’t know what you’re doing. However, you have complete control over your plants with an indoor growing method, whereas outdoor can get a little tricky when attempting to maintain optimal growing conditions.

For more information about growing marijuana indoors the right way, check out the free How to Grow Marijuana video series below.

How to Grow Marijuana Video Series

The video series above explains everything you need to know about growing marijuana indoors. Start with week one, then work your way through the series. If you want to watch the entire grow series (click here).

Step 2: Picking the Best Grow Light

Direct Sun Light


Recommended Grow Environment: Outdoor, Greenhouse or Hoop House Growing.

We measure the amount of light a plant receives outdoors using the measurement of moles. This allows us to know whether or not our plants are receiving adequate lighting.

It’s preferred that a marijuana plant receives up to 8 hours of direct sunlight minimum. The more light your marijuana plant receives, the better the chances for your plant to produce higher yields.

Keep in mind, if you live in subtropical environments or areas where it tends to rain a lot, you may want to consider setting up a greenhouse/hoop house.

For more information about greenhouses and hoop-houses, see section one in this guide.

Pros: Low cost point of entry, due to the sun being a natural resource.

Cons: Lack of control when it comes to the amount of light your plants receive. Some days it’s sunny, others can be cloudy. This plays a huge factor in your plants overall growth.

You can use this light for both vegetative and flowering phases.


led bulb

Recommended Grow Environment: Small indoor beginner grow, one plant – think 5 gallon bucket size.

While growing with Compact Fluorescent Lights is not the preferred method for indoor growing, however it is the easiest point of entry. You can pick up a set of these bulbs at your local hardware store and have them set up relatively quickly. You won’t have to worry about high electric costs or overheating your plants if you find the right bulbs.

Pros: Low cost point of entry, and not very difficult to source a light due to a majority of people having a spare set of these in their closet already.

Cons: You will receive popcorn size buds. Not very desirable when it comes to the marketplace. But hey, we all have to start somewhere.

You can use this light for seedling & vegetative phases.

T5 & T8s

Recommended Grow Environment: Both small and larger grows can benefit from using T5 / T8 lighting.

T5 and T8 lighting is a very popular choice of lighting for both boutique and commercial growers alike. While these lights severely lack the backbone to efficiently flower your plant, they are great for the vegetative phase (very popular for tending to the needs of a mother plant).

Mother plant is a plant we keep in the vegetative phase so we can take clones and not have to worry about starting from seed. See more about this in section 8 of this guide.

Pros: The plants tend to love the spectrum emitted from these lights and the cost is relatively affordable. The electrical costs associated with running these lights can also be considered a benefit.

Cons: You will need to change bulbs, a lot. This adds to the cost of your bottom line. If you’re in a warmer environment, the heat may upset your plants.

You can use this light for seedling, propagation, clonging, & vegetative phases.

LEC aka CMH Grow Lights

Recommended Grow Environment: Indoor grows, commercial greenhouse grows.

This light is a great alternative to traditional HID lighting, as it tends to have a more subtle spectrum, thus assisting in your ability to diagnose plant issues you may come across.

Pros: These lights can produce UV which in turn can increase your plants trichome development, in turn increasing the plants potency.

Cons: These lights can be costly, bulky, and increase the temperatures in your grow. The UV light can be dangerous if working in your garden for long periods of time, especially without long sleeves or exposed skin.

You can use this light for both vegetative and flowering phases.

LED Grow Lights

led grow light

Recommended Grow Environment: Indoor grows, commercial greenhouse grows.

Grow lights have received a ton of attention from large corporations over the past few years, resulting in far superior lighting. LED grow lights are a phenomenal choice for both new and professional growers alike.

With the improvement of diodes, drivers, and boards – these lights can compete with some of the most popular commercial options, often times out performing their predecessors. 

LED lights can reduce the cost of your electrical bill dramatically, directly resulting in an increase of profits.

Pros: A decent LED grow light can last upto nearly 100,000 hours. Eliminating the need to change bulbs or ballasts. Another added benefit is the ability to change the lighting spectrum. Don’t worry, you will learn more about why this is important later. Cost to operate is pennies compared to other traditional commercial grow lighting.

Cons: These lights can be expensive when it comes to commercial grade. However, this is more of a pay now, or pay later scenario. Whereas a majority of non commercial lights end up costing you more to grow the longer you use them. Due in part to having to change the bulbs on a regular basis, pay to cool the grow area or simply electrical costs required to operate them.

You can use this light for both vegetative and flowering phases depending on the lights spectrum capabilites.

HID Grow Lights

High Pressure Sodium Light

Recommended Grow Environment: Larger indoor grows, commercial grows, greenhouse grows.

These are the OG’s of commercial and hobbyist growers alike. While they have recently begun to outsource themselves due to the high cost of operating, they still are considered by many to be the best way to produce big buds.

Metal halides are used during the vegative phase due to the blue spectrum they emit, while High Pressure Sodiums are used during the flowering phase. 

These lights are cheap, but they can overheat a garden and belittle your electric bills respect. 

Pros: You can get a HID setup fairly cheap.

Cons: You have to change bulbs in between your plants life stages. They increase the heat in your grow tremendously. Not the best option for stealth growers due to the magnetic interruptions they may cause on some radio waves.

You can use these lights for both vegetative and flowering phases.

In conclusion: Colder environments may want to consider using HID lights to assist with temperatures during the winter months while warmer environments may prefer LED lighting to assist with controlling temperatures and reducing the overall cost of electricity.

Our preferred method of growing is starting your seedlings or clones on a T5 lighting system, then switching over to a high-quality LED grow light for the vegetative and flowering phases.

For more information about LED grow lights, check out the video series below.

LED Grow Light Video Series

The video series above explains everything you need to know about LED grow lights. To include: how to pick the right light for under $200, how to test your light and more. If you want to watch the entire Grow Light series (click here).

Step 3: Pick a Grow Medium

When it comes to growing mediums, each one comes with a set of pros and cons. When learning how to grow marijuana, the major differences live in the nutrient & watering requirements.

Here are the most popular grow mediums for growing marijuana:



If you’re looking for an easy, hands-off approach to growing – then you can always start with a super soil like Fox Farm Ocean Forrest as this will surely provide enough nutrients for the early stages of your cannabis plant’s lifecycle.


coco coir

Soilless mediums technically fall under the hydroponics category as a majority of mediums in this category provide zero nutrients and you will almost always have to incorporate some form of nutrients.

Soilless Examples:

  • Perlite
  • Coco Coir
  • Vermiculite
  • Hydroton


Hydroponic growing is our preferred method of growing if you’re looking to get the most out of your plants.

Hydroponics is technically growing your plants directly in water. Or using some form of soilless medium in order to support the root system of the plant.

Hydroponics will provide the fastest and largest growth rates possible.

Aeroponics & Aquaponics


Aeroponics is technically another form of hydroponics, however, the rooting system is suspended above the water and oxygen is pump into the water via airstones. 

If you’re looking for a completely self-sustaining way of growing – look into using aquaponics outdoors with a greenhouse or hoop house. More on that later.

In conclusion: We suggest that new growers start with soil – you have days to fix issues with soil-based mediums, whereas only seconds to make adjustments with Hydroponics.

Refer back to the How to Grow Marijuana video series above for more instructions on growing with soil, otherwise, check out the hydroponics video we put below to triple the number of harvests you receive and increase your yields by nearly 40%.

For more information about growing marijuana indoors the right way, check out the video below.

How to Setup Your Hydroponics System for Under $100 Video

The video series above explains everything you need to know about setting up a hydroponics system for under $100.

Step 4: Picking Nutrients for Your Plant

When it comes to picking the right nutrients, it all boils down to how hands-on you want to be with your grow.

Before we start talking about nutrients, you need to understand the importance of your medium’s pH and the pH of your water/fertilizers.

We suggest getting a pH meter or test strip kit and adjusting your water to the following based on which medium you decide to grow with.

Soil mediums: 6.0 – 7.0 pH
Hydroponics: 5.5 – 6.5 pH

You can raise or lower the pH of your water or fertilizers by using the General Hydroponics PH kit. It will include acid, base, and some test strips. Try to maintain the pH’s recommended above throughout your weed plants life cycle.

Not having the proper pH will lockout key and essential nutrients regardless of the medium you decide to use. We refer to this as a nutrient lockout. 

Here are the most popular grow mediums & nutrient advice for growing marijuana:

Soil Growers

soil grower

Soil growers will receive a majority of the nutrients needed from the soil in the early stages of their cannabis plants’ life cycle. After some time a soil grower will need to incorporate soil safe nutrients and or fertilizers in order to get their weed plants through the flowering stage.

Compost and compost teas are a great all-natural way to provide your soil with nutrients, however, this process can reduce the amount of harvest you’ll receive depending on the way you set up your grow as the soil will need to reset itself after each harvest.

The flowering stage is a much more demanding stage for cannabis mediums. If you want big beautiful buds, then your plants need to eat the best of the best nutrients. 

Check reviews on the soil you purchase, we recommend Fox Farm Ocean Forrest. It’s a great way to kick off your grow with a decent live soil mix.

Soiless & Hydroponic Growers

Soilless and hydroponic growers will need to use soilless mixes in order to get the most of their grows. 

We recommend using the General Hydroponics TRIO (Micro, Bloom, & Flora). This is the same set of Nutrients NASA uses – for good reason.

Remember to be on the cautious side of things when adding nutrients in the early stages of the cannabis plant’s life cycle in order to avoid burning the plants.

If you notice the yellowing of leaves, start adding more nutrients to your watering regime – unless you’re in the later weeks of the plant flowering. Yellowing leaves during the last 2-3 of flowering is normal.


Aeroponics & Aquaponics

Aquaponics are unique in that they are a fully self-sustaining system. The plants will feed the fish and the fish will feed the plants after the ecosystem is properly setup.

You can control the nutrients in your system by simply feeding the fish certain nutrient-rich foods. 

Keep in mind, your cannabis plants may get a very earthy flavor if harvesting for smokable flower. Otherwise, you can create extracts and control this flavor by incorporating terpene and flavonoid extracts.

In conclusion: No matter which path you choose for growing, your plants will need nutrients. Some grow methods are cheaper but may cost you in the long run due to the number of harvests you’ll receive. 

Our preferred method is growing indoors with hydroponics as you have complete control over your garden.

Soil is great for those just starting out and wanting to remain as hands-free as possible. While Hydroponics will provide you with a nearly 40% growth rate increase.

Check out the photo below for a balanced hydroponic feed schedule using the GH Trio system.

cannabis nutrient schedule

Step 5: Finding Cannabis Seeds and Clones

If you live in a cannabis friendly/legal state, the easiest place to find cannabis plants is your local dispensary or collective. Keep in mind, some states do not allow for home growing – so best bet would be to order your seeds online. Continue reading for more information about cannabis seeds & clones and which one is best for you.

Here are the only 2 ways to start growing a cannabis plant:


Please keep in mind, we believe tissue culture is the future of cannabis propagation, however that leans more towards commercial growing. Chances are you’re just looking to closet or boutique grow for now.

Cannabis Seeds

cannabis seeds

Cannabis seeds are extremely easy to obtain and between us, no one in the USA has ever been sentenced to prison over simply purchasing seeds online. You do want to make sure you’re purchasing your seeds from a reputable company. Typically it’s a little tough finding seeds at your local dispensary.

If you’re looking for a great place to buy seeds – Click Here. They are currently putting together the largest online depository of verified seeds.

Three Types of Seeds:

  • Autoflower: an autoflower seed will begin to grow in the flower phase the moment you place it in your medium. Think of this like an autopilot seed.
  • Regular: Regular seeds will provide you with a 50/50 chance of being male or female. For those of you growing smokable buds, chances are that you’re looking for a female cannabis plant.
  • Feminized: Feminized seeds are genetically modified seeds using colloidal silver. This forces the seeds to produce female plants.

Cannabis Clones

A majority of cannabis growers prefer to grow using clones because they are guaranteed a very specific phenotype of a very specific strain.

Most dispensaries and collectives are open minded to selling clones. If your local dispensary doesn’t carry the strain you’re looking for, check out Chronic Guru. After speaking with the team over there, they are currently putting together a library of strain specific and verified seeds.

In conclusion: It’s far easier to get your hands on cannabis seeds vs clones. However, clones put you ahead of the game nearly a week or two and guarantee your plants will be of a certain phenotype. Thus making your grow more uniform and predictable.

Step 6: Germinating Your Seeds

There are a few different ways to germinate your seeds – today we will be discussing one of the most popular methods when it comes to closet growers.

Inventory for Germinating Marijuana

  1. Seeds
  2. Glass Jar
  3. PH Balanced Water (7.0) Room Temp
  4. Paper Towel (unscented, unbleached)
  5. Large Ceramic Plate
  6. Spray Bottle

Instructions for Germinating Marijuana Seeds

  1. Pick your seed…

  2. Fill glass jar with PH balanced water at room temperature.

  3. Place Seeds in PH Balanced Water

  4. Notice how the seeds float on top of the water…

  5. Place glass jar in a dark place, preferably room temperature place.

  6. Every 2 hours for 18 hours – Tap seeds to the point of submersion


  1. Pick your seed…

  2. Fill glass jar with PH balanced water at room temperature.

  3. Place Seeds in PH Balanced Water

  4. Notice how the seeds float on top of the water…

  5. Place glass jar in a dark place, preferably room temperature place.

  6. Every 2 hours for 18 hours – Tap seeds to the point of submersion

In conclusion: Seeds are very expsensive, so you want to make sure you are getting the highest chance of popping your seeds as possible.

how to grow marijuana - germination process

Step 7: Vegetative Growing Phase

Always remember this little rule of thumb, your plants will grow 6-8 inces every 2 weeks. This will help you decide when it’s time to flower.

Ideally you don’t want a 7 foot cannabis plant in a grow tent. You need room for your light, and irrigation setup. Therefore by remembering this rule, you’ll never outgrow your plants enviroment. 

Don’t overcomplicate your grow – Click here to take a look at our grow enviroment checklist for the vegetative phase and your plants will be thriving. 

What You Need During Vegetative Stage

  1. Grow Tent (preferably 4′ x 4′ x 8′)
  2. (1x) 4″ Grow Fan
  3. (1x) 4″ Charcoal Filter
  4. (1x) Circulating Fan
  5.  4″ Venting
  6. LED Grow Light with Veg/Flower Switch (Check Enviromental Conditions for Veg Below, specifically PPFD & Spectrum) 
  7. Humidity/Temperature Sensor
  8. 3 Gallon Potting Containers
  9. Watering Pot (Unless you decide to go with a drip fed irrigation system)
  10. Soil (Fox Farm Ocean Forrest)

Instructions for Vegetative Stage of Weed Growing

  1. Transfer plants into larger pots (See transplanting video)

  2. Provide each plant with one square foot of grow space (minimum)

  3. Proceed to montior Enviromental Conditions for Vegetative Stage as follows below.

Enviromental Conditions for Vegetative Stage

Want to learn what tools you need to keep your plants grow enviroment in line with our checklist below? Click here to watch our video about the vegetative phase.

  • PPFD: 400-600 (Click here to watch grow light video)

  • Color Spectrum: 6500 K (Cool Blue) 

  • Humidity level: 55%

  • Temperature: 68-77°F

  • Lighting: 18 on, 6 off

  • Water (keep soil moist, not soaked) 

Click here to use our LUX to PPFD calculator for reading and calibrating your lights PPFD levels.

WARNING: Stagnant water or air will cause mold and mildew problems for your plants. Use airstones in your watering containers and circulating fans in your tent to ensure proper airflow.

how to grow marijuana - pruning tips

The image above is a quick reference for trimming and pruning your plants during the vegetative phase. This removes wasted energy and ensures your plants will focus on generating buds.

Step 8: Flowering Phase

When it comes to flowering your plants, the goal is to keep allow your plant to focus all of it’s energy on generating big beautiful bud. 

That means you will want to resist pruning or trimming your plants during this phase.

And remember, your plants will jump a foot to a foot and a half in the first week of flowering. So be sure to keep the nitrogen nearby and plan accordingly.

What You Need During Cannabis Flowering Stage

  1. Grow Tent (preferably 4′ x 4′ x 8′)
  2. (1x) 4″ Grow Fan
  3. (1x) 4″ Charcoal Filter
  4. (1x) Circulating Fan
  5. LED Grow Light with Veg/Flower Switch (Check Enviromental Conditions for Flowering Below, specifically PPFD & Spectrum) 
  6. Humidity/Temperature Sensor
  7. 3 Gallon Potting Containers
  8. Watering Pot (Unless you decide to go with a drip fed irrigation system)
  9. Soil (Fox Farm Ocean Forrest)
  10. Happy Frog Fruit & Flower Organic Fertilizer (Use Instructions on Bag)

Instructions for Flowering Stage of Weed Growing

  1. Watch for the sex of your cannabis plant and ensure you have a female. Typically you will begin to see the sex of the plant within 11 days of switching your light schedule to 12 on / 12 off.

  2. Provide each plant with one square foot of grow space (minimum)

  3. Continue to monitor Enviromental Conditions as they have changed for Flowering Stage as follows below. (Warning: mold will occur if temperature and air flow are not carefully controlled).

Enviromental Conditions for Flowering Stage

Click here to use our LUX to PPFD calculator for reading and calibrating your lights PPFD levels.

WARNING: Stagnant water or air will cause mold and mildew problems for your plants. Use airstones in your watering containers and circulating fans in your tent to ensure proper airflow.

Step 9: Harvesting Phase

marijuana harvesting

When it comes to harvesting the process is quite simple. You want to pay close attention to your trichomes during the end of the recommended flower cycle of your plants. (Normally 8-16 Weeks)

Check with your seed/clone provider for more information about the strains you intend to grow. You can also check our “Marijuana Strain library” for more information about harvesting specific strains. 

Growers Tip: We suggest keeping your plants in a pitch black environment for 24-72 hours prior to harvesting. Your plants can expect a 30% boost in THC.

Instructions for Harvesting Your Cannabis Plant

  1. Check the trichome development prior to harvesting. (Refer to our trichome development image below). 
  2. Take a sharp pair of shears and carefully cut the plant an inch above your grow media on the main stalk.
  3. Hang the plant upside down on a clothehanger and prepare for the drying portion of this grow guide.
when to harvest cannabis

Step 10: Drying & Curing Phase

Cannabis Curing

The reason we dry & cure our bud is to remove high levels or chlorophyll and improve the taste and smell of the final product.

Some growers will prefer to cure their flowers in glass jars, others prefer plastic bags. To each their own – just make sure the plastic is BPA free. 

Enviromental Controls for Drying Cannabis

After you hang your harvested flower on a clothesline while the stems are still attached you’ll want to ensure that the environment is set up properly to get a good drying process.

Room Temperature: 60-65 degrees fahrenheit

Room Humidity: 55-65% (Closer to the 65%)

Be sure the drying flower doesn’t have any air condition vents blowing directly on the flowers as this will cause an uneven drying of the flower to occur.

The drying process can take anywhere between 7-14 days. You want to be able to bend the stem with slight breakage. If your stem snaps, it has dried too long. This may lead to a harsher burn towards the back of the throat when you goto medicate.

Ideally your buds should retain 10-15% water.

Instructions for Curing Your Marijuana Flower

  1. Trim buds from the dried flower after 7-14 days. Start from the bottom of the stalk and work your way up. 
  2. The goal is to handle the buds as little as possible.
  3. After trimming your flower, place your buds in a mason jar.
  4. For the next week open the jars twice a day for 15 minutes. (We refer to this as burping)
  5. The following week, burp your jars once a day.
  6. On the third week, burp your jars every other day.
  7. The longer you cure your bud, the better your flower will taste and smell.

Be sure to keep the jar in a dark environment, think kitchen cabinet.

Aim for 62% humidity inside the jars during the curing and burping process. You can purchase packs online that are specifically designed to help keep your humidity in check.


Try Our New Interactive Grow Guide Below

Where would you like to begin: Green Words = Buttons

  • Germination (Week 1-2)
    • Written Version
    • Video Version
  • Seedling (Week 3-4)
    • Written Version
    • Video Version

Grow Tip: How to Transplant Marijuana (Week 4-5)

  • Vegetation (Week 4-8)
    • Written Version
    • Video Coming Soon

Grow Tip: How to Setup Grow Tent & How to Setup Grow Lighting (Week 4)

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