Updated: Mar 25
Growing marijuana in your own home is legal in 21 states and counting. As the legalization movement progresses, marijuana cultivation is becoming more socially acceptable every day. In addition, people are beginning to realize that growing marijuana can be a legitimate source of extra income.
Some people who read this article may reside in states or countries where growing marijuana remains illegal. If you're unsure whether or not you live in a state where it is legal to grow marijuana, please visit the Marijuana Policy Project to find out or consult the map below.
Legal for recreational use
Legal for medical use
"D" = Decriminalized
That being said, this article does not encourage anyone to break the law. We ask that all of our readers abide by their local laws, including marijuana laws, and we provide the following information for entertainment purposes only.
Table of Contents
Basic Marijuana Horticulture
Any who tells you that growing marijuana is easy has likely never done it. Marijuana growing requires patience, hard work, financial management, and the ability to solve problems proactively.
It's not rocket science, but there is still quite a bit of information to digest.
Let's start by defining a few basic terms:
It all starts with the cannabis plant.
If you had a handful of natural cannabis seeds, scattered them into the ground, and allowed them to grow freely, the male plants would pollinate the female plants, and the resulting crop would be industrial hemp.
Industrial hemp is renowned for being a strong and versatile natural fiber that can be woven into rope, cloth, etc...
Although industrial hemp does contain trace amounts of THC, (the psychoactive organic chemical compound for which marijuana is famous), there's not enough THC in industrial hemp to get you "high."
Instead, industrial hemp produces flowers full of seeds, thus ensuring the plant species survival.
However, if you were to isolate that same group of cannabis plants and remove the male plants, the female plants wouldn't be able to receive pollen.
This scenario triggers an 'evolutionary panic' within the female cannabis plants, which begin producing large, colorful, smelly, resinous flowers to attract insects carrying pollen so they can produce seeds and live another year.
Alas, the pollen never comes.
When these flowers have reached the peak of resin production, they are harvested, dried, and trimmed of the leaves so that only the resin-laden bud of the flower remains.
These "buds" are then dried, cured, and enjoyed; and are colloquially referred to as marijuana.
Cannabis - The plant from which both industrial hemp and marijuana are derived
Industrial Hemp - The result of allowing cannabis plants to self-pollenate and grow freely
Marijuana - The dried & trimmed flowers of unpollinated female cannabis plants.
Now let's examine the five most basic needs of the cannabis plant.
The Five Pillars of Growing Marijuana
Marijuana growers will often describe the cannabis plant as a wooden barrel, with each stave representing a different requirement for growth.
The barrel can only hold water if all the staves run the entire length of the barrel. If one stave were missing or was shorter than the others, it would single-handedly limit the amount of water the barrel would only be able to hold.
Marijuana is similar because your plant is only as healthy as its most lacking requirement for growth.
Each has a role to play, and they are all indispensable. Let's look at them one at a time.
Plants use light energy to rearrange the molecules in water and carbon dioxide to make glucose, which plants then use to perform a wide variety of metabolic functions. This process is called photosynthesis, and it doesn't work without light.
Light can be measured in two different ways - quantity and energy.
The quantity of light your plants receive is determined by the brightness of your lights, which is measured in lumens or Lux (1 Lux = 0.093 Lumens.)
A lumen is equivalent to the light that one candle casts into one square foot of space.
The closer your plants are to their light source, the more lumens or Lux they receive.
Cannabis requires a minimum of around 600 Lux, which can easily be achieved using fluorescent or incandescent light bulbs (2900 lumens).
There's no upper limit to the amount of light cannabis can receive. Cannabis plants thrive in natural sunlight, which can be as bright as 100,000 Lux, depending on your geographical location.
Most marijuana growers use 1000-watt High-Pressure Sodium bulbs to provide their plants with as much light as technology will allow. However, even these colossal light bulbs will only emit around 10,000 to 13,000 Lux.
This disparity puts greenhouse growers at a distinct advantage over indoor growers.
The other way to measure light is energy, which we measure in watts per square meter.
Energy describes the light's ability to do work (i.e., drive photosynthesis) and depends mainly on color, which is a function of wavelength, measured in nanometers (nm).
The longer the wavelength, the more energy the light contains.
Depending on the light color, different amounts of energy are required to produce the same amount of lumens.
Light color is measured in degrees Kelvin (k).
Red and blue wavelengths (4400k - 7200k) are optimal for marijuana growing.
The above chart illustrates the differences between red and blue light; and their respective temperatures. "Cool blue" light is the closest to natural sunlight.
Cannabis is a weed (literally), and it can tolerate water stress reasonably well. However, growing high-quality marijuana requires a reliable source of clean water.
Outdoor growers tend to have the most success in areas of the world that receive around 970mm of rainfall per year, although the acceptable range spans from 310mm/year to 4030mm/year.
In any case, growth peaks when soil saturation reaches around 80%.
Plant hydration is expressed as water potential and is measured in MegaPascals (MPs) or bars.
Water also plays a significant role in plant nutrition.
Aside from physically transporting nutrients to the root system, the pH of the water that your plants receive determines which nutrients are available to your plant.
The pH (parts hydrogen) is a measurement of the free hydrogen and hydroxyl ions in your water, and it expresses the acidity or alkalinity of your water.
We measure pH on a scale of 0-14 with 0 being highly acidic, 14 being highly basic, and 7 being neutral.
The EC (electrical conductivity) of your water measures the amount of total dissolved solids (TDS) that your water contains and is expressed as parts per million (ppm).
Young plants (clones & seedlings) should receive water that measures around 200 ppm. Late-stage vegetative plants should receive up to 600 ppm, and flowering plants can tolerate up to 1,200 ppm.
Keep n mind that these numbers are just general guidelines. Larger plants require more nutrients, and plants that grow under natural sunlight will drink faster than plants under artificial lights.
Carbon dioxide is a critical component of photosynthesis and is often the primary constraint for optimal plant growth.
Professional indoor growers will often enrich their grow spaces with supplemental carbon dioxide to increase the rate of photosynthesis.
However, this can be difficult to achieve.
It's far more practical to simply draw fresh air into your garden from the outdoors.
Our air presently contains about 300-400 ppm of carbon dioxide, although some urban areas may be as high as 600-900 ppm.
To achieve optimal growth, ensure you have enough ventilation (fan power) to completely cycle in the air inside your grow space every 5 minutes.
You should also make sure that you have a low-speed fan inside your grow room to circulate the air and help your plants absorb more carbon dioxide.
However, if you do decide to supplement your grow space, be mindful of your technological limits.
Plants require light in order to metabolize carbon dioxide, and 1000-watt bulbs only allow the plant to utilize carbon dioxide up to about 1000 ppm. Anything higher than that is wasted under indoor lighting.
Outdoor growers can provide their plants with additional carbon dioxide by positioning their compost heaps upwind from their gardens.
In addition to carbon dioxide, oxygen also plays a vital role in plant health.
The root zone (rhizosphere) contains millions of microbes that depend on oxygen to live, and they breathe by reclaiming oxygen molecules dissolved in water.
That's why it is critical that all feeding water be aerated.
You can accomplish this by keeping the water circulating within a reservoir or by placing an air stone in the reservoir and constantly pumping air through it.
If you plan on supplementing your garden with carbon dioxide, keep your reservoirs in a separate space to prevent carbon dioxide from displacing the oxygen in your water.
Soil & Nutrients
There are three main components of soil: sand, silt, and clay.
These components differ in size and texture, which translates into varying abilities of soil to drain and/or retain water.
Sand is the biggest of the three components (0.5mm - 2mm) and has the consistency of fine gravel.
Silt is slightly smaller (0.002mm - 0.5mm) and has a powdery texture.
Clay is the smallest of the three components (>0.002mm) and has a sticky feel.
The smaller the particle, the greater the ability to hold water. In other words: Sand helps soil drain, and clay helps soil retain water.
The optimal combination of all three soil components is called loam.
Loam drains well but also retains organic matter, allowing for maximum nutrient uptake.
Cannabis requires large amounts of 6 particular elements.
We call these elements macronutrients, and they include Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), Potassium (K), Sulphur (S), Calcium (Ca), and Magnesium (Mg).
Nitrogen plays a major role in the physical development of plants.
Phosphorus supplies energy to fuel metabolic reactions within the plant.
Potassium and Calcium bond with other nutrients and escort them through the cell wall.
Sulfur is an essential component of amino acids, enzymes, and vitamins and helps to promote healthy microbial growth.
Magnesium is the basis of chlorophyll.
In addition to macronutrients, plants also require small amounts of other elements. These elements aren't necessarily utilized by the plant but fulfill various other functions related to soil health.
These elements are called micronutrients, and they include; Iron (Fe), Zinc (Zn), Boron (B), Copper (Cu), Manganese (Mn), Chlorine (Cl), and Molybdenum (Mo).
Large quantities of micronutrients are toxic to plants.
Environmental factors include temperature, humidity, and air quality.
Plants require specific environmental conditions to survive, and cannabis is no different. However, the cannabis plant is particularly hardy and durable compared to other plant species.
After all, it is a weed.
We will be reviewing environmental factors that are ideal for optimal growth.
Yes, deviating beyond the optimal range for temperature and humidity is bad; and yes, failure to maintain proper environmental conditions will negatively impact your overall yields and make your plants more susceptible to pests, molds, and diseases; but environmental factors would have to be well beyond the optimal ranges for a significant period of time to actually kill your plant.
In any case, high-quality marijuana requires ideal environmental conditions.
Temperature control is indispensable in cannabis cultivation. The optimal range for flowering cannabis plants is between 72-76 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and anywhere between 5-10 degrees cooler at night.
If the temperature difference between night and day exceeds 15 degrees Fahrenheit, it will encourage mold growth.
Temperatures in excess of 85 degrees Fahrenheit will cause photosynthesis to slow down and ultimately diminish your yield and quality.
The lower end of the acceptable spectrum is 57 degrees Fahrenheit.
Plants in the vegetative stage thrive in slightly higher temperatures (74-78 degrees F), and rooting clones should be kept even warmer (78-82 degrees F).
Hydroponic gardeners also need to consider the temperature of their water.
The colder water is, the more oxygen it is able to hold.
As the temperature of water rises, the water becomes less able to hold oxygen, and plant roots become susceptible to fungus, which ultimately inhibits nutrient uptake and kills the plant.
If you plan to grow hydroponically, I highly recommend a water chiller to keep your temperature at a constant 42 degrees Fahrenheit.
Like temperature, there are different optimal humidity ranges for different phases of growth.
Flowering plants prefer dryer air with 40% - 60% RH (relative humidity.)
Vegetative plants can tolerate between 40% - 80% RH.
Rooting clones require a minimum of 60% at all times but will do better in 90% - 100% RH for the first 48 hours and then 80% - 85% RH until they are fully rooted.
When drying your harvest, it's important to keep the humidity between 40% and 50% to aid with the curing process and preserve flavor.
How to Start Growing Marijuana
Now that we have a better understanding of what marijuana requires let's take a closer look at the plant itself.
Stages of Growth
Plants have 5 generally accepted phases of growth: Germination, seedling, vegetative, flowering, and ripening. For the purposes of this guide, I'm going to add a 6th phase: Harvest.
If you plant to grow from seed, pay attention. It's critical that you understand these first two phases. Anyone planning to grow from clones can skip ahead to Vegetative Growth.
Seeds can last for thousands of years if they are preserved properly. However, if they are subjected to the right combination of heat, moisture, and air, they will begin to germinate.
Germination takes place entirely in the dark and occurs when environmental conditions allow hormones within the seed (cytokinins, auxins, and gibberellins) to activate.
Cells begin reproducing and increasing in size until they break through the seed's tough outer shell.
A single taproot will extend downward in search of water, and when that taproot successfully locates a source of water, a sprout with tiny leaves will begin growing toward its most-dominant light source.
You can germinate seeds by placing them between two paper towels that have been wet with distilled water. Sandwich the seeds gently between the paper towels and then place the paper towels with the seeds between them onto a dinner plate.
Cover the plate by placing another plate of equal size upside down on top of the first plate, and then place the entire ensemble on a heating pad that has been set to "Low."
Keep the paper towels moist, and you should see taproots emerge after 3-5 days.
The taproot continues growing downward and begins branching out.
It should be noted that only half of a plant exists above the soil line and that the root structure of a plant is a subterranean mirror image of the branches.
This correlation exists in every phase of plant growth.
As the roots continue to grow, they begin to anchor the plant to the ground and allow for more and more leaf & stem development.
Leaves allow the plant to absorb light, which is necessary for photosynthesis.
More leaves mean faster growth, so it's a good idea to give your plant 24 hours of soft, blue light (4400K - 5600K) at this stage, although 16-18 hours of light will still be sufficient.
T5 fluorescent bulbs are ideal for this task.
Plants need at least 16 hours per day of light to maintain vegetative growth, although most growers choose to give their plants a full 24 hours of light during this stage to maximize growth.
Again, blue light is ideal for this stage of growth and plays a vital role in critical metabolic processes that occur during vegetative growth.
Old roots begin to close their pores and harden in order to maintain a vacuum within the plant that allows younger root tips to absorb new sources of water.
Stems elongate, calyxes develop, and stomata open. Pre-flowers (white pistils) may begin appearing as well.
As fall approaches, the plant begins experiencing longer periods of uninterrupted darkness.
The longer periods of uninterrupted darkness allow light-sensitive proteins called phytochromes to accumulate within the plant.
As nights get longer, these proteins are able to accumulate more and more, and they serve as a chemical signal to the plant that it's time to begin flowering.
Chlorophyll production begins to slow down, and new branches stop forming as the plant begins putting all of its energy into developing flowers.
Indoor growers can induce flowering by setting their lights to a "12 hours on - 12 hours off" cycle. commonly referred to as 12/12.
This phase requires heavy amounts of red light (5600K - 7200K), although some blue light is still required and will help increase yield.
Female plants will begin flowers, whereas male plants develop sacks of pollen that mature slightly earlier than female flowers.
It is critical to keep your marijuana garden completely free of male plants. Otherwise, you may jeopardize your THC production.
Tiny resin glands called trichomes begin to appear on and around female flowers. Under a 100x microscope, trichomes appear mostly clear and a little cloudy or milky.
Flowering typically lasts 7-12 weeks, depending on the plant's genetics.
The last week of flowering is often referred to as "ripening" and is characterized by heavy resin production in the flowers.
Trichomes begin to turn from cloudy to amber, flowers become heavy and stiff, and the tiny hairs on the bud of the flower turn from white to orange.
Most growers will take this opportunity to flush their plants with pure, clean water to remove any remaining magnesium in the flowers and maximize fragrance.
I recommend a 10-14 day flush for plants growing in soil and a 7-10 day flush for hydroponic gardens.
Poorly flushed marijuana often tastes harsh because excess amounts of magnesium cause a burning sensation at the back of the throat.
Many growers will deliberately stress their plants during ripening, either by giving the plant 48 hours of darkness, lowering the temperature in the grow room, or clamping the plants at the base.
These environmental stressors induce maximum resin production immediately prior to harvest.
When the flush is complete, and the majority of the trichomes have turned amber, the plant is ready to be harvested.
Branches are cut away from the plant, and the flowers on those branches are trimmed of their leaves so that only the resin-laden buds remain.
Trimmed flowers should be hung upside-down in the dark to dry for about 4-5 days. I strongly recommend using some type of drying rack so that air can circulate around your drying buds.
Once dried, the buds are clipped away from the branches and collected in glass jars.
These jars should be opened about once a day to allow moisture to escape.
This process is called curing, and it is essential for coaxing the last bit of moisture out of the buds. Without proper curing, marijuana won't burn properly and will have an unpleasant taste.
Curing should last 3-4 weeks or until you can smoke a joint of your newly harvested marijuana without having to constantly relight it.
Proper curing also promotes floral aromas.
Indica, Sativa, and Ruderalis
Cannabis plants can be categorized into three main groups that differ according to growing characteristics and the effects that the end user will ultimately experience, as well as taste and smell.
Sativa varieties occur naturally in equatorial regions of the globe and are typically taller with thinner leaves and longer flower periods.
Since they are native to more humid areas, they offer natural resistance to pests, molds, and diseases.
The effects of Sativa cannabis are usually more cerebral and uplifting. Sativa cannabis also tends to taste fruity and smell sweeter than the other varieties.
Indica cannabis is native to colder, more mountainous regions that sit around the 36th parallel, like Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Morocco.
Indica varieties tend to be shorter and more purplish in color (as opposed to green), with dense dark flowers and wider leaves than Sativa varieties.
Indica cannabis tends to flower in 7-10 weeks and tastes muskier with skunky aromas.
Ruderalis is unique in that it contains an internal mechanism for flowering that works independently of the photoperiod.
Although Ruderalis plants typically produce less THC, their unique ability to 'autoflower' allows them to grow in regions closer to the poles, such as Northern Canada and Alaska.
Methods for Growing Marijuana
When it comes to setting up your grow space, you have three different options. Each of these options presents different advantages, disadvantages, challenges, and pitfalls.
Let's take a closer look at all three, starting with the easiest and least-expensive method.
The simplest and cheapest way to grow marijuana is simply to buy a clone and plant it outside sometime in May.
Clones are guaranteed to be female, unlike feminized seeds that only have a higher chance of being female.
This guarantee helps save time by allowing growers to begin at the vegetative phase of growth instead of having to germinate seeds and separate plants based on gender.
Sunlight contains the full spectrum of light colors, so there's no need to worry about buying the right equipment, and natural predators like ladybugs and spiders help keep your plants pest-free.
The major drawback to outdoor growing is that you lack any ability to control the temperature, and plants will often exhibit signs of stress resulting from heat and other environmental factors.
Indoor growing offers the obvious benefit of being able to control all of the environmental factors and isolate your plants from harmful pests. However, mold and disease growth becomes a larger issue because of higher humidity.
Indoor gardens also provide an element of security but can be more expensive to build and maintain.
Another drawback of indoor marijuana cultivation is that grow lights (including high-pressure sodium, metal halide, and LED) are all inferior to natural sunlight.
However, most "top-shelf" marijuana continues to be grown indoors.
Greenhouses provide an ideal hybrid of a controlled growing environment coupled with natural sunlight.
The only drawback to greenhouses is that they can be the most expensive environment to build, and they must be adequately air-conditioned and ventilated.
Clones vs. Seeds
Another major decision is whether to grow from clones or from seeds. Again, both offer significant advantages and disadvantages.
Seeds are the most common method of propagation because it requires no human intervention and maximum mobility.
Professional marijuana growers in competitive markets need to be able to offer dispensaries unique genetics to stand out from other growers, and they rely on seeds bought from eclectic sources to differentiate themselves.
Of course, growing plants from seed requires you to germinate the seeds and root out the males yourself, and these extra steps can add months to your grow cycle.
Most professional growers will adopt new genetics by germinating seeds but will then clone their plants to propagate future generations.
Seeds come in three different forms, natural (regular), feminized, and autoflower.
Natural seeds are landrace seeds that occur naturally as the result of natural plant breeding.
Feminized seeds result from plants that have been treated with hormones to produce seeds that are more likely to be female but are not guaranteed to be female.
Autoflower seeds are the result of breeding Indica and Sativa strains with Ruderalis varieties, ideally resulting in a species that yields like an Indica or Sativa but retains the ability to flower independently of the photoperiod.
A more reliable and slightly more expensive option is to grow from clones.
Clones are rooted cuttings of mature female plants.
Since they were cut from female plants, they are guaranteed to be female and will produce a uniform harvest.
Most professional growers opt for clones because they allow for a shorter grow cycle with less potential for complications.
The one major drawback of clones is that they are considerably less portable than seeds because the plant must be kept alive at all times.
However, modern clone nurseries like Burning Bush Nurseries have developed ways to ship clones securely and keep them under light for the duration of transit.
Any clone you buy should always be fully rooted, contain at least two fully formed leaves, and be free of pests/molds/diseases.
Every plant from Burning Bush Nurseries meets this standard.
Basic Equipment for Growing Marijuana
Growing marijuana requires equipment. Regardless of whether you're growing from clone or seed, grow tent or greenhouse, Indica or Sativa - you're still going to need at least a few basic supplies.
Outdoor Marijuana Growing Supplies
Here is a basic list of supplies that every outdoor grower will need to have on hand:
Pots (not necessary if growing in raised beds)
Water filter (Anti-sediment/chlorine filter at minimum)
Hose or watering system
Measuring Cup & Measuring Spoons
Trellis nets, tomato cages, or other support mechanisms
Indoor Marijuana Growing Supplies
In addition to most of the items on the above list, indoor growers will need to invest in additional equipment to recreate outdoor conditions.
Here is a basic list of growing equipment that you'll find in most indoor gardens:
Pots (or hydroponic equivalent)
Water filter (Anti-sediment/chlorine filter at minimum)
Hose or watering system
Measuring Cup & Measuring Spoons
Choosing the right bulb
Since light plays such a major role in marijuana cultivation, it's worth taking some time to investigate which light bulbs give you the best bang for your buck.
For years, the standard light bulb amount professional cannabis cultivators was the 1000-watt High-Pressure Sodium bulb.
In recent years, advancements in LED technology have given birth to a wave of surprisingly powerful LED-based grow lights that provide enough light for flowering plants while consuming a fraction of the energy and producing almost no heat, which leads to a further reduction in air conditioning costs.
However, in a side-by-side comparison, a new 1000-watt HPS bulb still outperforms the best LED light on the market.
To maintain proper temperature and humidity, it's critical that you have enough ventilation power to completely cycle the air inside your grow room every 5 minutes.
You can accomplish this by finding the total volume of your grow space in cubic feet (Length x Width x Height) and then dividing that number by 5. This will give you the minimum number of CFMs to look for in a fan.
If necessary, use ventilation ducting to exhaust the air from your grow space and bring fresh air to your plants.
If this isn't possible, you'll need a CO2 supplementation system to provide your plants with a source of CO2. However, we recommend the 'Fresh Air' method for novice growers.
You'll also want to install a carbon filter at the end of your ducting to prevent the odor of marijuana from permeating your neighborhood.
Carbon filters also have a minimum CFM rating, so be sure to buy one that is designed to accommodate the amount of air you plan to run through it.
In my personal experience, it's best to buy the largest carbon filter that your grow space can accommodate.
In addition, it's a good idea to orient your grow space so that air gets drawn through a carbon filter at the ceiling, then routed through your lights and ejected from the growing environment.
Your fresh air should also be introduced at ceiling level, high above the canopy.
This configuration will remove heat from the grow space, cool your lights, and allow cooler fresh air to fall down onto your plants.
If you plan to use CO2, you'll also need some type of fan to blow the heavy CO2 from the floor up to the ceiling so that you derive the maximum benefit.
It's often a good idea to install some type of circulatory fan to gently move fresh air across the surface of your leaves and prevent mold growth.
A simple box fan set to LOW will do the trick. No need to spend money on anything fancy.
Picking the Right Nutrients
With so many nutrient products to choose from, it can be difficult to know which one will offer the best results.
The truth is that every situation is different, and you need to find a range of products that fit your specific needs.
For example, outdoor growers may use organic compost to deliver nutrients to their plants, whereas indoor growers will need to purchase salt-based nutrients that are meant to be mixed with water.
Each method will work well in the setting for which it was intended.
Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind when designing a nutrient regimen that works well for you and your unique situation.
1. Choose products formulated for cannabis
There are a number of companies that cater specifically to the cannabis market. These companies design their product lines with cannabis in mind and have tweaked their formula to meet the needs of the cannabis plant.
Additionally, there are products that are designed specifically for soil containers and hydroponic gardens.
These product lines include:
2. Keep It Simple
Your nutrient regimen only needs to include some basic components. Anything more is just wasteful.
For outdoor growers, compost (or compost tea) will cover all of your bases. However, indoor growers will need the following:
A complete N-P-K fertilizer (Often sold in 3 parts - Micro, Grow, and Bloom)
Silica (to increase vigor and resistance under stress)
Hydrogen Peroxide (food grade - 34%)
3. Don't forget about the roots
If you take care of your roots, your roots will take care of your plant. I highly recommend investing in some sort of root inoculant during the early stages of growth to promote a healthy rhizosphere.
Any one of the following products will accomplish this vital task:
4. Keep an eye out for Nutrient Deficiencies and adjust accordingly
Nutrient deficiencies can arise in a variety of different ways. It's important to be able to diagnose nutrient deficiencies effectively to prevent a small problem from becoming a larger one.
To learn more, check out: What's Wrong With My Plant - Diagnosing Nutrient Deficiencies in Cannabis.
Although not recommended for beginners, hydroponic gardens do tend to produce higher yields. However, this extra bounty comes with a cost.
There are six basic types of hydroponic gardening techniques:
Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) - Water is run past the plant roots so that they develop a 'film' of nutrients around the roots
Deep Water Culture (DWC) - Plant roots are submerged in aerated water that contains dissolved nutrient salts
Wick System - One end of a wick is submerged in water, and the other end is buried in the substrate and feeds the plant by staying wet
Ebb and Flow - Plants are placed in containers on a flood table and receive water every 4-6 hours when a pump floods the table and then allows it to drain back into the reservoir
Drip system - Plant roots are fed by a drip system above the substrate containers
Aeroponics - Roots are suspended in air and kept wet through misters that are fed by a reservoir
Plants growing in water are more susceptible to pests, molds, and diseases; thus necessitating that the water is kept at around 42 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid complications.
This task is more difficult than it sounds.
You'll likely need to invest in a water chiller which will increase your electric costs. Furthermore, hydroponic gardens tend to need deep cleaning at the end of every cycle.
This axiom is especially true for deep-water cultivation (DWC) buckets.
Failing to plan for cleaning time can lead to delays in turnaround time which will prevent you from maximizing your investment.
Another drawback of hydroponic gardens is that they usually yield marijuana that lacks taste and flavor.
Every professional grower has had to deal with pests, molds, and diseases at some point in their career.
Indeed, the one major factor that separates amateurs from professional growers is the ability to prevent such catastrophes in the first place.
Here is a basic list of cannabis pests, molds, and diseases. Click on each to learn more.
How to Sell Your Marijuana Legally
Most of the states that have legalized marijuana have also legalized private sales between adults. Other states allow you to cultivate marijuana and sell it to a dispensary or patient collective.
These laws are constantly changing, so it's important to do your own research and find out what's legal in your own municipality.
Another excellent option is to sell your harvest to an oil producer.
The explosion in the popularity of edible cannabis products has led to a boom in the cannabis oil industry. Edible manufacturers use this oil to infuse their products with consistent amounts of THC, and they're always looking for supply.
If you live in a place where dispensaries are still allowed to purchase from private cultivators, then more power to you. However, this is becoming ever rarer.
J.M. McPartland, R.C. Clarke, and D.P. Watson (2000) 'Hemp Diseases and Pests', CABI Publishing, Chapter 4: Insects and Mites, pp. 10-12, 155-157
J.C. Stitch (2008) 'Marijuana Garden Saver', Edited by Ed Rosenthal, Quick Trading Company, Chapter 2: Pests, pp. 1-32
Jorge cervantes (2006) 'Marijuana Horticulture' Van patten Publishing, Chapters 1-16.
Lincoln Taiz, Eduardo Zeiger (2006) 'Plant Physiology: 4th Edition' Sinaur Associates, Chapters 1-26