Growing weed is super easy—it’s called “weed” for a reason—so don’t worry if you haven’t grown anything before. Our clear, easy-to-digest guide will help growers of all kinds, especially first-time ones.
Whether indoors or outdoors, growing marijuana is fun and rewarding, but it can also be challenging and takes a certain amount of patience, time, and money. We’ll walk you through all the steps of growing, from preparation, to seed germination, plant growth, and harvesting, as well as best practices and how to troubleshoot common problems.
Because the plant was illegal for so long, a lot of grow info has been passed down by word of mouth. There are many myths and traditions about growing weed, so it can be hard to sort good, sound advice from hearsay. Also, because it was illegal, there’s ample information on indoor growing and how to get the most out of a small space by maximizing harvests and training plants.
These are all great resources but not all growers want to put in that amount of time and effort to get a ton of weed—some growers just want to have fun, grow a little weed, and smoke something they grew themselves.
Enjoy, have fun, and learn a tip or two—growing weed is therapeutic and relaxing, and there’s nothing better than smoking weed you’ve grown yourself.
- Leafly’s complete marijuana growing guide
- Where is it legal to homegrow cannabis?
- Quick overview of the basics of growing marijuana
- Indoor vs. outdoor marijuana growing
- How to choose a marijuana strain to grow
Leafly’s complete marijuana growing guide
Where is it legal to homegrow cannabis?
Before you get started growing, you’ll need to see if you even can grow in your state. Below is a list of states in which it is legal to grow your own marijuana at home, both states with medical and adult-use legal status. If your state does not appear on this list, it is not legal to homegrow in your state.
You might be surprised which states don’t allow homegrowing—only five medical states and one medical territory allow homegrowing at all, and some adult-use states require a medical card.
Check out our Guide to marijuana legalization for more details on homegrowing in your state.
Note that “mature” plants are those in the flowering stage, when plants begin to produce buds; “immature” plants are those in the vegetative stage, before they produce buds. A “household” is defined as two or more people living at a single residence.
|State||Legalization status||Legal to homegrow?||How many plants?|
|Alaska||Adult use||Yes||6 (3 mature, 3 immature)|
|Colorado||Adult use||Yes||6 (3 mature, 3 immature); 12 per household|
|Connecticut||Adult use||Yes||6 (3 mature, 3 immature)|
|Hawaii||Medical||w/ medical card||10|
|Illinois*||Adult use||w/ medical card||5|
|Maine||Adult use||Yes||15 (3 mature, 12 immature, plus unlimited seedlings)|
|Massachusetts||Adult use||Yes||6; 12 per household|
|Missouri||Medical||w/ medical card||6|
|Montana||Adult use||Yes||8 (4 mature, 4 immature)|
|Nevada||Adult use||Yes||6; 12 per household|
|New Jersey||Adult use||Yes||6; 12 per household; medical: 10|
|New Mexico||Adult use||Yes||6; 12 per household; medical: 16 (4 mature, 12 immature)|
|New York||Adult use||Yes (pending)||NY is currently setting up a framework for homegrowing; adults will be able to grow 6 plants individually and 12 per household when it takes effect|
|North Dakota||Medical||w/ medical card||8|
|Oklahoma||Medical||w/ medical card||12 (6 mature, 6 immature)|
|Oregon||Adult use||Yes||4; medical: 6|
|Rhode Island||Adult use||Yes||3; medical: 24 (12 mature, 12 immature)|
|South Dakota||Adult use||Yes||3; 6 per household (starting 7/1/2021)|
|Virginia||Adult use||Yes (pending)||Virginians will be able to homegrow 4 plants per household beginning July 1, 2021|
|Vermont||Adult use||Yes||6 (2 mature, 4 immature)|
|Washington*||Adult use||w/ medical card||4 (up to 15 if given authorization from healthcare practitioner)|
|Washington, DC||Adult use||Yes||6 (3 mature, 3 immature); 12 per household (6 mature, 6 immature)|
|Guam||Adult use||Yes||6 (3 mature, 3 immature); medical: 18 (6 mature, 12 immature)|
|US Virgin Islands||Medical||w/ medical card||12|
*Illinois and Washington are adult-use states but require a medical card to homegrow.
Quick overview of the basics of growing marijuana
The best way to get quality buds and big yields is to grow strong, healthy plants. Here’s a quick rundown of the most important things you need to know about growing weed:
- Cannabis is a warm-season annual—it thrives in temperate climates, such as Northern California’s famed Emerald Triangle, and it grows and dies each year, having to get planted again the following year.
- It will take about 10-32 weeks to grow a weed plant, depending on the method you choose and how big you want plants to get.
- Before you start growing, you’ll have to determine whether you want to grow indoors or outdoors (more below). You can grow weed pretty much anywhere—it just depends what space, equipment, and resources you have available.
- Marijuana plants start out as either a seed or a clone. Seeds will need to germinate to grow into a seedling. A clone is a cutting taken off a weed plant that you can then grow into another plant, and it will have the same genetic makeup.
- After the seedling stage, a weed plant enters the vegetative stage, which is generally the longest stage of its life. Here the plant will be a main stalk, branches, and fan leaves—no buds yet.
- The magic happens during the flowering stage, when weed plants start to grow buds. Plants enter this stage about two months before harvesting.
- At harvest, you’ll cut down your plants, trim, dry, and cure them, and then your homegrown buds will finally be ready to smoke.
What does a marijuana plant need to survive and thrive?
- Light: Weed is a photoperiod plant, meaning the daily amount of light it receives will determine when it flowers—when it starts to produce buds. Outdoors, this happens when the daily amount of light reduces as summer turns to fall, and indoors, growers can control this by changing artificial light from 18 to 12 hours a day.
- Water: Weed plants of course need water, and the amount of water they need will change as they grow, and also depends on your local climate and weather.
- Nutrients: Weed plants need nutrients so they can grow strong and be healthy.
- Temperature and humidity: You’ll need to provide an environment with optimal temperature and humidity that will allow weed to thrive. Generally, this is between 55-85°F, with a relative humidity between 50-70%.
- Wind/airflow: Weed plants also need wind or airflow, which you can simulate indoors with fans, and which will occur naturally outdoors.
Indoor vs. outdoor marijuana growing
Your homegrowing journey starts with the question: indoors or outdoors?
Growing outdoors is the cheapest and easiest way to grow, because you can utilize the power of the sun and other natural resources, but you need the proper space to do it, and the space needs to be able to get ample sunlight throughout the growing season. Often, you can let plants grow large and get big yields with more space outdoors.
Growing weed indoors is more expensive because you’ll need to spend money on equipment and utilities, but you can control every aspect of the grow environment and set up an indoor grow almost anywhere. Expect to grow some killer weed—indoor is known for its potency and quality.
How to choose a marijuana strain to grow
At the end of the day, you want to grow a strain you like. A single plant can yield between a half-pound and a full pound of dried buds, depending on how big your plants get, so you’ll have a lot of it come harvest time.
The last thing you want is to put a ton of time and effort into growing weed and end up with a strain that you don’t like. Everyone has different tastes and preferences, and strains affect people differently.
Other factors to consider when picking a strain to grow
- Availability: The legality of cannabis in your state will determine whether you can buy seeds or clones at a dispensary. Even if you can, you’ll be limited to genetics that are only produced in your state, as seeds and clones can’t cross state lines.
- Climate and environment: Certain strains benefit from open space and are easier to grow outdoors, and some grow short and stout, making them great for indoor growing. Additionally, some strains need more attention and are more susceptible to pests and may benefit from a climate-controlled environment. It’s a good idea to talk to other growers in your community to see which strains grow best in your climate.
- Garden space: Cannabis can be grown successfully in small or large spaces, but it’s important to know how much space you have to work with before you start building out a garden. For example, if growing in a small space, consider growing indicas, which tend to grow shorter and bushier.
- Length of time to grow: Some strains take longer to mature than others. If you want a quick turnaround, aim for strains that take 8-9 weeks to flower instead of 12. Autoflower cultivars will be a lot shorter.
- Difficulty of growing: Difficulty equates to more care and attention, which can involve a more complex nutrient regiment, more training requirements, and perhaps paying more attention to environmental factors. These all take time, patience, and research to master, especially if you don’t have much growing experience.
Pat Goggins and Patrick Bennett contributed to this article.
Beginner's Guide to Growing Marijuana – Leafly
Leafly’s guide to growing marijuana (Ann Clancy/Leafly) Growing weed is super easy—it’s called “weed” for a reason—so don’t worry if you haven’t grown anything before. Our clear, easy-to-digest guide will help growers of all kinds, especially first-time ones. Whether indoors or outdoors, growing marijuana is fun and rewarding, but it can also be challenging and takes a certain amount of patience, time, and money. We’ll walk you through all the steps of growing, from preparation, to seed germination, plant growth, and harvesting, as well as best practices and how to troubleshoot common problems. Because the plant was illegal for so long, a lot of grow info has been passed down by word of mouth. There are many myths and traditions about growing weed, so it can be hard to sort good, sound advice from hearsay. Also, because it was illegal, there’s ample information on indoor growing and how to get the most out of a small space by maximizing harvests and training plants. These are all great resources but not all growers want to put in that amount of time and effort to get a ton of weed—some growers just want to have fun, grow a little weed, and smoke something they grew themselves. Below are all the topics covered in our growing guide. That is followed by a list of where it’s legal to homegrow in the US and a quick overview of the growing process. Enjoy, have fun, and learn a tip or two—growing weed is therapeutic and relaxing, and there’s nothing better than smoking weed you’ve grown yourself. Leafly’s complete marijuana growing guide Where is it legal to homegrow cannabis? Before you get started growing, you’ll need to see if you even can grow in your state. Below is a list of states in which it is legal to grow your own marijuana at home, both states with medical and adult-use legal status. If your state does not appear on this list, it is not legal to homegrow in your state. You might be surprised which states don’t allow homegrowing—only five medical states and one medical territory allow homegrowing at all, and some adult-use states require a medical card. Check out our Guide to marijuana legalization for more details on homegrowing in your state. Note that “mature” plants are those in the flowering stage, when plants begin to produce buds; “immature” plants are those in the vegetative stage, before they produce buds. A “household” is defined as two or more people living at a single residence. StateLegalization statusLegal to homegrow?How many plants?AlaskaAdult useYes6 (3 mature, 3 immature)ArizonaAdult useYes6CaliforniaAdult useYes6ColoradoAdult useYes6 (3 mature, 3 immature); 12 per householdConnecticutAdult useYes6 (3 mature, 3 immature)HawaiiMedicalw/ medical card10Illinois*Adult usew/ medical card5MaineAdult useYes15 (3 mature, 12 immature, plus unlimited seedlings)MassachusettsAdult useYes6; 12 per householdMichiganAdult useYes12MissouriMedicalw/ medical card6MontanaAdult useYes8 (4 mature, 4 immature)NevadaAdult useYes6; 12 per householdNew JerseyAdult useYes6; 12 per household; medical: 10New MexicoAdult useYes6; 12 per household; medical: 16 (4 mature, 12 immature)New YorkAdult useYes (pending)NY is currently setting up a framework for homegrowing; adults will be able to grow 6 plants individually and 12 per household when it takes effectNorth DakotaMedicalw/ medical card8OklahomaMedicalw/ medical card12 (6 mature, 6 immature)OregonAdult useYes4; medical: 6Rhode IslandAdult useYes3; medical: 24 (12 mature, 12 immature)South DakotaAdult useYes3; 6 per household (starting 7/1/2021)VirginiaAdult useYes (pending)Virginians will be able to homegrow 4 plants per household beginning July 1, 2021VermontAdult useYes6 (2 mature, 4 immature)Washington*Adult usew/ medical card4 (up to 15 if given authorization from healthcare practitioner)Washington, DCAdult useYes6 (3 mature, 3 immature); 12 per household (6 mature, 6 immature)GuamAdult useYes6 (3 mature, 3 immature); medical: 18 (6 mature, 12 immature)US Virgin IslandsMedicalw/ medical card12 *Illinois and Washington are adult-use states but require a medical card to homegrow. Quick overview of…
Growing Cannabis at home: a guide for beginners
Growing Cannabis at home: a guide for beginners Table of contents In this first article, you’ll find information about the Cannabis plant’s cycle, reproduction, and growing requirements. It’s an overview of the Marijuana growth, from seed to harvest. We’ll be updating and publishing new content soon! Cannabis plantsFemale cannabis plantsMale cannabis plantsHermaphrodite Cannabis plantsCannabis seedsRegular Cannabis SeedsFeminized Cannabis SeedsPhotoperiodic Cannabis seedsAutoflowering Cannabis seedsCannabis cloningCannabis Growing requirementsGrowing mediumGrowing Cannabis in soilGrowing Cannabis in HydroponicsGrowing Cannabis in Coco coirWaterTap waterReverse osmosis waterNutrientsLightFluorescent lights (CFL)High-Intensity Discharge grow lights (HID)LED lightsAirCannabis plant life cycleCannabis seed germination (3 to 10 days) Seedling stage (2 to 3 weeks)Vegetative stage (3 to 16 weeks)Flowering stage (8 to 11 weeks)Flowering initiation phaseMid-Flowering phaseLate flowering / Ripening phaseHow long does the flowering stage take?Track your crop with Grow with JaneHarvest Cannabis at homeWhen to harvest my marijuana plantsPistilsTrichomesHow to harvest Marijuana plantsHow to dry MarijuanaHow to cure Marijuana Growing Cannabis at home it’s not difficult at all and it’s very rewarding, but requires some knowledge and effort. Cannabis plants So, where to start when growing Cannabis? Let’s talk about the plant. Cannabis plants may be male, female or hermaphrodites. This means that each plant has male or female reproductive organs. Female cannabis plants produce female flowers or “buds” and, in order to produce seeds, they need to be pollinated by a male cannabis plant. When female plants are deprived of the male plant pollen, they produce bigger and fatter buds with no seeds in them. These are usually called “sinsemilla” (“no seed” in Spanish) and it’s the most commonly found product in dispensaries, stores and home growing yields alike. Cured Cannabis bud. PH: David Cardinez The reproduction of the Cannabis plant may be sexual or asexual. Sexual: seedsAsexual: clones Female Cannabis plants Female cannabis plants produce inflorescences (clusters of small flowers) or “buds”. These buds contain the biggest cannabinoids concentration in the plant. That’s why lots of growers put all their efforts into harvesting the biggest and frostiest buds. Cannabis plants usually start to show sex with pre-flowers, around week 4-6 from seed. Female pre-flowers look like a pair of white hairs. In fact, pistils or “hairs” are the female reproductive structures of the plant and that’s where they produce the seeds. Cannabis plant – late flowering stage. PH: Robert Baker Male cannabis plants Male cannabis plants produce male flowers, but they are not capable of producing buds. This male flowers look like little “balls” or “bananas” and contain pollen grains, but no trichomes. Pollen grains contain male gametes (sperm cells). Long story short, when pollen finds compatible pistils, the sperm is transferred to the ovule, and the female plant starts producing seeds. Female and male Cannabis pre-flowers Hermaphrodite Cannabis plants Cannabis plants are basically dioecious (they have male and female sex organs in separate individuals), but sometimes monoecious Cannabis plants may occur, and they are commonly called “hermaphrodites” or “hermies”. These plants have both male and female organs in the same individual. Actually, there exist two types of monoecious Cannabis plants: “True hermaphrodites” have both male and female organs but in different parts of the plant. “Mixed-gender plants” have sexual organs resembling “bananas” or “nanners” growing from female plants. These “bananas” are actually pollen sacs and may pollinate themselves and even our female plants. Hermaphroditism is not desired in Cannabis crops. The majority of growers take out the hermaphrodite plants immediately after identifying them. Hermaphrodite Cannabis pre-flowers Some factors that lead to hermaphroditism are: plant stress high temperatures nutrient deficiencies root rot light leakage in dark periods bad genetics How to know if a Cannabis plant is male or female Grow with Jane, the app for cannabis home growing. Track your activities and trees. Plan ahead by setting repeatable reminders. Get smart insights customized for your crop. Share your work with a community of like-minded people while learning to grow better. Cannabis seeds Plant sexFlowering…
How to Grow Cannabis (Easy 10-Step Guide)
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Growing Cannabis: the Essentials for Beginners – Leafwell
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Cannabis grow guide – Blog Alchimia Grow Shop
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How To Grow Weed: A Step-by-Step Guide For Beginners
How To Grow Weed: A Step-by-Step Guide For Beginners Looking for the basics of how to grow marijuana? Here are the tools and information on how to grow weed affordably and effectively. All you need is a small discreet space and a little bit of a budget to get started on your indoor pot production. Pinterest The first thing you’ll need is a place to grow. I recommend getting yourself a decent grow tent. They’re cheap, made to grow inside of and can be put up and taken down quickly by one person. Some tents come with packages that include all kind of complicated hydroponic equipment. Your best bet is to purchase only what you need inside the tent and to learn how to grow weed without the expensive plastic. Some even have separate chambers for vegetative growth and cloning, making them perfect for people living in one-bedroom apartments or studios with limited room to grow. First, you’ll need a growlight. I like HID (High-Intensity Discharge) lighting – HPS (High-Pressure Sodium) or MH (Metal Halide) systems with ballasts, bulbs and reflectors. If heat from these lights will be an issue, there are also LED (Light-Emitting Diode) and CFL (Compact Fluorescent) systems you can employ. Be sure to get a light that covers your tent’s footprint and invest in a decent timer to control when your light turns on and off. You’ll also need an exhaust fan and activated carbon filter to reduce heat and eliminate odors. Be sure to get one that’s rated for your tent’s size with the proper ducting size. A clip-on circulating fan will keep air moving and stop it from being stagnant. A thermometer/hygrometer is also a must for keeping track of temperature and humidity. If you don’t have access to marijuana seeds or clones from a dispensary or friend, you’ll need to get some cannabis seeds mailed to you. Don’t have them mailed to the same place you plan to grow if you’re not growing legally. Don’t just learn how to grow weed, learn how to be discreet and not brag or bring attention to yourself. A simple loose and airy soil mix in 3-5 gallon buckets are great for beginners and much more forgiving than any hydroponic system. Be sure to cut holes in the bottom of the buckets and use saucers under them to catch any overflow. You’ll need to purchase nutrients to feed to your plants as they grow and a watering can as well. After you’ve planted your seeds or rooted your clones, it’s time to get them growing. Lower your reflector so that it’s closer to the plants rather than making them stretch to reach for light. Raise the lighting system as your plants grow. Set your light timer to be on for 18 hours per day and off for 6 hours. During this vegetative stage, the plant will grow leaves and branches but no flowers (unless it’s an auto-flowering plant). Avoid overfeeding and overwatering your plants at all costs. Err on the side of caution as it’s always easier to add more nutrients or water than it is to take them away. Marijuana roots prefer a wet/dry cycle so lift up your buckets and you’ll get a better idea for if they need watering or not by the weight. The first sign of overfed plants is burnt leaf tips. The first rule of how to grow weed is to learn to stay off of its way sometimes. Anytime space is limited for growing, some basic rules apply: Since square footage is at a premium, plans must take full advantage of each available inch. This means choosing between growing indica-dominant strains such as Hashplant, Afghani #1 or planning on using drastic trellising and training techniques if growing out sativas such as Super Silver Haze, Jack Herer or Kali Mist. Pruning For Higher Yield When pruning, start early and often. Cut or pinch branches just above the node where two new shoots will emerge. If you stay on top of this process, you’ll have plants that…