Growing cannabis indoors is different than growing outdoors. It comes with its own set of challenges. I’m here to try and make it a little easier for you to master growing cannabis indoors. So I thought I’d share with you some tips for growing cannabis indoors that I found to be helpful.
1. Flatten the Canopy for Efficient Use of the Light
When you grow indoors, the grow light doesn’t have the same light penetration as the sun. This means to more efficiently use your grow light, you should flatten your canopy out as much as possible. This helps the plant to use the grow light more efficiently. By creating a flat shape, you create more bud sites that are getting the strongest lighting possible. This also helps with keeping plant height down so that you don’t run out of vertical space in your grow area.
You can achieve the flat canopy by Low Stress Training or LST. Simply tie your plants down with plant ties, pipe cleaners, twine, or a Scrog Net. You can really use just about anything that will tie down the branches of the plant. As it grows, you continue to tie down the branches so that more bud sites get the light and so that all the branches are at the same height. You can stop training the plant during flowering when the plant has slowed down in growth and the stems become more rigid. If you’d like to know more about Plant training techniques to increase yields you can follow the link above.
Another tip that ties into this one, is to do selective defoliation. This simply means pruning off leaves that are blocking bud sites from the light or aren’t receiving much light anyways. This gives the plants better air flow through the canopy and can create bigger, dense buds. This happens because the bud sites can get proper light and airflow to them.
2. Use Adequate Wattage
When growing you can use just about any grow light and get pretty good results. As long as you use adequate wattage, even the cheaper lights will still perform quite well. You should aim to have about 50-100 true watts per plant to have good results. That being said, not all lights are created equally. There are many higher end lights that are designed for growing cannabis and they work very well. Quantum boards are a great example. They have the right light spectrum for growing cannabis and run cooler than many grow lights. Another great light, if you can afford it, is the ES 180 or ES 300 by the The Green Sunshine Company. Don’t worry though, there are lots of grow light options that are affordable and work great for cannabis.
3. Know When to Flip Them Into Flower (Photoperiods)
If you’re growing photoperiod plants, it’s important to know when you should flip them into the 12/12 light cycle. If you want to use your grow space effectively, you should aim to flip the light cycle when the plants height is about half of the desired size you’d like them to be at the end. For example, if you would like to have 3ft tall plants, you should flip to 12/12 when they’re about 1.5ft tall. This is because when plants start flowering, most of them double in height. If you flip them too late, you could risk running out of space in your grow area. Flip them into flower too early and the plants won’t reach the size that you were hoping. So, if you run photoperiod plants indoors, flip them into the 12/12 light cycle at about half the desired height for the best use of space.
4. Try Autoflowers for Growing Cannabis Indoors
You may consider trying Autoflower plants when growing indoors. They certainly aren’t the genetics they were 10 years ago. They’ve come a long way since then. I grow mostly autoflowers because of their short growth cycle. You can go from seed to harvest in about 80-90 days. In my experience, they have been fairly easy to grow and I’ve had extremely good luck with them. I’ve even harvested a quarter pound from a single plant a couple times. I think that Autoflowers will be the future of indoor grows. They are now just as potent as photoperiods and you can have different stages of plants all growing under the same light. Since they don’t need a change in light cycle, you can constantly keep plants going at all times as long as you have somewhere else to dry plants.
5. Buy Feminized Seeds
Unless you’re planning on breeding plants, I think that buying feminized seeds is such a good idea. It guarantees that your plants will be female and that they will produce buds. In my opinion, this is ideal for growing cannabis indoors. Most growers are growing for the buds, so to me, this one is a no-brainer. It saves you from wasting time growing plants into they’re about 4 weeks old and having to chop them down if they turn out to be male. When you buy feminized seeds from a reputable seedbank or breeder, you don’t have to worry about identifying the gender of your plants. Although, sometimes stress can cause some plants to become hermaphrodite and produce both male and female parts.
6. Be Patient at Harvest Time
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, Be patient at harvest time. You worked hard getting your plants to flower so you want to get the most out of it, right? Plants can gain up to 25% of their final weight in the last 2-3 weeks before harvest. You don’t want to miss out on that extra weight. So invest in a jeweler’s loupe or digital microscope so you can check the trichomes. This ensures that they’re fully matured and ripe when you chop them down. The exact time you harvest is dependent on the type of effects you’re looking to achieve with your buds. If you like a more relaxing, body buzz, you’ll want to make sure to have about 10-30% amber trichomes. If you’d like to get the highest levels of THC, then you’ll want to harvest with only about 5% amber trichomes. You’ll also notice when it starts getting closer to harvest, the buds will swell slightly, looking more full. If you can be patient, it will definitely pay off in the end.