How much cannabis does one plant produce?

Published Nov 14, 2020 01:59 p.m. ET
iStock / Dmitry_Tishchenko

This is a sort of loaded question that is difficult to answer without knowing all of the influences that one plant might be exposed to. It’s nearly impossible to guess, even for the most experienced personal cultivators. However, it makes sense that you’d want to know, after all, it might not be worth the investment in the long run for some. Knowing would allow for some precise planning for growers who want to cover their habit for the whole year. So it’s a relatively helpful tidbit of information to have if you can get your hands on it.

How much cannabis does one plant produce?

One grower might boast about their ability to grow one plant that will produce close to a pound of weed, but the next may have trouble getting a meager 30 grams from the very same plant. There is no exact amount of flower that you should expect to get from a single cannabis plant, and that is especially true if you don’t have the prior experience or knowledge to boost yields because there are far too many variables to consider like:

  1. Strain genetics – The strain of cannabis plants you chose will have a lot to do with how they grow and ultimately, how large of a yield you get. Sativa strains tend to produce smaller buds, and in turn, more modest yields. Whereas, Indicas are generally shorter bushy plants with the capability of producing large amounts of bud from one plant.

  2. Growing medium – The growing medium that you chose will have a significant impact on how much flower a cannabis plant will produce. We know that hydroponics can add approximately 20% more to a yield of cannabis because it makes the nutrients more accessible, and it’s much easier for the plant to establish a healthy root system that can support larger, denser buds.

  3. Humidity – A cannabis plant will flourish in a humid environment, the recommended average for growers is between 45% and 55%, but each strain will prefer a slightly different humidity level. With some on the higher end of the scale and others preferring to be drier, you’ll need to adjust this according to the specific strain that you chose to get the most from one plant.

  4. Light – Cannabis plants require a sufficient amount of light to thrive because they harvest nutrients from it. Which, are eventually turned into new growth. An indoor cannabis plant will need a light, and the watts of the bulb should be close to the amount that you hope to harvest from one plant. So, if you want 400 grams of cannabis, then you’ll need at the bare minimum, a 400-watt bulb.

  5. Water – Cannabis plants do love a higher level of humidity, but when it comes to water or moisture, they aren’t suited for an overly wet environment. Too much or too little water could result in a serious reduction in the amount of cannabis that you harvest at the end of the season. So it’s important to get the amount of water just right if you want to yield the most out of a plant.

  6. Trimming techniques – Professional trimming and training techniques can take years to learn and perfect, so they are often overlooked by small-time growers. However, they can significantly increase the number of buds that you end up with when it’s time to harvest. The SCROG method is one of the most common for increasing yield size, but using it comes with some risk that may not be worth it for beginners.

  7. Indoor vs. outdoor – Most people assume that growing a cannabis plant indoors would produce the biggest yield, but if the growing medium is soil, that’s not true. Outdoor cannabis plants in general can provide up to 500 grams more cannabis on average than their indoor counterparts.

  8. Number of plants – Growing fewer cannabis plants together will typically result in a higher yield than bunching more than four together for a few different reasons. The first is that there's usually more room for them to grow and stretch out, the second comes from the additional size, which can make it so that each plant can support larger and heavier buds, and the third is due to a longer period of flowering, as the extra time allows for the production of larger nugs.

  9. Nutrients – Nutrients are a tricky addition to a cannabis garden, as too much can wreak havoc, resulting in a lower than average yield. But if you’re able to hit the sweet spot, giving your cannabis plant exactly what it needs throughout each phase of life, you’ll end up with a lot more flower once it’s time to harvest. Because fuel is necessary for the healthy growth of every living thing.

  10. Ventilation – A cannabis plant needs a fair amount of CO2 to do well, though this is plentiful in the environment all around us, a lack of airflow in a grow room or greenhouse can lead to a shortage of it. Proper ventilation also helps to deter common pests and diseases from taking hold, while helping the grower maintain control over the temperature. Effecting the yield that you get from each cannabis plant.

Sometimes it’s all a matter of luck and skill

It sure is incredible to hear success stories from highly experienced growers who manage to pull whole pounds of cannabis from one plant, but for most this is not a realistic expectation to reach. Even once you’ve perfected what seems like every little thing, much of what you get will come down to what you know and luck. A good average to aim for from one cannabis plant is enough to cover the cost and time spent growing it. Because if you expect any more than that, you’re libel to end up disappointed.

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