10 Golden rules of growing cannabis

Published Apr 25, 2022 09:00 a.m. ET
iStock / Yarygin

Cultivation is a really fun hobby, but it is also a profession, an art form, and a science that must be perfected in order to achieve the most spectacular results. Every grower brings their own techniques, dreams, and quirks to the table, and as long as you follow these ten golden rules, you’ll be sure to succeed time and time again.

1. Pick the right seeds

If you’ve got a lush open garden or a spacious grow room with environmental control, then you might be far less limited when it comes to ideal strains to fit those spaces, but most people have a limit and must stay within it. A 6-foot cannabis plant isn’t going to thrive in a space with 4-foot ceilings, and that’s why it’s important to research those that are best suited according to size.

Can you maintain an ideal environment for a super sensitive tropical specimen that has high needs? If not, then it’s probably better to go with a hardier cultivar.

2. Lighting is key

Whether you’re growing cannabis outside or indoors, lighting is key to your crop's survival, and that is why it’s so important to ensure that this need is met. Outdoor plots should receive mostly sun throughout the day, and if they don’t then it may be time to consider moving that garden. Indoor crops must be managed with automotive light systems boasting a timer to keep those babies at the right stage of growth for high production, so keep all of this in mind as you design and plan your setup.

3. Never abide by a strict watering schedule

Yes, cannabis plants like any other need a lot of water in order to survive, but how much they need is dependent on a lot of things, many of which might change daily. Overwatering may lead to root rot, which can eliminate a crop too quickly to stop it, and in grow rooms, it can lead to an excess of moisture that results in mildew or mould growth that’s bad for you and your growing plants. Instead, check the soil and only wet it down as needed.

4. Nutrition is paramount

Sure, cannabis might manage to sprout in a barely dug garden or old soil, but it sure won’t flourish under those conditions, and that’s why it’s so important to provide a high-quality source of nutrition. High-quality soil and organic fertilizer should be essential in any cultivator's tool collection because the results will be more than worth the extra effort and expense.

5. Keep it sterile

Diseases, pests, and contaminants come into gardens and grow rooms through poor growing practices. A tainted shovel, old soil, or bad seeds could be responsible for this trauma, and that’s why it’s so important to keep these things as new and sterile as possible. Don’t add any new plants to a garden or home, sterilize all equipment and ingredients along the way, and source products from only the most trusted vendors to avoid making this mistake.

6. Sufficient space is a requirement


It might seem tempting to cram as many seedlings into a garden or grow room as possible, but it’s important to remember that they will eventually grow into monsters that will reach out toward one another. Placing them too close can cause issues with light distribution, access to nutrition, and damage to root systems as they get bound up in pots that are too small or when they’re placed too close to each other. Don’t waste your time and end up disappointed. Instead, leave plenty of room to breathe.

7. Maintain a close eye on things

Not everyone feels the need to create a special bond with their growing cannabis plants by spending hours upon hours taking in every inch of new growth, but even those who are doing this for practicality rather than fun need to check in regularly and conduct a full-on inspection of everything from the moisture levels to soil and leaf conditions. Those who don’t might miss early warning signs that could save their crop, so don’t make that mistake and take a small amount of time out of each day to check in.

8. Don’t leave your plants alone for too long

This goes without saying, as it is directly related to golden rule number 7 on this list and ignoring it could have devastating consequences. Diseases, nutrient deficiencies, excessive dryness, and pests can almost always be caught early with proper intervention, but if you leave for a week and come back to a crop that’s almost dead, it’s going to be really hard to come back from that. Instead, hire a plant sitter while you’re away. Your ladies will thank you come harvest.

9. Always research diligently before acting

It’s way too easy to panic based on a wrong assumption and make the wrong move in response, which is why research is always so very important. Right from the purchase of seeds to any concerns you might have about things like soil and grow lights, or infestations, it’s essential to equip yourself with the right information to handle the task at hand. One wrong move could kill all of your hard work, so don’t worry, the few extra minutes of waiting before acting are worth it.

10. Never harvest too early (or too late)

We know how hard it can be to wait, especially when you’ve watched all of your hard work pay off in the form of massive, juicy buds that look ready to go, but when you harvest it’s just as important as how you grow in terms of overall quality, potency, and effects. If you need help with that, then we highly recommend checking out our guide on the subject, which uses trichomes and other indicators to keep you from steering wrong.

On the other hand, plants that don’t produce quite the way you hoped shouldn’t be left too long. Otherwise, you could compromise the quality, integrity and safety of the flower.

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