Browse our Grower's Advice section for tips and information on how to get the most from your medicinal garden. Stay tuned for more topics.

Pruning marijuana plants can be both a logistical practice and something that helps produce more buds when it comes time to harvest. Many indoor growers will want to keep their plants in check if they start to grow too high. This is because there is only so much vertical space in the grow room for plants to really stretch their wings. For the most part, indoor plants don’t grow as large as outdoor plants, but they will need to be kept at bay if they start to grow really well.

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Lights often represent the lifeblood of plants grown indoors. Because any sunlight that they might receive is sparse, artificial light is valuable and necessary. Plants need the light to perform photosynthesis, which is vital for sugar and tissue production. Many people who grow for personal use will use a closet space for their garden. Some can get away with using a guest bedroom that can’t be seen from the outside and is rarely used otherwise.

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Once the lights are up, you can begin the process of germination. Germination essentially entails taking the marijuana seed and coercing it to sprout. If you don’t provide it with the right environment, then the seed will just remain a seed for the foreseeable future. There are several methods that you can use to germinate your marijuana seeds, and every grower recommends something different.

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Perhaps the best thing about growing marijuana indoors is that you have increased control over virtually every aspect of the growing process. While the seeds themselves won’t need light initially, they will certainly need some light when they produce visible sprouts. Light acts as their sustenance at this period of time and it can affect the plants later on in life if they are deprived of the valuable light they require. This assumes, of course, that the soil, nutrient quality, and watering regimen are all adequate as well.

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Every living thing on the planet requires water in some form, but, when working with marijuana, extra caution should be exercised. During the germination period, avoid inundating the marijuana plant with moisture. The top layer of soil should be kept moist, but even then it’s best to only use a few sprays of water from a spray bottle. When the plant actually sprouts, the area near the stem should kept dry. This is because moist conditions around the stem are often conducive to stem rot. At this stage (and really any stage) it’s relatively easy to overwater marijuana plants. Using excessive water can cause major issues with the soil and major stress with the plants.

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Once the marijuana plant progresses out of the seedling stage, it will enter vegetative growth. The growth rate will increase by leaps and bounds, and more leaves and branches will start to appear over time. The seedlings will also finally start looking like actual marijuana plants. 

Transplanting

Marijuana plants that were germinated in small pots will need to be transplanted to larger ones as soon as vegetative growth starts to kick in. If the pots are too small for the plants, they can quickly become rootbound and start to lose vigor (or even die).

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We’ve already seen essentially how the plants should be watered and how much light they should receive. During vegetative growth, the plants are likely going to become “thirstier” and require more water as they get larger. The same rules still apply when it comes to watering: don’t severely overwater and don’t severely underwater. Many growers develop patterns for watering their marijuana plants. For instance, you might water one day, skip watering for two days, and then water again. It really all depends on the plants themselves.

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When you have an indoor marijuana garden, soil is also a relatively important aspect to keep your eye on. It’s also something that you have more control over. As noted previously, marijuana prefers to grow in a nutrient-rich soil that has a neutral pH of around 7.0. Sometimes, however, the pH in the soil can shift quite far out of the comfortable range from 6 and 8 on the scale. Some drastic measures might need to be taken in order to ensure that the soil does not end the life of your plants. One method of reducing chemical contamination in the soil is by using a soil flush.

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Now that you know how to check for the signs of male and female plants, the next step is getting them to flower properly. Just remember that, once you start flowering, it might be difficult to stop the males from pollinating the females if you haven’t removed them. Even if you segregate the plants by their sex, the air still might carry some of the pollen to the female pistils. It’s really a tossup between whether you want hyper-potent buds for this year only or you want to keep growing your favorite strain without having to pay for new seeds.

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The primary cause of any major irregularities in soil pH is the actual nutrients that you apply to the soil. Unlike just using standard dirt, your soil will need to be infused with nutrients. Sometimes, you can produce an adequate amount of nutrients just by using a unique fertilizer combination. But, in many cases, you will “water in” the nutrients using a solution.

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Because you’re planting indoors, the time at which your plants begin to flower is almost wholly dependent on when you want the plants to flower. Of course, you want to start flowering when the buds are at their most potent. It’s feasible to keep a marijuana plant in vegetative state for up to 10 years, but those plants certainly won’t be potent by the end of their lifespan. Before you induce flowering, you’ll probably want to know which plants are male and which ones are female. 

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Air

As with most living things, fresh air something extremely valuable. Opening up a window or installing a fan system in the room can help provide your plants with some much-needed fresh air. Of course, if it is particularly cold outside, it’s probably not a good idea to keep the window open for too long, even if it’s your only means of recycling the air.

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For the most part, indoor growers won’t have to worry about any diseases or pests plaguing their plants. But, that doesn’t mean it’s entirely impossible. In general, microbial diseases are minimal because the microbes that affect the plants usually don’t exist in Europe or North America (where it’s likely that many of you will be growing from). Nutrient diseases occur, but those are just moments in which the plants receive too many or too few nutrients.

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Indoor and outdoor harvesting are basically the same thing except that you have to bring your harvest inside in the case of outdoor growers. If the plants are on private land where you can just pull the plants out of the ground and bring them in your house, then you shouldn’t have any trouble. Guerrilla farmers, however, will probably have to hike in to retrieve their plants and then hike back out unnoticed. Of course, this is generally not that easy to do and may require the help of a friend depending on the size of the plants and the overall size of the crop.

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Although most people grow indoors to avoid any security issues, there are still some problems that can crop up if you’re not careful. In many jurisdictions, growing marijuana is still definitely illegal, and, if any unfriendly snitch thinks there’s reason to suspect that you are growing, you could wind up behind bars (or at least paying a hefty fine). The first rule about growing marijuana is don’t talk about growing marijuana. Even if you feel like you’re friendly with your neighbor or your bank teller or an acquaintance, they might not be friendly with the practice of growing marijuana.

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Many growers prefer to sow their marijuana seeds outdoors because it’s supposed to provide a better smoke and there is certainly nothing more natural than growing your plants outside. Most of the environmental factors outlined above will be provided to the plant via natural resources that you won’t have to provide yourself. While indoor growing gives you a lot of control, outdoor growing allows to the plants to flourish to their fullest capacity. The main problem with outdoor growing, however, is that the plants are visible to anyone who happens to have prying eyes.

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