Needs and Necessities of Cannabis plants
How to grow cannabis? Well, it’s a weed after all, so how hard can it be?
There are many roads that lead to Rome and even so many different growing techniques exist. Will I grow indoors or outdoors? Will I use feminized seed, regular seed, or perhaps autoflowering seeds? There are plenty of educated decisions to make, especially when growing indoors, before putting your seeds in to the ground and start your grow.
But also ask yourself what exactly it is that a plant -no matter what- needs, regardless of the chosen growing technique, to grow a seed succesfull to full maturity.
This basically sums it up: Light – Water – Substrate – Nutrients and tlc.
The sun is the source of all live on our planet. Without it all plants die as they need it for a process called photosynthesis (by making use of sunlight, producing sugars and oxygen out of carbon dioxide and water).
When growing outdoors in your garden, balcony or green house you use direct, unblocked sunlight as your light source. But when growing indoors you replace the sun by an artificial light source. LED lamps are nowadays widely used for indoor cultivation instead of the energy-guzzling HPS lamps. Both (artificial) light types are sometimes combined as well.
Sometimes you hear that -usually beginners- grow indoors without using a grow light.
This can only work when a lot of direct, unblocked sunlight comes in during most of the day. In our part of the world you opt for autoflowering where you adjust the flowering period to preferably a month before the longest day so that the flowering benefits optimally from the long light period. And even then, you get a small to moderate result in the most favorable case.
Like all living creatures, plants cannot grow without water. Water dissolves the nutrients the plants need and absorbs it via the root system for further transport to all parts of the plant. It is really important to keep a close eye on the water balance during the entire cycle. The soil being too dry is not good and too wet is also not good. It’s a delicate balance and somewhere in between. How much water at any particular time is needed, depends very much on the circumstances at that specific time in the grow process.
Keep in mind that the composition of (drinking) water is not the same everywhere and there are, for example, countries where a relatively large amount of chlorine is added to the water coming out of the tap. Is such the case, it may be better to use mineral water.
The real die-hards also ensure that the acidity of the water has the right pH value. It is somewhere between 5.6 and 6.4 and therefore not neutral (7) but slightly acidic.
The plants must be able to grow in or on something. In most cases this will be done on soil, earth, coconut, rock wool or any other type of (mixed)substrate. You can also grow on simply just water alone. That’s called hydroponics.
A plant absorbs water with the dissolved nutrients in there through the root system. A well developed and healthy root system is extremely important for the plant to achieve optimal growth and flowering.
Make sure your pot is big enough. In a pot that is too small, the root system (and therefore the plant) cannot fully develop. And secondly make sure that the substrate you use is suitable for your growth and has the right moisture. It should not be too dense as clay but rather airy and must be able to hold some water.
That’s where a succesfull grow starts.
Think about what, when, how much and how you feed the plant. Both for the growth or vegetative phase and the flowering phase. A correct dosage of nutrients is very important! Give too little or none at all, it may cause a deficiency of a certain mineral of compound, making the plant more vulnerable for diseases and stress. Give too much and the plant cannot handle the excess, which will have a negative impact on the ‘fitness’ of the plants and can lead to stress. Follow the dosage instructions from the manufacturer to the letter.
There are lots of specialty brands and companies offering any type of nutrients including a vegan option. In any case, strictly adhere to the dosages in relation to the phase in which the plant is in its growth. Rather less nutrients than an excess.
Nothing will prosper without enough tender loving care in life. This certainly also applies to growing Cannabis. Developing a sense of when the plants need your attention and what to do and what action to avoid, is something you have to get a feel for and yet also gain experience in.
When do you water and how much? When do you administer nutrients and how much? When do you put the plants into bloom (indoors), when is the crop ready to harvest? Throughout the plant’s life cycle, there are ongoing decisions to make regarding what to do and what not to do.
In practice, it means that your plants, no matter how or where you grow, need your attention every day.