So, you have finally decided to embark on cultivating your own crop of marijuana at home. Depending on who you talk to, you’d hear conflicting advice. To help you decide if growing indoors is your best option, it is in your best interest that you get as much information as possible. That means knowing its advantages and how they are beneficial not only for you but also for the plants.
Advantages of Growing Marijuana Inside the House
Not everyone is fortunate to have to choose between growing indoors or outdoors. It’s not like you have a choice if you do not have an outdoor space or live in a place where the weather condition is not suitable. Even under such circumstances, choosing to grow cannabis inside the house is anything but lame. In fact, you get to reap these benefits:
1. Flexible Setup
Where in the house do you set up a growing space? That depends on how many plants you are growing. For 1 to 2 plants, for example, a cupboard or a closet cabinet would do – and it is the cheapest method too. You could get by with fluorescent lamps. The possibilities are practically endless, and there are a plethora of customizable setups to fit a wide range of spatial dimensions in nearly all parts of the house.
Indoor cultivation gives you the flexibility to grow more than two plants, too. A grow tent is an excellent choice. Not only are there multiple sizes, but these self-contained habitats also makes it easy to install all the equipment needed for the plants to thrive. If you are worried about visitors seeing what you are up to, there are also marijuana stealth boxes and lockers to consider. You could even convert the basement or a spare room into a garden.
2. Cleaner grow space
An indoor grow setup is far easier to keep clean. Regardless if it is a cupboard, a tent, or a room, one of the things you do is to keep the growing space sealed. Doing so reduces the risk of pathogen and pest infestations, such as harmful microbes, aphids, and spider mites – significantly.
A hygienic environment saves you time and effort. Keeping the pests away, for example, means that you are not likely to spend time nurturing infected plants back to health. And, if you are careful enough, you may do away with the use of pesticides.
3. Controllable Environment
Growing indoors gives you the ability to control the environment – light, temperature, humidity, water, air circulation, CO2 levels, and even the choice of substrate and growing method. As such, you could boost the plants’ growth and their production of buds and trichomes.
The sun takes care of the plants’ needs. Not for indoors, though, which is why we use artificial lights to mimic the sun. For 1 to 2 plants grown in a cupboard or a closet, you are limited to fluorescent grow lights (T5 or CFL). These are not conducive to optimal growth, but the plants would grow and produce decent yields.
A sizable growing space lets you use high-intensity discharge lamps (HID) – metal hydride (MH) and high-pressure sodium (HPS). These are powerful lights that could boost the growth of the plants, their potency, and yields. They do use a lot of electricity, which is why you could also opt for full-spectrum LED lamps instead of HPS.
With any type of lamp used, not all the light is directed towards the plants. That is why the interior walls, such as in a grow tent, have reflective surfaces.
Marijuana plants grow best when the temperature sits between 70 to 85°F. The ability to control and make adjustments as necessary eliminates the limitations and less-than-ideal conditions of the outdoors. Usually, the heat generated by the grow light is more than enough.
Some strains can also benefit from manipulating the temperature. For example, the Purple family. Lowering the night time temp by 10 degrees triggers the plant hormones to produce purple colors, thus raising the bag appeal of the buds.
Controlling the moisture level in the grow room is one of the most significant advantages of growing indoors.
During the early stage of growth, seedlings particularly need high humidity levels – up to 70% RH. As they grow into and throughout the vegetative stage, this can be adjusted lower. Towards the late flowering stage, it is further lowered – down to 40% RH. As a result, you could avoid bud rot.
Should you decide to grow using hydroponics, there is no need to provide water. Already, the roots of the plants are submerged in a nutrient solution. On the other hand, if you opted to use soil as the substrate, then you would water the plants as needed. In an indoor setting, your plants are not exposed to excessive rain or precipitation.
Air Circulation and Ventilation
The heat generated by HPS lamps can be too high, causing heat stress or light burn. That is why a standard setup consists of fans and vents. As warm air is expelled, fresh air comes in. The circulation of air also ensures that there is a regular supply of carbon dioxide, especially during the flowering period.
You could also install a small oscillating fan, places strategically to cast a gentle breeze. Air circulating inside the grow room helps keep the moisture level – above and beneath the canopy – within the ideal levels. Sligh movements also help strengthen the stems and branches.
One counterargument to growing indoors, with regards to CO2, is that it may get depleted. That is unlikely to happen, though, as long as there is adequate ventilation and air circulation. Instead of a disadvantage, an indoor setting lets you bring in a CO2 generator to boost the development of the buds.
A high-quality, organic potting mix already contains adequate nutrients to feed the seedlings. During the vegetative stage, you would have to provide fertilizers with high levels of nitrogen. During the flowering stage, the nutritional requirements change to one that has higher levels of phosphorus and potassium. You can also introduce additives to boost flower development and cannabinoid production.
4. Control Cannabis Life Cycles
For autoflowering seeds, there is not much you can do with regards to its life cycle. Once they reach the second to the third week, the plants automatically transition to the flowering stage.
Photoperiod strains, on the other hand, depend on you switching from an 18/6 light cycle to 12/12 for them to begin flowering. By having the ability to control when the plants progress to the next stage, you can also delay the vegetative stage. One instance why you want to do that is to keep a mother plant as the source of cuttings.
Instead of cultivating seeds, you could obtain cuts and grow the clones in SOG. Meanwhile, the mother plant remains in the vegetative stage. Thus, you have an endless source of cuts, leading to “perpetual harvests.”
5. Multiple Harvests
Marijuana is an annual plant when grown in its natural environment outdoors. In the northern and southern hemispheres, they cannot survive the winter season. That is not the case indoors, where you have absolute control over all the environmental factors. As a result, you can grow more than one batch of plants all-year-round, harvesting several times in a year instead of once.
6. Allows for Experimenting
A more elaborate indoor setup lets you have multiple chambers for different stages of growth. Some grow tents, for example, have a dedicated space where you could nurture seedlings or propagate clones. The main growing area is where you keep the adult plants.
You could also have a separate area for females and males. Now, males may have no value when it comes to consumption, but they can be used to produce seeds. You could also try to cross two different strains to create new hybrids.
These are things you can do outdoors, but the controlled environment of an indoor setting makes it more manageable. Absolute control over these factors is a necessity when engaging in serious breeding projects.
7. Discreet growing
You should not grow marijuana if it is prohibited. At any rate, in states where you are allowed to grow, one of the stipulations is that the plants should be secure. It is far easier to lock the plants indoors, preventing access by minors than outdoors.
Furthermore, some people in the neighborhood may have issues with marijuana. In that case, growing the plants inside the house keeps them out of sight or view from public spaces. More than that, you can install an odor-control filter to remove the tell-tale smell of marijuana when warm air is expelled from the grow room.
Disadvantages of Growing Cannabis Indoors
Are there downsides to growing marijuana indoors? Maybe, that is a matter of perception. Besides, they are easily overcome.
1. Expensive Setup and Maintenance
One of the disadvantages of growing weed indoors is the cost involved. At the very least, you would be consuming more electricity. Maybe that is not much of a concern if you were growing 1 to 2 plants using fluorescent lamps. But if you were to use HID lights, usually 400 or 600 watts, it can be costly. Add to that the cost of other necessary equipment.
The initial investment to set up an indoor garden, letting you grow up to six plants, would set you back hundreds to over a thousand dollars. As you grow the plants, you would be spending more money on nutrients, electricity, water, and others. After a few harvests, though, you would get your money back if compared to buying the dried buds from a dispensary.
Note: You could lower the cost of electricity by using a full-spectrum LED grow light instead of HPS. The new generation of LED lights is far more superior, does not emit as much heat, and is more affordable now.
2. More Work-Intensive
Indoors or outdoors, there are things that you need to be aware of and do. For example, watch out for signs of disease or pest infestation. Of course, you would also be trimming, feeding, and watering.
Specifically, with indoor cultivation, you do have to do more. These include measuring the temperature and humidity every two days or daily. In exchange, you get to reap the advantages of growing the marijuana plants inside the house. By tweaking the environmental conditions to optimal levels, you can expect to harvest high yields of cannabinoid-rich buds.
3. No Natural Predators
In an outdoor garden, the plants may be susceptible to pests. On the plus side, the presence of natural biological pest control agents such as ladybugs is beneficial.
The indoor garden would not have the pests if adequately sealed, and all the things you bring inside are contamination- and pest-free. If needed, however, you can buy beneficial insects and introduce them into your grow room.
Absolute Control for High Potency and Yields
The ability to have complete control over the factors involved in growing your cannabis ensures that your plants are happy, thriving, and producing at their maximum levels.
By following the same growth parameters when you grow the next batch of plants, it is reasonable to expect the buds harvested to have the same traits as the previous ones. In other words, the overall quality of the buds from different batches of plants would be the same. Or, you can continuously improve the THC profile or yield by making some tweaks.
At the barest minimum, most marijuana strains are resilient and would grow into full adulthood and maturity. Indoors, though, you can manipulate the environment to influence the plant growth. By adjusting the temperature, humidity, and the structure of the plant itself, you not only produce higher yields. The resin glands in the flowers would also secrete higher concentrations of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids and terpenes.
Yes, you have to spend some money initially. And your utility bill would indeed increase. Nonetheless, one or two harvests, and you could already recover the investment and cost. Aside from producing buds that cost 5 to 10 times lower than buying from a dispensary, you can also guarantee that these are free of chemicals.