Growing cannabis at home is legal in Canada. Quebec, Manitoba, and Nunavut don’t allow Canadians to grow cannabis at home.
Everyone knows that 4 plants are allowed to grow at home. They are more than enough if you know the steps to grow healthy cannabis plants.
Give your cannabis plants what they need to grow and they will give you big buds for sure.
I have 4 healthy cannabis plants in my basements with bigger buds than normal.
In this post, I am going to share basic information about growing cannabis at home in Canada.
This information helps you to grow your cannabis indoors even if you are completely new to indoor gardening.
Let’s Talk about things like Space, Lighting System, Nutrients, Ventilation Systems, etc that you will need in indoor Cannabis gardening.
Step 1: Grow Space
In the first step, you need to decide about the growing space that you are going to use to grow your cannabis plants. You do not need to create a separate grow room for just 4 to 6 plants. You can use any corner of your house or a grow tent if you like to hide your plants from others, grow cabinet or you can grow in any corner of your basement.
All you need to do is adjust your plants and growing equipment according to your selected growing space.
While deciding your grow area keep in mind that you need to install lots of growing equipment like grow lights, ventilation fan, etc. You also need to work on your plants so you need to add space for yourself in the growing area.
Cannabis plants can grow easily up to 3 to 4 feet in height which is enough. You do not need a plant taller than 1 meter. You need to let your plant spread widely to produce more buds. More stems are equal to more big buds.
NOTE: Many hybrid cannabis plant types are available, you can choose them if you want hybrid cannabis. later in this post, you will know about them.
If you like to use a grow tent then you do not need to worry about the height because grow tents can go up to 7 feet height (more than enough for cannabis plants). They are easy to clean and maintain.
Best Grow tents In Canada
Small Grow tents For Home use
If possible do not use space that is covered with floor carpets, no wooden floors recommended. These places are hard to clean and cleanliness is a must in indoor growing.
Step 2: Cannabis Grow Lights
The quality and quantity of cannabis yield are highly depending upon the quality of grow light. You need to install the top-quality grow lights in your grow room to grow healthy cannabis in Canada. If you can afford then choose the best branded specially made cannabis growing lights.
Types for grow lights suitable to Grow Cannabis in Canada.
LED GROW LIGHTS
The market is flooded with LED grow lights and many of them are not able to grow plants like cannabis. So, you need to choose your LED grow light for cannabis carefully. Years ago, these lights were costly but as the technology gets advanced having an LED grow light is an affordable option.
LEDs do not produce a high amount of heat so you do not need to install a strong ventilation system like you need to do in case of HID grow lights.
A full-spectrum LED light is enough to grow a cannabis plant from seed to harvest. You can use the same LED grow light to grow cannabis for many years without any issue. They do not get burnt like HPS and MH bulbs.
Low electric consumption, high light intensity, years of life span, strong build quality, less heat, different designs are the main benefits of LED lights.
HID (high-intensity discharge) grow lights
HID grow lights produce a massive amount of light which is good for the flowering stage. They also emit a high quantity of heat that is good to grow high heat-loving plants year around. But you cannot grow small plants like lettuce with HID grow lights.
HIDs are less costly than the LED grow lights but have a short life span of 10,000 hours.
Types of HID grow lights
- Metal Halide (MH)
- High Pressure Sodium (HPS)
Metal Halide grow lights are best to use for the vegetative stage because they have the blue and white spectrum of light. This spectrum of light is required in the veg stage.
HPS grow lights have a yellow and red spectrum that is good to trigger flowers in plants. This clearly shows that you need MH light for the Vegetative stage and HPS grow light for the Flowering stage.
With every HID light, you need a ballast, reflector hood, and a ventilation system. Two types of ballasts are available one is magnetic ballast and the second is digital ballasts.
Magnetic ballasts are cheaper than digital ballasts. But digital ballasts are better options because magnetic ballasts create magnetic interference with radio waves and Wi-Fi signals. So do not use magnetic ballasts to save a few dollars. Later you will regret your decision.
If you are growing in a large space than you need to go for HID grow lights. Hobby growers do not need to spend money on HID lights and also on costly ventilation systems. For home growers LED grow lights are the best type of grow lights. You can grow any type of plant with LED lights at any time of the year and they have years of life span, maintenance cost zero.
HPS and MH grow lights are useful where you need to grow in large areas like greenhouses where people grow to sell (commercial growing).
Fluorescent grow lights
These lights are suitable to grow small items like lettuce, Spanish, mint, etc. You cannot grow cannabis in Canada by fluorescent lights because they are not strong enough to grow a plant like cannabis in Canadian weather. For the veg stage, T5 grow lights are a good option but then you need to buy another light for the flowering stage.
According to me, this is the wastage of money. It is better to buy a single light and use it from veg to harvest and then again in the same order.
These are cheaper than HID and LEDs but are not efficient like them. fluorescent grow lights produce 30 to 40 % less energy as compared to the HPS and LED grow lights.
The main benefit of having these lights is they do not produce heat and you don’t need to spend money on heat handling systems. I do not recommend this lighting technology for cannabis plants. You can choose LED grow lights they also don’t produce heat like HPS lights.
Step 3: Proper Air Ventilation for Indoor cannabis
Plants need carbon dioxide and fresh oxygen to grow healthy. You need to keep the area well ventilated for your plants to grow. They need CO2 for better photosynthesis and oxygen to breathe. In my grow room I had installed one exhaust fan on the top of the room that throws hot air out of the room. Also, I have one duct fan attached to the filter and is installed near the floor that brings fresh oxygen into the room.
Keep the temperature of the room under the recommended range that is between 20 degrees C to 30.5 degrees C. When you turn ON the lights do not let the temperature go beyond 35 Degrees C. The temperature drops down when you switch off the lights (don’t let it go below 15 degrees C).
At the time of buying seeds, you need to ask about the temperature tolerance of the plant to the seed seller.
The size of your exhaust fan depends on the type of light that you are using and how much heat is generated in the room by different grow equipment. Generally, HPS and MH lights required bigger exhaust fans because they produce tones of heat energy. You have to handle that heat efficiently otherwise your plants will get burnt.
Remember cannabis plants produce an odour that can be a problem for your family members and for your neighbours. So, use activated charcoal carbon filter with the exhaust fan. Attach it to the fan assembly and this will filter the smell from the air and do not let the cannabis smell to go out in the environment.
Note: For the first time growers I do not recommend using a humidifier, Co2 supplier, artificial automated system. All these items are costly and can increase the production cost of cannabis. Hobby growers do not need to use these items. They are suitable for commercial growers like greenhouses.
Now you need to buy some gadgets that can help you to maintain the favourable conditions for your plants. You cannot sit beside your plants whole day and take care of their needs. You need to go to work or college. So, choose auto controls and monitoring systems. For beginners, a Timer for the grow light and thermostat for the exhaust fan is enough. You can easily afford them if you buy from Amazon.
Your 24-Hour Timer can control the lighting system and you do not need to turn ON and Off grow lights by yourself. In the Vegetative phase, growing plants need more light about 15 to 18 hours. For the flowering stage, they need a light maximum for 12 hours. So, you need a system that can cut off the light after 18 hours in the veg stage and 12 hours in the flowering stage. A timer can do it for you without any issue. All you need to do is just adjust the timer settings once it will work automatically according to the settings until you change them manually.
You can also use the timer for your exhaust fan but the thermostat is the better option. Because a thermostat can keep the temperature according to the settings that a timer doesn’t.
Once you set the desired temperature in the thermostat it keeps the same temperature in the room. If the temperature goes up it will turn on the fan and once the temperature comes to the setpoint fan will turn OFF automatically.
pH meter is another important thing that you need to have on your side before growing cannabis at home. You need to check the pH of your nutrient solution, water, and soil every other day. pH meter makes it easy to check the variations in pH levels.
Remember, the right pH level is essential for the plants to absorb supplied nutrients. If you do not care for the pH level you will end up with dead plants. PH LINK COMPLETE GUIDE.
Keep the pH in between 5.5 to 6.5 in Hydroponic growing systems and 5.8 to 6.8 in the soil for cannabis plants. 0.5 fluctuation is normal in pH readings. The change in the pH shows that your plant is growing and is absorbing nutrients without any problem.
Step 4: Choose Growing Medium
Indoor growers have many growing medium options like soil, coco coir, peat moss, etc. The choice of growing medium is depending on your growing system. If you plan to grow cannabis in hydroponic systems then you cannot use soil. You need to choose hydroponic growing mediums.
Below are the popular growing medium
This the oldest method of growing on the planet. First-time indoor growers should use soil as their grow medium because it is easy to grow plants in soil. You do not need to worry about micronutrients when you choose soil over other grow mediums. A high-quality potting mixture can do the job perfectly. Just make sure your potting mixture does not have artificial fertilizers like Miracle-Gro.
They are not good for plant health.
I prefer organic potting soil to beginners. Because beginners do not know about nutrients and they do not want to spend money on testing soil. So, buy pre-made organic pre-fertilized soil. With this soil, you do not need to add any nutrients in it at any stage of plant growth. It has everything for your plants to grow from the veg stage to harvest (just supply the water).
Do not try to make organic pre-fertilized at home by watching some YouTube videos. It looks easy to make at home but in reality, it is difficult. You need to gain some knowledge about worm castings, bat guano and other organic components that are rich in NPK.
The only drawback of organic pre-fertilized soil is it smells bad (sometimes). If you plan to grow your plants in your bedroom or near the kitchen or hall then do not use this soil. Go for a simple potting mixture and supply synthetic nutrients to your plants. Synthetic nutrients are also very cheap to buy and easy to use. They come in concentrated form so that the growers can dilute them by mixing them into the water. One bottle can go for months.
Hydroponic growing systems
This is the method in which you do not need to use soil. This is also called a soilless growing technique. Nowadays most indoor growers use hydroponics to grow plants. In hydroponics, you use water instead of soil and this water contains all the essential nutrients that your plants need to grow fast.
The most important benefit of this method is fast growth that means plants grow at a very faster rate in hydroponics as compare to the soil.
In hydroponics, you need to give every nutrient to your plants by yourself and you also have complete control over the growth.
Plant roots are suspended into the water and they take nutrients directly from the water and transport it to every part of the plant. Again, you need to check the pH level of the hydroponics nutrient solution to make sure plants are absorbing the nutrients.
If the pH is not in the correct ratio then your plants became unable to absorb nutrients.
Instead of soil, coco coir, perlite, rockwool cubes, clay pebbles, etc are used in hydroponics.
Step 5: Cannabis Nutrients
Your cannabis plant needs two types of nutrients from first stage of growth to the harvest time, these are macronutrients and micronutrients.
Macronutrients: These are the main nutrients that plants need the most from the starting growth phase.
Micronutrients are those nutrients that a plant need in the least quantity like
You don’t need to worry about these nutrients if you are using organic pre-fertilized soil. On the other hand, you need to supply these nutrients to your plants if your growing system is hydroponics. They are cheap to buy from a local garden store, for best offers and discounts go to Amazon.
Nitrogen is the main nutrient in the Veg stage and phosphorous, Potassium is required to produce big buds.
Macronutrients have a good amount of NPK along with micronutrients and trace elements. You should also need to purchase Cal/Mg supplement separately.
NOTE: Every bottle of NPK has tones of micronutrients and trace elements.
STEP 6: Get your Cannabis Plants
If you know anybody who is growing cannabis for a long time and is a successful grower, it is best to get a plant from him/her. You can also get clones from many collectives and dispensaries. They will sell you their clones at a low price and you can trust the genetics of clones you get from trusted sources.
Step 7:Vegetative stage
Once you see green leaves are coming out this means your plant is in the vegetative stage. Plants grow to its full strength in the veg stage and produce buds in the flowering stage.
If you want to speed up the growth by 2x you need to keep your plant in warm conditions. A temperature range between 20 – 30 C is the perfect temperature for your young cannabis. But if your grow room temperature is little above or below the range do not worry your plant can handle it.
Cannabis is a plant that is found all over the globe this means it can handle any type of weather condition.
Remember cold and burning hot weather is not good for any plant. Your cannabis will not survive in extreme cold and hot weather.
In this stage, your plant will focus on growing big and strong.
Feed your young plant with a good amount of nutrients in the veg stage. Make sure your plant gets enough nitrogen and potassium with other micronutrients to grow big. Also, check the pH level to prevent nutrient block.
If your plant shows the signs of nutrient deficiency than please feed it with full strength nutrients. at this stage, most of the plants became nitrogen deficient. Nitrogen is the main nutrient that helps plants to produce green leaves and stems.
It is good to use NPK nutrient solution or dry form to feed your cannabis. If you buy a liquid NPK you can give it to your soil growing or container-grown cannabis plants. mix it with water and give it to your plants.
Light in Veg Stage
Give you cannabis plants a minimum of 15 hours and a maximum of 18 hours of light in Veg Stage.
If your plants outside then make sure they get direct sunlight for maximum time. 10 am to 4 pm is the peak time when the sun throws high bright light. Put your plants in such a place where they can get this high peak of sunlight.
Step 8: Flowering Stage
Now, this is the time for your cannabis plant to produce buds. You have three things to do in the bud stage because this stage goes until the harvest time.
Limit the light to plant, identify the gender of plant and remove male plants.
For indoor growers, it is important to limit the light to 10 to 12 hours per day. Because plants produce buds in dark and you need to give them 12 hours of darkness without disturbance. Therefore, having grow tent at home for cannabis gardening is important.
Outdoor marijuana starts producing buds automatically when the day gets shorter.
At this point, your plant shows the sign of gender and most of the time cannabis grown with regular seeds end up with 50% male and 50% female plants. true cannabis growers only want female plants until they plant to make some seeds by mating female and male plants.
Female plants have white hairs at the tops of branch joints. These are called pistils of flowers. You will see a bunch of pistils growing on top of each other. This shows that your plant is a pure female plant and is healthy and is making good buds.
Step 9: Harvesting Buds
You have to wait until your buds stop producing white hair. At this point, you will observe that your room is filled with light cannabis smell.
For low THC percentage buds, you can harvest your plant when 40% of the hairs turn into dark color and are curling in.
For a high level of THC in buds wait until 50 to 70 % of the bud’s hairs turn into dark brown color and for the highest potency you need to be patient until the 90 % of buds hair turns into dark color.
Note: Do not rush for harvesting your cannabis wait as suggested above for quality buds.
There are other more accurate methods of harvesting then this one is using Trichomes to identify bud’s health.
Step 10: Watering Cannabis plants
The water needs of a plant are depending on its type, size, location, and environment. Most of the beginners give tap water to their plants but they forgot about the chlorine in tap water. Chlorine is not required for cannabis growth so do not use chlorine-treated water for your cannabis.
The best way is to use filtered water for your plant. Canada has 85% of hard water, such water contains many substances in it that are not good for your plant. Moreover, hydroponic nutrients are not easy to dissolve in hard water.
If you care about your plants then start giving them filtered water (pH 7).
Avoid overwatering them this is the big cause of root rot. How often you need to give water to your plant is directly depend on the size of your plant. Once you gain some experience you will know automatically when to water your plants.