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Growing Cannabis in Soil from Seed to Plant Guide

growing cannabis in soil

Index:

Getting Started

Make sure you pick the right cannabis genetics for your growing setup. For example, if your growing indoors and don’t have much overhead space, its best to pick an indica strain since they grow much shorter and wide. If you have plenty of indoor space or growing outdoors either sativa or indica strains would be a great choice. Sativa strains often grow much taller and will need more space.

Research the effects of the strain your interested in before buying the seeds. Effects of different strains of cannabis can range from sedative/sleepy to energetic and euphoric and everything in between. CBD and THC levels can also vary depending on the strain. Some can have very high THC or very little and the same goes for CBD levels. Some strains even have the similar levels of both. So be sure to pick one that is right for you and your growing environment.

Before we begin, gather all sprouting + growing materials needed for the cannabis grow-op. (I have a free PDF guide called “Cannabis Growing Checklists + Pro Grower Tips” that you can access for FREE below).

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Sprouting (Germinating) Cannabis Seeds

growing cannabis seedlings dome

There are 2 main methods popular for sprouting cannabis seeds. The Soil Germination Method and the Paper Towel Germination method. The soil germination method is the most natural and “set and forget” way of sprouting cannabis seeds.

The paper towel germination method requires you to transfer the seed into soil once its germinated and there are a few complications that can happen affecting seed germination compared to the soil method which is why I don’t recommend using this technique. People often throw out perfectly good cannabis seeds because they didn’t sprout using wet paper towels. With soil germination being the most effective, lets start there.

  1. Using tweezers, place the cannabis seed (pointy end of seed facing down) in a pot of soil 1/4 inch below the surface and cover the top of the seed with soil. (Do not press down the soil).
  2. Water the soil enough to keep the soil damp.
  3. Place inside a humidity dome with plenty of sunlight and/or grow light. You can also use a heating mat to control the temperature.
  4. Let Nature do its thing for 2-3 weeks 😉
cannabis seedling with dew

After 1 week you should have a seedling that stands a few inches tall. At this point continue to let it grow, keep it watered and humid. In the meantime you can setup your cannabis grow room using the instructions further down under “Setting up Your Cannabis Grow Room for Vegetation“. After 2-3 weeks your ready to begin your journey growing your seedling into a fully grown cannabis plant with flowers.

Note: When handling the seed make sure you use tweezers. This will prevent any microbes or oil from getting onto the seed. The ideal temperature to keep the germination at is 78-82°F (26-28°C) and 70% humidity. You can track the temperature and humidity with a $15 digital hygrometer from your local hardware/grow store.

Cannabis Plant Vegetation

The first thing to do to transition your cannabis seedling into the Vegetation phase is to plant the seedling into its final, larger growing container. This is where the plant will spend its remaining time growing and producing flowers.

Growing Outdoors: If your growing outdoors in a place that has plenty of sunlight, this is the best kind of light for your cannabis plant. The daytime nighttime cycles are already done for you by Nature and airflow is taken care of. The only things you’ll have to look out for are feeding, watering and pests. The Free Guide called Cannabis Growing Checklists + Pro Grower Tips has tips on how to handle these naturally and effectively if they become an issue.

Growing Indoors: If your growing indoors you’ll need to have a grow room set up beforehand with lights, timer, air flow, growing medium (like soil), nutrients and gauges.

Setting up Your Cannabis Grow Room for Vegetation

  1. After setting up your grow tent or grow room, set up your timer to be connected to the lights on a 18 hours of light, 6 hours of darkness (18 hours on / 6 hours off) cycle.
  2. Setup your daytime grow room temperatures to be 71-78°F (22-26°C) and 50-70% humidity.
  3. Setup your night time grow room temperatures to be 68-75°F (20-24°C) and 50-70% humidity.
  4. Test your airflow to make sure you have air coming into the grow and air flow out.

Transferring your Cannabis Plant Seedling

  1. In a large pot full of soil (we recommend using a non-fertilized soil with mycorrhizae which can be easily found online or at your local garden center), dig out an area in the center big enough to place your seedling into.
  2. Place your seedling into the hole and cover with soil making sure all the roots are covered.
  3. Your cannabis plant is now ready for your grow room!

At this point double check to make sure your timer is setup correctly, lights are functioning, you have nutrients on standby when you need them and you water the plant on a regular schedule.

Feeding your Cannabis Plant & Monitoring PH Levels

The best kind of fertilizer to feed your plant with is an organic enzyme fertilizer solution. These are going to be liquid fertilizers and the enzymes in them will help convert materials to nitrogen which cannabis plants need in order to grow.

Water your plant regularly and as the cannabis plant becomes larger you’ll need to provide more water to maintain it. If the leaves start to yellow your plant is becoming dehydrated and needs more water. A simple way to know your cannabis plant is getting the exact moisture it needs is with a moisture meter. These $5 meters will gauge if its too dry, too wet or moist which is right where you want it to be.

Monitoring PH levels is a very important step. The ideal PH levels for growing cannabis is between 5.5-6.5. Test your PH levels by mixing your nutrients with water (as per individual brand’s instructions) and test the PH levels of this mixture. This will ensure that your cannabis plant is getting nutrients at the right PH. A PH Meter can cost as low as $20 and makes monitoring these levels very easy.

Topping your Cannabis Plant

When your plant has reached 1-2 feet in height, you can start to “top” you cannabis plant which will cause it to sprout more branches and grow wider. Naturally, cannabis plants want to grow as tall as possible but by topping them they will grow wider and bushier. Top your cannabis plant by finding new sprouts between 2 branches and trimming that off without cutting the branches on either side. What this does is causes the plant to put more energy into the two existing branches instead of developing a new one. You can do this about once a week and in the end you’ll have a bushier cannabis plant with a lot more flower buds.

Flowering Your Cannabis Plant

flowering cannabis plant guide

Once plants are large enough, you can put them into the flowering stage. You can determine when they have gotten large enough to flower by a few factors and after doing this a few times you’ll get a better idea of exactly when to put them in the flowering stage. The flowering time indicators (for growing in soil) will vary by strain and also be determined by your growing setup so its important to know the following:

  • How old the strain should be at this point (this can vary between 7-12 weeks depending on the strain).
  • Whether the plant was started from seed or cloned.
  • Lastly, the total height you have available in your grow setup.

If your using a grow tent or have a small growing space, another way you can tell that is less “scientific” but will be accurate for your grow space is when the plant has grown to fill 2/3rds of your growing tent. By starting the flowering period around this point the cannabis plant will have no problem filling the rest of the room. The ideal outcome for a cannabis grow tent is for the plants to fill as much space as possible at harvest time.

If your using an “autoflower cannabis strain” the plant knows when to start flowering and will flower by itself. When you see it starting to flower, you can keep the light cycle at 18 hours of daylight and 6 hours of dark which can help produce more/larger flowers. On regular cannabis strains you would follow the directions below.

You can trigger your regular cannabis strain to go into the flowering stage by putting them into hot “summer like” conditions. Temperatures will be around 73-77°F (23-25°C). The light cycle will be 12 hours of light followed by 12 hours of darkness. This type of natural “stress” acts as a catalyst and will trigger the cannabis plants to start producing flowers. In nature, this would tell the plant that summer is ending and the plant would respond by producing flowering buds.

At this point, you’ve successfully grown your plant from seed to flowering cannabis plant and you should be ready for harvesting cannabis buds in a few short weeks. Don’t forget the free growing guide checklist w/ professional growers tips by subscribing below. There are a lot of fine details covered here for free that will save you time and money when growing cannabis.

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