Growing your own cannabis is an exciting and rewarding experience. Whether you have a skilled green thumb or are attempting to grow for the first time, similar elements apply from seed to flower. Certain considerations are crucial to the success, or failure, of the cannabis crop and a little know-how goes a long way to ensure a productive yield. Two key elements that will directly affect growing quality cannabis – choosing the proper lighting and location.
Outdoor Lighting & Location
Sunlight is a tried and true method for growing any plant, cannabis included. Full-spectrum UV light from the sun provides all of the necessary wavelengths for your crop to grow and thrive. The naturally varying lengths of sunlight throughout the growing season encourage the natural growth cycle of the plant. The growing amount of sunlight from the spring equinox to the summer solstice encourage vegetative growth with daily light amounts ranging from 12-18 hours/day for most climates suitable for cannabis cultivation. The decreasing amount of sunlight post-summer solstice triggers the biological response to blossom and bloom, creating harvestable flowers around the autumnal equinox.
When growing outdoors, choose a south facing location in the northern hemisphere or a north facing location in the southern hemisphere. This will allow for the maximum amount of direct sunlight on a growing area and encourage the highest potential growth and yield. Build a garden or greenhouse away from any tall structures (trees, buildings, etc.) that could block sunlight and impede on the growth of the plants. The more sunlight available to the crop, the more success they will have to grow large and produce high yields.
Indoor Lighting and Location
Indoor lighting presents different considerations for optimal growth. Different lighting options are numerous and somewhat of a personal preference. Types of grow lights to consider include: LED (Light Emitting Diode), HID(High Intensity Discharge) and CFL (Compact Florescent Lamp). LED setups are energy efficient but with low power, often requiring large panels. HID are popular amongst professional grow-ops and very powerful requiring hoods, reflectors and of varying wattage lamps to encourage optimal growth. CFL are cheap but exceptionally large in size.
Indoor lighting requirements vary based on the growing stage of the plant. Increasing light intensity over the growing cycle leads to optimal growth. The intensity of light reaching the plants or the photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) should look similar to this:
Propagation – 80 PPFD
End of Growth Stage – 250-275 PPFD
Vegetative State – 450-600 PPFD
Flowering State – 500-1000 PPFD
The location for an indoor grow site should be a clean, enclosed space with adequate ventilation. Ventilation is essential as grow lights can create a tremendous amount of heat leading to conditions that can hamper growth, encourage mold and even become a fire hazard. Ventilation is also key in regulating air-exchange which dictates the grower’s control over heat, humidity and oxygen/CO2 content – factors critical to the success of cannabis growth indoors.