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pH and PPM Levels for Growing Marijuana: The Complete Guide

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When it comes to living beings, it’s not always about whether you eat, it’s the quality of what you eat, combined with the ability to digest it. Marijuana plants are no exception. They rely on quality nutrients, either delivered through water or in the soil they grow in, but they also need to be able to digest them. A proper pH helps ensure your plants get the nutrients they need as well as ensuring the PPM for weed plant is correct.

About measuring PH and PPM

This guide will explain why pH is important to marijuana growing, and how you can create the ideal pH for your plants.

Those solutions that are below 7 are acidic, while those above it are alkali. A solution whose pH is 4 is about ten times the acidity of one with a pH of 5. However, a solution with a pH of 5 is a hundred times more acidic than one with a neutral pH.

The ‘’p’’ in pH is the symbol for a negative logarithm, and the ‘’h’’ is for Hydrogen.  This is why it is written with a lowercase p, and a capital H. “pH” is an acronym for the potential (p) of the existence of the hydrogen ion (H+) in water. A pH of 7.0 has an equal balance between hydrogen ions (H+) and hydroxyl ions (OH-). Acidic solutions are represented by a pH of 1 to 6.9. The HCL in your stomach, for example, has a pH of 2. Alkaline solutions have a pH of 7.1 up to 14, such as in the small intestine which has a pH of 9.

pH scale for marijuana
pH scale – Image powered by youtube.com

Acids produce more Hydrogen ions. For instance, Hydrogen Chloride (HCl) dissolves into Hydrogen positive (H+) and Chloride negative (Cl-) ions. Neutral produces an equal number of (H+) and (OH-); for example, water (H20) will dissolve into one Hydrogen positive (H+) and one Hydroxyl negative (OH-) ion. Alkali solutions will create more hydroxyl ions than hydrogen ions, as is the case with Sodium Hydroxide which produces one Sodium positive (Na +) and one Hydroxyl negative (OH-) ion.

pH considers the concentration of Hydrogen ions, and because of this, we can calculate how much hydrogen is in a solution. In Hydrochloric acid, the concentration of Hydrogen ions is 0.01 while in water it is 0.0000001. In the solution of Sodium Hydroxide, it is 0.00000000000001. The pH derives from counting the decimal places from the first number. For example, the decimal places in 0.01 are 2, so the pH of the Hydrogen Chloride will be 2. This means that water will have a pH equal to 7, whereas Sodium Hydroxide will be an alkali with a pH of 14.

The lower the pH is, the higher the concentration of Hydrogen ions in the solutions’ dissolvent – meaning it is acidic. The inverse is true as well – the higher the pH, the lower the concentration of Hydrogen ions (or perhaps there are no hydrogen ions at all). There are also neutral solutions like water whose pH equals 7. Such solutions are neither acidic nor alkali.

Download my free Grow Bible for more more troubleshooting tips

The effect of pH on Marijuana Plants

pH is relevant for many natural processes, but in plants, the measure of the acidity and alkalinity levels in water is essential to survival. All living things on earth need water to survive. Plants (just like humans) require water and are made up of about 2/3 water. There are different types of “water,” however, and pH helps us measure them. Understanding the kind of water that your plants receive is just as important as understanding the nutritional value of the foods we eat and how it will affect our bodies.

You can think of pH like the hotness or coldness of your food. If your food is too hot, then you will burn your tongue or get heartburn. If it’s too cold, your teeth will hurt, and you’ll get a brain freeze. Finding the ideal pH balance is vital for marijuana plants to absorb their food and have good health.

The effects of pH on cannabis
The effect of pH on Marijuana Plants – Image powered by Growweedeasy.com

pH isn’t just about water, however, especially since water should be neutral. pH is highly relevant for nutrients as well since nutrients are delivered in water. In a non-soil medium, the solution pH of nutrients determines how well a marijuana plant can absorb them. To further complicate things, sometimes a marijuana plant’s uptake abilities can change. During its life, a plant may experience conditions such as environmental changes or infestations that affect its ability to absorb certain nutrients. By monitoring pH levels, a grower can recognize problems and address them before a plant suffers.

When growing in soil, pH provides a good measurement of the suitability of the soil and helps identify what needs to be done to prepare it for growing marijuana. It also reveals potential pH problems at the roots – which may have little to do with nutrients or the water it is receiving.

Ensuring correct pH levels for your marijuana grow

There are many ways to grow marijuana, and what you need to know about pH varies depending on your chosen methods. When looking to ensure the correct levels, you need to consider the pH at the roots, your water, and your nutrient solution. You should also remember that these numbers may not necessarily match.

Ensuring the correct pH levels
Ensuring correct pH levels – Image powered by Royalqueenseeds.com

While understanding ideal pH levels is vital to growing healthy plants, choosing high-quality seeds is paramount. Grab the best marijuana seeds from my seed shop now.

Soil

Soil that has the proper level of pH and nutrients is more suited to growing healthy plants. It is an appropriate medium to use for beginners because it acts as a buffer and can mitigate most damage caused by mistakes. Slight problems with pH are not likely to damage your plant; however, big mistakes can be quite difficult to fix.

When preparing soil for growing marijuana, mix a sample of the soil with some distilled water and test its pH before planting.

Hydroponic

Hydroponic systems function by feeding all the nutrients a plant needs through mediums that are rather inert compared to soil. This effectively reduces the buffer zone that soil provides. Cocos or rock-wool can offer a small buffer for pH problems because they have their own pH level. Of course, you can compensate for pH problems by adjusting the nutrient solution.

Aeroponics

With aeroponics, there is no medium, which means there is no buffer. You won’t have to compensate for any medium so the nutrient solution must have the proper pH for your plant.

pH can impact how well your plants take in nutrients, but it isn’t the only variable that can influence this process. If it’s chilly in your grow room, the leaves of your plant won’t correctly evaporate moisture because of the low temperature. This evaporation is a crucial part of the vacuum cycle that draws nutrients up through the roots, and without it, your plant won’t pull in all the nutrients available in the soil.

This problem can quickly compound if not checked. Improper temperatures can cause nutrients to accumulate in the soil, lowering the pH around the root system. This high acidity in the roots limits the intake functions of the root hairs, which further exacerbates the difficulty your plant will have absorbing nutrients.

Measuring PPM for marijuana soil is equally important

Just like temperature can impact the absorption of nutrients in plants, other factors work alongside pH to keep your plants functioning well.

Plants use a process called “osmosis” to deliver nutrients through water, pulling them from the roots. Within the plant, nutrient levels are balanced with the water that’s in the plant and the water that’s around the roots. Nutrients are absorbed through the external water, and the plant discharges waste in the form of salts. Plants do not move, so they must be careful not to absorb their waste from the same water they absorb their nutrients. It is the same “don’t-shit-where-you-eat” logic that animals and humans live by.

To prevent this from happening, a grower can measure the number of minerals present in the solution they are providing and compare it to what is located around the roots. This is how you ensure plants are accessing the correct ratio of pure water and nutrient dense water, and not just the ‘dirty’ water sitting near their roots combined with more nutrient-dense water – leading to nutrient overload.

measuring ppm for marijuana grow
pH isn’t the only thing to consider – Image powered by Leafly.com

Nutrient density is measured by electrical conductivity or total dissolved solids. When you measure the pH level of your environment, you are measuring the electrical charge, that is, the ratio of positive or negative ions present. In much the same way, you can also measure the electric conductance, which tells you about the number of minerals present in the solution. The presence of these minerals is significant because plants need certain minerals to survive.

In soil, many of these minerals are present, but in hydroponic and aeroponic setups, they must be added using water. Water is an excellent conductor of electricity in part because of the minerals it contains. Even rainwater has some nutrients in it, but pure H2O will not efficiently conduct electricity. However, the more fertilizers, nutrients, or minerals are added to water, the better a conductor it becomes.

In terms of pH, more ions result in better conductivity. Most tap water contains the necessary ions (H+ and Cl-) for conducting electricity.

Just as with the pH, your best bet for measuring electric conductance is an electronic device. Results are given as total dissolved solids (TDS), conductivity factor (CF), Electrical conductivity (EC) or parts per million of specific elements (PPM).

Plants require diets that are as diverse as diets for people. Some plants may need larger meals that offer more nutrients for growth. By contrast, other plants might be “drowned” by too many nutrients and would require smaller meals. Understanding the ideal TDS (and PPM) values for marijuana plants will help them thrive since they’ll be able to absorb nutrients better while also preventing nutrient burn.

Download my free Grow Bible for more more troubleshooting tips

How to measure pH and PPM levels in Soil

How to measure the PPM and pH of soil
Measuring the pH of Soil – Image powered by Gardenmyths.com

If you’re planning to grow in soil, you should start by measuring its pH. Although soil acts as a buffering system for the water and nutrients your plants have access to, mistakes can still impact your plant – they just won’t do so as quickly. So, you should always measure the pH of your soil, to ensure that it is not too acidic.

It is also a good idea to measure the PPM (parts per million) or TDS (total dissolved solids), although it is not as important as pH, because of the nature of soil. However, there is no danger in being extra cautious; so, investing in a TDS meter is still a wise choice. Even though soil tends to act as a buffer for pH and support proper TDS levels, it’s still easy for nutrients to build up in it, causing a high TDS level and a low pH. If not checked, the TDS and pH at the root level could differ drastically from whatever values you have in the fertilizer solution you are feeding your plants. Obviously, this can cause trouble.

Even with the perfect nutrient, your plant’s environment can become unbalanced, that’s why you need to measure pH and TDS of your soil regularly— every two weeks works well. Don’t forget!

Measure The pH and TDS Of Your Soil Regularly from Robert Bergman (ILGM).

The process of checking pH is fairly simple. You can either use an electronic or chemical method of testing. Electronic testing is accurate but tends to be significantly more expensive. If you have a large growing operation, you’re probably going to want the electronic tester.

How to measure in three steps:

  • Mix a 1:1 ratio of your soil from around the roots with demineralized water (water with TDS 0 and pH 7)
  • Let this mixture sit for 24 hours, occasionally stirring
  • Filter it and measure the TDS and pH

The devil’s in the details, so let’s go deeper with the step-by-step process you can use to measure the acidity and total dissolved solids of your soils. First, you are going to want to gather together everything you need:

  • TDS and pH meter
  • Demineralized water (water with TDS 0 and pH 7)
  • 2 measuring containers (that can hold at least 6 ounces)
  • 4 cloth or coffee filters

To start your test, remove 3 fluid ounces of soil from around the roots and mix it with 3 fluid ounces of demineralized water in one of your measuring containers. Let this mixture stand for 24 hours but continue to stir it occasionally. This way you will make sure all the nutrients dissolve entirely.

After everything in your solution has dissolved completely, pour it through a filter into the other measuring cup. Continue to repeat this process until you have a totally clear liquid. Now use your meter to determine the TDS and pH values of the soil your marijuana is growing in.

Growing marijuana with hydroponics can be challenging unless you know what you’re doing. Here’s our recommended hydroponics weed setup for those struggling to see results!

Measuring the pH and PPM in hydroponics and aeroponics

Measuring the pH and PPM in hydroponics and aeroponics

Because hydro- and aero- mediums do not provide a buffer like soil does, it’s important to focus on TDS/EC, and pH. Nutrients can be absorbed more easily at different TDS values, meaning you want to ensure those values while growing. Hydro- and aero- mediums use direct feeding, which means you have to carefully ensure that the plants won’t starve while also making sure that they don’t receive too many nutrients.

Inexpensive pH meters can be found at most garden centers, grow shops, and pond stores. My personal favorite is this one by Hanna Instruments. You can measure the concentration of ionic salts in the water with two different scales:

  • Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) measured in Parts Per Million (PPM)
  • Electrical Conductivity (EC)

In terms of the pH, if you haven’t invested too much into your hydroponics system and you don’t feel like measuring too often, you’ll be fine with the chemical test. If your pH rises too high, you can add some acid to balance it out, and tap water should correct a low pH. Ideally, you want to mix alimentary and phosphoric acid, which works well for both growth and flowering periods of your plant.

Keep in mind, however, that if you’re using reservoir or re-circulatory water systems, certain cleansing methods like reverse osmosis can drastically improve water quality. It effectively filters out surplus salt build-ups, ensuring that growers will be able to maintain their water quality and support the absorption of nutrients. All of this is sure to provide maximized results.

Download my free Grow Bible for more more troubleshooting tips

The Best pH, TDS and EC values for marijuana plants

There are ideal pH, TDS and EC values for growing the best marijuana plants. Once again, the pH scale ranges from 0-14, with zero being the most acidic (positively charged) and fourteen being the most basic/alkaline, (negatively charged). You’ll want the environment your marijuana plant is growing in to be stable at between 5-6, depending on the phase of growth it’s going through and its growing medium.

That being said, some nutrients are absorbed more fluidly at different pH levels. For instance, nitrogen (N) absorbs better at pH 6.0, while phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) are better at 6.25 and up. This may necessitate a change in pH values when you shift from vegetative state to flowering.

Once the plant is fully grown you will need to start thinking about flowering and harvest time. Our free little Harvest Guide will help you determine the best moment to cut your plants. Download it here. 

The best TDS values fall between 750 ppm and 1500 ppm, depending on the maturation of your plant and the number of nutrients it can absorb. You can go higher, but you risk overwhelming your plants with nutrients.

When grown aeroponically or hydroponically, the pH level requirement lowers a bit. Cannabis plants growing in these mediums absorb nutrients most efficiently if the pH value of the solution is at least 5.2 (ideally 5.5). If the pH changes too drastically from this level, your plant can experience a wide array of issues and may stop growing entirely.

EC and pH Values by Week

EC and pH Values for marijuana

Some growers choose to measure electrical conductivity instead of total dissolved solids, especially when measuring the water at the roots. When your Cannabis plant is in its initial growth period, it should have an EC measuring 0.8-1.0; during flowering, the EC should be somewhere between 1.2-2.

If your EC levels rise too high in an active closed-circuit system, it probably means that your plants are absorbing too much water, and not absorbing the nutrients. You can lower EC by adding additional water. If EC levels drop too low, it probably means you need to add more nutrients.

When it comes to EC/PPM; It is critical to know that sometimes, less is more. Don’t overwhelm your plants because you are impatient and want to see them get bigger overnight.

EC Values for Hydroponics and Soil by Week

ec scheme levels for hydroponics
Measure the pH level

If you choose to measure by PPM, hydro growers should begin with a solution that has 500 PPM and increase by 50 every week. The pH should be close to 5.5, and at least 5.2. Any nutrient with less than 200 PPM will be very light.

TDS vs. EC

The terms TDS and EC are both used to measure the electrical conductivity of a liquid, but for marijuana growers either method will work. In fact, many TDS meters will give results in both EC and PPM. However, most feeding charts (used when working with nutrients) will use PPM.

If you have a device that delivers results in EC, you can convert it to PPM. You can also save yourself the headache and use a TDS meter.

Adjusting pH

Adjusting pH for marijuana grow

Once you learn how to monitor your pH, you need to keep a careful eye on it, because it significantly impacts the overall health and productivity of your plant. Small shifts in pH levels are unavoidable and normal, but you don’t want the fluctuations to be too large. If they are outside of the recommended levels, you don’t want them to remain that way for too long. Incorrect pH levels will always negatively influence the health of your plant.

What do you do if you don’t have the right levels? You make some adjustments! Maybe your pH is too low. The next time you give your plant water, use water with a pH value that is slightly higher than your current pH. This will raise the pH. The same method works for TDS levels. You can also use products designed to raise or lower pH such as pH down.

Start growing your own marijuana plants by choosing high-quality seeds from my wide seed selection.

If you need to adjust the pH level, don’t forget to return and check it in about two weeks. However, if you start to notice problems with the plant before that time, you should check the pH first, to see if an adjustment will fix it.

In the end, ensuring a high-quality growing environment for your plants requires some work, but it is vital for a high-yielding, potent harvest. By learning how to measure and adjust the pH of your plants, you are significantly improving the chance of your plant’s success.

Download our free Ganja Livity lifestyle guide to learn more about rolling perfect joints!

FAQ About Measuring PH and PPM

How often should I measure ppm for soil grow?

You need to measure the pH and TDS of your soil every two weeks.

How to raise ppm in water?

To adjust the ppm, you’ll need to add more nutrients to your feeding solution.

What should my runoff ppm be in soil?

Depending on your plant’s maturation and the number of nutrients it can absorb, the ppm should range from 750 ppm to 1500 ppm.



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Growing

Why and How You Should Grow Marijuana Outdoors

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It may seem that growing marijuana outdoors is fraught with challenges and risks which is why some growers prefer to grow indoors. But with some preparation and effort, outdoor growing can be more rewarding and satisfying.

Information About Growing Marijuana Outdoors

While it may seem like growing indoors is more private, this is not necessarily true. The same goes for the yield you can expect from grow rooms. Sometimes, even when a grower can control all the variables, it’s still difficult to get a bountiful harvest. So, even though indoor growing sounds convenient, it still has its drawbacks.

Outdoor growing, on the other hand, has many unexpected advantages. Here are some reasons why you should consider growing weed outside.

Ready to start growing marijuana outdoors today? Find high-quality weeds seeds in our marijuana seed bank.

Buy Marijuana Seeds

Reasons to Grow Marijuana Outdoors

There are many reasons to grow marijuana outdoors, here are five of them.

Reasons to Grow Marijuana Outdoors

Environment-Friendly

With the popularity of indoor growing comes the excessive consumption of energy. Grow rooms require lights, ventilation systems, and other equipment that eat up a lot of electricity.

In California, estimates show that a single household uses up as much as 8% of energy growing marijuana. That’s roughly using 200 pounds of coal to produce a pound of weed.

Growing in California

In contrast, outdoor growing needs only the sun, air, and water to thrive. It does not produce any carbon footprint, and it even contributes to the dynamics of the ecosystem. So, if we want to save the planet, the outdoor option is the better choice.

Outdoor cannabis growing is more environment-friendly
Outdoor cannabis growing is more environment-friendly

High-Quality Buds

Blessed by the sun, natural soil, and fresh air, outdoor cannabis develops a distinct flavor. It is often nothing like the ones grown indoors. As such, some weed enthusiasts even swear that they can taste the earthy essence in strains grown outdoors.

Aside from its pleasant aroma, a home grower knows they are producing top-notch buds merely because they are the ones tending it. Poor quality weed is harsh to smoke and may give a bad headache instead of a good high. Therefore, it’s way better to plant our own for vibrant green buds that are safer and provide more satisfaction.

Incredibly Cheap and Effortless

One of the obvious benefits of growing weed outdoors is the free sun. The plants get unlimited sunshine that is many times better than grow lights. Also free are the infinite supply of fresh air, carbon dioxide, and rainwater. As we know, these are all the elements that the hardy marijuana plant needs to flourish.

Growing outdoors also doesn’t require that much expertise. You only need good seeds and the proper care to germinate them. Once they sprout, they can technically grow by themselves, but, of course, you’re going to do more than that. Even with the least amount of effort, however, you’re going to get something.

Larger Cannabis Yields

Growing outdoors will most definitely lead to huge buds and overall higher yield. With the help of the sun and carbon dioxide, the plants will grow extra-large leaves. This, in turn, will help accumulate more energy to produce huge buds.

Larger Cannabis Yields
Growing cannabis outdoors can lead to larger yields

Assuming that we have a secure location, a plant can grow larger than 180 cm. With this size, it can potentially produce around 500 g of dried buds. With just 5 to 7 plants that are this size, you have a year’s worth supply of high-quality weed. For patients who use marijuana for medication, this type of yield is especially useful. Obviously, growing plants that are this enormous would be impossible indoors.

Safer for the Grower

As we know, security is the main issue when growing cannabis outdoors. Again, this is the primary reason why cannabis cultivation shifted indoors. However, a suitable outdoor location can be even more secure than keeping the plants inside our homes.

Marijuana Usage
You’ll be glad you decided to grow yourself.

Why is this the case? Ownership of an outdoor garden is tougher to trace than an indoor one. You can always deny it if caught, preventing the worry of being charged with a crime. You cannot do that as easily when growing indoors.

These reasons show how growing outdoors is better for both the plant and the growers. If being cheaper, more relaxing, and safer isn’t enough to convince you, being incredibly easier might. Just like any other gardening skill, you need patience and knowledge to be successful, but once you do, growing outdoors can be a walk in the park.

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Getting Started Growing Outdoors

Now that you know why you should grow marijuana outdoors, it’s time to learn how to get started.

Depending on where you live, you can plant marijuana outside in the late spring all the way through to the middle of July. Planting earlier basically ensures a much bigger plant. Starting late can prevent plants from getting too large before flowering begins.

Getting Started Growing Outdoors
Starting to grow outdoors earlier ensures bigger plants

The plants can be grown directly in the ground where they generally do very well, or they can be grown in five- to twenty-gallon containers. Plants growing in larger containers will naturally produce more bud.

The lengthening nights of the late summer trigger the plant’s flowering stage. Some varieties will cease growing vegetatively almost instantly, but others could continue growing and quadruple in size. It generally takes between 55 and 70 days for the buds to mature after the plants have started flowering. When the plant starts flowering, switch the fertilizer to a bloom formula so that the plants will acquire nutrients needed for larger buds.

Marijuana plants switch to flowering when the uninterrupted dark period passes the minimum amount of time. This period varies by variety and is usually between 8 and 11 hours. If your plants respond to a shorter dark period, they are early season varieties. Plants that respond to a longer dark period are, of course, late-season varieties. Outdoor plants with a short dark period are best suited to higher latitudes.

The effect of latitude

When growing marijuana, you must account for the impact of latitude on day length. For example, June 21 is the longest day and shortest night of the year. As you can see, Boston’s night length is 1 hour and 12 minutes shorter than San Diego’s.

San DiegoSt. LouisBoston
Dusk to dawn lasts 8 hours and 44 minutes.Dusk to dawn lasts 8 hours and 3 minutes.Dusk to dawn lasts 7 hours and 32 minutes.

Early season varieties growing at lower latitudes (such as San Diego) will be induced to flower early in the season and will remain small even during the maturation process. The generally shorter nights during the summer at high latitudes (such as Boston) give the plants a chance to grow before they flower. A late-season variety growing in the north might trigger late in the season but won’t get a chance to develop mature buds. It will not trigger during the early summer in low latitudes, but it will flower earlier as a result of the longer nights and milder climate.

Marijuana’s different flowering habits and the varieties that produce them have led to many strategies for growing. In northern areas, short-season varieties are needed to ensure that plants mature before the weather turns.

By contrast, gardeners in the south grow long season varieties during the summer that ripen in the fall. Certain short season varieties will start to flower soon (a month or so after the summer solstice) and will be ready for harvest in early autumn.

The effect of latitude on marijuana plants
Consider the effect of latitude on marijuana plants that are grown outdoors

If short-season varieties are not provided with extended exposure to daylight, they will not grow large enough to produce much of a yield. Long season varieties can be planted in the fall to mature a few months after planting.

In areas that tend to stay warm throughout the year, sativas and sativa-indica varieties can be planted in the fall. They will continue growing into the winter as they flower and will be ready in about 70 to 80 days after planting.

Understanding what you should grow in your climate is one way to enjoy the higher yield potentials of outside grows. Here are some more tips to help you successfully grow outdoors:

Pruning

Pruning cannabis plants
Pruning cannabis plants

Pruning is sometimes needed to keep marijuana plants at a manageable size. When the main stem is cut, the lower branches increase in size, and the plant grows several other strong branches.

When these are pruned, the plant becomes bushier and puts less emphasis on growing taller. Plants with the main stem clipped will produce greater yields than unclipped plants.

Cannabis Fertilizer

Fertilize the plant with vegetable fertilizer mix or liquid, or use a hydroponic, vegetative formula to maximize plant growth and yield. Follow directions precisely or use less fertilizer than suggested. Never use more than the recommended amount as it can throw chemical balances out of order.

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Triggering the flowering stage

Regardless of the latitude you live in, you can trigger the flowering stage at any time during the summer by covering the plants for a portion of each day so that the “night” period is lengthened. For example, if dusk is at 8:00 p.m., the garden needs to remain enshrouded in darkness until 8:00 a.m. the next morning. With an opaque cover over the garden during the 12-hour dark period, the plants will only receive 12 hours of light every day and will thus be triggered into flowering.

Around week six of flowering, you will begin to notice that the buds are becoming more odoriferous by the day. The non-pollinated flowers are starting to mature, and, in two or three weeks, the flowers will be ripe and ready. This can be observed when the stigma dries, the ovary swells, and the capitate trichomes swell with resin and fluoresce. Buds that get the most light will ripen first in most cases. Remove them but leave the unripe buds to continue ripening. They will be ready within 10 days. 

Know the perfect time to reap your cannabis plants with my free mini harvesting guide!

  • Time your harvest for Perfect Taste
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  • Don’t waste any Precious Bud

Stealth Growing

In many areas, outdoor growing must stay discrete. The best way to do this is focusing on finding a private spot. It should have access to water and at least six hours of direct sun each day. If using your backyard, install a tall privacy fence and keep dogs in your yard. The dogs will keep cats and rodents away.

Sometimes marijuana plants are hard to hide, but there are many ways to disguise them. To keep plants small, choose autoflowering strains. You can also plant them next to bright flowering plants, large bushy trees or trim the leaves so that they do not look like weed plants. To hide the smell, choose low-odor strains or plant next to fragrant flowers.

How to grow the best outdoor plants

How to grow the best outdoor plants

It is very easy to grow marijuana outdoors, but with a little extra effort, it can produce far superior results than other methods. These practices will help you grow the best plants.

Watch the sun, look for the water

Some growers like to start their plants in pots and then move them to the ground. When selecting a transplant location, consider how well it provides for the needs of your plants.

Only at the equator is the sun directly overhead, so any latitude north of that places the sun in the southern sky; an ideal transplant site would be a low, bald south-facing ridge that is open to the east and west and bathed in sunlight from dawn to dusk.

Grow healthy plants that will thrive outdoors. Explore our collection of weed seeds that love a lot of sun!

Buy Sunny Climate Seeds

Water is an important consideration. I have been lucky enough to grow on rich swampland knolls where a hole dug more than a foot struck water, and plants more than a foot tall needed no watering for the entire summer. Streambanks, lake and pond shorelines and dry marshes can be great transplant locations, although it might be necessary to clear an opening to the sky from cattails and other underbrush.

One problem with open wetlands is that areas like ponds, lakeshores, and riverbanks are favored by wandering anglers and explorers. While not everyone will recognize cannabis growing in a natural environment, the few who do will definitely bother your crop. You’ll also need to be concerned about providing a solid footing for your plant. A growing marijuana plant needs this for its roots to get a solid grip.

Planters vs. directly growing in the ground

 Planters vs. directly growing in the ground

Plants growing free in the earth seem to always achieve more size, with greater health, and lusher foliage, probably because no environment is more natural than nature, not even where short growing seasons don’t allow time for maximum growth. One downside is that plants outside are subject to a range of dangers not encountered by closet growers. Indoor growers rarely face tiny red spider mites that surround and kill the leaves of outdoor plants, but they, too have their concerns.

If your growing pots are large enough, there is no need to transplant. As long as a location provides maximum sunlight, plants are watered—sometimes up to a gallon per plant per day if the harvest angels smile on you—and plants are not eaten by animals and insects, a potted plant with at least a foot of growing room for its roots in all directions can be grown to fruition.

Ideally, you’ll use 5- and 6-gallon plastic buckets – the type used for everything from drywall mud and restaurant pickles to carry-kit/seat combos that have become popular with deer hunters. These are relatively easy to carry by their wire-bail handles, even when weighted with moist dirt and provide ample water storage for the hottest and dryest places while leaving enough root space to satisfy the largest cannabis plant.

Planters vs. directly growing in the ground
Growing marijuana plant in a plastic bucket

Another advantage is that some of the most willing pot-plant- eaters are unable to climb the smooth sides of a plastic bucket. A downside is that many buckets are brightly colored and must be spray-painted, draped with camouflage mosquito netting, partially buried, or otherwise covered with debris and materials that make them hard to notice.

Make Sure Your Plants Can Get Darkness

When growing in a backyard, it is for your plants to fail to receive a proper light/dark ratio. It is important to remember that the access to darkness is just as important as access to the sun. To ensure darkness, do not place your plants near windows. The light from your house will interrupt the dark period. If your property has street lighting, consider covering your plants at night.

Growing outdoors can be beneficial for a large number of people as long as you plan ahead and stay safe. Plus, it is better for the environment and can produce higher yields. If you’ve been considering growing outdoors purchasing some high-quality seeds and learning everything you can about growing marijuana is a great place to start.

FAQs About Growing Marijuana Outdoors

What are the advantages of growing marijuana outdoors?

Among the advantages of growing marijuana outdoors are being environment- friendly, ability to grow high-quality buds, it’s cheaper compared to growing indoors and larger cannabis yields.

How long does it take buds to mature outdoors?

It generally takes between 55 and 70 days for the buds to mature.

Can cannabis plants grow in containers outdoors?

Cannabis plants can be grown directly in the ground where they generally do very well, or they can be grown in five- to twenty-gallon containers. Plants growing in larger containers will naturally produce more buds.



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The Difference Between Indica, Sativa And Hybrid Marijuana- ILGM

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The Cannabis plant has three subspecies that influence its characteristics. Sativa,  Indica, Ruderalis, and hybrid strains each possess specific traits.

It’s no surprise that many wonder about Indica vs Sativa vs Hybrid when thinking about marijuana strains. 

The Difference Between Indica, Sativa And Hybrid

Sativa and Indica first appeared around the 1700s, with hybrids appearing later. Sativas originated in temperate climates near the equator, while Indicas likely originated near the harsh Hindu Kush region in present-day Afghanistan.

These contrasting environments help explain why the protective coat of resin is thicker in Indica vs Sativa strains. Today attention has shifted from the origins of Indica and Sativa to the traits, determining the preference of marijuana growers. 

Indica vs Sativa buds
Indica vs Sativa

Sativa vs Indica Origins 

Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus classified the strain Cannabis Sativa was in the mid-1700s. Sativa literally means ‘things that are cultivated’ – a fitting description for this renowned plant.

Originating in western Eurasia, the cannabis plant eventually found its way to other regions of the world. For centuries, cultivators harvested Cannabis Sativa for its hemp fiber and seeds.  

Closer to the end of the 1700s, French biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck discovered another species of Cannabis that was somewhat different from the Sativa.

He classified this species as Cannabis Indica, a reference to where he found the plant –  India. It also helped distinguish the new plant from the already established Cannabis Sativa.

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According to Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, this species, much like its predecessor, could be grown for its fiber and seeds but had an intoxicating effect that Sativa did not. It became widely regarded in Europe as a therapeutic remedy during the 1800s. 

Today, the strains are commonly known as Sativa and Indica, with much debate surrounding how much these two subspecies differ. Both strains have industrial, recreational, and medicinal use. 

Physical Differences  

The difference in origins isn’t the only thing you’ll notice. The plant also has notable differences between the two strains, especially the contrast between Sativa vs Indica leaves.

While Indica plants typically produce round, broad leaves with dark coloring, Sativa leaves are a lot more narrow and dainty, with a much lighter pigment. These characteristics go a long way in contributing to the overall appearance of each plant.  

Indica leaf
An Indica leaf

In addition to the leaves, the Indica plant is bushy and short in stature. Even at maturity, it may only reach heights of just 3.2-9.8 feet.

The Sativa plant is as tall as its leaves are long, reaching heights of up to 19.6 feet. Indica buds are a lot more dense and stout, adding to their overall solid appearance.

Most people describe them as emitting penetrating, earthy aromas. Sativa buds are less compacted, and this, coupled with the thin, long leaves and tall stature, gives it a slender appearance.

Sativa leaf
A Sativa leaf

They are said to have a gentler scent that is a smooth combination of spicy florals. 

They do share some common characteristics, though, with both having marbled colored, soft seeds. Growers and consumers have also compared their sweet scents and sour undertones.  

Sativa vs Indica Effects 

Sativa, known for its cerebral high, contains high levels of the psychoactive THC. Indica tends to contain lower THC and higher CBD levels, which is non-psychoactive. Indicas produce a body high. In general,  Indica vs. Sativa effects fall under the following spectrum. 

Indica is the stoner’s favorite, thanks to its deeply relaxing properties. It acts as a sedative, placing your entire body into a deep state of relaxation.

Indica effect - relaxing
Indica effect – relaxing

It is ideal for nighttime consumption since it impacts insomnia, body pains, muscle spasms, anxiety, and other uncomfortable situations.

It may also include CBN, which offers additional benefits. 

Explore our full selection of Indica weed seeds in our shop.

Buy Indica Seeds

Sativa, on the other hand, delivers a rush of euphoria and mental awareness. Its energizing effects make it best for morning use. Known to spur divergent, creative thinking and focus, it is popular with artistically inclined users.

A combination of stimulation, motivation and free-thinking provides an overall uplifting feeling, impacting stress, chronic fatigue, and mood problems.

Sativa effect_energizing
Sativa effect – energizing

Although CBD is used therapeutically more than THC, Ayurvedic medications commonly include Sativa. 

Check out other Sativa weed seeds in our online seedbank.

Buy Sativa Seeds

Strain NameStrain TypeTHCCBDHelps with
Bubba KushIndica22%less than 1%appetite, pain, insomnia
Northern LightsIndica18%less than 1%stress, pain, anxiety
Sour DieselSativa20%less than 1%creativity, depression, anxiety
Green CrackSativa22%less than 1%energy, stress, euphoria
Super Lemon HazeSativa22%less than 1%happiness, fatigue, pain
Cannatonichybrid15%12%pain, focus, stress
Blue Dreamhybrid21%2%relaxation, euphoria, happiness
Gorilla Gluehybrid26%less than 1%relaxation, happiness, stress
Sunset Sherbethybrid21%less than 1%happiness, creativity, relaxation

Growing Indicas vs Sativas 

Both Indica and Sativa plants are native to hot regions and require plenty of light and heat, along with regular photoperiods when entering the flowering stage.

A sativa plant’s airy buds are less susceptible to mold than the dense buds of the Indica. Because of this, it thrives in warm and sticky climates. Indicas need an environment with controlled humidity levels.

Outdoor growers may protect their plants from rain and excess moisture or keep them indoors.

Indicas have a built-in resilience to harsh weather conditions, thanks to their origins. This resilience, coupled with a short growing cycle, makes outdoor cultivation viable, while its short, dense bushes make it ideal for indoors.

Whichever you chose, be sure to expose the buds to plenty of light to ensure large, healthy yields. We recommend topping or low-stress training to level the Indicas triangular shape.

Growing Indicas vs Sativas
Growing Indicas vs Sativas

Sativa plants are less resilient than Indicas due to their thin leaves, which provide less chlorophyll, but need less fertilizer and fewer feedings.

Sativa plants have a much longer flowering phase and reach great heights, especially in the first two weeks. The ScrOG method is an optimal way to control this. 

Want tips on growing the best marijuana? Download my free Marijuana Grow Bible.

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  • Avoid common grow mistakes

What About Hybrid Cannabis Strains? 

Hybridization combines the best characteristics of various strains to breed a unique blend of Sativa and Indica. Many also include Ruderalis. Cannabis Ruderalis is a little-known hybrid strain native to the Northern Regions of the globe.

The plant is small in stature, growing just 11.8-23.6 inches, and has thick foliage with large leaves like Indica, yet it’s lighter in color like Sativa. 

Hybrid cannabis leaf
A hybrid cannabis leaf

Because most modern marijuana strains are hybrids, growers also distinguish Landrace strains from hybrids.

Landrace strains are “pure-bred” with no genetics mixed with any other type of cannabis. Today, most Sativas and Indicas are Hybrids with varying Sativa/Indica ratios. 

Breeding Ruderalis with Sativa and Indica strains produces high-CBD strains. CBD can minimize the “high” caused by THC. Ruderalis plants came from an extremely cold climate and developed a fast flowering phase to survive.

Growers use this strain for breeding auto-flowering marijuana plants that thrive in colder climates. 

Many hybrid strains also induce a balanced high. Because there are many cannabis variations, it is hard to know what you can expect. 

Visit our store for our full selection of hybrid weed seeds.

Buy Hybrid Seeds

A Sativa vs Indica chart is a handy guideline for the effects you might experience, but the Hybrids lineage is better at predicting traits.  

FAQs About Indica vs. Sativa vs. Hybrid

Is there a difference in THC and CBD levels?

Sativa is typically higher in the THC cannabinoid, with lower levels of CBD. While Indica is higher in CBD, this does not automatically equate to low levels of THC. Years of cross-breeding led to Indica-dominant hybrids with THC levels more typically associated with Sativa landraces.  

What are landrace strains?

 “Landrace” can be translated as origin, which is just what it is. A Landrace strain is the original ancestor strain of all subsequent hybrids. The term Landrace describes a strain that is either pure Indica or pure Sativa. 

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9 Steps to Grow Strong Marijuana Plants

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All cannabis plants start as seeds, and they all require water to germinate properly. Each seed contains a full, little plant that has a root, stem, and a couple of leaves. But you might want to know – how deep to plant marijuana seeds and how to grow strong marijuana plants ready for transplant?

How to grow strong marijuana plants:

There are enough nutrients in the seed for it to survive the first portion of its life. During germination, these vital nutrients (proteins, carbs, etc.) are transformed into glucose, which all plants need for growth.

TIP: Looking to buy seeds? Visit the ILGM seed shop

Soak marijuana seeds in water
Soak your seeds in water

Placing your seeds in water ensures that they have achieved the proper moisture level for the process of germination to begin. The seeds will not take on excess water and drown until about 2 weeks after they have cracked open (you will have already transplanted them into soil by then).

When you fill your glass with water, simply put it in the living room so that it shifts to the temperature of the environment. Tap water is fine, but don’t give the seeds any extra nutrients because they already have everything they need. The seeds will crack open in between 2 and 7 days. Make sure to replenish the water in the glass every other day. Start transplanting when the roots reach  0.1 to 0.2 inches (3 to 5 mm) in length. Download my free marijuana grow guide to learn more about marijuana seeds at this link.

Planting

2. Place your seeds in a ½-inch hole in small pots with seedling soil
The nutrient level of the seeds is already adequate, so you should use a soil with fewer nutrients to start. Soil made specifically for seedlings and clones that has low quantities of nutrients is ideal. Plants are very susceptible to
nutrient burn at this stage if you give them too many nutrients.

plant cannabis seeds in soil
Plant your seeds in soil

The pots should be filled halfway with the seedling soil. To make the half-inch hole, use your finger tip or a pen. Each seed should have its own pot. Since the roots will always grow down, you don’t have to worry how you place the seeds in the soil.

Place the seed in the hole, and cover it up with the soil. When you spray the soil with water, it will tamp down on its own. Avoid pressing the soil. The germination process will continue until the plant starts to surface within a week. The taproot will produce other root offshoots so that the system is strong.

Watering

3. Use a plant sprayer to moisten the soil
Water is responsible for both life and germination, making it the most vital component early on. It is extremely important that you give the plants plenty of water and keep the soil moistened.

Moisten the soil with plant sprayer
Moisten the soil with plant sprayer Images powered by Bergmanslab.com

Plants that don’t receive enough water will compensate by not growing to full capacity. This is largely to increase the plants’ chances of survival. Of course, too much water can cause the plants to lose out on valuable oxygen. Leaves will start to wither and the marijuana plant and growth medium will become more susceptible to diseases and bacteria.

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The soil needs to stay adequately moist (not too dry and not over-soaked). The seedling won’t use much water, but a lot of the water evaporates fast. This is the major reason why seedlings should never go on a windowsill or near a heater. Spraying the plants 1 or 2 times throughout the day should be plenty.

Light

4. Put pots 2 inches below CFL tube
Other than water, light is another vital component for the plant’s growth. Light and water help convert carbon dioxide into oxygen and glucose—necessary resources for plant growth. This is referred to as photosynthesis.

Place marijuana pots 2 inches below CFL tube
Place marijuana pots 2 inches below CFL tube Images powered by Bergmanslab.com

When plants don’t receive adequate light, they will form fewer side branches and will elongate abnormally. This stretching helps marijuana plants grow taller to grab enough light in nature. Plants that receive adequate light will grow wider (not taller) and produce a flurry of side branches with a ton of buds. Light should be kept on 24 hours per day and the room should have a consistent temperature of around 72° Fahrenheit.

The pots should be placed under a cool white CFL light at a distance of 2 inches. These tubes don’t create that much heat, they’re energy efficient, and they use the ideal light spectrum for seedlings. Seedlings require about 3 to 5 watts each. When the plants surface after 5 to 10 days, they will need all the light they can get to grow optimally.

Optimized environment

5. Keep the environment optimized
Creating the
ideal climate is also important for germinating the marijuana seeds under ideal conditions. CFL tubes don’t produce that much heat, but they will keep the soil warm. You can keep the distance between the plants and the bulbs to a minimum, but if the temperature exceeds 77° F, then you should move them farther apart or cool down the area.

Keep the marijuana grow environment optimized
Keep the grow environment optimized

Proper soil moisture is essential, but the soil only needs as much water as the seed can absorb (which isn’t much). Avoid adding more water or nutrients until the first true leaves emerge. This should occur after 5 to 8 days. In the meanwhile, be patient and simply monitor the moisture.

Sprouting

6. First signs of the seedlings
As soon as the 
seedlings pop their heads out of the soil, it’s vital to inspect the distance between the plant and the light. Adjust the lights if the temperature goes past 72° Fahrenheit or the leaves start receiving excessive light. The soil also needs to stay moist. The leaves on the plants can absorb water, so continue spraying them 2 times per day.

Cannabis seedling sprouting
Seedling sprouting

Again, this early stage in life makes the plants susceptible to damage from negative conditions. Don’t use a lot of nutrients and make sure the lights stay on 24 hours to produce a reliable climate. Avoid touching the plants and do not take away the seed skins from the leaves

Tip: make sure to download my free Grow Bible for more information

  • Grow with my Quick Start Guide
  • Discover secrets to Big Yields
  • Avoid common grow mistakes

The plants need to grow and develop sturdy root systems. Big green leaves are capable of absorbing ample light and converting it into energy. Healthy root systems allow plants to take in plenty of water and nutrients. The plant is just starting to form the base for the remainder of its life, so it’s important that they receive proper, diligent care.

Internodes

7. First two internodes
When the initial internodes start to form, you can feed your plant with root-stimulating foliar nutrients. Start the plants off with a small dose as the developing roots can’t withstand higher concentrations just yet.

Foliage growth cannabis plant
Foliage growth plant

The plants will start to grow rapidly (about 0.5 inches per day). Inspect your plants each day for signs of nutrient surplus (e.g. burned leaf tips).

Transplanting

8. Transplant into bigger pots when roots grow out of the bottom
The roots will start to grow out of the bottom of your smaller pot at which point it’s time to 
transplant. The plant will become rootbound and stop growing if you do not transplant.

Transplanting cannabis
Transplanting

To recognize the roots, look for white tips poking out of the bottom. Check for the roots each day and start giving your plants grow stimulator, which is high in nitrogen. More about nutrients on this link.

Once the plant is fully grown you will need to start thinking about flowering and harvest time. Our free little Harvest Guide will help you determine the best moment to cut your plants. Download it here.

  • Time your harvest for Perfect Taste
  • Get THC levels for a Perfect High
  • Don’t waste any Precious Bud

Growing outdoors

9. Grow you plants outdoors or under MH/HPS lights
If everything went as planned, then you have strong, healthy
plants that will eventually produce high yields. A good start in life means that the plants will be less susceptible to bacteria, diseasespests, and the effects of harsh weather extremes. Plants that are healthy can better absorb water and nutrients and will develop a faster metabolism for better yields. If you email me a photo of your seedlings, I will publish them on my site.

Cannabis growing outdoors
Growing outdoors

These plants can now grow outdoors and will thrive in a wind-free location that gets a lot of sun. The plants will also do better in a big container (15 gallons) on a stool. This keeps away any interference from animals like rabbits or snails.

As you have seen, it’s not very hard to grow healthy marijuana plants. If you want to start growing yourself, download my free marijuana grow bible and order some marijuana seeds. All top quality marijuana seeds are available in my marijuana seed shop. We ship seeds to the US, Australia and many other countries. For any grow related question please visit the marijuana support page.

Kickstart your marijuana grow journey by buying high-quality seeds from my seed bank.

Robert

FAQ About Growing Strong Marijuana Plants

How to germinate seeds?

To germinate your seeds, you can soak them in water that is 65°F/18°C until they split open.

How many seeds do you need to grow a plant?

You only need one seed to grow one plant.

Can I get a grow journal from seed to harvest?

Yes, you can. ILGM offers a grow calendar and plenty of other useful online resources to help you with your growing endeavors. Click here to check out the grow calendar.

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