What Do You Need To Start Growing Cannabis?
5 min

What Do You Need To Start Growing Cannabis?

5 min

Growing cannabis is an exciting and rewarding task, but it can seem intimidating to an outsider. Fear not; we have come to the rescue. There's no need for a space-age setup; get some soil and some patience, and a decent crop of cannabis can be yours for the taking.

If you’ve seen pictures of huge cannabis grows with ominous lights and plants as far as the eye can see, you might think cultivation to be too daunting for the novice. Likewise, you might have heard foreign terms such as “SOG” and “ScrOG” and thought it’s just not worth the effort. Thankfully, growing cannabis can be fairly easy, and needn’t be a huge operation. Whilst optimal yields and quality can be achieved with more advanced methods, more than satisfactory results are within anyone’s capabilities.

What Is Needed for Any Cannabis Grow Operation?

What Is Needed for Any Cannabis Grow Operation?

Cannabis is really no different to most other plants, and therefore needs only a few simple resources to survive. The reason grow-ops can get so advanced is because people want their plants to thrive, not just survive.

However, there are a few necessities that apply to even the most basic of grow-ops. Whilst you can get as high-tech as you’d like, below are the fundamental resources needed to grow your own cannabis—without which you wouldn’t get very far.

Soil (Or Other Grow Medium)

Soil (Or Other Grow Medium) - Growing Cannabis

Your cannabis needs somewhere to live, and plants love soil. Sourcing appropriate soil is essential; it is the medium that holds the food and water for your plant and retains the correct pH level. Too loose and crumbly and it won’t retain the feed; too chalky and it will be alkaline—and cannabis plants love acidic soil; too compact and it will retain too much water and nutrients, posing a threat to your plant.

Ultimately, you want to shoot for a soil that is rich and dark, but well-draining. Organic super soils are arguably the best option, as they don't require additional nutrients or pH adjustment. However, given the work involved with creating your own soil, most beginners will simply pick up a bag of cannabis-specific soil to get the job done.

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How To Make The Best Soil Mix For Growing Cannabis

Oftentimes, a soil mix containing up to 25% perlite and/or coco will support robust growth and optimal health of the root system. Make sure to do some research online before settling on your soil. After all, you will be using it for the entire duration of your grow.

It is possible to grow in other mediums as well, but the overwhelming majority of grows (even professional ones) still opt for soil. As cannabis has evolved to grow in soil, it is best adapted to uptaking nutrients and thriving in soil habitats. For your first few grows, stick with soil.


Water - Growing Cannabis

Life needs water, and cannabis is no exception. Originating in harsh environments, cannabis plants are hardy specimens, and as such it is safer to err on the side of under-watering until you know what you’re doing. Drowning the roots is a sure way to cause rot and ruin your crop. You want the soil to feel damp to the touch, but not soaked or muddy. So long as it feels moist, you’re in the right area.

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How Much Water Do Cannabis Plants Need?


It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that plants photosynthesise. We’ve all seen images of huge LED panels above cannabis grows. Well, one way or another, you will need to light your crop. The simplest way to do so is to grow outdoors, but climate and legal issues may make an outdoor grow more stressful than it’s worth. So, if you’re growing indoors, you will need to invest in a proper set of lights.

What Do You Need To Grow Cannabis Plants?

What Do You Need To Grow Cannabis Plants?

The above resources compose the foundation of any grow, but there are a few more items, tools, and resources necessary to harvest your own bud. Nothing here should set you back too much. You will need to invest a little to get yourself started, but the rewards will be well worth it!

Cannabis Seeds

You won’t get far without these. Inside these tiny specimens lies the genetic code for a magnificent plant, just waiting to burst forth. If you’re new to growing, consider getting autoflowering seeds, as these do not require a change in light cycle to beginning flowering, unlike photoperiod strains. Likewise, for your first grow, stick with fully feminized seeds, as pollinating males could otherwise ruin your whole crop.

If you want to achieve the best yields possible, photoperiod feminized seeds are your best bet. Requiring a reduction in light hours—mirroring the changing of the seasons—to go from the vegetative stage to the flowering stage, these plants are a little more hands-on, but deliver hefty hauls as a result.

Germination Kit

Germination Kit - Growing Cannabis

A surprisingly large array of germination techniques exist. But, none are easier nor more effective than germinating in soil. To assist with this, a germination kit will make life even easier. Preloaded seedling pots come with soil containing exactly the right mix of nutrients for your seeds to flourish.


Both indoors and outdoors, pots make for a convenient way to grow cannabis. Outdoors, you can plant directly into the ground, but fickle soils and pests (not to mention the threat of storms) make this dangerous unless you know what you are doing.

Pots allow for effective control of all your plants’ needs. Moreover, they allow plants to be moved; for example, one plant may show signs of bud rot and will need to be isolated from the rest of your crop.


It’s worth marking your plants, especially if you started grows on different dates or you’re growing multiple strains. Markers also allow you to record the requirements of each plant—pH, nutrients, and so on—making caring for them much easier.

Companion Plants

Growing companion plants is a worthwhile endeavour. They make your grow more secretive, protect it from pests, somewhat cover the aroma, and make your grow look more natural. By sharing the soil with cannabis plants, they can work to naturally balance out the nutrient content. Likewise, their natural pest control properties reduce the need for pesticides, which means you can limit the environmental impact of your grow.

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Companion Plants To Nurture & Protect Your Cannabis Crop


Plants get hungry too! Keeping nutrient levels balanced is essential to a healthy plant. Too little and it will hinder their growth, too much and it could kill them off. Like with water, err on the side of caution until you have a good handle over the process. If you suspect you have overfed your soil, fear not, you can always flush it.

To make life even easier, invest in a pH and EC pen to accurately monitor your soil’s conditions. These will tell you exactly what’s happening in your substrate so you can give your plant exactly what it needs.

What Do You Need To Harvest Cannabis Plants?

What Do You Need To Harvest Cannabis Plants?

Your hard work has almost paid off, and after months of love and care you finally have a bumper crop stinking out your house. But, how do you know exactly when to harvest it? Chop too early and you’ll miss out on those extra few grams; go too late and you’ll have lost some precious THC. Luckily, cannabis plants are friendly things, and they’ll tell you exactly when they’re ready to go.

Pocket Microscope

The best time to harvest your plant is when the resin glands turn a milky white. Harvest when they’re still clear and you’ll miss out on max potency; harvest when they’ve turned amber and the THC will have begun to degrade into CBN.

To ensure you harvest at the perfect moment, a pocket microscope is your best friend. What’s more, they can be used to detect pest infestations early, giving you time to save the day.

Latex Gloves

Sticky fingers aren’t always good. Some latex gloves will make your life much easier and stop you from sticking to everything you touch.

Scissors or Shears

Scissors or Shears - Growing Cannabis

You need to cut your harvest somehow. A good, strong pair of scissors will be of great use as your plants can get pretty hard to cut. Maybe get a couple of pairs if you have a big crop, as the resin is likely to clog them up. Also, make sure you get two different varieties of shears/trimmers: one for harvesting the main stem and branches, and one for doing finer detail work, such as trimming off sugar leaves.

Alcohol Wipes

On that note, alcohol wipes can work wonders. If used regularly, they can keep your scissors clean and ensure each snip is precise and effortless.

What Do You Need After the Cannabis Harvest?

What Do You Need After the Cannabis Harvest?

But, it’s not over yet! To make sure all this effort is not in vain, you must store your harvest appropriately, lest it fall to ruin.

Storage Container

You’ll want a quality airtight container in which to store your stash. After all, you’ve come this far—don’t let it rot now. A glass jar will work fine, but if you like shiny things, try a CVault container for the very best in cannabis storage solutions!

Humidity Packs

Keeping your bud moist, but not overly so, makes for the best smoking or vaping experience. Placing a humidity pack inside your container will perfectly manage moisture levels and make sure your bud tastes great time after time.

Yes, Even Beginners Can Grow Great Cannabis

Yes, Even Beginners Can Grow Great Cannabis

Indeed, you too can bring a healthy crop of weed to harvest, even if you've never grown your own before. Using this guide as a skeleton for planning out your grow, you can achieve superb bud, without the cost and worry associated with larger grow-ops. Just be open to learning, responsive to your plants, and you can't go wrong.

Luke Sholl
Luke Sholl
Luke Sholl has been writing about cannabis, the wellness potential of cannabinoids, and the positive influence of nature for over a decade. Working with several cannabinoid-centric publications, he publishes a variety of digital content, supported by strong technical knowledge and thorough research.
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