Materials needed to grow cannabis indoors
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If you’re thinking about setting up your very own indoor cannabis set up but you don’t have much experience, you probably have a lot of questions. What are the materials needed to grow cannabis indoors? How much will it cost? These are two of the most frequently asked questions regarding growing cannabis indoors.
We’ve decided to write a full post on the exact materials needed to grow cannabis efficiently and affordably for all of the beginners out there that are a bit overwhelmed.
Materials needed to grow cannabis indoors | The first step
Before buying anything, the first thing you’ll need to do is figure out where you’re going to set it up. Are you using a full room, a wardrobe in your house, or a grow tent designed for cannabis growing? Depending on your chosen method, you’ll have to spend more or less money.
You need to calculate the amount of space you’ll need while also keeping in mind the fact that you’ll need to be able to move about and get to your plants and devices. You’ll also need to think about where you want to place the intake and outtake lines for your extraction fan.
Once you know where you’re going to grow and how you’re going to distribute the space, you’re going to need to make a shopping list.
Materials needed to grow cannabis indoors | The Shopping List
Shopping lists are highly recommended so that you don’t end up spending more than you need to spend on unnecessary or expensive things. If you take your time to have a look at the current market and options, you can save quite a lot.
Materials needed to grow cannabis indoors:
- Grow tent or reflective sheeting if growing in a room or wardrobe.
- Lighting kit designed for growing cannabis.
- An extraction fan to remove stale air.
- An odor filter in accordance with the strength of your extraction system.
- A fan for moving air around the room/tent.
- Pulleys for raising and lowering your lights.
- A timer for turning the lights on and off.
- Thermos-hygrometer to control the humidity and heat.
- 10m of pipe for your inline and extraction fan system.
There’s a longer list with more things that we didn’t mention, as they are usually things that everyone has at home anyway, such as duct tape, clamps, screwdrivers and other bits and bobs.
Materials needed to grow cannabis indoors | Step by Step
We’re going to have a quick look through the items we mentioned earlier on our shopping list so that you can figure out for your own which models work best for you and which ones you don’t need.
1- Grow tents / Reflective sheeting
In order to grow cannabis indoors, your plants need absolutely no light during their “night time” which is why it’s incredibly important to use a grow tent or set up a wardrobe so that no light can get it, or even better, a whole room – but this can be a daunting task.
If you’re planning on using a grow tent, there’s no need to worry as they’re fully sealed so that no light can get in. If you’re growing in a wardrobe or in a room, you will need to cover every inch of the walls in reflective sheeting for grow rooms, making sure that absolutely no light can get in.
- For wardrobes: you will have to cover all of the walls (not the floor or ceiling) of your wardrobe. You’ll also need to make two holes – one for each side of the extraction. It can be a good idea to compare different grow tents by size when choosing the right one.
- For rooms: it honestly may be too expensive to fully cover a room with reflective sheeting. We recommend starting at the bottom until the height you expect your plants to grow to, which is usually around 1.2-1.5m. You’ll have to make absolutely sure that no light is getting in from the door or the window.
2- Grow lamp / Lighting kit
When growing cannabis indoors, you absolutely have to use some sort of lighting system potent enough for your plants to believe that they’re outdoors, allowing them to grow and flower perfectly.
Your choice in lighting kit also depends on the amount of money you’re willing to spend, the space you have available and the amount of cannabis that you want to grow, as well as how strong you’d like it to be. Keep in mind that you’ll also be spending more on your electricity bills; a 250w HPS light uses much less than a 600w HPS light.
Once you’ve decided where you’re growing and you know how much space you have, you’ll need to buy a grow lamp that is in accordance with what you need. We’re going to have a look at the different types of bulbs that are generally used when growing cannabis and how much space each of them can cover.
Type of lamp, strength, average yield and space covered:
- 250w: 150g, covers 80x80cm at 25-30cm from your plants
- 400w: 300g, covers 100x100cm at 40-50cm from your plants
- 600w: 450g, covers 120x120cm at 60-70cm from your plants
- 100w: 80g, covers 80x80cm at 40-50cm from your plants
- 200w: 150g, covers 100x100cm at 40-50cm from your plants
- 400w: 350g, covers 120x120cm at 40-50cm from your plants
- 150w: 150g, covers 80x80cm at 20-30cm from your plants
- 315w: 315g, covers 100x100cm at 30-40cm from your plants
- 630w: 630g, covers 150x150cm at 40-50cm from your plants
The yields mentioned above are the average numbers obtained under normal growing conditions. Professional growers can definitely harvest more than that, and beginners will most likely harvest less. When it comes to the lamp distance, this can also depend in the growing conditions and your plants’ health. These numbers are simply a guide.
3- Indoor extraction system
Extraction fans are essential when growing cannabis indoors for two reasons. The first reason is that your plants need fresh air; they can’t sit in the same air for too long. All plants need certain levels of CO2 and Oxygen, which they use for different processes depending on the time of day (if it’s daylight or nighttime). The second reason is that if you don’t have an extraction fan, heat will build up in your grow room which is disastrous.
When buying an extraction system you’ll need to take down how large your grow room is (in cubic meters) and how strong your grow lamps are. There are other factors that influence the type of extractor you’ll need, and it can be quite hard to find the absolute perfect extraction system. Things like the temperature in your grow room, the temperature outside, the type of lighting and many others can also influence the extractor fan. We’re going to show you a quick solution to figuring out the type of extraction that you need.
If you’re going to be growing cannabis in a 1.2×1.2x2m grow tent, you’ll need to use this equation:
1.2×1.2×2 = 2.88 x 60 = 172.8m 3 . This is the strength that your extraction fan will have to reach to be as effective as possible.
This calculation is done by taking into account the temperature outside your grow room and your lamp strength. In this example, the temperature is 20° and the lighting system is 600w:
600/1.28 = 468 m3/h is the extraction speed that you need due heat difference indoors and outdoors.
This calculation allows you to keep the temperature in your grow room at a 4C° difference compared to the outdoor temperature. If you’re taking in 20C° air, your grow room will stay at 24C°.
4- Inline fans
Inline fans are just as important as extraction fans, although if your extractor is strong enough it can create negative pressure which can cause air to come into your grow room without any sort of extra inline fans. This only works with Grow Tents, as they tend to come with passive breathing holes, although if you’re using a room or grow tent you’ll need to sort out air in-take yourself.
In order to calculate the inline fan strength you’ll need to calculate a fourth of your extraction strength. So, if you have a 1.2×1.2x2m grow tent and a 600w lamp, you’ll need a 468m3/h extractor. So, for your inline fan you’ll need to calculate 468/4 which is 117m3/h – this is the type of intake that you’ll need.
5- Carbon filter for indoor growing / scrubber
When you grow cannabis indoors the biggest giveaway is usually the intense aroma that cannabis plants let off during their flowering period. If you don’t want anyone calling the cops on you, we highly recommend installing an odor filter of some sort.
In order to know what type of filter you’ll need, you’ll first need to know what inline fan and air filtration system you need. We did this earlier, so let’s skip to it; we know that the 1.2×1.2x2m grow tents need a 468 m3/h fan. Now, all you have to do is find an odor filter with the same sized opening and slightly stronger.
This means that the perfect odor filter for this set up would have a 125mm opening and should be almost 500m3/h. This avoids any mishaps with the filtration system, which can happen if the filter strength is less than the actual extraction itself, causing air buildup. If this were to happen it may be fatal for your plants, especially if you don’t realize that it’s happened.
The extraction fan may break due to overexertion and your plants may get sick due to breathing old, stale air – you may even have some problems yourself, as the smell will begin to build up and depending on the legality of your situation, the police may get involved. Remember that your odor filter should always be slightly stronger than your extraction fan when it comes to m 3 /h.
If you have an extraction system then you’ll also need an inline fan systems need ducting which needs to be durable, flexible and fully opaque, and obviously the same width as your inline fans and other devices such as filters.
For your inline system to pull as strong as possible, your ducting will need to be as straight as possible. Every bend in your ducting system means that you’ll lose a bit of strength, around 50%, which can reduce your carbon filter and end up stinking up your building as well as being quite bad for your plants, providing them with less fresh air than they need to successfully grow.
Having a fan in your grow room is an absolute must when it comes to the materials needed to grow cannabis indoors. Two of the biggest factors that fans affect are plant breathing and the heat in the room or tent.
Proper ventilation is incredibly important for plants to breathe, and an oscillating fan does wonders for rustling your plants’ leaves which induces breathing. If you grow plants with absolutely no fan or any sort of air movement in the room, your plants will grow super weak, as a slight breeze helps them to get stronger and hold up more flowers. Plants grown indoors without a fan are also more susceptible to insect and fungi infestations.
Fans can also help to remove some of the extra heat in your grow room generated by your lighting system. Excess heat near the tips of your plants can cause them to grow thin and wiry and their flowers may end up opening up and losing quite a lot of terpenes.
Pulleys aren’t really that incredibly important but they are super practical. Pulleys allow you to raise and lower your lighting kit and reflector whenever you want. Many people set up a rope system to save a bit of money, but honestly pulleys aren’t that expensive when it comes to how much easier they make it to get stuff done around your grow tent or room.
Having a timer in your grow room means that you don’t have to manually turn the lights on and off every day in order to keep your plants in the growth or flowering periods. It’s pretty impossible to do for so long, anyway. Timers aren’t that complicated, just make sure to get a decent one; if you decide to cheap out and get a bad or faulty timer, it may not work correctly and end up completely ruining your plants.
Thermos-hygrometers are designed to give real-time readings of the relative humidity in your grow tent or room, as well as the temperature. These devices are vital when it comes to giving your plants the right parameters to grow in – cannabis plants need a specific temperature and relative humidity during each period in order to develop properly.
Most thermos-hygrometers also keep a record of the highest and lowest of both readings, so you’ll know if something is wrong when it comes to your plants’ night cycle. This makes it much easier to know exactly what it is that your plants need in as far as their environment.
Materials needed to grow cannabis indoors | Conclusion
As you can see, the materials needed to grow cannabis indoors are varied but not that complicated. You essentially just need 10 things to successfully grow cannabis indoors. The only things we left out of this post are the seeds, substrate and nutrients. Well, what are you waiting for? Get to it, make your shopping list and take your measurements. There’s nothing more satisfying than growing your own plants from start to finish. See you next post!
The materials needed to grow cannabis indoors vary quite a lot; we've put together a list of 10 of the main things you will need to grow cannabis indoors.
What Do I Need To Grow Weed? (With Indoor Grow Room Checklist)
Last updated October 28, 2020 By Steven Leave a Comment
Cannabis is called weed for a reason.
It is simple to grow and it grows fast. Like a weed.
So why then does it seem so complicated to grow marijuana?
Why are there so many things to think about and why do I need so much equipment?
The truth: you could put a weed plant in your backyard and forget about it and it would grow just fine.
But it would not deliver a very impressive yield. And that is the reason for all the equipment and all the details.
We are trying to maximize our yields, both in terms of size and in terms of potency.
And this means giving your plants the perfect conditions.
They can grow under just about any condition, but they really thrive when you give them exactly what they want.
And to do that, you need some equipment.
Here is a brief checklist of the items you must have and the ones you could do without, but should consider getting, since they will make things much easier. The links take you below to the appropriate section in this article.
Required for Growing Cannabis
- Cannabis Seeds or Clones
- Grow Tent (or other suitable space)
- Soil (or other grow medium)
- Grow Light(s)
Highly Recommended For Indoor Marijuana Grow
- Oscillating Fan
- Ventilation fan
- Temperature and humidity monitor
- pH meter
- Nutrient solution
- pH Up and Down
- Charcoal filter
Indoor Grow Room Checklist (Items Needed For Growing Weed Indoors)
What You Need To Grow Cannabis
Each section will have general information and end with a recommendation box, where I recommend specific products, in case you are not sure which ones are any good.
Seeds Or Clones
You may already know someone who grows and can hook you up with clones. If so, lucky you!
If not, you’ll need to get your hands on some seeds or clones in order to grow a cannabis plant (imagine that!)
For people in the US, the best place to get seeds is from an overseas seed bank. Buying from one in the US is slightly riskier, because growing weed is a federal crime. Is it illegal to send seeds in the mail?
Yes. Transporting seeds across state lines can potentially get you into legal trouble, thought the risks are very low. If caught, your seeds will likely only be confiscated. When they come from overseas, there is no real risk of prosecution and most seed banks conceal the seeds well, so they are unlikely to be found by customs anyway.
There are two seed banks we recommend. The first one is our favorite place to buy weed seeds, but they only ship to the US and Australia. The second ships worldwide.
The first is the I Love Growing Marijuana store. They give you a 100% germination guarantee. That is a great touch and it ensures that you do not waste your money on seeds that are not viable. The problem is they only ship to the US or Australia, but shipping to the US is free.
The second is Crop King Seeds. Because they ship everywhere, they are your best bet if you do not live in the US or Australia. In the US, ILGM is better due to the guarantee and the free shipping (Crop King charges $20).
You may be thinking about using bag seed. As long as you are aware of the possible problems with that, it may be the right option for you. Read about using bag seed to grow weed. That article covers both the problems you may face and how to maximize your chance of success.
A Suitable Space
The first thing you need is a space in which to grow. This space can take any number of forms.
It could be a closet, a basement, a shipping container, a warehouse, or just about any other space you can imagine.
To grow weed indoors, you’ll want an enclosed space that allows you to control the environment and also to keep out prying eyes and other pests (even if it is legal, the fewer people who know you are growing, the better; theft is unfortunately all too common).
You space will need access to power and ventilation, and the walls will ideally be covered in Mylar or some other reflective material.
For smaller scale growers, the ideal space is a grow tent. It allows you to keep your plants enclosed in their own environment and is perfectly suited for indoor growing.
In a small grow tent, the whole area of the tent will likely be taken up by your plants. In a large grow tent or other grow space, part of the area will be taken up by plants and part will be aisles for you to get in and tend to those plants.
Grow Tent Recommendation
Unless you have an unlimited budget, I’d save money on the tent and stick to a budget brand. They work just fine.
There’s really not much difference between the brands, to be honest. They’re all made in the same couple of factories anyway.
Just look for a tent in the size you need and if it has a good number of good reviews, get it. It’s that simple.
Container And Medium
The next big decision you need to make is whether you will grow in soil or soil-less.
The most common way to grow without soil is hydroponics, in which nutrients are fed to the roots via circulating water. This gives you faster growth and bigger yields, but it is more complicated to setup and requires more attention, so it is probably not the best for beginners. I will cover hydroponic growing in a separate article.
In this article, I will focus on growing in soil or a hand-watered soil-less medium, since both are much simpler than a hydroponic system. For this type of garden, you will need a container for the plant and a medium for it to grow in.
You can certainly make your own soil mix, but I feel it is not worth the trouble. Perhaps it is something to look into down the road, but for now, I’d just go with a pre-made soil mix.
When it comes to the pot, I recommend fabric pots. They are easier to use than plastic or ceramic and they lead to faster growth. You’ll want to start seedlings in a small container and can just use a regular plastic cup for this.
Once the plant has outgrown the cup, transplant it into a larger pot ( 2 or 3-gallon), and keep moving it to a larger pot when it is ready. This ensures faster growth.
Once the plant has reached the desired size, keep it in that pot. Weed grows incredibly large, if you give it a large enough pot. For “normal” sized plants, you’ll want to end up in a 3 or a 5 gallon pot.
But you could go larger or smaller, depending on whether you prefer to grow many smaller plants or fewer (or even just one) larger one. The size of the plants determines how many plants you can fit in a X by X grow tent.
Soil and Pot Recommendations
You best bet for soil is to go with a brand that has been used by cannabis growers for decades, like Fox Farm. Their Ocean Forest Potting Soil is full of nutrients that marijuana plants need.
For pots, I highly recommend these fabric pots from Vivosun. They work great, are inexpensive and come in every possible size. I’d get some 2 and 5 gallon ones for your first grow. If you are starting from seeds, you cold get 1-gallon bags too, though I would just use a plastic cup for the seedlings.
You should be fine using tap water for your weed plants. But you do want to know what is in it.
Your municipality has water quality info. You want to make sure your water contains fewer than 400 ppm of mineral content and no chlorine. You could also get a TDS meter to test this yourself, but these are not always reliable.
If the mineral content is high, use nutrients that are made for hard water. If the water contains chlorine, you’ll have to let it sit for 24 hours before using it, to evaporate all the chlorine.
Nutrients And pH Balance
Cannabis plants are ravenous. They will eat a ton of nutrients if they are provided and use them to grow rapidly.
The easiest way to ensure your plants get the right nutrients, and in the correct amounts, is to use a nutrient solution formulated specifically for growing weed. Always start by using half the recommended amounts.
Our cannabis nutrient deficiency chart can help you diagnose any nutrient excesses and deficiencies. We also have an article entitled “How Often Should I Give My Plants Nutrients?”
When growing in soil, marijuana likes a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. You do not want to stay at a single pH level, but let it vary throughout the range, with most of the time being between 6.2 and 6.9.
You can test pH using strips or a digital meter. When measuring pH, measure the water runoff. That gives you the best indication of the actual pH level at the roots.
If you need to adjust pH, use pH-up and pH-down solutions. Follow the instruction on the bottles.
Nutrients and pH Balance Recommendations
The Fox Farm Nutrient Trio is tried and tested for growing cannabis in soil. It is my top recommendation.
This pH meter is inexpensive and works great. The General Hydroponics set of pH-up and pH down solutions is ideal for adjusting the pH levels to maintain balance.
Nowadays, I recommend everyone use LED grow lights, no matter the size of the grow.
Prices have come down so much that you can get quality LED fixtures for far less than you would pay for the equivalent HID system.
Not to mention the fact that very few HID brands still make quality products. Most have joined the Chinese brands in producing cheap equipment with a high failure rate and they have cut back on customer service at the same time.
I’d save myself the hassle and just avoid them at this point, unless you already have experience in growing with HID. In that case, I say “why change what’s working?”, but I doubt anyone with a lot of experience is reading this article anyway.
If you are thinking about fluorescent lights, they may make sense for a very small grow of a plant or two. Anything larger than that and you would need too many bulbs.
Even for just one plant, I’d go with LED if possible. You’ll get far better results and it is much easier to set up and use an LED fixture than fluorescent bulbs. These days, you can get a 300w LED fixture for less than the equivalent fluorescent.
In terms of how much light to get, a good rule of thumb is to get a minimum of 50 watts of lighting power per square foot of canopy. Better, shoot for 65 watts.
But make sure to use the actual LED watts. Many manufacturers (especially the Chinese ones) will call their light a 2000 watt fixture, but it will actually only draw a few hundred watts. The actual draw is the wattage to use for the calculation.
You will also want to put the lights on a timer, if your fixture does not have a built-in timer. That way you can schedule the lights to come on and switch off at certain times everyday, to mimic the natural daylight conditions plants would face outdoors.
LED Grow Light And Timer Recommendation
My favorite lights are those from Horticulture Lighting Group (HLG). If you are on a bit of a budget, Spider Farmer lights are a good alternative from China.
For timers, there is no need to go fancy. This single-outlet mechanical timer works great if you’ve only got one light. If you have more, you’ll find plenty of timers with multiple outlets as well.
Your marijuana plants like a certain temperature and humidity.
During cloning and vegging, marijuana likes a temperature between 70 and 85°F (20 to 30°C). The ideal relative humidity is 70% during cloning and 40 to 60% during vegging.
During flowering the ideal temperature is 65 to 80°F (18 to 26°C). The ideal humidity is 40 to 50% during the beginning of the flowering stage and 40 to 45% during the final weeks.
The equipment you need in order to maintain the proper temperature and humidity depends on the climate where you live, your grow space and your lighting system.
If your humidity is too low, you will need a humidifier. If it is too high, you will need a dehumidifier. If the temperature is too low, you will need a heater (or more light, which also gives off heat). If it is too high, you will need air conditioning.
You can also use ventilation to adjust the environment inside the tent, but only if the environment outside is suitable. For example, if you want to lower the temperature inside your grow room, but the temperature outside is even higher, then ventilation will solve nothing.
One thing you will always want is a fan. Marijuana plants like fresh air and maintaining a flow of air over the plants helps prevent mold as well. Any oscillating fan is great for this.
Climate Control Recommendations
This temperature and humidity monitor is great, because it works remotely. You can put a sensor inside your grow room and monitor the environment from the screen outside the room.
For exhaust fans, you want to avoid booster fans. They never work well. Instead get an inline fan.
Your best bet is to just get a full exhaust kit like this one. It even includes a temperature and humidity monitor, so you do not have to buy one of those separately. It also comes with a carbon filter for odor control (see next section).
I don’t have any specific recommendations for any other climate control equipment you may need, since you can buy oscillating fans, air conditioners, heaters, humidifiers and dehumidifiers anywhere and they all work fine for the task.
Odor Control (Optional)
Even if you can grow legally in your area, it is still a good idea to let as few people as possible know that you are growing. For that reason, I highly recommend you invest in a charcoal filter to rid the exhaust from your grow room of any odor.
Odor Control Recommendation
If you buy a kit like the one I recommended above in the climate control section, you do not need to worry about getting a filter, since one is included in the kit.
If you’re buying a carbon filter separately, this one from Apollo Horticulture is great and sells for a reasonable price.
Book Or Course On Growing (Optional, But Available Free)
If you are just starting out, there is a ton of information to digest. I have a brief guide on growing weed indoors here, but the best way to get going and avoid the most common mistakes is with a comprehensive guide that takes you through everything.
It’s even better if that guide is free.
Robert Bergman gives his excellent Marijuana Grow Bible away for free, because he also runs a great online seed store and he hopes you will end up purchasing your seeds from him.
There is obviously no obligation to do so, but if you do need seeds, his store is really good and he runs a lot of sales, so you might as well repay him for making his grow guide free.
It is a detailed 70-page guide that guides you through the whole process. It will answer any questions about growing you may have and also a lot of questions you didn’t even realize you had.
Growing cannabis seems complicated, but you can get started with just a few things. Here's what you absolutely need and what you cold do without (though you still might want these items to make your life easier).