What do you need to grow cannabis at home? I compiled a full list for you below. All home grows vary somewhat due to size, materials used, or location. But with the supplies listed on this page you’ll be able to start growing as little as one or two cannabis plants.
Here’s a list of items you’ll need to start growing cannabis at home:
Seeds, soil (or other grow medium like coco coir), grow light(s), grow bag(s), nutrients, a humidifier, a hygrometer, an inline fan and carbon filter, an oscillating fan, and a source of clean water (a reverse osmosis kit makes the most sense).
I know your first question is probably “How much is this going to cost me?”
I estimate you can purchase all of the necessary equipment and grow two cannabis plants for about $680 + about $50 in total electricity. I know that sounds expensive at first, but when you harvest between 7 and 14 ounces per plant, the value of that cannabis will be worth more than the equipment you purchased to grow it, and definitely less expensive than buying 7 to 14 ounces at a dispensary.
You’ll likely run into some issues along the way, which is why I recommend picking up a grower’s guide like Jorge Cervantes’ The Cannabis Encyclopedia: The Definitive Guide to Cultivation & Consumption of Medical Marijuana.
3 Complete Lists of Everything You Need To Grow Cannabis At Home:
Based on the prices for one ounce of weed in major US and Canadian cities, if you consume 1 ounce per month, you’d be spending $1320-$2520 per year on cannabis. Now compare that to growing a similar amount for about $760. It’s half the price.
1-2 Plants: ~$680
What might the total cost look like under a more flexible budget scenario where you want to grow four cannabis plants?
Let’s take a look:
4 Plants: $835 – $1,175
8 Plants: ~$1,385 – $2,085
More Details About Supplies Needed To Grow Cannabis At Home:
An adult cannabis plant needs about 2x2 feet of space. So two plants would require a 2x4 foot grow tent. 4 plants would require 4x4 feet of space, and so on. In terms of grow tent brand I’ve owned both the low cost Vivosun brand as well as the high end Gorilla grow tent. I have to say I didn’t see much of a difference in material quality.
One of the most important features of your grow – don’t cheap out on light! For 2x4 feet you need at least 200 true watts of power (up to 300 watts max). For 4x4 feet you need at least 400 true watts (up to 450 watts max). For 5x5 feet you need 600 to 1000 watts of true power (600 for LED, 600 to 1000 for HPS).
If you can’t afford a proper LED grow light, go with an HPS grow light kit (about $120) instead of a sub-$200 LED for 2x4 feet.
Inline Fan & Carbon Filter:
Highly recommend the AC Infinity brand. Check out my grow tent fan article for details on what CFM power you’ll need. Carbon filters are mostly the same, just make sure the diameter matches the fan diameter.
Needed to keep your air the proper humidity level, especially for seedlings which get most of their water from the humidity in the air – not their roots. Try to find a humidifier that displays the room humidity level and will turn on/off as needed. Also try to get one big enough that you won’t need to refill it every 2 hours.
Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration Kit:
Needed to filter your tap water to an appropriate PPM range for feeding your cannabis plants. This kit is the best option in terms of getting all contaminants filtered out. Make sure to get a kit with a carbon filtration stage. Read my watering article for more details.
Grow Bags & Soil:
I recommend 5 gallon grow bags at a minimum. Bigger roots equal bigger plants, and you need space for the roots to grow if you want bigger roots. So 5 gallons would be preferable to the smaller 3 gallon size. Fabric grow bags are always preferable to solid pots because they allow oxygen to reach the soil much easier, making it easier to dry out if you water too much. For soil just get some Fox Farm potting soil.
You need oscillating fans to keep the air moving so mold and mildew don’t take root. The inline fan won’t create sufficient airflow, it just replaces old air with new air.
pH Testing & Adjusting Kits:
These are cheap kits you need to keep your soil in the right pH range. Test the water draining from the bottom of the grow bag every couple days and adjust as needed.
Common Questions About Cannabis Growing Setups:
- How many watts do I need in a grow light?
A good performing grow light for 2x4 feet is typically in the 200 watt to 300 watt range. For 4x4 feet it’s typically in the 400 watt to 500 watt range. For 8x4 feet you’d need two lights with 4x4 foot coverage each, so total around 8-900 watts.
2. How many plants fit in a grow tent?
A 2x4 foot tent will fit 2 adult cannabis plants. A 4x4 foot grow tent will fit up to 4 adult plants.
3. What Soil Should I Use?
Regular potting soil will do fine. Mix in some perlite and you’re good to go.
4. Why do I need filtered water to grow cannabis?
Not everyone’s tap water is clean enough for cannabis plants. The most efficient way to obtain clean water if you’re growing more than a couple plants is to get a reverse osmosis system, and add a bit of cal-mag to bring dissolved solids to the right level after filtration.
If you’re growing 1-2 plants you can buy distilled water jugs to last the entire grow, but you’ll still need to add some calmag to it. Check out my watering post for more details.
5. Is a humidifier absolutely necessary?
I highly recommend one because dry low humidity conditions will stress your plants and you won’t want to be without one if you need it. Buy one that turns on/off at specified humidity levels.
6. Should I buy a grow tent?
If you can afford one, I highly recommend it. It makes controlling the environment much easier, and a stable, proper environment is essential to growing successfully. If you’re on a tight budget you can get away without one but it may be tougher to control humidity, temperatures, or air flow.
8. What nutrients do you recommend?
General Hydroponics or Fox Farm trio (3 pack) nutrients are trusted brands that are simple and easy to use. You’ll also want to pick up some cal-mag to bring water solids to the right level after filtration, or to supplement if your plants become deficient.
If you have a little extra spending room consider Real Growers Recharge soil microbes which are an inexpensive way to boost your yields. Soil microbes can be used in addition to nutrients.
9. Why do I need pH tester & adjuster?
Proper pH is essential to the growth of your plant’s ability to grow and absorb nutrients. Luckily the kits are inexpensive.
Why Grow Cannabis at Home?
There are several reasons why you should consider growing cannabis at home instead of purchasing from a dispensary. If you’re already convinced, you can skip the next few sections, otherwise allow me to convince you!
The most shocking reason is the difference in cost compared to buying at a dispensary. The other reasons are developing a hobby, and guaranteeing you know the quality of your marijuana.
Growing Cannabis at Home Doubles As A Hobby:
Among the other benefits to home growing, growing your plants at home can be a fulfilling hobby. Growing marijuana indoors is a bit more complicated than home grown vegetables or flowers, but totally worth it in the long run.
There’s a large community of growers on internet forums like GrassCity or THCtalk. People share everything about their home grows from pictures, tips, and detailed journals. Even if you don’t get involved in forums, it’s a great way to improve your home growing experience.
Once you’re all set up, tending to your plants won’t even take much time until harvest. The low time investment is another great benefit to growing marijuana at home if you’re a busy person.
You have total control over whether you want to spend a lot of time experimenting with different growing mediums, nutrients, and grow lights, or keep things simple with a basic setup and grow method.
Quality Control Is A Major Reason To Grow Cannabis at Home:
Maybe one of the most important reasons to grow marijuana indoors instead of purchasing it at a dispensary, or worse, from a street dealer, is quality control.
Time and time again the public witnesses instances of businesses being negligent. While a majority of legally grown marijuana is totally fine, you’ll never really witness how the plant is handled from seedling to packaging unless you grow indoors. I’m talking about producers and dispensaries.
Two recent stories come to my mind but I know there are many more out there.
The first is the example of CannTrust growing cannabis in several unlicensed grow rooms at their facilities. Health Canada, Canada’s public health agency, came in and halted operations.²
Unlicensed grow operations are usually unlicensed because the producer can’t or doesn’t want to meet certain safety or health standards, like preventing mildew, mold, or insects in the grow operation.
The second example is Sundial Growers selling one half ton (1,000 pounds) of moldy marijuana containing bits of rubber glove and other non-cannabis material to Zenabis Global.³
Zenabis is a large marijuana products company in Canada, who presumably would’ve sold the cannabis to customers if the mold was not spotted.
These were problems at the producer level. In many cases your weed is then shipped to a dispensary, where it’s subject to further quality control issues.
Growing cannabis indoors means you control the quality of your buds from seed to flower. Combine that with the satisfaction you get from harvesting your home grown cannabis after all of the care and effort you put into it, and home growing becomes a very attractive option.
Lower Your Expenses By Growing Cannabis At Home:
If the first two reasons for growing weed indoors didn’t convince you enough, maybe the cost savings will. At first look you may find the initial cost of growing cannabis at home to be prohibitive.
Growing cannabis indoors costs 60-80% less than regularly buying from a dispensary, according to my estimates.
The truth is, you can be a minimalist and still have your home grown cannabis pay for itself in a short period of time. Below I’ll lay out the details of how you can grow weed indoors on a low or high budget.
The first step is determining how much it would cost to buy cannabis from a dispensary, and compare that to your cost of growing weed indoors.
According to Budzu, the average cost of purchasing one ounce of marijuana from a dispensary in major US and Canadian cities (at the time of writing) is between $110 and $210, depending on quality.
How much bud can you get from one plant?
In comparison to the dispensary prices mentioned above, how much weed can you grow with one plant indoors? Does it cost less to grow than buying at a dispensary? This is a crucial part to understanding why growing cannabis at home is so much better financially.
The general rule of thumb is that you’ll be able to grow one gram of cannabis per true watt of light used, regardless of how many plants you have under the light.
So if you’re growing one plant under a true 400 watt grow light, you can reasonably expect 225 to 400 grams (~8oz – 14oz) of marijuana at harvest. Two plants under a true 400 watt grow light should also yield the same total of roughly 14oz.
Keep in mind, this doesn’t apply to autoflowering plants, which have smaller yields due to a shorter growth period.
Even though light is important, there are several factors that contribute to your harvest weight, so you can expect it to vary widely. Inexperienced growers may harvest a couple ounces, but studied cannabis growers can harvest many multiples of that.
Regardless of how your first harvest ends up, when you’re talking 60-80% less cost for growing weed indoors, then it’s pretty easy to guarantee a lower expense compared to buying from a dispensary.
Light is the most important factor affecting indoor cannabis yields:
One point I need to stress is the direct correlation between the amount of light you provide and the amount of cannabis you’ll harvest. You don’t want to cheap out on a grow light.
Check out my home page for the best LED grow lights on the market, or if you’re interested in an HPS light, check out my article about the best double ended (DE) HPS grow lights. I guarantee the lights I researched for these articles won’t do you wrong.
Below I recommend grow lights pulling 400 watts from the outlet. Of course you can find a cheaper light, but you won’t get these same results. If you’re more interested in this topic, check out my article on the minimum amount of daily light your cannabis plant needs to maximize yield.
You can also check out my video explaining how to choose the best LED grow lights. I understand there are several factors that people aren’t expecting to encounter when shopping for a simple piece of equipment, so I try to take that complexity and simplify it all for you in my video:
Growing cannabis at home costs 60-80% less than buying from a dispensary!
First of all, these are just estimates! I know people will claim they’ll spend a bit less or more for a similar result. The point is that growing cannabis indoors costs a fraction of the price of regularly going to a dispensary.
The upfront costs estimated above may be considerable, but the marijuana you grow will pay for itself after the first harvest.
I would say growing one cannabis plant at home is highly attainable for most people, and would definitely cover most people’s consumption habits. No matter which method or number of plants you choose to grow, the end result is always a fraction of the dispensary cost!
Do you like CBD or THC oil? Making your own oil at home can also save a lot of money! Read how to make your own CBD oil at home here.
Other factors that affect indoor cannabis yields:
Your exact yield can vary widely. If you follow provide enough light and nutrients you’re well on your way. But there are other factors affecting the yield of home grown cannabis.
Other factors include strain type, plant size, duration of vegetative and flowering growth phases, proper humidity, and whether you use a trellis and train the branches, or just let them fall all over the place.
A skilled grower with a few harvests under their belt should be able to reach the higher end of the 14oz per plant range. If it’s your first time around you could see closer to 8oz using a 400 watt grow light. If you use a different light wattage you’ll also see a different yield.
Is it better to grow cannabis indoors?
When growing cannabis indoors it’s much easier to control the environment, quality, and expenses compared to buying from a dispensary
What are the benefits of growing cannabis at home?
In addition to the lower cost, the other benefits are developing a fun hobby and being able to control the quality of your grow.