Growing weed in an AeroGarden: the complete step by step guide with everything you need to know along with pro-tips by experimented growers. Growing marijuana starting from seeds can be a daunting task. Luckily we've put together the ultimate guide for growing weed from seeds! Growing weed isn't easy — and you can't do it whenever! That's why Elevate Holistics has laid out the best seasons for growing marijuana.
How to Grow Weed in your AeroGarden
Miracle-Gro AeroGarden™ is an exciting hydroponic system. You can grow fresh herbs, lettuce, year-round, in the comfort of your home.
You may be wondering: Is it possible to grow weed in an AeroGarden? And is it worth it? The short answer is Yes.
In this guide, I’m going to show you everything you need to know to grow weed your AeroGarden™ successfully including the best practices, the material needed, and exclusive pro-tips by experimented growers.
The best part? It will pay for itself in only 2 or 3 grows in weed value!
Table of contents
1. The Best AeroGarden Models For Weed
At the time I wrote these lines, the available models are; Sprout, Harvest, Classic, Bounty, and Farm family. To grow weed successfully, you will need a garden with 24 inches of growing height capacity and a powerful grow light panel.
So here are the AeroGarden models I recommend:
The AeroGarden™ Classic 9 is one of the most powerful models. It comes with a 45-watt LED full spectrum growth light and a growing height extendable up to 24 inches.
The Classic 9 also includes a touch screen control panel that makes things very easy and fun to control!
Classic 9 Bounty model has been replaced recently by a new design and this one is now obsolete but still one of the best to grow weed.
The most recent AeroGarden Bounty comes with a 40-watt grow light. The Bounty Elite (WiFi and Alexa Compatible) comes with a 50-watt grow light and both have 24 inches of growing height capacity.
Finally, the bigger models available are the AeroGarden™ Farm family with 60W of dual LED power and 24 inches of growing height.
2. Weed strain and seed type for the AeroGarden
Since the maximum grow height is only 24 inches (when the LED panel is fully deployed), it’s crucial to choose a strain that will stay small and compact.
Some strains can grow big plants that are not suited for the AeroGarden small reservoir. The strains also determine the effects and medical attributes.
2.1 Cannabis seed types
Autoflowering seeds are perfect for beginners because they grow very quickly and stay smaller. Also, there’s no need to change the light cycle to induce the flowering stage, and you will get only female plants.
Some strains can take only 10 weeks from seed to harvest.
On the other hand, yields are usually smaller with autoflowering seeds and most have a lower THC percentage.
Feminized seeds are also great, they allow growers to apply training techniques that aren’t recommended for auto and they can be cloned.
You will have to change the light cycle from 18/6 to 12/12 to trigger the flowering phase. Increased darkness hours tell the plant the fall is coming and start creating buds.
Key takeaway: Feminized seeds give more control to the experienced grower while autoflower seeds grow faster and are suitable for beginner grower.
2.2 Recommended marijuana strains for the AeroGarden
– (Hybrid) – (Hybrid) – (Indica) – (Indica) – (Hybrid) – (Hybrid) – (Hybrid) – (Hybrid) – (Indica) – (Hybrid) – (Hybrid)
3. The shopping list
Now you have your AeroGarden™ and your seeds, you will need the material below, and the optional list will help to have more yield out of your grow.
3.2 Optional products
Cannabis, like any other plants, needs calcium and magnesium.
Your tap water may have calcium and magnesium in small concentrations, but likely not enough.
If you’re using distilled water, you will need to add a Cal-Mag solution to your water as they are essential secondary nutrients for healthy plant growth.
Botanicare Hydroguard® is well known for their unique beneficial bacteria that help to increase root mass and health.
In my installation, I have added an external air pump with an air stone to make more bubbles in the root zone. This helps to prevent roots rot, and bring more oxygen to the roots.
The external pump also helps to reduce the usage of the AeroGarden™ built-in pump. The water temperature will stay low, and you will be able to keep an optimal temperature (between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit).
On the top of the AeroGarden reservoir, you will find two water/air ports with rubber plugs that you can remove.
They are the same size as the standard aquarium airline tubing. Just place the tubing inside one of them and put the air stone in the center of the bowl.
4. Nutrients and the importance of pH
Important: don’t use the provided plant food that comes with the AeroGarden™. This will not work, and you will lose your time and seeds.
I use General Hydroponics Flora Series, and I always have great results with these nutrients. Some other popular alternatives are Advanced Nutrients and Botanicare.
Your AeroGarden™ Bounty holds approximately 4 liters of water. I pour this amount of water into a big stainless steel mixing bowl. Let the tap water sit for 24 hours to become chlorine-free or use distilled water.
Now it’s time to add nutrients to the water. Begin with half of the recommended dosage by the manufacturer.
If you’re using GH Flora Series, take a look at this fully-tested nutrient schedule.
4.1 pH control
The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14. The pH of the AeroGarden™ solution should be between 5.5 and 6.5.
So I target 6, and I check with the pH pen tester every day and make the required adjustments with pH buffers (do not use pH up and pH down in the same solution).
In the vegetative phase, the pH tends to go higher, and in the flowering stage, it tends to go lower. Keeping the pH in the target zone is essential. Out of this zone, the cannabis plant may be unable to absorb some nutrients, and this leads to nutrient deficiencies.
If the pH fluctuates a lot or is out of control for a long time, your plant leaves will become distorted especially in the new growth areas.
This can be reverted, but the affected leaves will not return to normal appearance.
Key takeaway: pH problems can slow the growth of your cannabis plants and lower your yield.
4.2 Total dissolved solids (TDS) & parts per million (PPM)
Before pouring the solution into the AeroGarden’s bowl, you need to verify the concentration of nutrient in the solution with the TDS digital meter.
In the first weeks, the PPM should be around 400, and this amount increase as the marijuana plants grows. In the early flowering stage, the TDS could be around 1000+ PPM.
High nutrient concentration levels will not help the plant to grow faster and can lead to problems like nutrient burn.
5. AeroGarden setup to grow weed
Now the fun part! I assume you have already assembled your hydroponic system and you have transferred the solution to the AeroGarden reservoir.
Now let’s take a closer look at the control panel. First, set the clock, and if you’re in the quick plant menu, select the grow anything option.
5.1 Grow light settings
Select the sun icon, and follow the steps to configure the grow light. If you have autoflowering seeds, I recommend 20/4 light cycle. My settings are as follow; light open at 6:00 am, and close at 2:00 am.
For feminized seeds, I suggest 18/6 for the vegetative stage, then switch to 12/12 to trigger flowering stage.
5.2 AeroGarden™ Pump settings
Select the water icon, and then change settings. Follow the steps until you reach the pump on/off screen.
In the vegetative stage, I recommend setting the pump 30 minutes on, and 60 minutes off.
In the flowering stage, it’s better to give an oxygen boost in the water for the increasing root masse of your plants. So, if you don’t have an external pump, set the pump to 60 minutes on, and 30 minutes off.
If you have the external air pump with an air stone, keep in mind this one should run all the time from seed to harvest. You can configure the AeroGarden built-in pump 10 minutes on, and 60 minutes off when you run the external pump.
5.3 Nutrients settings
Finally, select the nutrients icon, and then settings. Set your nutrients cycle to 7 days. This is a simple reminder, and the AeroGarden™ will give you a warning every week to add nutrients and replace the water.
6. Seed germination
I strongly recommend growing only one or two plants at a time. Your marijuana plants will need an increased amount of space while growing and try to put more plants will decrease the yield.
Take two grow sponges and baskets, then place the seeds into the small holes. Be sure seeds are not falling too deep, (1/2” would be awesome). Cover the two pods with the provided transparent domes and put duct tape over the remaining pod holes.
From my experience, it could take anywhere from 2 to 4 days to see the first tiny sprout.
Grow Weed Starting From Seed
“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”
Growing your own cannabis plant starting from seed is a remarkable journey. Understanding the biology of the plant is one thing, but comprehending how a little miracle bean can turn into a gigantic tree producing flowers that can affect your body and mind is nothing short of an evolutionary miracle. Or rather a co-evolutionary story of plant and human.
Start Growing Weed From Seed
Our favorite thing about growing your own weed starting from a seed , rather than a clone, is that you get to see the full life cycle and enjoy a plant that is unique, just like you. An entirely new genetic makeup will enter the world for the first time, and if you’re lucky, something remarkable might be born.
Raising a cannabis seedling , however, requires some patience, gentle hands, and a smidgen of luck. Thankfully pot seeds are remarkably vigorous because they are what’s called endosperm seeds , which means they have almost pre-formed cotyledon leaves before you even add water. Below is a brief guide on the techniques we have found yield the most success when starting seeds and raising your seedling to a healthy plant ready for transplanting. And, don’t forget, a Pot for Pot’s Complete Grow Kits take the guesswork out so you always wind up with a splendid harvest!
1) Germinating Your Cannabis Seed
To accelerate germination, soak your seed in a small container with lukewarm water and place it in a dark and warm place (like a kitchen cabinet) for 12-24 hours, but no longer. By drenching the seed, it absorbs the water thoroughly, activating the germination process on a physical and chemical level. Doing this helps to loosen the shell as it becomes a little softer making it easier for the embryo to crack it open. When your seed sinks to the bottom, it is ready to be planted, and sometimes the seed will pop out a small taproot. A seed can still be planted though if it does not sink or put out a taproot. When a seed pops a taproot (often called a tail), it becomes more vulnerable and it is better to plant it before this root emerges.
2) Planting Your Weed Seed
We see best results with seedling pellets that are made of a mix of compressed peat moss and coco husk. To expand, soak it in water for 10 to 15 minutes. Using warmer, lukewarm water, instead of cold water, will speed up the time the pellet takes to fully expand. Once your seedling pellet has absorbed enough water and has expanded to its maximum size, gently squeeze to remove excess water. The growing medium should be like a damp sponge that would not leave streaks on the table. Dig a small hole about 1/4 inch deep for your seed. Use a spoon to lift the seed out of its bath. If it has popped out a taproot be careful not to damage it. Gently place the seed into the hole and lightly cover it with dirt from the pellet. Now that you have started the germination process, your seedling will come above ground within two weeks. The older the seed, the longer it takes for it to germinate.
Want an easy-to-use starter kit for Cannabis seedlings? Check out our Seedling Starter Kit, perfect for nurturing your germinated seeds into viable, healthy plants.
3) Weed Seedling Sprouts
Perhaps the most exciting stage, your plant baby will come above ground in 1-2 weeks, with the average popping up in 5 to 7 days after planting. As your seedling comes above the soil, its shell might take a few days to fall off. It’s best to leave it alone, nature has the job covered. If it does not come above ground after about two weeks, the chance of success is dramatically reduced, and it’s best to try again. Even the best seeds have an 85% germination rate. When your seedling comes above ground, it is going to want to see a direct light source.
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4) Lighting for Your Cannabis Seedling
Marijuana seedlings require a medium amount of light — enough to get energy to grow, but not too much light that to get burned. Leaving your seedling in direct sunlight will cause the leaves to curl, while too little light will cause the seedling to stretch. If growing outside, seedlings want to see a direct light source to stop them stretching. If inside, a sunny windowsill with more than half a day of sunlight works wonders. Otherwise, 24 to 30 inches from a grow light is an excellent supplement. Your seedling should not stretch more than 6 inches at most.
5) Watering Your Cannabis Seedling
For cannabis plants young and old, it’s best to use bottled, distilled, or filtered water as these are without chlorine. If using tap water, let it sit for 48 to 96 hours before watering to dissipate any chlorine. Chlorine can also be eliminated by boiling for 20 minutes. Under normal conditions, after soaking your seedling pellet, it should contain all the moisture your plant needs before it comes above ground. As it grows, it will only need about a shot glass worth of water at most per week to keep the medium damp. Seedlings don’t drink a lot of water, which makes sense given their size. Your plant will do better in a growing medium which is damp but not soaking wet. Overwatering is just as deadly as drying out!
Damping off happens when the seedling is in too moist of an environment. The young plant’s immune system is not strong enough to ward off a fungus that results in the plant rotting from the bottom of the stem. When this happens, the plant will bend over and die if not treated. To help fight the infection, lightly spray a 0.5% solution of hydrogen peroxide around the affected area. However, the best option is to avoid this by not exposing your seedling to too much moisture.
6) First Cannabis Seedling Leaves & Hardening Off
The first set of leaves to come above ground are called the cotyledons . These little leaves are packed with energy and will grow to about 1/4 in in size before eventually falling off. Your second leaves to emerge will be single blades and will be serrated, looking like regular pot leaves.
They will become several inches in length. During their growth your first actual set of leaves will appear. These are typically three blades. Around this time is when your plant is “hardening off”. You will notice that the stem will start to develop a thicker skin and harden off. As the leaves of the plant get bigger, they can gradually handle more sunlight, so move it into more direct light– the more light the better!
7) Transplanting Cannabis Seedlings
About 10 days after germination, when the baby cannabis plant has hardened off, roots will start emerging from the bottom of your seedling pellet and the plant is ready to be transplanted into a bigger pot. Be very careful not to damage the roots during this stage. Any stress will slow its growth.
Dig a small hole in your bigger pot for the seedling, sprinkle some rooting booster in the bottom of the hole then carefully plant the whole seedling pellet holding your weed baby.
Now bury so the base of its stalk is level with the topsoil. Give it a watering to set the roots in the ground, then hold off watering until you pick up the pot and it feels light in weight.
Are you ready to transplant your seedlings? Shop our best selection of cannabis starter growing kits from small to large pots.
8. Separating the Girls from the Boys
At about 4-6 weeks into your plant’s growth , you’ll be able to determine the sex of the plant. You’ll want to separate and dispose of any male plants. This is an important step for growing marijuana because the female plants are more potent and valuable. You also don’t want male plants to compromise the growth of your female plants.
Why Do You Only Want Female Weed Plants?
Only female marijuana plants produce THC buds that are high in potency. You want to make sure your Cannabis plants are all female. If you have a male plant, it can fertilize the other female plants, and they will work to produce seeds instead of flowers and nugs.
It’s essential as a grower to know the difference between a female and a male plant so that you can remove the male plants before they contaminate your crop . Unfortunately, you have a 50/50 chance of getting a male plant when growing a plant from a seed from a nug.
There is a massive market for seeds that will only grow into female plants. But even these seeds are not a 100% guarantee you’re going to get a female plant. To ensure a good crop, you’ll want to germinate and plant many marijuana seeds and then separate the females from the males when the plants begin to show their sexuality.
How to Tell if a Weed Seed is Male or Female
As your plant matures sexually, it will develop between its nodes. Nodes are the area of the plant where the branches connect to the plant’s stalk. The distinguishing characteristics that will help you identify your plant’s gender:
- Male Plants : Small pollen sacs will cluster in the nodes.
- Female Plants : Stigmas will develop in the nodes. The stigmas can catch the pollen of male plants. Stigmas have hair-like veins that will extend from the sacs in the nodes.
- Hermaphrodite Plants : These plants have both the stigmas and pollen sacs in their nodes. These are female plants that develop both sex organs when exposed to a lot of stress.
Once you can identify the sex of your plants, you’ll want to remove the male or hermaphrodite plants because they can negatively affect the harvest of your female plants. That’s why it is crucial to germinate and grow several cannabis plants to this stage to ensure you get at least one healthy female plant.
9) Grow Weed Plant, Grow!
Suddenly, before your very eyes, the plant will transform. She will grow in height and branch out, putting off leaves and a network of branches. It is your job as the grower to meet her needs so that she can reach her full potential. With a good grow kit, this means as much light as possible and lightly watering only when she is thirsty.
This is considered your marijuana plant’s vegetive stage. The goal in this stage is to keep her healthy and allow the plant to grow as big and strong as possible so that she can hold many, many flowers.
Our complete grow kits include everything you need to go from seed to your very own supply of high grade medical cannabis.
The Best Seasons for Growing Marijuana
You can grow your weed – stick it in a pot, sprinkle water, and just like that, you’re a proud weed grower. Okay, it might not be as straightforward as it sounds; there are steps and processes to ensuring your homegrown weed comes out healthy and potent. One key ingredient is the season; yes, there are seasons for growing marijuana. Here at Elevate Holistics, we understand the effort and skill of growing marijuana plants, and we’ll tell you all about it. Below, you’ll find more details about these seasons and how you can get the best results for growing pot.
What is Weed Season?
You’ve probably heard the term “weed season,” but you’re not sure what it means. It describes the period when you can grow your marijuana outdoors, including the spring, summer, and fall seasons.
As mentioned earlier, there are seasons for growing weed, and you have to pay attention to them if you want quality yields. In the northern hemisphere, growing pot can begin as early as March or as late as May, while flower harvest starts in September and can continue till November. Planting can even kick-off as early as April, with farmers and gardeners planting seedlings indoors.
In the southern hemisphere, it’s the other way round – seed planting takes place from September to November, and harvest time is March to May. But in the tropics, it is possible to harvest outdoor marijuana all year round. Other factors influencing the ideal growing season are temperature, altitude, rainfall, and other environmental conditions, apart from season and location.
Why Does the Planting and Harvest of Cannabis Happen at Specific Times of the Year?
Seasons for growing marijuana differ by region, but regardless, you should aim for maximum light during the summer and maximum growth before fall begins. Like other crops, farmers and gardeners usually plant as soon as the weather is warm enough and the days are long enough.
Typically, climatic conditions vary by region, so the best seasons for growing marijuana are not uniform. In California, the growing season is warmer, and farmers there can plant outside early and harvest later compared to New York, where the growing season is shorter.
Some marijuana plants are photoperiod; they respond to the amount of light they get, affecting their yield and quality. As a result, timing the outdoor planting of your marijuana is critical. When the days get shorter and the nights longer, a marijuana plant will switch from the vegetative phase to the flowering stage. With the coming of the fall season, marijuana will begin to flower as hours of darkness reach 12 hours per night.
Some varieties of marijuana known as auto-flowering plants, or day-neutral marijuana, are not light sensitive. Unlike the ratio of light to dark hours required by photoperiod plants, they automatically switch from vegetative to flowering depending on the maturity period. Many auto-flowering varieties are ready to be harvested in less than ten weeks after planting.
Are There Different Growing Seasons for Different Strains?
Generally, marijuana varieties adapt to their local environment, and farmers and gardeners create strains suited to the local climate. Indicas tend to stay shorter and flower faster than sativas. Equatorial sativas are known to have the longest flowering time, but if they are grown too far north or south, they may not survive long enough to ripen.
Growth Phase and Development of Marijuana Plant
Like every plant, marijuana growth and development happen in phases, and outdoor marijuana growers try to time the growth and development of their plants for optimal plant development. When growing marijuana plants, you have to be aware of the different growth phases and what each period requires.
Early Spring: Germination Stage
Germination is the first stage in the life of your marijuana plant if you’re growing from seed. It takes 3-10 days to develop and needs 16 hours of light daily. When your seed pushes through the soil and sprouts, you will notice two tiny, round leaves, the first of many. These leaves will deliver energy from sunlight to the seedling and fuel further growth.
If you’re wondering the best time for germination, it is generally advisable to time it so it coincides with the spring equinox.
Also, if you’re growing from seedling instead, you don’t have to worry – your plant would have already germinated.
Spring to Early Summer: Seedling Stage
Growing marijuana plants requires close attention. Think of seedlings as baby plants. This stage lasts for 2-3 weeks, and the plant needs 16 hours of light daily. Like all babies, your seedling is delicate and needs lots of tender care. At this stage, the plant will begin to develop traditional cannabis fan-shaped leaves. Note that a healthy seedling should be a vibrant green color.
You may become eager and decide to give your plant plenty of water. That’s fine, but be careful not to overdo it; its roots are still small and don’t need much water. Instead, give it plenty of light, keep its environment clean and pay very close attention because, at this stage, your plant is vulnerable to disease and mold.
In cooler climates, growers prefer to keep their plants indoors where it is safe and warm; they wait till the plant is between 6 inches and a foot tall and strong enough to handle the environment outside. Even in warmer weather, growers opt to start their seedlings indoors to keep them safe from pests, disease, and mold.
Summer to Early Fall: Vegetative State
The vegetative phase lasts 3-16 weeks, and your plant needs 16 hours of light a day, including 6 hours of direct sunlight outdoors. At this stage, growth goes into overdrive; the roots grow deep, and more leaves develop. For weeks, the foliage will grow outward into a sizeable bush and upwards towards abundant sunlight. When these happen, you have to start topping and training your plants to maximize yield and provide more even light distribution to the leaves.
As your plant develops large root systems, you will need more water and nutrients to fuel growth and development. Healthy soil is necessary; it will provide a good base for your plant to sit in and soak in the water and nutrients it needs to grow strong and healthy.
Growers prefer to grow female marijuana plants because they are richer in cannabinoids; as a result, they separate the males from the females. The vegetative phase is the best time for separation because this is when they begin to show sex organs.
Fall: Flowering Stage
The flowering stage is the final growth phase for marijuana plants, it happens for 8-11 weeks, and your plant needs 12 hours of light daily. This is where you see the fruits of all your hard work – The buds. There are three phases in the flowering phase:
- Flower initiation: This happens in weeks 1-3 when you notice the development of white, hairy pistles, which signify the coming buds. The plant will continue to grow but at a slower pace than the rapid growth of the vegetative state.
- Mid-Flowering: The plant will stop growing in weeks 4-5, and the buds will appear.
- Late flowering/ripening: from week six onwards, watch the pistils; when they go from white to brown, the buds are ready for harvest.
How Long Does It Take to Grow Marijuana?
You can go from germination to flowering and harvest in 4-8 weeks, depending on the variety you’re growing and where you’re growing. Due to differences in seasons for growing marijuana, growth time may differ. The quality of your buds and the health of your plant throughout the growth process depends on your knowledge of the marijuana growth stages and the lifecycle of your plants.
Go from Germination to Bud with Elevate
Like a marijuana plant needs care and attention to reach maximum yield, we believe consumers need the best guidance to get the best results from marijuana planting and consumption. That’s why we’re here. At Elevate Holistics, we have answers to the cannabis-related questions you have, and we would love to share them with you. Growing marijuana is an art, and we’ve mastered the art of tending to both the plant and the consumer. Everything you need to reach full yield is just a click away.
Reach out to us today and schedule your very own grow consultation to help perfect your cannabis growth.