The Ultimate Checklist for Growing Cannabis Indoors

Growing cannabis indoors is a rewarding experience, and many people are doing it for their own personal use. If you’re thinking about growing cannabis in your home, then this article will give you a checklist of items that you need to get started. There are a few things that have been left out from this list because they won’t be needed until at least several weeks into the grow like pruning shearers, bags, and jars for curing, and trim bins. For the most part, though, these are all the things that I’ve found necessary when starting my own indoor cannabis grow tent to create the perfect environment. If you are already growing Indoors, check out our growing environments and cannabis troubleshooting pages for a deeper dive.

Cannabis Seeds

Cannabis can be grown from seeds or cuttings that are also called clones. Seeds are the preferred way to go for most beginner cannabis growers because they are relatively cheap and easy to get. There are many different types of cannabis seeds available, so it is important to do some research before you buy. Buy a strain that says it is easy for a first-time grower to avoid a lot of headaches and maximize yield during your first grow. Two of the best sativa strains for a beginner are Blue Dream and White Widow. If you are looking for an indica dominant strain, we recommend Northern Lights and Blue Cheese. Some people opt to grow bag seeds which are seeds found in their bags of cannabis buds. This is a very cheap alternative although, unless you know for sure the strain the seed came from, the genetics may not always be trustworthy. There are many different online retailers or dispensaries, if you are in a legal state or country, that sell seeds that are delivered right to your door. Please be sure to research the legality of shipping seeds in your locality before ordering them.

Seeds also come in automatic or photoperiod varieties. Photoperiod cannabis seeds start to flower when the light cycle is changed from 18 hours of light and six hours of darkness to 12/12. Auto-flowering cannabis strains, on the other hand, start flowering on their own without switching the amount of light the plant receives each day. This can be helpful if you want multiple harvests throughout one growing season or live in an area that has short summers. Photoperiods are thought to be more forgiving because if you run into any problems during the vegetative phase, you can always correct them before moving into the flowering phase, whereas automatics do not have that option although beginners have used both.

The Best Soil for Growing Cannabis Plants

There are many different types of cannabis soil that you can use for cannabis plants, but cannabis-friendly soil is highly recommended. Again, do some research to make sure you are buying the right type of soil for your cannabis plants. If you aren’t using cannabis-specific cannabis soils then it will be important that it doesn’t contain any ingredients that could harm your plant like too many fertilizers in the mix. One good example of cannabis-friendly soil is the Fox Farm Ocean Forest Soil. This is one of the best cannabis potting mixes because it has a good ratio between nutrients and water retention capacity with a high amount of beneficial microorganisms throughout all stages of growth including the flowering stage. The mix is also supposed to be pH balanced so you don’t have to worry about it although we still recommend pH’ing your runoff to ensure your plant is receiving the nutrients it needs. It can also be found at most garden centers.

There are other growing mediums you can choose such as coco coir but we recommend soil as a beginner as it can be the most hands-off and forgiving. There are many other brands that are also suitable for growing such as Pro-Mix, Fox Farm Happy Frog Soil, and Coast of Maine. Please research any soil before buying it to see what it is made with and to make sure it is correct for growing cannabis. Not all soil is meant to grow cannabis, as some soils will have too many fertilizers and they can burn, stunt, and kill your plant. Many growers also choose to amend their marijuana plants with perlite, vermiculite, or nutrients like earthworm castings among many others, and you should research if you think these amendments might be right for you. Using 20-30% of perlite or vermiculite for aeration is always a good rule of thumb when using soil to grow cannabis.

Nutrients Cannabis Plants Need to Thrive

When cannabis plants are in the vegetative stage, they need nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), and magnesium (Mg) the most among the nutrients. In the flowering stage, cannabis needs N, P, K, Mg, calcium (Ca), and sulfur (S). It will need different ratios of these nutrients as they progress through their life cycle. For this reason, it is important to use a cannabis-specific nutrient mix that is pH balanced. There are many different brands of cannabis nutrients on the market, but we recommend using Advanced Nutrients. They have a wide variety of products for cannabis growing indoors, including the ever-popular Big Bud and Voodoo Juice. You can find these products at most grow stores or gardening centers as well as online retailers that ship cannabis nutrients to your door. Fox Farms also has a liquid nutrient trio and Dr. Earth has dry amendments that you mix into the soil and both are readily available at most garden centers.

How PH Pens can Help with Your Cannabis Grow

Detecting the right pH for cannabis plants is crucial for most growers since cannabis can absorb nutrients more efficiently at certain levels. This means that if your runoff indicates a different level than the pH of your water before watering, it might be time to adjust its nutrient levels and pH. If not adjusted properly, cannabis will receive too many of one type of nutrient or none at all, leading to nutrient lockout and a whole slew of other problems. Growers use pH pens or meters to detect the pH levels of their runoff so they can make any necessary adjustments. You can find pH pens at most grow stores, or you can buy them online from retailers that specialize in cannabis growing supplies.

What you need to know about growing Pot in Pots

Cannabis plants should be planted in a soil pot with drainage holes for many reasons such as preventing root rot from over-watering. The roots need to breathe, so having a pot with holes is important for the health of your cannabis plant. There are many different types of pots on the market that can be used successfully in growing cannabis indoors including plastic and fabric pots. Fabric pots are more preferable because they allow better breathability than their plastic counterparts do while still preventing the roots from becoming too wet. Cannabis plants should be transplanted into a larger pot as they grow to ensure that their roots have enough space to grow. When cannabis is planted in a small pot, the roots will become congested and will not be able to take up all of the nutrients and water that they need which can lead to nutrient deficiencies or even death.

Growing Cannabis Indoors with Tents

When growing cannabis indoors, you will need to purchase or build a grow tent. A grow tent is an enclosed space in which you have more environmental control of the conditions for your cannabis plants. This includes regulating the temperature, humidity, and light levels. The best size for a cannabis grow tent is one that is tall enough for your cannabis plant to grow fully before the grow light hits the top of it. This depends on how tall your cannabis plants get, but a general rule is about 18 inches from the bottom of the root ball to tip-top leaves when they are in their vegetative state and 24 inches for flowering cannabis plants. You can also use tents that aren’t as tall, but you will need to purchase or make cannabis grow lights that are adjustable and can be hung high enough to cover the entire plant. Most importantly, pick a tent size that fits the desired place in your home. Many people have bought tents only to find that it is smaller or larger than they intended for the space they plan to utilize for growing in their home.


When growing cannabis indoors, it is important to use the correct type of light in order for your plants to flower and produce buds. Cannabis needs 18 hours of light per day for photoperiod seeds when they are in the vegetative stage. Cannabis plants need to have 12 hours of light and 12 hours of dark for 8-14 weeks for their flowering stage. Growers use a variety of cannabis grow lights to provide the appropriate light levels for cannabis plants. It is important not to give cannabis too much or too little light as this can stunt and damage your plant’s growth resulting in a lower yield. Most importantly, you should get a light that fills your grow space and has an adjustable height so that you can keep it as close to the cannabis plant’s canopy as possible without burning the leaves.

Cannabis grow lights come in many different forms such as LED (light-emitting diode), fluorescent lights, and HID (high-intensity discharge) light. We recommend an LED light as they are becoming cheaper every year while improving in quality. They also do not emit as much heat as other forms of light. There are several LED lights that also allow you to remove the driver, or the piece of equipment making the most heat by powering the light, outside of the tent which can make it easier to regulate the temperature. Most LED lights come with a ratchet and pulley system which can make the height of your lights adjustable too.

Oscillating Fans

When growing cannabis indoors, you will need to use fans to create airflow within your grow tent. This is important because cannabis plants need good airflow in order for their leaves to photosynthesize properly. When the air around the plant is stagnant, the leaves begin to prevent too much heat from building up around them which can cause your cannabis plants to burn. It is important that cannabis grow lights are hung with sturdy equipment in order for the fans to be able to move air without causing damage or knocking over other objects within the grow tent. We recommend getting two oscillating fans in your tent. One of the fans should be pointed and oscillating underneath your canopy once they reach the vegetative stage of plant growth. The other oscillating fan, should be placed above the canopy and near the driver of your light, should your light have a driver on the inside.

Thermometer and Hygrometer

It’s equally as important to have a thermometer and hygrometer in your cannabis grow area in order to monitor the environmental conditions. A thermometer will help you regulate the temperature of your grow area, while a hygrometer will help you keep track of the humidity levels. cannabis plants like temperatures between 70-85 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity levels between 40-60%. Plants can be damaged if the temperature or humidity levels get too high or low. If you want more humidity control, you can always put a humidifier or dehumidifier in your tent. As for temperature, you can always add a small air conditioning unit in your indoor grow to help regulate temperature.

Intake and outtake fans

In order to keep the air in your cannabis grow tent fresh, you will need to have one intake fan and one outtake fan. The purpose of the intake fans is to bring in fresh air from outside of the grow tent while the outtake fan removes hot, stale air from inside of the grow tent. cannabis plants do not like hot or cold air and grow the best when cannabis temperatures are between 70-85 degrees Fahrenheit. Cannabis grow tents can come with pre-installed exhaust fans, but cannabis growers usually upgrade their exhaust fans to cannabis-specific ones in order to ensure cannabis plants are getting the optimal amount of airflow. Please note that an intake fan is not always necessary although it is recommended to keep a steady airflow throughout your tent. Installing a carbon or charcoal filter on your outtake fan is also an option if odor control will be a problem where you grow. The ratchet and pulley system you used for your lights can also be used to install an intake or outtake fan and carbon or charcoal or carbon filter, if necessary, at the top of your tent.


It is recommended for first-time growers to research the height of the plants they want to grow in the tent. If you are growing two strains of varying heights, this could pose some problems. First, the light of your grow area will need to be situated higher to not burn tall plants and if you have another shorter plant in the tent, it may not receive the optimal amount of light. Second, if you plan to use a screen of green technique for training later, a ScrOG net will be uneven in your tent if the plants are of different sizes. For these reasons we recommend growing plants of the same strain or similar structures your first grow if you want multiple plants in your tent.

A lot of beginner growers are also overeager to water their plants which can lead to big problems. Overwatering can stunt plants and even kill them if it is not fixed over time. Seedlings and young plants are especially vulnerable to this problem. Make sure your soil is dry before watering your plants. To do this, simply stick a finger up to your first knuckle in the soil to check for moisture, and if you feel any moisture do not water. You can also measure the weight of your pots to check for dryness. This means when you first plant the cannabis plants in their final pot you check the weight of the pot before watering it by lifting the pot up by the sides. After you water the plants, pick up the plant by the sides of the pot to feel the weight of the pot with water in it. Continually do this throughout your growth to readjust the weight of the pot as the plant continues to grow.

Training your plants may also be necessary to optimize your grow space so the plants do grow too tall. Low-stress training (LST) is a cannabis training technique in which you bend cannabis plants to manipulate their growth and make cannabis grows more efficient. To do this, use string or wire ties to tie the stems of your cannabis plant down until they get used to growing horizontally at roughly 45 degrees from the ground although there will be some exceptions. Once cannabis branches reach each other, they will begin to grow vertically again and produce cannabis flowers. In addition, cannabis plants can also be bent down by tying them down with an elastic band or a soft tie but make sure the cannabis plant is not growing in pots that are too big so it does not outgrow its container while training.

Cannabis growers should start cannabis plants indoors in smaller containers before transplanting them to larger pots. This allows indoor growers more control when determining the sex of their cannabis plant and also gives cannabis growers a chance to train the cannabis plant (low-stress training) for optimal growth in such a small space.


We hope to have provided you with a basis for your first indoor growing environment. We have covered everything from acquiring your first seeds, setting up your grow space, and your grow medium or nutrients to use. Every plant is different so what applies to one strain or seed will not always apply to all of your plants. Should you have any further questions, please read our articles regarding temperature, humidity, lights, soil, and over and underwatering. Thank you and happy growing!

I don’t always grow, but when I dor, I grow with bionics.