Checklist: What do I need to start growing Cannabis? Pics + Tips

Complete this checklist to start growing Cannabis at home!

Here are a checklist and a brief explanation of each item you need to start growing Cannabis at home. Once you’ve got these, you can grow weed, even if you’ve never done it before.

checklist start growing cannabis
Grow with Jane checklist to start growing cannabis

Before starting your own grow, make sure you have the following checklist items ready:

Cannabis Seeds

Obviously, for growing Marijuana, the most important item on your checklist is Cannabis seeds. Try to buy them from reputable vendors or seed banks.

Photoperiodic Cannabis seeds

Photoperiodic seeds may produce either male or female plants.

The Flowering stage in photoperiodic Cannabis plants starts when the lighting schedule changes from 18/6 to 12/12 hours of light/darkness. Outdoors, they will start flowering when the days grow shorter, usually in Autumn.

Feminized Cannabis Seeds

Feminized photoperiodic Cannabis seeds produce female plants that start the Flowering stage when the lighting schedule switches from 18/6 to 12/12 hours of light/darkness. Outdoors, they will start flowering when the days grow shorter, usually in Autumn.

Autoflowering Cannabis seeds

Autoflowering Cannabis seeds produce female plants that don’t need a photoperiodic switch from vegetative stage to flowering stage. They are designed to start flowering at a fixed period of time, despite the environmental conditions and light stimuli.

This makes Autoflowering Cannabis a good choice for beginner growers. They don’t have to worry about guessing if the plant is male or female or when to change the photoperiod. Autoflowering marijuana plants have fixed and shorter life cycles (3 or 4 months) so they will develop faster than photoperiodic strains

A growing environment with light and airflow

Outdoor Cannabis crops growing in soil thrive under the sunlight, but what about indoor grows? 

An indoor growing environment may be a bucket, a tent, a box, an entire room, you name it. You can grow weed in a small or big environment, but you’ll need light and airflow for your plants to thrive. Cannabis plants need artificial light to live indoors, and there are lots of options in the market. 

Additionally, a Thermo-hygrometer, a combined thermometer/hygrometer, comes very useful for tracking temperature and humidity levels. They come in pocket size and will save you lots of trouble and time guessing if environmental conditions are optimal.

The best lights for growing Cannabis

First of all, we don’t recommend incandescent light bulbs for growing weed at any stage. Don’t waste your resources trying to grow with them.

Your plant needs light as soon as it pops out from the soil. 

Cannabis seedlings are not yet able to process high-intensity light. Led lights or lower wattage lights are better for this stage. A cold (blue) spectrum light is better for this stage, as it promotes vegetative growth.

During the first week or two after the seed has sprouted, you can light your seedling with CFL lights. You can start the germination process and you won’t need potent growing lights yet. Don’t wait too long to get them because you’ll need them soon!

By the time your plant reaches the vegetative stage (1-2 weeks), make sure you have your environment ready, grow lights included. 

Fluorescent lights (CFL)

These are one of the cheapest and quite effective lamps for growing Cannabis. They consume less electricity than other options and produce less heat, and have an adequate light spectrum. These lamps are suitable for young plants because they won’t burn them. They produce less yield than LED lights but they are much cheaper.

CFL grow lights

High-Intensity Discharge grow lights (HID)

The most popular HIDs for Cannabis home growing are Metal Halide (MH) for the vegetative stage and High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) for the flowering stage.

Metal Halide (MH) lamps for the vegetative stage

HPS lights are excellent for both vegetative and flowering stages and produce abundant yield. They come with a reflector and a ballast. HPS are more expensive than CFL lights and produces a lot of heat. Good ventilation is crucial to achieving good yields in reduced spaces.

Be careful to choose lamps according to your growing space. Always ask the manufacturer or seller about coverage area and exhaust needed.

Cannabis plant growing with HPS (High Pressure Sodium)

LED lights

Growing Cannabis with led lights has become a very popular technique in the past few years. LED light panels come with a full spectrum of light the plant needs for the whole cycle.

LED panels produce more abundant yields than other options. They don’t produce much heat or noise and are very durable, but can be costly at the beginning.

Led grow lights come in different presentations, and it’s up to each grower to find their perfect setup. Each panel is different. Ask the manufacturer about coverage area and distance from the plant so you make the best of it.

LED panel for vegetative and flowering


Your growing environment (tent, room, box) needs to have a clean and constant flow of air.

To provide this, the easiest way is to put an exhaustion fan or cooler on the top of your tent and to let air enter passively from the bottom of your environment.

exhaustion-fan cooler
Exhaustion fan or cooler

Container (cups, pots, buckets) for growing Cannabis

You can start to grow Cannabis in different sizes containers, from a small cup to gigantic pots and buckets. The size of the containers will ultimately define the size of the plant. It’s important to have proper drainage holes in the bottom of the container, so the excess of water can drain. Without proper drainage, the plant will suffer from root rot, fungi, and many other problems.

Be careful to choose a container according to your growing space. Pay attention to its height, you’ll need to keep a reasonable distance from the top of the plant to your growing light. Mind a distance of at least 30 cm for some lights.

A cannabis plant growing from a chip can
Cannabis plant growing in chip can
Cannabis vegetative stage - week 5
Cannabis plants growing in pots

Growing mediums

Another important item in your checklist you need to start growing Cannabis is the growing medium.

The main functions and requirements of a growth medium are: providing physical support to the plant, allowing root respiration, and holding available water and nutrients for the plant.

As long as the roots have space, the right amount of water, good aeration, and available nutrients, your plant will grow steady and healthy. If one of these factors is missing, the plant is going to experience growing issues. 

A Grow medium, also known as the substrate, is the material or mix where your plant’s roots grow and thrive, for example, soil, coco coir, water, etc.

Growing Cannabis in soil mix

Soil mix is an excellent medium to start growing weed, provided that it has the right balance between solids (organic and inorganic matter) and empty spaces, where air and water will flow.

Aeration is a key factor in order to keep roots healthy. To avoid soil compaction, you need to add materials such as perlite, vermiculite or coco coir so roots can develop in pore spaces between the solid particles. Organic matter such as compost and worm castings provide some nutrients for your plants to start growing.

Soil mixes with peat moss work great too, but they need a little dolomite for balancing pH and do not have the nutrients your plant needs, so you’ll need to supply them.

Preparing soil to start growing Cannabis
Preparing soil with perlite for growing Cannabis

Other growing mediums – not recommended for beginners

Growing Cannabis in Coco coir

Coco coir is made of coconut husk fiber and it’s known to be an excellent growing medium. You can use it alone or mixed with soil and perlite for better aeration. It’s great to avoid soil compaction and to retain water and nutrients without drowning the roots. Growing in coco has many advantages but it takes researching and trying different methods until you find the perfect one for you. It requires reading, taking notes, measuring pH, EC, and other things.

As coco coir is an inert medium, it’s vital to constantly add the correct amount of nutrients for each stage. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Before you use coco, rinse it, buffer it and mix it with perlite to avoid Calcium and Magnesium deficiencies. Not recommended for first-time growers.

Growing Cannabis in Hydroponics

“Hydroponics” includes many popular and effective methods of growing cannabis, in which plant roots are exposed to a nutrient-infused and air-pumped water solution.

You can choose between different setups, such as deep water culture, ebb, and flow or drip system for naming some of them.

There are as well many kinds of substrates to help the roots anchor themselves. Some of them are perlite, clay pebbles, and Rockwool.

Hydroponics is one of the most productive methods to achieve big yields in a few months, but we don’t recommend it right now if this is your first time growing marijuana.

basic hydroponics cannabis
Basic hydroponics setup – HPS 400 W

Nutrients for Growing Cannabis

Several brands of fertilizers offer fertilizer kits specially formulated with the essential nutrients for each stage. We recommend starting with the dose indicated by the manufacturer or even a little lower to avoid saturation. Gradually increase the amounts until achieving the desired results.

Be careful that if you go over the required amounts, the plant can suffer stress, damage, even die from excess fertilization.


The last fundamental item in the checklist you need to start growing Cannabis is. Before starting your grow, make sure you can access a water source.

Usually, tap water is ok, as long as it’s not “hard water” (high concentration of mineral substances).

A water pH around 6-7 is perfect for growing in soil. If your tap water has a different pH level, you can adjust it with products. For tap water sources with high levels of chlorine. Let the water sit in a bucket or bottle to let the chlorine evaporate. Chlorinated water may be harmful to the plants.

Reverse Osmosis water is a good option to grow. Bear in mind plants might need extra calcium and magnesium in their nutrient schedules, along with other micro and macronutrients.

I’ve got every item on the checklist to start growing cannabis! Now what?

While you get everything you need, it’s a good idea to start learning how to grow Cannabis.

Read these blog articles about growing Cannabis to learn more about these topics and how to take care of your plants.

When growing Cannabis, is extremely important to plan ahead and keep track of dates, nutrient and watering schedules, training, and much more. That’s why we developed the Grow with Jane app, a very useful tool for Cannabis home growers.

If you are already using the Grow with Jane app, remember to tick every item in the checklist as you get them! We’ll continue to guide you through the first steps of this great adventure of growing your own Cannabis at home.

Everyone was once a beginner and there are many things we all wish someone had told us back then. We are sharing that knowledge and developing an app to fulfill our very needs as Cannabis home growers. We hope you enjoy it!

Happy growing!

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