The Basics of Cannabis Cultivation

The Basics of Cannabis Cultivation

Basics of Cannabis Cultivation Methods

Every jar of weed starts with a cultivator and a seed. 

But how that seed is grown has massive impacts on the final products we all know and love. 

In our last post, we talked about pheno-hunting and how both genetics and environment play a part in determining how a cannabis plant looks, smells, yields, etc. 

While we mainly discussed in that post what cultivators look for when pheno-hunting, we also wanted to break down how phenotypes are actualized. Specifically, the basics of cannabis cultivation and how that impacts how weed is grown. 

There is no one, true best way to grow weed. Even among the experts, cannabis cultivation methods are debated and each group’s techniques can differ. Regardless, there is something that can be learned from each method. 

Cannabis Cultivation Methods


Hydroponic cannabis plants are grown without soil. Instead, the plants are suspended using a grow media like rockwool or coco coir. These mediums help anchor the plant and assist in delivering nutrients and oxygen to the roots. 

One reason hydroponics is a popular cannabis cultivation method is because of how easy it can be controlled and monitored. Because growers are the ones delivering the oxygenated, nutrient-rich solution directly to the roots, they can control the exact part per million of how much nutrients each plant receives. 

Another reason hydroponics is popular in the cannabis cultivation space is because of its efficiency. Its process frees the grower from hand watering or digging in the dirt. Traditionally, hydroponic grow systems also used less water than their soil counterparts. Though, thanks to new technology and developments, this is no longer the case. 

Hydroponics can be done by either recirculating the water or housing the plants in a small supply throughout the entire grow.

Recirculation can be resourceful but this same feature may also be its bug…or reason for bugs.

If the nutrients are recirculated in a system, it also means that if one plant becomes sick, the disease will spread to the rest of the crop, too. So while the risk of soil-borne pathogens is non-existent, hydroponically-grown cannabis plants can also be susceptible to other bacteria, diseases, viruses, and pests.


While the new age of cannabis cultivation gave birth to many innovative ways to grow weed, there’s nothing wrong with good ‘ole reliable soil. Organic cultivation, as it’s sometimes referred to, uses soil. Though there isn’t concrete evidence to suggest organic flower tastes and smells better, many longtime users claim they do. For this reason, organically grown flower typically comes with a higher price tag. 

Soil growing is intuitive and low maintenance, which is why it’s worked for cultivators for so many years. In ideal climates, it’s also easy to manage outdoors. Despite its low maintenance appeal, there are some pitfalls to soil-grown cannabis plants. For instance,  it may be easy to overwater the plants and it does not offer as much control. 


The next cannabis cultivation method is the most advanced, and it produces the best yields. Aeroponics is the process of suspending the plants in air and spraying water and fertilizer over the roots. With hydroponics, the plants may be suspended in water full-time or fed through a timed flow of solution. Aeroponics plants, on the hand, are never placed into water. Their nutrients are delivered through misting and spraying.

This method produces unprecedented results – if done correctly. Aeroponics is very sensitive to mistakes and needs to be monitored on a daily basis at nearly all times. A power outage or water access problems could kill the roots within an hour of failing. It also requires more equipment than hydroponically or organically grown plants, making it more expensive. For these reasons, it’s a less popular way to cultivate cannabis. 


Even more rare than aeroponics is aquaponics. This method bridges the gap between hydroponically-grown weed and organically-grown weed. These setups are similar to hydroponic systems, but the source of nutrients is derived from the waste of the fish. 

Together, the grow system and aquatic ecosystem create a synergetic relationship that benefits both. It saves on water and fertilizer cost, produces better yields, and keeps the fish in a well-maintained tank. 

It is to be noted that aquaponics is the most expensive method of cannabis cultivation. Realistically, it is not the best option for large cultivation groups. However, that’s not to say that home growers couldn’t find zen through caring for fish, weed, and their aquaponics garden.  

Cannabis Grow Methods

Cannabis cultivation can be broken down into two primary categories: how the weed is grown and where the weed is grown. We already covered the how, so let’s talk about the environments and how that plays a factor. 


Grow tents and grow rooms, from the extra small 3x3s to the massive warehouses, all fall under the indoor category. Growing cannabis inside is a popular choice because it gives growers control over temperature, humidity, light levels, and airflow. Today, growing indoors is easier than ever thanks to technology that can sense and automate certain environmental factors. Without having to withstand unwanted or unfavorable weather, indoor cannabis plants can be harvested multiple times a year. 

But its controlled environment is also its Achilles heel. If a toxin gets into the grow room, it’s much harder to get rid of because of its confined space. Monitoring its environment can also create high start-up costs and monthly utility bills. Lastly, depending on how much the cultivation wants to expand, it can be limited in space. 


Cannabis’ natural habitat: the great outdoors. Because of its vastness, outdoor cannabis plants grow larger and produce more flowers. Some also swear by sun-grown cannabis being of higher quality! 

The outdoors make a great place for growing cannabis because of its low overhead cost. The only downside is that growers are at the whim of the seasons. Unwanted weather and pests can create a disaster and outdoor cannabis plants are only harvested once per year.


The last major method of growing cannabis is in greenhouses. Growing in a greenhouse offers the best of both worlds. It allows the plant to receive natural sunlight, which produces a full and flavorful terpene profile, while also being protected from external forces associated with the outdoors. Greenhouse cultivators also commonly use tarps to deprive the plant of light, tricking them into flowering faster. 

Additionally, the greenhouse method is more sustainable than indoor cultivation. All of those lights and fans being used leave a large ecological footprint. With greenhouses, growers can reap the benefits of being protected from outside, while not having to resort to using that much energy. 

At Green, we believe in protecting Mother Nature as she has given us the great gift of cannabis. Whichever way you choose to grow, always remember to keep it Green! 

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