5 Cannabis Cultivation Methods: Outdoor Growing to Hydroponics

Cannabis in Hand
Photo by Alexander Grey

Cannabis has gotten more popular than ever and this has more people wondering how they can grow their own.

You’ve got plenty of options when it comes to cultivating cannabis. You can easily grow a few plants and a spare closet at home, or take the first steps to becoming a commercial cannabis farmer.

We’re going to walk you through everything you need to know to start your cannabis cultivation operation, whether you’re just wanting to start a homegrow or you’re looking to break into the business.

Starting Your Growing Operation

Growing Cannabis Plant
Photo by Jonathan Cooper

One of the first decisions you need to make is deciding if you just want to grow your own cannabis at home or if you’re looking to start a legal commercial operation.

Commercial Cannabis

Commercial growers have more regulatory challenges than individuals who grow plants for personal use.

A commercial cannabis operation is going to require considerable startup cash and you need to be able to navigate a somewhat complicated legal and regulatory maze. You also have to determine whether it’s legal in your state or territory to become a licensed commercial grower.

However, don’t let this deter you from starting a cannabis business. Now is the perfect time to get in at the ground floor of a brand new industry.

The Dedicated Home Grower

As weed legalization has improved throughout the United States, so has the ability for private citizens to grow their own cannabis for personal use.

The amount of cannabis that you can grow at home is going to depend on the state that you live in and on whether or not you have a medical card. Picking up a cannabis medical card online can dramatically increase the amount of cannabis that you can legally grow at home.

Home growers face less legal scrutiny, but it’s always a good idea to make sure you’re following the letter of your local weed laws.

Types of Cannabis Cultivation

There are some main types of cannabis cultivation that you need to consider before you start planting seeds.


Growing your weed outdoors has some pretty noticeable advantages.

Outdoor cannabis cultivation is much less expensive, requires less resources, and can yield greater harvests. When grown outdoors, cannabis has access to as much light as it needs and can grow as big as the plant can get.

It might be difficult to find an outdoor area where you can legally grow cannabis in the open as most states require you to grow your weed away from public lines of sight.

This is what you’ll need to start growing outdoors.

  • Decide on a strain that’s right for your local soil and climate
  • Garden beds or pots for balcony or rooftop growing
  • Mulch or supports for wind protection
  • Fencing to protect from wildlife
  • Introduce predatory insects that eat common weed pests
  • Choose a location with access to rain water and 6 to 8 hours of sunshine per day


Indoor operations are the classic way to start growing cannabis.

An indoor operation gives you total control over the growing conditions of your cannabis. This might even be necessary if you live in colder climates where it’s difficult for cannabis to grow outdoors.

Indoor growing operations let you maximize certain cannabis traits. If you’re into cannabis genetics, then an indoor grow lab should be at the top of your list.

An indoor growing operation is also going to be the go-to choice for personal use growers. However, it also requires a few more tools and components compared to outdoor growing, such as:

Here’s a basic list of items needed for most indoor growing setups:

  • LED Panel Lights
  • Small grow tent or closet
  • Ventilation for your grow tent
  • Soil
  • Pots


Indoor grow operations tend to be small, but even these might be too large for some people with small apartments or studios. This is where microgrowing comes in.

Microgrowing cultivates a single pot of cannabis at a time typically in a space no bigger than one foot by one foot. Microgrowing relies on the latest Innovations in LED lighting and pop up grow rooms.

Here’s a list of the gear you’ll need for microgrowing:

  • LED Panel Lights
  • Small grow tent or closet
  • Pot for a single plant
  • Soil
  • Vertical growth screen
  • An easy-to-grow strain like Easy Bud or Blue Dream


Hydroponics is a way of growing cannabis plants that are suspended in a water and nutrient solution rather than soil. This is very resource intensive and requires a lot of gear to start up, but it does yield better results.

Your cannabis plants will be ready for a harvest faster and yield considerably larger results with hydroponics.

A hydroponics setup requires the following:

  • LED Panel Lights
  • Grow tent
  • Hydroponic reservoir
  • Pumps and airstones
  • Growth medium
  • Net mesh pots
  • Temperature control


Aeroponics is definitely the most uncommon type of cannabis cultivation, but it does have an important use in the industry.

Aeroponics is often used to make sure that your cannabis clones have a healthy and strong start before they are transplanted into soil.

Here’s a quick start list of the gear you’ll need for aquaponics.

  • Hydroponic pump with mister head
  • Timer
  • Hydroponic net pots
  • Grow room or tent
  • Grow lights


Going Beyond Cultivation 

That’s just the basics of starting to grow your own cannabis. Now let’s dive into the details of growing weed so that you can start your grow operation on the right foot.

Cannabis Cultivation Laws

The laws that cover growing cannabis change from state to state.

For personal use, every state sets its own limit on how much cannabis that you can grow. Some states have additional requirements such as requiring you to apply for a growing permit or restricting where you can grow cannabis plants—such as a way from public-facing windows.

Commercial growing operations are going to need to navigate a more complex network of laws. You will definitely have to apply for a growing permit in your state, but you will also need additional permits for the use of things like generators and pesticides.

Understanding The Growing Market

The cannabis market is highly dynamic at present.

The fight to legalize weed is still an ongoing battle, but as more states start to make cannabis legal, we’re starting to see an increasingly healthy cannabis market.

The cannabis growing market is far from oversaturated and there are plenty of opportunities to get into this business.

The legal cannabis market is expected to grow to a $55 billion industry by 2026 alone.

Although bigger legal markets like California have started to plateau, newer markets are still expected to see opportunities for growth.

Industrial Hemp or Consumer Cannabis?

You can also make the choice of deciding between growing industrial hemp or consumer cannabis.

Industrial hemp has been legal for decades and is traditionally used for hemp oil or rope making. However, the 2018 Farm Bill opened up the legal cannabinoid industry and changed how we look at industrial hemp.

The industrial hemp sector now includes CBD, Delta 8 THC, and even the new hemp derived Delta 9 THC.

You could also start a cannabis growing operation that focuses on smokable flower or cannabis for edibles and extracts.

Either way, you’re still going to need to understand the importance of having your hemp and cannabis tested.

Funding and Revenue for Cannabis Growers

Funding and revenue are challenging for cannabis growers.

When it comes to funding, traditional bank loans are still unavailable for cannabis businesses which includes growers. You’ll need to look to private equity firms, angel investors, and venture capital for your startup money.

It’s also worth noting that the cannabis industry is taxed based on gross income rather than on net profits.

With that said, the cannabis market is expected to boom over the next several years.

Growing your own cannabis is an exciting and rewarding experience. Here are the key takeaways that you need to keep in mind as you get ready to plant your first seeds.

  • Decide between starting a commercial business or growing for personal use
  • Choose a method for cannabis cultivation
  • If you’re going the business route, plan carefully to ensure a good return on your investment

Thanks for reading!

This article was not written by or endorsed by Save On Cannabis, is to be used for entertainment usage only and not taken as legal or financial advice.


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