There are two types of plants a grower might consider: autoflowering varieties or photoperiod varieties.
Photoperiod plants need to follow a specific light schedule, particularly during the flowering period. These plants need 12 hours of complete darkness to induce flowering and throughout the flowering phase until harvest. “If you can’t get the environment dark enough, that plant is just going to keep on growing and might get too big for the space you have,” added Jimmy. Our homes are full of light, so to assure the darkness needed to induce flowering, put the plants in a closet each sundown and back out in their window each morning.
Experience is the best teacher when it comes to growing cannabis. Photo by: Dimitri Newman/Weedmaps
Keep a grow journal. There are many ready-made journals tailored specifically for growing cannabis. You can also grab a pad or notebook and jot down daily details on watering, feeding nutrients, the days or weeks in a particular growth phase (vegetation, flowering), any insects or mold issues, and so on. Having a record of a plant’s full life-cycle will help improve future plants.
Autoflower vs photoperiod plants: what's the difference?
Will growing a plant indoors without grow lights leave you with wonky plants? Lower yields? Less potent flower?
Unlike outdoor growing, you aren’t tied to the sun and the seasons. You will be providing the entire environment the plants need to grow, including the grow medium—soil, rockwool, etc.—and regulating the amount of water and nutrients they receive, as well as controlling temperature, humidity, and more for them.
Plants need fresh air to thrive and carbon dioxide (CO2) is essential to the process of photosynthesis. This means you will need a steady stream of air flowing through your grow room, which will allow you to move hot air out of the space and bring cool air in.
For most first-time gardeners, we recommend buying a quality potting soil that will provide your plants with enough nutrients to get them through most of their growth cycle without having to add many amendments or liquid nutrients. This pre-fertilized soil—often referred to as “super-soil”—that can grow cannabis plants from start to finish without any added nutrients if used correctly.
Because of their overhead installation, skylights are a great way to supplement or provide indoor lighting that’s good for weed plants. Of course, the number of skylights and their size will both be factors in the overall benefits these lights.
Patios with translucent roofs are another ideal location for growing cannabis without lights. These areas usually have concrete or brick floors, which are great surfaces for regular water, cleanup and general maintenance of cannabis plants. Having a roof over the plants provides them limited protection from the elements, but definitely shields them from two big dangers: heavy rainstorms and hail damage.
One of these needs is light—whether natural or artificial lights.
The plants grown within receive natural sunlight while remaining in a controlled environment that protects them from harsh environmental factors like wind, rain, and hail, as well as the detrimental impact of insects and other pests—not to mention theft from unscrupulous human thieves. Greenhouses also allow control of environmental factors like humidity. They rank as the most turn-key method of growing cannabis indoors without artificial lighting.
Bay Windows and Window Sills For Growing Weed
If space limitations make owning a greenhouse impossible, there are other options available to those who want to grow cannabis indoors without lights. Like greenhouses, these alternative methods must harness natural light from the sun.
Besides greenhouses, the most obvious cultivation option available to home cannabis growers is a “sunroom,” which are popular retreats for many homeowners. A variety of household plants thrive in sun rooms across the country, so there’s no reason cannabis can’t flourish in the same environment.
While curtains or plastic film can keep a grow out of visibility, they can also reduce the amount of light reaching the plant. Growers may require a supplementary artificial light to provide the plant with enough light if they intend to hide the plant.
Courtyards For Cannabis Growing
Cannabis growers can enjoy the free natural sunlight reaching the plants and protect the plants in shade or inside when the conditions become unfavorable. Keep in mind, many landlords and regulations prohibit growing cannabis in full public view.
Floor heating systems can also be used in solariums and greenhouses under wood flooring, concrete, or metal panels. Floor heating enables cannabis plants to grow during all seasons. Radiant heating provides uniform heating compared to other heating systems.