As cannabis continues to emerge from the haze of prohibition, you can expect to start seeing it just about everywhere—provided you live in a state where it is legal for recreational use, that is. One place it has always belonged, but not often occupied for various reasons (from the threat of law enforcement, to theft, to narc neighbors) is in a lovely south-facing window, doing its natural thing.
There’s no longer a benefit to continuing the hush-hush nature of producing and consuming cannabis—the less stigmatized it becomes, and the more access we create for each other, the less of a chokehold the emerging commercialized industry will have on our pursestrings, cultivar popularity, and innovation itself. Openly growing weed in your home (rather than in a closet or specially designated area), is an act in defiance of both pervasive anti-cannabis norms and the proliferation of weed millionaires who cozy up to politicians while tens of thousands of people remain in prison for being caught with the drug. Think of it as a not-so-subtle plea for normalization.
But keeping a live cannabis plant in your home can serve many other purposes too—even if it’s just decor.
Is it worth trying to grow your own weed indoors?
Without too much effort, you can absolutely get flowering buds on a plant you’ve grown yourself, but don’t expect the yield of a professional-grade grow benefitting from either full sun or supplemental lighting. Before you think of how to physically approach growing a cannabis plant, you have to consider if it aligns with your needs and environment—as one should when consuming it.
Cannabis interdisciplinary and author Mennlay Golokeh Aggrey says your intention should still be to aim for lovely flower, which is this plant’s primary purpose. But as she told Lifehacker via email, “Growing weed as a houseplant is an entirely different experience than any other, because its fruit and flowers are still a federally illegal substance in the United States. However, the experience of growing weed doesn’t differ from growing a fig tree or lime tree. At the end of the day, you get to enjoy the delicious fruit it bears.”
A cannabis plant is more like an annual tomato vine than a monstera. Conditions and care will determine so much, but it won’t live past a certain lifecycle. It’s a bummer that you can’t count on one plant to keep producing bud forever, but as California based seed and clone champs Purple City Genetics’ COO Melanie Nash tells us, “You’re not getting wonderful flowers to consume from your tropical plants.” Good point.
Nash offers some advice on growing on your sun porch versus in a grow tent: “Cannabis is a beautiful, fast-growing plant. The easiest way to grow it as a houseplant is to grow feminized auto-flower seeds. This type of cannabis doesn’t require a special light cycle and stays on the smaller side. It can be grown in a window or on a patio in a two- to three-gallon pot very easily, and treated pretty much the same as other houseplants. This plant will start flowering after about 30 days and be ready to harvest at 60 to 70 days from germination.“
The right way to grow weed indoors
According to Aggrey, growing indoors gives you a deeper understanding of the plant, as you’ll be engaging with it on a daily basis, but she notes, “This doesn’t mean you have to go out and buy fancy grow lights and equipment. It does mean that you should learn everything you can about the strain you’re growing and how best to grow it.”
Just because it’s for looks, doesn’t mean it can’t have fire buds, Aggrey adds: “Even if you’re growing cannabis as a houseplant for the sake of its aesthetic, it can still be a beautiful and strong plant with an abundant yield.”
While you don’t have to run an entire fertilization program, Purple City’s Nash offers this tidbit: “Nutrients [added to the soil] will improve the quality of the flower that is produced, but [aren’t] absolutely necessary to grow a nice plant. Starting with a rich soil mix or soil with a time release fertilizer is the easiest way to improve flower quality.”
For those in states with fully legal adult-use grow programs like California, Nash suggests a few of their offspring, “Purple City Genetics autoflower seeds like Saltwater OG or Razzberry GasTank are easy to grow and produce nice flowers with THC in the mid-20s (THC Percentage). If you want to grow from a clone, a nice indica cultivar like Zev (Purple Kush x Gush Mints) that stays on the smaller side is a good option.”
The existential reason to grow weed as a houseplant
Solonje Burnett, cofounder of Humble Bloom + Honeypottt, recently wrapped up a tent grow and decided to plant one autoflower clone front and center with her home’s other plant residents. As an advocate for the plant and its culture, this was special to Burnett. “For the first time, I’m going to grow weed like any other plant and have it on display in my living room,” she says. “I’m excited to experiment, prune playfully, and joyously share my weed auntie energy with anyone who happens to enter my home.”
With this policy shift in a previously prohibitive state like New York, where Burnett is based, folks like her can access cannabis more easily, affordably, and most importantly, without fear.
“Home grow is legal in NYC (with a medical license) so I’m ready to spark casual cultivation conversation, normalizing weed as just a plant amongst others while soaking up the mental health benefits of plant care,” she says. “It’s truly a privilege to steward growing green and break oppressive stigmas within the intersections of my identity as a Black woman with this healing plant, [which] has criminalized and harmed so many of our people.”
Even if the odd weed plant or two ends up in the bay window lineup in a city near you, until it is entirely free from the last century’s bans, restrictions, and other challenges to its ubiquity, cannabis will never be just another plant.
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