Choosing a strain is one of the most important and fun parts of growing weed, but it comes with a lot to consider. Those learning how to grow weed for the first time must think about the space the cannabis plants will be occupying, the desired effects from the plant, and more. If you haven't already, check out Part 1 of our "How To Grow Weed Indoors" Series.

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Choosing a Strain

The strain that you want to grow will in large part depend on how big the space you chose is. If you have the luxury of a large room with high ceilings, you can get away with most varieties. If you are growing in a more discreet manner you should go for plants that are known to grow short, typically indica or hybrids.

Sativa vs Indica Traits

Cannabis plant on a yellow background Sativa Variety of Cannabis (iStock / Yarygin)

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Sativa plants tend to grow tall, especially as they flower. They can handle heat better than indica strains can, but they suffer in the cold. Their buds grow long and produce a light, uplifting effect.

Indica plants are more likely to be short and compact, taking up less space. Unlike sativa plants, they do not do well in the heat and are best suited in a cold environment. They produce dense buds that offer a heavier, more relaxed effect.

If you don’t want to choose between sativa or indica, you could go for a hybrid. These blend traits from both sativa and indica plants, with one being dominant or just a 50/50 split. With hybrids, it’s possible to have less flowering time as you’d expect with indica, while still achieving the energizing effects of a sativa strain. Hybrids blend features of both plants in many different ways, leaving a lot of options for customizing your growth.

Choosing How Many Plants To Grow

Having too many or not enough plants can wreak havoc on your growth plans. If you’ve made a selection on what strain you will be using, you should have an idea of how large the plants are going to get.

It’s important to make sure all of your plants have room to grow and thrive, and this means not putting too many plants under a single light where they have to compete for nourishment.

Water Marijuana Cannabis Indica Plants in an Indoor Grow Room iStock / SEASTOCK

The containers for the plants are important factors in how many you can grow as well, because the larger the pot the plant is in, the less room you have to line more pots. Regular plastic containers are common for growing weed as they are cheap and easy to work with. Ceramic containers are good for large and heavy plants that need to be more stable.

The best choice for a seasoned grower is fabric pots, as they offer room for the roots to grow, stretch, and breathe.

The bottom line is you need to choose a container that will help your plants thrive. While fabric is best, if you need to go for a different type, make sure it will be healthy for your plant. If they’re too small, you could stunt your plant’s growth. Figure out what type of container you are using, so you can estimate how many will fit in the room.

Make sure the number of plants you will be using will fit comfortably in their containers, all have access to light and air circulation, and will be easy to access if you need to come in and tend to them individually. If you’re putting plants in places you won’t be able to reach, chances are they are not going to do well.

As a general rule, the more plants you grow, the more work you’ll need to put in. The easiest option is to grow one plant at a time, but you won’t end up harvesting a lot and if you kill your plant you’ll be out of luck.

Selecting a Grow Medium

The growing medium is where your plants' roots are going to develop and grow.


This one is an obvious choice since it is natural and easy to set up. You need balanced, organic living soil to get the best results. The plants rely on the nutrients in the soil to help them grow. This option is useful because it rarely requires growers to add extra nutrients to the plant.


Soil-less growth is also possible, so long as you’re keeping up with feeding nutrients to the plant. Hydroponic systems come in many different mediums, such as clay pellets, rockwool or vermiculite. With hydroponic grow mediums, users can precisely dose out nutrients to their plants, often resulting in better, healthier yields. It's for this reason that people often use hydroponics for growing clones as well.

Germinating Your Seeds

seeds germinating on paper towel iStock / LeventKonuk

You’ve selected your strain, figured out how many plants you want to grow and in what medium, and it’s now time to get the operation started. Once you have all your ducks in a row, it’s time to germinate the cannabis seeds.

Seeds require air, heat, and water to germinate, leaving growers with plenty of methods to choose from. The simplest and most common method is to use a wet paper towel and a plate or sealable container.

To germinate your seeds, you will need to wet some paper towels with plain water. Get them thoroughly soaked, without water dripping excessively. You do not want the paper towels to just be damp. Then, place the paper towels on the plate or in the container, and carefully place the seeds about an inch away from one another.

Once you’ve laid the seeds out with good distance between them, you can cover them with more wet paper towels. Then, you can place either a bowl or second plate over the plate to create a dark and contained area, or partially seal up your container (leave some airflow) and place it somewhere dark and warm.

The seeds will need to stay somewhere between 70 and 90 degrees to successfully germinate. You will know they are ready when they have sprouted. Expect anywhere from 24 hours to a few days, though some seeds will germinate more rapidly than that. You can periodically add some water to the paper towels if they dry up quickly.