Harvesting Cannabis

Cultivating Cannabis at Home: Unraveling the Factors That Influence Yield

Cultivating Cannabis at Home

As the decriminalization and legalization of cannabis spread across states, a rising number of individuals are exploring their horticultural prowess by cultivating their own cannabis at home. The majority of states with legalized cannabis permit an individual to grow up to six plants at home, with the total number of plants per household capped at twelve, although this varies from state to state.

Cannabis Starting to Flower

But what does this equate to in terms of actual consumable product? What quantity of dried, smokable buds does this translate to? One ounce? A pound, perhaps two? The challenge lies in the fact that not all cannabis plants are identical in size, and a multitude of variables can influence both the overall size of the plant and the density of its buds.

Let’s dive into these factors and discuss the harvesting process to approximate the amount of cannabis you can expect from a single plant.

Yield estimates per cannabis plant are highly variable due to a myriad of factors influencing the plant’s growth. Generally speaking, however, with a well-nurtured plant, the following yields could be expected:

Outdoor plant: approximately half a pound or around 224 grams of buds.

Indoor plant: roughly a quarter pound or about 112 grams of buds.

Note that these are mere estimates. Outdoor plants, unhampered by spatial constraints, can grow to be quite substantial, yielding closer to a pound or more per plant.

When cultivating cannabis at home indoors, space and lighting power are usually limiting factors. Plants cannot grow as large in a grow tent as they can in an expansive, open basement, for example. Using a 200W Black Dog LED light, we were able to harvest 150g from a single indoor plant. This particular light model caps at about half a pound or 224g of buds.

Moreover, these estimates presuppose healthy plants. Plants that become nutrient-deficient, infested with pests, or subjected to inadequate lighting will yield significantly less.

Regardless of your plant’s final size, you’ll probably end up with more flower than you anticipated. Many growers reserve a portion of the flower for personal use, while the remaining harvest is often used for the production of edibles, concentrates, and other cannabis products.

Factors contribute to cannabis plants yield chart

Consider your personal consumption rate. As a reference point, a gram usually makes about two medium joints or 3-4 bowls. Based on the aforementioned yield estimate of a quarter lb. (or 112 grams) for a medium-to-large-sized indoor plant, if you consume a gram daily, a single plant could potentially last you approximately four months.

Knowing your consumption rate can guide you in deciding how many plants to grow. If cultivating indoors, it’s possible to maintain a continual cycle of growth by growing, harvesting, and planting one plant at a time.

Outdoor cultivation generally allows for a single annual harvest. Always verify your local legal limitations on the number of plants you can grow at home.

Much like any other crop, the weight of dried buds harvested from a cannabis plant is referred to as its yield. The objective in growing cannabis, as with any other crop, is to achieve high yields of quality buds. Accomplishing both requires a bit of practice.

Flowing Cannabis before harvesting

The harvested weight of a cannabis plant will decrease by about 75% due to moisture loss and the removal of stems, branches, leaves, and trim. Consequently, if you have a freshly harvested plant weighing three pounds, the yield of usable buds will be closer to ¾ lb.

A larger plant doesn’t necessarily guarantee larger yields as the buds could be spindly and sparse. Conversely, a moderately-sized plant boasting quality, dense nuggets could yield more than a larger plant. If you’re growing multiple plants, ensure they have ample space to avoid shading each other, which could lead to diminished yields.

Several primary factors contribute to a cannabis plant’s yield:

  • Strain/Genetics
  • Grow duration
  • Light exposure
  • Climate
  • Soil type/amount

Each of these factors plays a pivotal role in determining the final yield and should be considered carefully in planning and executing cultivating cannabis at home.

How much bud from one weed plant?

Drying Cannabis Harvest at Home

The yield of bud you can expect from a single cannabis plant is contingent on several factors, such as the strain of cannabis, the growing conditions, and your level of cultivation expertise.

  1. Strain: Indica strains typically yield more than Sativa strains. Autos can yield up to 2 ounces per plant under ideal conditions, while photos can yield 16 ounces or more.
  2. Growing conditions: Indoor growers using a hydroponic system can yield up to 1.5g per watt of light. So, if you’re using a 600W HPS lamp, you could yield up to 900g or 31.5 oz from one plant, provided everything else is done perfectly.
  3. Cultivation expertise: A novice grower with basic gardening skills can expect a yield of 1 to 2 ounces per plant. With more experience comes larger yield, and with professional growers yielding 16 ounces (1 pound) or more per plant.

However, to achieve the highest possible yield, you need to optimize several variables in your growing process. These include:

  • Light intensity and duration: More light typically means more bud. Ensure your cannabis plants get 18-24 hours of light per day in the vegetative stage, and 12 hours of light during the flowering stage.
  • Nutrients: Cannabis plants require a variety of nutrients to grow. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (N-P-K) are the primary nutrients. They also require secondary nutrients and trace elements.
  • Water: Your cannabis plants need the right amount of water. Overwatering or underwatering can stunt growth and reduce yield.
  • Temperature and humidity control: Cannabis prefers a slightly humid environment (40% – 70% relative humidity) and temperatures between 20 – 30°C (68 – 86°F).
  • Pruning and training: Techniques such as low stress training (LST), high stress training (HST), topping, and defoliation can control plant shape and size, improving light exposure and potentially increasing yield.

It’s also worth noting that the legal limit for growing cannabis at home, in some regions, is determined by plant count, not yield. For instance, in your home province in, Canada, you are legally allowed to grow up to four plants per residence for personal use.

Remember, cultivating cannabis at home involves a learning curve. Over time, as you gain more experience and fine-tune your garden, you can expect to see increases in your overall yield. It’s always recommended to stay updated with the latest cultivation techniques, and I’m here to assist with any questions you may have along the way.

Factors that determine a weed plant’s yield

Cultivating Cannabis at Home Alien Genetics

The yield of a cannabis plant is not a fixed quantity and is determined by several factors. Let’s delve into the specifics:

  1. Strain: The genetics of your cannabis plant can significantly impact your yield. Indica strains are typically bushier and can produce more bud than Sativa strains, which grow taller with buds more spread out. Additionally, some strains are simply genetically predisposed to produce more bud.
  2. Lighting: The amount and quality of light your cannabis plant receives is crucial to its yield. The plant’s energy source for growth and budding is light, and inadequate lighting can lead to reduced yield. Indoor growers often use high-intensity discharge lamps (HID), while outdoor growers rely on the sun.
  3. Nutrition: Providing your cannabis plant with the right balance of nutrients is critical. Key nutrients include Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P), and Potassium (K), but secondary nutrients and micronutrients are also important. Over or under-feeding nutrients can harm your plant and reduce yield.
  4. Growing medium: Your choice of soil, hydroponics, or other mediums like coco coir can affect yield. Some mediums, such as hydroponics, can deliver nutrients more directly to the plant’s roots, potentially leading to larger yields.
  5. Watering: Both overwatering and underwatering can hinder your plant’s growth and reduce yield. The right amount of water ensures your plant can absorb nutrients effectively.
  6. Temperature and humidity: Cannabis plants thrive in specific temperature and humidity ranges. Ideally, the temperature should be between 20-30°C (68-86°F), and the relative humidity should be around 40-70% in the vegetative stage and around 40-50% in the flowering stage.
  7. Plant training: Techniques such as topping, low-stress training (LST), and high-stress training (HST) can control the shape and size of your plant, ensuring more even light distribution and potentially increasing yield.
  8. Harvest time: Harvesting too early can reduce your yield, while harvesting too late can affect the quality of your buds. You’ll need to carefully watch for the signs that your plant is ready to harvest.
  9. Experience and skill of the grower: Cultivating cannabis is a skill that’s honed over time. Novice growers can expect smaller yields, but as you gain experience and knowledge, your yield will likely improve.

Each of these factors plays a crucial role in the final yield when cultivating cannabis at home, and small adjustments in any of these areas can significantly impact the final results. It’s a delicate balancing act that comes with experience and constant learning.

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