Each variety of hemp plants is predisposed to produce a certain amount of marijuana due to genetic factors.
But while some have an excellent yield (some types can reach up to 1,500 grams per plant!), others need a lot of attention to get decent results, and some are inevitably not very productive.
In this article, we will look at the most important factors that guarantee a good yield from a cannabis plant, including soil quality, available space, lighting and variety.
How much can a hemp plant produce?
In reality, it is not easy to answer this question directly and universally because there are so many factors involved.
To a reasonable degree of approximation, let’s say that a cannabis plant can produce between 0 and 1,500 grams of marijuana.
But, as we said earlier, there are several factors on which the productivity of the plant can depend, such as:
- the type (i.e. whether you choose to grow cannabis Sativa or cannabis indica);
- the composition of the soil, the nutrients and the use of fertilisers;
- the hours of exposure to light (by exploiting the photosynthesis phenomenon, the plants undoubtedly need it; for indoor cannabis cultivation, LED lamps are recommended);
- whether you choose to grow auto-flowering or photoperiodic cannabis plants;
- whether you opt for indoor or outdoor cultivation;
- last but not least, the productivity of a plant depends on the skill of its grower.
The aim now is to look at two of the most critical factors: soil composition (and therefore the importance of nutrients) and indoor/outdoor cultivation.
Productivity of marijuana plants: The importance of soil and nutrients
Let’s say right from the start that the marijuana plant needs three macronutrients to be cultivated
and various micronutrients such as calcium, iron, sulphur, magnesium, zinc etc.
The amount of these substances is altered according to the plant’s growth phase: in other words, if it is in the vegetative stage, for example, it will need more nitrogen and potassium than if it is flowering.
This is where the skill and professionalism of the grower come in: knowing what the plant needs at each stage is essential for good performance. Over-fertilisation is a mistake that should be avoided like an iceberg: the aim is to meet the plant’s needs without ‘loading’ it with substances it does not need.
There are particular compounds on the market with all the substances your seedling needs to avoid making mistakes.
However, a few words must be said about auto-flowering plants because they require different attention. Unlike other species, they need fewer nutrients and prefer softer soil with more air circulation.
Indoor or outdoor growing? The differences for a good yield from your cannabis plant
Determining the productivity of a marijuana plant is not easy, and there are no mathematically specific answers. However, it is possible to present an estimate by considering a few parameters that can influence the yield.
- More water, more maintenance.
Having small plants makes it easier for novice growers to control them. But, on the other hand, the larger they are, the greater their need for water and nutrients. So let’s say that the ideal size is around one metre in height.
Undoubtedly, a large plant can take up a space that would be difficult to manage indoors; to make it perform at its best, experienced growers carry out what is known as a training process.
The issue of space is one of the reasons why the productivity of an indoor-grown cannabis plant is measured in g/sqm.
- Lighting and wattage.
Lighting plays a key role in the growth and good performance of the plant. To date, LED lamps are the most recommended because of their excellent performance. In addition, they can be used with low wattage and do not overheat immediately, so they are preferable to CFL or HPS lights.
According to various growers, you can hope to get 0.5-1 g of cannabis with one watt of light.
- The size of the pots.
Growing plants in a large enough container can promote good plant profitability by stimulating growth. So instead of transferring the plant every time it has reached a size where it needs a larger pot, it is better to cut the bull’s eye and choose one that allows the roots to expand with confidence.
As a guideline, if your plant is around 90 cm, you can opt for an 11-litre pot.
- The availability of space.
If you have plenty of space available, you can decide to do two things: have more plants or choose to continue growing the ones you have. If they are well fed and watered, they can increase considerably to need plenty of space for a good yield.
Finally, make sure that the temperature and lighting are satisfactory for each specimen: you wouldn’t want one of them to be left in the dark and stop producing flowers!
Unlike the previous situation where we talked about indoor growing when it comes to outdoor growing, the scenario is quite different: the plants will have more space and light and, therefore, a higher level of yield (under optimal conditions).
Precisely because there are no space problems, it is advisable to use pots of at least 25 litres so that the plants can grow freely and reach a considerable size.
The size of the pot is not a sign of good or bad yield because the most critical aspects are light and the supply of the proper nutrients. In addition, as mentioned above, a large pot stimulates the plant’s growth and encourages the free development of the roots.
At this point, it is worth considering the type of plant you choose to grow. For example, auto-flowering plants typically grow faster than photoperiodic plants; to be precise, auto-flowering plants take two-thirds as long to mature as photoperiodic plants.
What’s more, while photoperiodic plants flower in the summer and offer just one harvest, autoflowering plants can offer up to three consecutive harvests!
However, auto flowering has roughly equal yields indoors and outdoors, while photoperiodic tend to be more productive when grown outdoors.
In this article, we have seen that the productivity of a cannabis plant is not an objective and certain fact, but that there are several elements involved.
In summary, the following are essential:
- The type of plant chosen
- The constitution of the soil
- The supply of nutrients
- The amount of water
- The lighting
- The availability of space (i.e. indoor/outdoor cultivation) and the skill of the grower
Growing legal cannabis in countries where it is permitted by law is a delicate and complex practice that requires a great deal of knowledge and experience. When combined with the right products, it can lead to an excellent yield.