Budget Buds: Grow Weed Indoors for Less Than $200!
In states such as Oregon and Colorado, the cost of cannabis is decreasing as the enormous supply outstrips demand. We have heard of several locations selling marijuana for less than $100 an ounce. Moreover, it is reasonable, mid-grade weed. However, not everyone lives close to a dispensary that offers the herb at an affordable price. For most people, they are looking at $250+ per ounce.
If you are a casual user, an ounce will probably last a considerable period. Those who use cannabis regularly and medical patients may require significantly more. Suddenly, they are facing a bill of hundreds of dollars every month. There is great news if you live in a state where it is legal to cultivate at home. The price of growing marijuana has dropped significantly. Instead of paying a grand or more to get started, you can get a few ounces per harvest at the cost of below $200. This guide shows you how.
Things You Need When Growing Marijuana Indoors
A basic setup includes:
- Grow light
- Growing medium
- Plant containers
- A small space to grow your cannabis
Not Strictly ‘Essential’
- A fan for air circulation*
- Thermostat/hygrometer combination
- A timer for your lights
*Plenty of growers would disagree and say a fan is essential.
You could also invest in a small grow tent or reflective walls. However, this additional equipment will likely take you over the $200. Let’s go through each aspect of the above to get a ‘ballpark’ estimate.
One of the biggest mistakes new cannabis growers make is to try and save a few bucks when buying seeds. This is the one area you can’t cut corners with. It is also needless because you can get decent quality seeds for a reasonable price in any case. Look for autoflowering genetics because they keep the total grow time to below ten weeks from seed to harvest (less than eight in some cases.)
You will save money on electricity and nutrients for starters due to the short 2-3-week vegetative stage. Also, the standard of autos has increased significantly in recent years. Autos are also compact and require minimal space to grow. There are lots of online stores that sell 3 seeds for $29 or 5 seeds for $49. Search a little more, and you’re sure to find even better deals.
Incidentally, you should learn how to clone plants. This process means that you can use clippings of your existing plants to grow new ones. You no longer need to buy seeds, unless you want to try a new strain.
Total Cost – $29
This is another aspect of growing that it pays to invest in. Experienced cultivators know that the more powerful the light, the greater the yield, up to a point. If you want to save on electricity, LED lighting is your best option. These grow lights also provide a fuller light spectrum to help your plants grow. There are also HPS and HID light options that won’t break the bank.
When choosing lighting, you must also consider the size of your grow space. As a general rule of thumb, you should have four square feet per plant. If you buy three seeds, that means you need 12 square feet of space. You probably won’t require as much space if you are growing autos, however.
Another ‘tried and trusted,’ if vague, calculation is to assume you can produce a gram of marijuana per watt of light. Some autos yield up to 500 grams per square meter, which equates to 10.76 square feet. In any case, you can find 600W HPS lights for around $86 online. If money is tight, you can drop to $70 for a 150W light, though it doesn’t provide the same value. Indeed, you will get perhaps 4-5 ounces with the 150W light but 20+ with a 600W option, or 10+ if you pay for a 300W light.
We have also spotted several LED lights, from 300W to 600W, for under $100.
Total Cost – $89
Pots for the Plants
You will require different-sized pots for your plants as they grow. In general, autos won’t need more than a 1.5 – 2.5-gallon pot when they reach maturity. If you grow ‘regular’ plants, you may want 5-gallon pots or even larger when they are flowering. You can find individual pots for as little as $0.50. Therefore, you don’t need to spend more than a few bucks.
Total Cost – $5
You must purchase a high-quality organic potting mix. Fortunately, standard garden-variety soil with added nutrients is more than enough. In general, two quarts is enough per one-gallon pot. You should find up to 16 quarts for approximately $20. This is ample soil for three x 2.5-gallon pots, and plenty for our small grow.
Total Cost – $20
It is debatable whether you need to spend any money on nutrients if you already have a high-quality organic potting mix! However, if your plants show any nutrient deficiency, you may regret not having a back-up plan. You will find plenty of options online from brands such as Dyna-Gro. An 8-ounce container is sufficient and relatively cheap.
Total Cost – $10-$20
Though these are not ‘essential,’ the following can help you enjoy a successful harvest:
- A fan
- A timer
Air circulation is essential, no matter how small your crop is. As your lights are continually releasing heat, the temperature of the room is likely to rise. Also, your plants transpire daily. Therefore, it is essential to ensure fresh air is continuously flowing in the room. If you are stuck for cash, you can find cheap second-hand intake and exhaust fans. It is also possible to create a DIY carbon filter to mask the smell of cannabis.
The thermostat/hygrometer combination measures heat and humidity. If you allow the temperature and moisture to go out of their ideal ranges, your plants could experience problems. The timer is necessary to control the lighting in your room. It enables you to ‘set and forget.’
Total Cost – $40
Overall Total Cost – $193-$203
The above is a rough estimate, and you may find even better deals. Conversely, you may live somewhere that doesn’t provide these offers. In any case, growing cannabis for under $200 is theoretically possible. However, you also have to consider electricity costs. It is possible to ‘get away with’ no more than an extra $10-15 per month. For a two-month autoflowering crop, that’s a maximum of $30. It may prove significantly cheaper, depending on the type of lighting used and the deal you have with your utility company.
You may also elect to purchase a pH meter, and reflective walls or a grow tent if you have a little extra money to spend. The pH meter ensures that your flowers remain in the 5.8-6.5 range that is suitable for most cannabis strains. You can create ‘reflective walls’ using sheets of mylar or even by painting your walls white!
Finding a Space to Grow Your Cannabis Indoors
Those willing to spend more money may decide to invest in a grow tent. It is a convenient location that enables you to keep the crop under control. When choosing a tent, you must also take into account the likely final height of the plants. There is a wide selection of autoflowering strains that remain below three feet in height. Examples include Rhino Ryder, Fastberry, and Grapefruit.
This means you need 4 x 3 x 3 feet of space or 36 cubic feet in total. Yet when growing autoflowering plants, you only need enough space for three x 2.5-gallon pots. As a result, you don’t require four square feet per pot, after all! There are numerous grow tents easily capable of fitting more than three auto plants, and they cost around $60.
Otherwise, you’ll need to be creative when finding a place to grow. In theory, you can cultivate your plants in any location that enables you to hang the grow lights. You also require access to air and fresh water. Therefore, you can put your plants in one of the following places:
- Spare bathroom
- Spare room
We have read about some great innovations when it comes to finding a suitable spot. No matter where you choose, make sure you have a means of measuring the temperature and humidity.
It’s Time to Grow!
Believe it or not, once you have all the necessary equipment setup, the process of growing cannabis isn’t that challenging. As long as you are prepared to check your crop regularly for signs of trouble, you shouldn’t have many problems. If you see that something is amiss, you can always check online for troubleshooting guides. Check out our beginner’s guide to growing cannabis indoors for more information.
If you have a grow tent, it is time to follow the setup instructions. Hang your grow light and fill your plants with the soil. We recommend switching on the lights up to 24 hours before seed germination. Keep the temperature between 70 – 85-degrees Fahrenheit during the day. The humidity level should be lowered slightly as the plant gets older. Begin with 60-70% and gradually reduce it.
Here is a quick outline of what to expect when you grow marijuana:
- Germination: It is wise to grow one extra seed in case there is a dud. If you buy three seeds, it is okay if only two of them make it to the vegetative stage. We have a guide on how to germinate seeds that’s worth reading.
- Vegetative Stage: One of the many great things about autos is that the vegetative stage is 2-3 weeks. At this point, make sure you water your plants regularly and add some nutrients if necessary. When in doubt, give your crop half the recommended nutrient dose as stated on the package. If you have a little growing experience, you may want to try a plant training method to boost yields.
- Flowering Stage: Autos begin flowering within a few weeks of germination. Otherwise, you need to switch the lighting to a 12/12 cycle. You can reduce the level of nutrients and monitor your crop closely. When your plants begin blooming, make sure the plants are only growing white hairs at their joints. It proves that the plants are female and creating buds. If you spot bunches of little balls and no hairs, it means you have a male plant. Remove from the room before it pollinates the females!
- Harvest Time: When at least 70% of the pistils begin turning a dark color and start curling in, you can get ready to harvest. You will get more accurate results by using a magnifying glass and checking the trichomes. These glittering beauties turn cloudy at the point of the buds reaching the greatest potency level.
- Dry & Cure: Hang the buds up to dry for a few days, and cure them in mason jars. You can read this guide to drying and curing cannabis buds for more information.
Final Thoughts on Growing Budget Buds
It doesn’t cost a small fortune to get started. Indeed, you can grow a handful of plants for under $200. The size of your yield depends on a myriad of factors. First of all, genetics plays a significant role. An Afghan auto strain, for example, could yield up to 17 ounces of bud per square meter.
However, this will only happen if you spend extra on high-quality lighting and have enough space for the plants to grow. You must also embrace ‘training techniques’ to maximize yield and potency. If you are intent on producing a crop for under $200, likely, the yield will not exceed 4-5 ounces, and that is if you have some experience. Even so, most users would suggest that $40-50 an ounce is a good deal!
Once you have a few grows under your belt, you can perhaps save extra cash to try and cultivate a larger crop. Plenty of cannabis growers are capable of producing 50+ ounces, though the cost of their setup is many times higher than your budget attempt!
Growing cannabis indoors doesn't need to cost a fortune. In fact, you could do it for under $200! Learn how in our complete guide.
What You Need To Grow Weed Indoors Cheap
Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. more info
So, you want to start your own little indoor cannabis grow op, but you don’t want to invest too much money into it. Maybe you are a beginner and just don’t want to invest too much in the first round, or maybe you are on a limited budget.
Sure, you could grow weed and have a setup worth thousands of dollars no problem, and yes, the quality will probably be out of this world. The bottom line is that you can get away with spending just a couple hundred dollars to start a cheap indoor grow op.
Here is a quick list of what you need to grow weed indoors cheap;
- Decent space for growing.
- Reflective materials.
- Grow lights.
- Decent soil.
- Planters & buckets.
- A Thermometer & Hygrometer.
- pH Testing Kit & pH Altering Liquids
- A fan (we have reviewed our favorite ones here).
- Plant Nutrients
- Most importantly, the seeds!
Yeah, the results probably won’t be as good as with a costly professional setup, but it is still possible to grow weed indoors for cheap and still get a decent result. (here is an idea of how much all the equipment costs individually).
10 Things You Need To Grow Weed Indoors Cheap
There are 10 main things that you are going to need in order to grow weed indoors on a limited budget.
Let’s go over the 10 things you need to grow weed with a limited amount of cash indoors.
1. A Decent Space
The first thing you will need in order to start a fairly cheap indoor cannabis grow op is a good space. Now, many people who grow indoors resort to using a grow tent, as they come complete with vents and racks for lights, plus reflective materials too.
Yes, a weed grow tent is very convenient for many reasons, especially when it comes to keeping the smell in and keeping pests out. Although you can find pretty inexpensive small grow tents, you are still looking at $100 at the least.
If you want to grow weed indoors and avoid this cost, you need to find yourself a good closet. Keep in mind that a single weed plant will need around 2.5 x 2.5 feet, or ideally, more like 3 x 3 feet to be comfy.
Therefore, how many weed plants you can grow in a closet will be determined by the size of the closet, and to a certain extent, the strain of weed you are looking to grow. Some cannabis strains grow taller than wide, and some stay short but get really bushy.
Simply put, a closet in your home is already there and totally free to use, but you will need to outfit it with reflective materials, which we are about to get to.
2. Reflective Materials – Aluminum Foil
The next important thing that you will need to grow weed indoors cheap is some kind of reflective material. You need reflective materials in order to increase light reflection in the grow space.
The more reflective materials you have, the more light gets reflected at the cannabis plants, especially from the sides. This is important because generally speaking, the more light you can beam at your pot plants, the better off you will be.
Some people use those car reflectors which people use to keep the sun out of their cars on a hot summer day, but even those can be pretty pricey.
The best, easiest, and cheapest option to go with here is some good old aluminum foil. Depending on how big your grow room is, you might need a few rolls of aluminum foil. Keep in mind that there are thin foils and thick foils.
You will want to go with some pretty thick aluminum foil because it is much more durable than the thin stuff, but it really does not cost a lot more. With $15 or $20, you can outfit a whole grow room with enough tin foil to last the season. Keep in mind that you will need high quality tape to put the foil up with.
Personally, last time we did this, we just used a staple gun to outfit our closet with reflective aluminum foil. Do also keep in mind that the more reflective your grow room is, the less money you will have to spend on a powerful grow light.
3. A Grow Light – Fluorescent or LED
One of the most important things that you will need in order to grow weed indoors on a limited budget is a decent grow light.
Now, cannabis plants do need high quality light and they need a fair amount of it. The lights might just be the most expensive part of this whole project, but if you choose wisely, you can get away with spending just a little cash, and still get some pretty decent results.
Professional cannabis growers will usually use HID lights, as they are the best, produce the most light, and provide the best cannabis results. However, these are super expensive and cost a lot to set up.
With that being said, the cheapest light bulbs are of course incandescent bulbs, but these are subpar, they do not put out enough light, and will not provide good results (we have covered our favorite 1000W bulbs here).
Your best option to go with here, in terms of an affordable grow light is either a small LED light setup or a fluorescent light setup. Now, fluorescent lights are the least expensive option to go with that can provide decent results, but beware that these produce on average 0.25 grams of bud per watt.
On the other hand, while LED lights are a bit more expensive (not by too much), they can produce twice the amount of bud per wattage output.
A problem with LED lights however is that they may need to be kept up to 30 inches away from your plants, which can cause issues depending on your groom room. You can probably get away with spending something like $50 on a low grade fluorescent setup.
4. Some Decent Soil
The next thing that you will need to get to grow cannabis indoors for a limited price is soil. There is simply no getting around the fact that you will need high quality soil (we have covered a massive guide here on the right soil to use).
The good thing here is that high quality gardening and potting soil really does not cost that much either way. You could get a low grade bag of mediocre soil for $5, or you could spend something like $12 for a bag of high quality soil.
Here, you do need to pay attention to the iron, magnesium, and nitrogen content of the soil, as these are all nutrients which weed plants need for growth.
We would not recommend cheaping out here, as the quality of the soil used for cannabis growth is going to make a heck of a big difference when it comes to the final result.
A single 20 pound bag of soil is generally enough to grow 1 plant with ease, and depending on the size of your buckets, could even stretch as far as 2 plants.
5. Planters & Buckets
Next, you are going to need some planters and buckets to grow the weed in. You can find these for cheap at your local hardware, gardening, or weed grow store (grow bags are good too, more on those here).
You will need a small planter for the seedlings, just a few hundred milliliters will do for a seedling. However, you will need to transfer the seedling to a 1.5 gallon bucket once it starts to grow past 6 inches in height, and once it reaches about 1.5 feet in height, you will need to perform a final transplant to a 3 or 4 gallon bucket.
It is important to note that you do not want to start out with the biggest bucket or planter right away. Keeping a weed plant in smaller containers or buckets allows a strong and dense root system to form.
In a smaller bucket or planter, the root system stays compact and strong, but if you put a seedling in a 4 gallon bucket right away, the roots will keep growing outwards until they reach the edge of the bucket, which results in a weaker root system.
Don’t worry though, because even with 3 different sizes of buckets or planters per cannabis plant, you are looking at $15 at the most. As long as they don’t crack from the weight of the soil, you don’t need to go for super high quality buckets.
6. A Thermometer & Hygrometer
What you will definitely need to grow weed successfully indoors is a thermometer and a hygrometer, or a combination unit that includes both.
Having the right temperature is very important for cannabis growth, which is where the thermometer comes into play. Moreover, the right humidity level for weed growth is also very important, which is where the hygrometer comes into play (hygrometers measure humidity).
This is going to cost you a little bit, as high quality units, especially combo units, are not exactly cheap. For a decent hygrometer and thermometer combination unit, you are looking at spending around $40 or $50.
Sure, you can get one of these for as little as $20, but always keep in mind that you get what you pay for, and quality costs money.
7. pH Testing Kit & pH Altering Liquids
Something you will need to get to grow weed indoors is a pH testing kit. Now, some people think that they can get away without one of these, but those people are wrong.
Making sure that the soil your cannabis plant is in, as well as the water you feed it, have the proper pH level, is essential to its health, survival, and the bud you are looking to grow.
The pH level needs to be quite specific for weed growth, and the only way to know where you stand is with a test kit. You can try going for a cheap pH strip test kit. These usually come with a few dozen test strips, but they are not always 100% accurate, and they really only work for the water, but not the soil.
With that said, these are better than nothing and can be purchased for $10 or less. The better way to go is with an electronic pH testing pen, which is a bit more expensive, sometimes as much as $50, but they are much more accurate and can be used to test the soil.
Either way, chances are that you will need some pH altering liquids, either to increase or decrease the pH level. Both bottles of this stuff can usually be found for under $20.
8. Some Kind Of Fan Or Ventilation (You Might Need A Heater Too)
Pot plants do need a light breeze going most of the time. Moreover, ventilation and airflow help to regulate temperature and humidity, plus a bit of a breeze helps keep various pests away too.
Worst case scenario, if you really do not want to spend much, a cheap $15 fan from your local convenience, hardware, or appliance store will do fine. However, once again, keep in mind that you get what you pay for.
Personally, even going the cheap way, we would recommend setting aside maybe $40 for a half decent fan, just because you don’t want the motor to die out on you halfway through the season. Either way, a little fan is going to be necessary, especially if your grow room gets really hot.
On a side note, if you are growing weed and the temperature is too cold, you may also want to invest in a small space heater. Now, whatever you do here, make sure to get a reliable model that is known for safety.
You don’t want to cheap out here and buy a heater that is going to end up burning your house down because it overheats and catches fire.
9. Plant Nutrients
Something that you will definitely need are nutrients for your plants (we have covered a helpful buyers guide here). Now, you might not need any nutrients for the first month, especially if you got high quality soil that came loaded with the necessary nutrients for weed growth.
However, either way, good soil or not, at some point you are going to need plant nutrients, plain and simple.
Keep in mind that cannabis plants require different levels of various nutrients for the vegetative state and the flowering state.
You cannot feed weed plants the same nutrients throughout all growth stages. This will not produce good results. You should be able to find decent weed plant nutrients for all stages of growth for about $40.
10. The Seeds Of Course
If it was not already obvious, you will need the actual cannabis seeds to start growing plants. If there is one single thing we would recommend not going the cheap route on, it would be the seeds.
Generally speaking, the cheapest seeds will run you about $40 for a pack of 5, but these might be duds and they probably are not feminized.
If you want to get high quality seeds from a good strain, and you want them to be feminized, be prepared to spend between $60 and $80 for a pack of 5. No, weed seeds usually never come in singles (you can buy these online, via seed banks).
What’s The Minimum Amount Of Money I Can Get Away With?
Ok, so if we do the math here, if you go really cheap, and only buy the least expensive necessities from each category we discussed above, you should be able to get away with spending $250 on all of your grow equipment.
Do keep in mind that this is the absolute minimum though, but if you are looking for really good results, be prepared to spend more like $350 when initially setting up an indoor cannabis grow up. It is worth noting that a startup cost only happens once though.
Fans, lights, reflective materials, and even buckets, plus of course your thermometers can be reused. So, once you have the grow room set up the first time, you will barely need to buy anything for round 2.
Yes, setting up an indoor cannabis grow op is not exactly cheap, even if you go the cheapest route possible, but you can grow your own weed, you can choose the strain, and once the initial setup has been paid for, most of the equipment is there to stay.
If you ask any weed grower, they will tell you that it is an investment and it will pay off big time in the long run.
There we have it folks, everything you need to grow weed indoors cheap. No, it is not exactly super cheap per say, but most of the weed grow accessories and equipment will last a while and can be reused, such as planters and buckets, grow lights, fans, and other such things.
Personally, we would not recommend going the super cheap route, because the equipment may be substandard and the results you achieve might be subpar as well. You are absolutely better off spending a couple hundred dollars extra and getting solid and durable equipment, and of course, this will result in much better weed too.
A list of the 10 essentials of what you need to grow weed indoors cheap, if you need an idea of cost and a checklist then this article will help you.