Coming Out of the Closet
Growing up in the SF Bay Area in the 90’s I’ve seen a lot of things. From backyard bushes to grow rooms that looked like alien scapes in the middle of busy apartment complexes. We’re talking about growing weed, of course. Being an urban grower was always a shady practice. It meant you never let your friend or landlord in unless they were “in” on your little venture. Perhaps it was a bit like having a running still in the middle of the prohibition. Except you couldn’t just take it apart and hide it because it’s a living thing that unlike a still - is quite fragile.
Forward to 2020 -
Enter the posh salons and dispensaries - some of which have either won awards for interior design or will in the near future. There are fine dispensaries in San Francisco, New York and even our nation’s capital, where stores like 420DC.com have set up shop. Weed isn’t as shady as it used to be, is it? We should take an example from our Canadian neighbors, who have been at this “legal growing thing” for a while. They made it simple to grow medicinal cannabis legally - very early on in the game. If you only like to light up now and again, and like to think of yourself as a green, earth-friendly person who loves nature and house plants, is there a way to make the humble weed plant into a design statement?
Right off the top of our heads, the answer is - no. Just because “growing” still carries the stigma of changing your closet into a hydroponic cabin, (and let’s face it - you can’t afford to evict your subletter and replace them with a plant) or making your electricity bill go through the roof, not many people try it. We were wondering if there is a neutral ground between a pro indoor grower who basks in the purple-silver light of specialized growing systems, and the average hipster plant lover who posts pictures of their favorite ferns on Instagram.
Is there a way to tame this seemingly demanding plant into low-maintenance interior design accents with an attitude? Yes! There are a few ways you can make a marijuana plant apartment decor friendly.
Image credit: Fan Ivanowa
Growing a Cannabis Plant With No Bells and Whistles
Picking the right “pot” - we have one word for you, and this is “auto flowers”. Without getting into the advanced horticulture talk, we’ll say this: did you know that growers have to worry about how much light their plants are getting and that they control this amount so that the pot plant will start to flower? You don’t want to worry about all that. Choosing an “autoflower” strain will ensure that your plant will go into the flowering stage with age, not with the amount of light that it’s given. Stick with Sativa, because Indica tends to grow tall and proud.
What if you just want to have a nice houseplant that has the “doubletake” effect on your guests? Picture prominent display space, a designer pot, Some people love a horticulture challenge, and they will keep their cannabis plant much like one would a bonsai.
This is doable, but then your plant will be there as a pretty ornament only - and that’s ok! After all, not many indoor plants make it to their full fruiting and flowering potential. Think about it. You might have a few cacti, but will all of them bloom? Have you ever seen a ficus or monstera sprouting flowers? If you have, you’re lucky! If you treat your cannabis like a houseplant, you will probably have the same problem. It takes a lot of care to make a plant flower, especially indoors.
Growing and Trimming
Try to imagine the shape you’d like your plant to be and stick with it. We know it can hurt to cut off a growing stem, but “topping” has to be performed in order to keep your plant small. “Topping” simply means cutting off the main stem of the cannabis plant, so that it spends its energy on growing outside branches. Once these get too long or too tall, trim them as well.
This will result in a nice, thick and bushy potted plant. Be careful about trimming too often and too much though - this isn’t like cutting your hair. Think of it more like gradual body modification. It hurts and it takes time to heal.
Can you grow weed without additional light? Yes - not many people will tell you that. The biggest difference between growing a “normal houseplant” to a potted cannabis plant is the ever-present annoying grow lights. Nothing says “breaking bad hippie style” more than the alien glow of LEDs. Most articles are aimed at optimal growth that gives you the absolute best harvest, but we can all agree that growing tents aren’t going to get you any decorating points. Of course, your yields won’t be as high as if you were using those fancy LED lights, but if you’re just growing “for fun” and not waiting impatiently with a harvest basket in hand - don’t worry. Your plant will survive and be happy if it gets plenty of natural light from a window. Remember that these plants thrived long before there was any electricity - they’ll do just fine. The main reason for these plants to be grown in closed spaces with no natural light in the first place is that they had to be hidden from prying eyes!
Watering and fertilizer
People who grow outside have all sorts of crazy fertilizer tea recipes that include fermenting green matter. This is great for outdoors, and only if your neighbors live far away. Let’s face it - fermented plant matter stinks to high heaven.
Indoors, a lot of growers who plant with a harvest in mind use hydroponics - not the best option for people who just want a pretty potted plant. When you grow “au naturale”, fertilizer needs to be easy to apply and odor-free.
There is a number of great ready-to-go organic supplements for growers who love to get their hands dirty, and a lot of those available for hydroponic installations. Keep in mind that a lot of nutrients that pop up for cannabis are for hydroponics - make sure you purchase soil nutrients for your potted plants.
Because a cannabis plant can make quite a statement, we recommend putting it in a creative pot to highlight its design potential. There are many pots that will be reminiscent of the plant’s intended use - we particularly like head-shaped pots for smaller plants or painted terracotta pots for the larger bush. There are a lot of pots out there with geometric patterns, and these also do the trick. Natural hemp-woven baskets also make a deep statement about renewability, repurposing and the use of natural resources.
About the author:
Agata Pona is a creative writer for a number of nature magazines and publications. She has a background in biology as well as fine arts, and she loves merging the two subjects whenever she can. A native of the SF Bay Area, she now lives in Poznań, Poland.
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