How Much Weed Can You Really Produce Per Plant?
Wondering how much weed you can produce per cannabis plant? Here’s everything you need to know about the variables affecting your yield.
Cannabis growers love to boast about huge harvests, but just how much weed can inexperienced growers expect to harvest from a single plant? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at cannabis yield and what influences it, and much more.
- 1. Light and nutrients
- 2. Genetics
- 3. Medium
- 4. Indoor VS outdoor
- 5. Skill
- 6. How to estimate yield
- 7. How to improve your cannabis yield: quick tips
- 1. Light and nutrients
- 2. Genetics
- 3. Medium
- 4. Indoor VS outdoor
- 5. Skill
- 6. How to estimate yield
- 7. How to improve your cannabis yield: quick tips
YIELDS VARY… A LOT
If there’s one thing that’s certain about growing cannabis, it’s this: results vary. A lot. There are many different variables that affect your plants, their health, growth, and the amount of flower they produce. And frankly, trying to guess the size of your yield before harvest is really difficult.
Most rookie growers estimate their yield based on the height of their plants. And that makes sense—at least in theory. Unfortunately, plant size isn’t a very accurate indicator of final yield. In fact, it’s really hard to estimate the size of your yield just by looking at a single aspect of your plant (like height, for example).
Cannabis buds develop on what growers refer to as “bud sites”. These are the spots on branches where pre-flower structures form roughly 4–6 weeks into a plant’s life cycle. Once a plant enters its flowering phase, it stops dedicating its energy to developing foliage, instead focusing on producing healthy buds on these sites. How big and dense these buds become depends on a lot of different variables, including light, nutrients, genetics, substrate, and more. The size of a plant, on the other hand, says little about how many bud sites it will develop, or how big/dense its buds will be come harvest.
LIGHT AND NUTRIENTS
Light is arguably one of the most important factors affecting your yield. To maximise output, you should maximise light exposure to your plant early on by using training techniques to manipulate growth. One popular training technique is low stress training (LST), which involves bending and tying down branches to optimise light exposure and encourage a more horizontal structure. The screen of green (ScrOG) method takes this further, situating a mesh screen over plants, upon which new growth is woven in an effort to boost final yield. There are many more techniques where these came from, including high-stress tek like topping (in which the main growing tip is cut off) and defoliation, to name just a couple.
Nutrients are also really important, and you’ll want to make sure your plants always have access to the macronutrients and micronutrients they need at each stage of growth. When it comes to nutes, your plants require different ratios depending on their phase. During veg, plants require higher levels of nitrogen, whereas flowering plants require more potassium, phosphorus, and micronutrients like calcium and magnesium. In addition to the nutrients themselves, plants need to be able to uptake these nutrients to develop huge hauls of big buds. In order to do so, the pH level has to be dialled in for the type of grow you’re conducting.
Arguably the most crucial factor that determines final yield are genetics. And just like there are some strains that taste better than others, there are also those that produce better harvests than others.
Remember that cannabis strains have been bred to meet the demands of growers and consumers. And with yield being so important, there are countless strains out there that have been purposefully bred to produce numerous bud sites and develop bigger, heavier flowers. Make sure to check out some of our XL strains if you’re looking to really rake in the buds.
There are many different grow media out there, and they all have different effects on the overall yield of your plants.
While soil is easily the most common medium used to grow cannabis, hydroponic media like perlite or coco coir give growers a lot more control over the nutrient intake of their plants. And while that kind of control may be overwhelming for rookie growers, experienced growers can use it to really push their plants to the next level and produce massive yields.
INDOOR VS OUTDOOR
Whether you grow indoors or outdoors will have a big impact on your plants.
Indoor growers generally have less space to work with, which means they’ll usually grow fewer, smaller plants than someone growing outdoors. However, indoor growers also have much more control over their plants’ environment. Hence, they can play around with things like lighting, temperature, and humidity to fine-tune their growing conditions and optimise yield.
Outdoor growers, on the other hand, usually have much more space to work with than indoor growers, meaning they’ll be able to grow more plants in a single season than indoor growers. Plus, outdoor growers also have the benefit of growing under the best possible light source in the world—the sun. However, outdoor growers don’t have the same level of control over their environment, meaning their yield is subject to the season, which, depending on where you live, may be unpredictable.
This is another important factor that affects your overall yield. The more fine-tuned your skills, the more control you have over your plants. And the more control you have over your plants, the better your yield.
HOW TO ESTIMATE YIELD
While yields vary a lot, there are some ways you can get at least a rough estimate of how much weed you’ll produce.
ESTIMATING YIELD BASED ON POT SIZE
Remember that cannabis plants will only grow as large as their pots allow them to. And while size is, as we saw earlier, far from the perfect indicator of how much you’ll harvest, it can help you get a ballpark estimate of what your harvests will look like.
Ideally, you’ll want to grow in at least 18-litre pots. With this amount of soil, some decent nutrients, and some light pruning/training, you should be able to grow large, healthy plants that reach at least 90cm in height. Given they get a full 4–5 weeks of vegetative growth and solid lighting that penetrates right through to the lowest bud sites, plants of this size should be able to produce at least 100g of dry bud per plant.
ESTIMATING YIELD BASED ON LIGHTING
Some growers choose to estimate their yield based on the strength of their lamps. And while this is far from an exact science, it can be a bit more accurate than calculating your yield per plant, especially if you choose to grow multiple smaller plants, rather than just a few larger ones.
If you’re growing indoors and have at least a few harvests under your belt, you can expect to harvest roughly one gram for every watt of light. If you’re a newbie grower with little-to-no experience, expect yields of around 0.5g per watt.
GO HYDRO FOR BIGGER YIELDS
Growing hydroponically gives you a lot more control over how your plants feed. With the right equipment and experience, this can greatly improve the size and quality of your yield. Experienced hydro growers, for example, can encourage yields of up to 1.2g per watt of lighting. By this logic—and using a 600W lamp—a good hydro grower can harvest over 700 grams of bud (genetics depending)!
A NOTE ON DRY VS WET YIELD
Remember, the weight of your buds will drop dramatically after drying and curing. So don’t get too excited when you weigh your buds right after trimming. Instead, multiply your wet yield by 0.25 to get a rough estimate of how much dry bud you’ll end up with.
HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR CANNABIS YIELD: QUICK TIPS FOR GROWERS
Growing cannabis can be challenging, but there are plenty of things you can do to improve your yield as a novice grower. These include:
• Start with the right genetics. Professionally bred strains will always produce better yields than bagseed.
• Read up on training techniques. Training your plants to grow a certain way maximises their exposure to light, which will ultimately improve your yield.
• Know your nutrients. Use the info on our blog to learn more about how to use nutrients to really maximise your plants’ potential.
• Experiment. Don’t be scared to try new grow techniques and push yourself as a grower.
• Go hydro! Once you’ve got a few harvests under your belt, consider immersing yourself in the world of hydroponics, where you’ll have even more control over your plants and their growth.
• Keep growing! The more experience you have, the better you’ll get. Hence, make sure you grow consistently to hone your skills and become evermore in tune with cannabis.
Cannabis yields vary. A lot. Click here to learn more about the factors affecting your yield, and some simple tips for heavier harvests.
How Much Weed Does One Plant Produce?
There are two main goals for every cannabis grower. Obviously, they need to grow quality plants. However, they also need to grow large in terms of weight. But how much weed does one plant produce? That’s something of a loaded question. In fact, there are numerous variables that can affect how much weed a grower can harvest per plant.
Cannabis Yield: What’s On The Scale?
There’s no general rule on how much any given marijuana plant can yield. The amount of weed that an indoor grower in a Colorado warehouse gets per plant will never be the same as an outdoor grower in the northern California sun. In fact, these growers can even grow the exact same strains of marijuana and see completely different results in how much weed they get per plant. Several factors can affect plant yields – and not all of them are positive. However, if you can identify these factors, it can lead to a better understanding of how they affect the total weight of a marijuana plant. Seasoned growers know how to use these variables to grow massive buds.
High Yielding Strains
Factors Impacting Yields: The Break-Down
If a grower doesn’t maintain steady control of some of the most crucial variables in growing cannabis, they’re going to have a difficult time maintaining high-yielding harvests. If your harvests don’t bear enough weight, you may actually end up losing money paying for expenses like lighting, nutrients and growing tools that you might have used incorrectly.
Growing Indoors Vs. Outdoors
One of the first questions every grower asks themselves is whether they want to grow indoors or outdoors. There are several advantages to each technique.
When a grower cultivates indoors, they can control factors like ambient temperature and humidity more easily. With control over these kinds of variables, it’s easy for an indoor grower to significantly increase the weight of their plants.
In contrast, growing outdoors allows a grower to utilize the power of the sun. This can have a significant impact on a harvest’s yield. However, outdoor grows are vulnerable to factors like changes in weather, swings in temperature, precipitation and pest infestations. These can seriously impact cannabis yield in a negative way.
The growing medium can also change how much weed one plant will produce. There are two main types of growing media: soil and hydroponic. Growing in soil is fairly self-explanatory – each plant grows in dirt. With hydroponics, the plants are set into a water-based growing medium. Each technique has its own factors to consider:
- Easier – plant take root in soil, which buffers them against possible issues.
- Lower yields compared to hydroponic setups.
- Less forgiving than growing in soil – there’s no room for errors. Susceptible to issues in temperature, pH and TDS.
- Higher yields – hydroponic grows can increase yields by up to 20%.
One of the more obvious ways to affect how much you can get from one plant is by using nutrients. There are three main macronutrients that every cannabis plant requires: nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
Nitrogen is one of the basic building blocks of all plants. It’s important in the early stages of a plant’s lifecycle and causes its stems to stretch. Potassium and phosphorus are both important to late-stage plants. These determine how many flowers your plant grows and their size, weight and density. Understanding how these nutrients affect a plant’s growth is essential for any cannabis grower.
Lighting is a crucial factor that can have huge implications on a plant’s weight. Factors like the wattage and type of light can make the exact same plants grow in vastly different ways.
Using different lights can affect a grow’s yield. For example, LEDs, one of the most popular types of lights, yield about 0.5 grams (.017 ounces) per watt of power. In contrast, high-pressure sodium (HPS) lights, the industry standard for professional growers, can produce about one gram per watt. Therefore, under perfect conditions, an experienced grower can expect a 1000-watt HPS light to yield about 1000 grams (35 ounces). However, if you can’t afford a huge, expensive light, don’t worry – you don’t always need a massive HPS light to get a decent yield!
Number Of Plants
When a grower is trying to maximize their yield, more plants isn’t necessarily better. That might seem counter-intuitive at first. However, growing too many plants in a tight space can result in decreased ventilation, less light penetration through the canopy and increased humidity. In turn, these issues can lead to several problems that can decrease yields. For example, higher humidity encourages the growth of harmful pests, diseases and fungi that can cripple a grow’s yield. For this reason, growing 4 plants under a 600-watt HPS light can at times yield more than 16 plants under the same light.
A plant’s strain will also have a huge effect on its overall weight. While there are countless individual cannabis strains, there are few different over-arching categories these strains all fall into. They include:
- Photoperiodic strains – these types of plants generally grow taller and yield more but require a grower to change their total daily hours of light from 18 to 12 in order to make them flower. This change mirrors the natural difference between daylight hours in summer and fall.
- Autoflowers – these strains don’t require a change in light cycle. They generally grow faster than photoperiodic strains but have lower yields. They allow for more harvests in less time.
Additionally, every strain of cannabis falls into one of two main breeds: Indica and Sativa. Generally, Indica plants grow shorter and yield less than Sativas do. Sativas usually grow to be significantly taller and produce higher yields but take more time to complete their grow cycle.
One of the most often overlooked variables determining how much weed a plant can yield is a garden’s ventilation, ambient temperature and humidity. First, temperature and humidity can encourage a plant to grow taller and bigger. This, in turn, will have positive effect on yield. Additionally, every individual strain of cannabis has a temperature and humidity that it prefers. If a grower can dial in their garden’s conditions to best suit the strains they’re growing, they can encourage their plants to increase their yield.
A grower’s personal skills will also play a huge part in their grow’s total yield. A skilled grower with significant experience will be able to identify problems before they threaten their garden. Several issues, like pest infestations and nutrient deficiencies, can have a negative effect on a garden’s health and yield. This is one of the most difficult factors to affect when a grower is trying to maximize their yield. The only real way for a grower to improve their skills is through time, dedication and practice.
The Most Effective Training Techniques
There are a variety of training techniques, both advanced and beginner-friendly, that can be applied to cannabis plants in order to increase the payoff and bring the total yield as close as possible to the maximum. Dedicating time to research and perform LST (Low-Stress Training) and HST (High-Stress Training) can be a grower’s most profitable investment. These methods ensure reshaping the canopy of the plant in order to achieve an even distribution of light and multiplied bud production. Several other techniques like ScrOG, SoG and defoliation can also have a hugely positive impact on a garden’s total output.
This chart compares information reported by several growers using different environments and techniques to grow the same strains. Note how different variables can affect yields.
Wet And Dry Weed. What’s The Deal?
Even after you cut down your cannabis plants, you can still affect your yield. The way a grower dries and cures their weed can be just as important as the actual growing techniques they use. When a grower dries their weed, strict climate control is required. They need to do it slowly in a room with no lights and a temperature of 18 C (64 F). If the grower has their drying and curing techniques dialed in, their dry weight will be a mere 20 to 25% of their wet weight.
Are Maximum Yields Achievable?
If a grower has their entire grow dialed in and maximized for production, they can expect their cannabis plants to produce about one gram per watt of light. To achieve this kind of precision, many growers keep a daily journal or log to measure all of the above-mentioned factors. This important task is often forgotten, but crucial in any grow. Without a journal, a grower is essentially doing guesswork, whereas a systematic approach allows the grower to achieve maximum yield, as well as being a great way to improve experience and gather long-term knowledge.
There’s no easy way to know how much bud you’ll get from one plant. All of these variables can have huge and wide-ranging effects on your plants. However, if you learn how to control factors like growing medium, nutrients, lighting, number of plants, genetics, conditions and training techniques, you can maximize your yield effectively. Moreover, by keeping a good diary and recognizing how these factors affect your total yield, you can quickly and easily learn which variables are the most important. Don’t worry – with diligent work and practice, you too can be on your way to a gram per watt in no time!
How much yield can you get from one marijuana plant. Know more about factors that can affect how much weed a grower can harvest per plant