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1. How Much Does it Cost to Grow Weed?

Growing cannabis is, without the slightest sliver of a doubt, one of the most satisfying journeys for any weed lover. Even if you have zero interest in other forms of horticulture, the act of growing your own top-shelf, sugar-coated, dank-as-the-day-is-long bud is a truly special experience – and hard to fully describe to people who have never had the chance.

But, depending on the cultivation route you decide to travel along, the hobby can quickly become a bit of a wallet drainer. That’s not to say that every form of cannabis cultivation will eat up your bank account, but certain forms of growing, such as larger-scale indoor hydroponic cultivation, often require more resources and, ultimately, deeper pockets.

What we are going to focus on today is an estimate of what the average hobby or home grower, that is just starting out (and looking to grow around 4 to 6 plants), should expect to pay when wanting to grow their own premium bud. We will run through a few different cultivation techniques, from cheap and cheerful outdoor setups to more complicated indoor hydroponic systems, and try to give you a rough idea of what your bank account might be in for.

Keep in mind that this is just a general guide and that you can always spend more (or less) by changing up options and the style of cultivation.

So let’s get started!

What Do You Need To Start A Cannabis Grow?

Before we get into the actual costings for the different styles of cannabis cultivation, we should have a quick chat about what a cannabis crop actually needs to not only survive through to harvest, but to actually thrive and produce the sort of yield sizes, terpene concentration, and cannabinoid percentages that we all dream of (but rarely turn into reality in the first few grows).

how much does growing cannabis cost in electricity

While growing weed doesn’t have to be the most complicated task in the world, there are some basic concepts that must be understood, and a few non-negotiable elements that all cannabis crops need to succeed.

These include:

  • An area to grow the crop
  • A light source
  • Nutrients
  • Water
  • Growing substrate or media
  • Some form of airflow/air circulation (and ventilation, depending on the grow style)
  • And of course, the actual cannabis seeds or clones

Depending on the form of cultivation you choose and how much money you are willing to part with, these needs can be catered to in a variety of different ways – hence why the cost can fluctuate so greatly.

The one thing that rarely shifts in price dramatically is the price of seeds, and this is also the one factor that is common to all types of cannabis cultivation, and totally under the growers’ control.

How Much Should You Be Spending On Cannabis Seeds?

A little more than a little less is always the right way to think about this one. You can buy all the fancy equipment in the world, create the perfect growing environment, and pray to the old gods and new for bumper crops – but if you start with second-rate genetics, you’ve already shot yourself in the foot.

In 2023, the price point of around $20 per cannabis seed is a good starting point for smaller packs. 

Does this price ensure quality? 

No, of course not. To ensure quality, look for seed companies with great reviews, and a bunch of grow dairies over the internet forums, so you have a proper understanding of what the brand is all about.

The number of seed-selling websites that have popped up in the last few years is pretty wild, but they are anything but equal. Here at Premium Cultivars, we take a huge amount of pride in the genetics we offer. With exclusive strains on offer, some of the best deals (like 20% off your first order), and top-level support – you can trust our beans to deliver every single time.

Let’s take a look at a few different cultivation styles and see what sort of costs are associated with each one.

How Much Does It Cost To Grow Weed Outdoors?

Let’s make one thing as clear as we can from the get-go.

Growing cannabis outdoors will almost always be cheaper than indoors.

You can find all the vital components (apart from the seeds or clones) that make up a successful grow for pretty much nothing. If you live in an area with fertile soil, sun-filled days, and easy access to cheap or even free water then you can get going for next to nothing. And the results you can get from organically grown, outdoor plants can be truly top-shelf.

But, there are a bunch of variables that can be very difficult to control when growing weed outdoors, and these variables can have a massive impact on the health of your crop, and the final yield size and quality. These include

  • The temperature
  • The relative humidity
  • Environmental pests and diseases
  • The amount of sunlight available to the plants
  • Access to water
  • The quality of the soil

With a small amount of effort and usually not too large of an investment, all of these factors can be controlled (even the environmental conditions).

In its basic form, outdoor cannabis cultivation can cost very little.

Say you have a small outdoor plot with great soil, lots of direct sunshine, and great-quality water coming out of a nearby tap. Sure, you could buy some amendments (like perlite, vermiculite, bat guano, or a whole range of other options) that may help with the plant’s health and yield, but are these necessary? No, not necessarily – especially if the soil is healthy.

If you are planting directly into the ground, then your only real expense will be the seeds. Less than $100 for 6 little magic beans and you’re off to the races, my friend.

If you are wanting to grow in pots, then you may want to fill them with some good quality, cannabis-specific soil. For outdoor cultivation with photoperiod seeds, you should be looking at a minimum of 15 to 20-gallon pots if you are wanting to get the full yield. For autos, 3 to 5-gallon pots will do the trick. Remember, the larger the roots, the larger the plant, and the more budding sites.

But, say you do want to invest in some handy outdoor cultivation equipment, along with the cannabis-specific soil, how much cheddar will you need to part with?

Cannabis Seeds$7-20 per seed (depending on pack size)
Fabric Pots5-pack of 40-gallon pots will set you back around $40 – SO AROUND $8 EACH
High Quality Cannabis Specific Soil You’ll need around 3 bags to fill a 45-gallon pot – around $80 
Flowering Booster Use as soon as flowering begins – $10.50
pH meterAround $12

A little quick maths shows that it’ll cost $110 per plant with this setup – plus an extra $20 or so for the flower booster and pH pen, but these can be used across lots of plants. 

Alternatively, if you have good quality soil at your feet then you can cut those costs down dramatically using that instead of spending 80 odd bucks on the store-bought stuff. That drops it down to around $30 a plant.

How Much Does It Cost To Grow Weed Indoors

Now, this is where estimating costs gets tricky, as there are so many different indoor cultivation styles and options. For the sake of simplicity, we are going to focus on basic indoor cultivation that uses soil as its main medium, but we will quickly look at hydroponic weed cultivation also. Just remember that if you are a beginner, its always best to start simple before diving headfirst into complicated growing methods.

How much it costs to grow cannabis

Ok, the reason why growing weed indoors is so much more expensive than growing outdoors comes down to a few obvious points.

Firstly, an enclosed space such as a tent, room, or cabinet has to be set up in order to control the environment (i.e. light, temperature, and humidity). This space needs to be properly insulated and ventilated in order for the plants to thrive and produce a good yield.

Secondly, grow lights (either LED or HID) have to be purchased. In 2023 it’s really only LED options that you should be considering, and while they do cost a little more than their ancient HID counterparts, they last MUCH longer and are much more energy efficient – so you make that extra money back in no time.

Thirdly, fans and other equipment needed in order to maintain the temperature and humidity (such as a carbon filter, of the grow room have to also be bought.

The total cost of setting up an indoor grow room for 4 plants can be anywhere from $500 to $2000 (or more, depending on the quality of your equipment). The cost of buying cannabis seeds and soil will stay the same, but you could also consider using coco-coir, especially if you are new to the game and interested in hydroponics.

The Average Cost Of Indoor Growing Equipment

Cannabis Seeds$7-20 per seed (depending on pack size)
Grow Tent (Pre-made or DIY Grow Tent)3×3 are around $120, 4×4 are around $180 for mid quality
Led Grow LightAnywhere from $200 to $1000, depending on the quality and size 
Carbon FilterAround $100
Inline FanAround $100
Accessories (Fans, Environmental Gauges, Timers, Ducting, Trays Etc)Expect to spend another $150 or so
Coco-Coir Around $40 for three 5-gallon pots
Coco-Coir Specific Nutrients Around $40
Fabric Pots A 5-pack of 5-gallon pots will set you back around $20 – $4 each
High-Quality Cannabis Specific Soil (If Not Using Coco-Coir And Nutrients) 1 bag is around $30 and can fill two 5-gallon pots
Flowering Booster Use as soon as flowering begins – $10.50
Ec Meter Around $100 (there are cheaper options available – but this is one area where you shouldn’t skimp)
pH MeterAround $12

While we have previously warned heavily against buying tent package deals from amazon that include all of the equipment you need, we do understand that buying a package deal of equipment may be the only option for some people. 

And actually, in the last 2 years or so (thanks to the LED revolution and a bunch of new companies offering tent and LED light package deals entering the market), there are now some pretty decent options on offer! If you are just starting out and want to get an all-in-one deal that can handle a few plants, these may actually be your best option.

Before we drop our two favorite kit options, we just want to make it super clear that we have zero affiliation with MARS HYDRO. We just think they really do offer the best mid-range kit options right now. No shady sponsorships here, friends.

Ok, so what we recommend –

While not the cheapest option for a 4×4 by any means, at the RRP of $699 we reckon this is an absolute steal. It comes with everything you need to get an indoor garden off to an amazing start and yields some stunning results.

This is the baby brother of the above kit and is perfect for those looking for a grow tent that will fit in a super cramped space but still offer the power to grow banging buds.

Cost Estimates of a Small Closet Cannabis Grow

Right, let’s say that all the options above are a little too extreme for what you have in mind. Maybe you have a spare closet hanging around and you just want to grow a little ‘personal’ (wink wink) stash in there.

Well then, why not turn that empty an unused space into a small closet grow? 

Look, we know we dismissed the idea of using CFL lights further up in this article, and even though they can never stand up to the power of LED lights, you can use them for growing weed. The yield and potency will never stack up to other lighting options though.

Let’s assume you are not super worried about the smell that is going to deliciously waft out of said closet, and that you are wanting as bare bones of a setup as possible.

Cannabis Seeds$7-20 per seed (depending on pack size)
Durolux T5 Grow Light  Around $65
Small PotsPlastic pots – $5
6 Inch Clip Fan Around $40
High Quality Cannabis Specific Soil Around $30
Flowering Booster Use as soon as flowering begins – $10.50
A pH meterAround $12

Frequently Asked Questions

How much cheaper is growing weed than buying it?

A lot, at least after you have got through two or three crop runs. The initial outlay for all the equipment can seem a little discouraging, but you will quickly recoup those costs. From there on in, it is almost 100% savings when compared to buying weed – which can cost anywhere from $10-$15 per gram, or more, depending on your location.

When you grow your own weed, the price per gram will be a small fraction of this number.

What is the jail time for growing weed?

That’s totally dependent on where you live, the amount you are growing, and a bunch of other variables. We never recommend breaking any local, state, or federal laws – so before you consider growing any cannabis, make sure you check out the relevant laws and regulations in your area.

What are the most important things to consider when growing weed?

The four main things you should keep in mind while considering how to grow weed are; what medium or cultivation style you are interested in, the local water quality, the light source, and the environmental control. If these elements are all balanced correctly then you should have no issue growing some amazing cannabis plants.

Is being a weed grower worth it?

Look, that’s an impossible question to answer, as it is totally dependent on you and your feelings toward both cannabis itself, and the art of cannabis cultivation. But, coming from both a personal standpoint and from the input of growers worldwide – the overwhelming response is yes!

Not only are you able to have full control over the quality and potency of the weed you produce, but there is also an incredibly rewarding feeling in holding the reigns over your own source of weed. There’s really nothing like it.

The Wrap-Up

Hopefully, this guide has been helpful in growing your understanding of what goes into a basic cannabis cultivation setup, both indoors and out – and that you now feel more confident moving forward with your dreams to become a cannabis-growing success story.

While the cost may be a little intimidating (especially if you are wanting to set up an indoor grow area), there is truly nothing like growing your own bud. 

The feeling of satisfaction of watching those plants grow from tiny little sprouts into Amazonian beasts covered in dense, frosty, delectable buds just waiting to be picked, dried, cured, and enjoyed is indescribable until you have also experienced it.

Now that we have covered all the basics – happy growing!

Picture of Sam North

Sam North

Sam North is a content writer with a passion for everything cannabis. After working multiple seasons on weed farms absorbing the ins and outs of cannabis cultivation and culture, he decided to transition into a role that would allow him to work from anywhere, anytime. Sam now writes for multiple weed publications. He has extensive experience with a wide range of canna-agriculture styles, from smaller artisanal farms to large-scale commercial operations, and is here to share his knowledge to give you all the best chance of cultivation success.

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