As a grower, your final yield for the season is probably on your mind 24/7 because achieving high yields is the ultimate goal and success of every cannabis cultivator. There are many things that affect your harvest apart from your own skills, but doing your best is a guarantee that your efforts won’t be in vain.
Still, you must wonder how much weed you should expect to get from a single plant. While there is no reliable way to calculate this, there are various ways you can estimate how much you can expect, and this is what we’ll talk about today. We’ll give you an overview of how much weed you can expect, what factors influence the yield, and how you can maximize it.
Things to Consider When Talking About Marijuana Plant Yields
Yield is the total amount of weed you end up with at the end of the harvest and it refers strictly to the buds when they’re cut off the stems, without all the trim (which is still usable, see how here). It’s the fruit of your labor and also the reward for all your hard work. But, in order to get the right idea about your cannabis yields, there are some basic things you need to consider.
Wet Weed and Dry Weed Does Not Weigh the Same
One of the most important things to note when talking about yield is that wet weed and dry weed do not weigh the same. Weed sold in dispensaries is measured in grams and ounces and when we talk about weed weight, we refer specifically to dry weed, and here’s why:
Immediately after harvest, your buds will weigh a lot more because 75-80% of their weight is water. However, for them to be ready for consumption, they have to be dried and cured. When drying the buds, they lose a large percentage of the moisture and end up weighing about 1/4 of their original wet weight.
If you want to calculate how much dry weed you’ll have in the end, just multiply the weight of the wet weed by 0.25.
Sometimes there will be slight variations depending on the strain. For example, Indica buds are denser and may have a bigger dry weight than Sativa buds, which are airier. One good tip is to let the buds dry slowly for about 10-14 days so that you don’t lose too much of the dry weight.
More Cannabis Plants Don’t Always Equal Higher Yields
A common belief among newbie growers is that the more plants you have, the bigger your yield will be, but this isn’t always true, especially because the size of your yield depends on so many variables.
First of all, when you grow a lot of plants in a smaller grow room, their freedom to grow will be restricted, compared to when you grow fewer plants or a single plant, even in a small space. Plus, not all of them will receive light equally and there will be some parts of the plant that won’t be able to reach their potential and develop big buds.
You’ll also have to shorten the vegetative stage and force the flowering stage as soon as the leaves start touching, and when there are more plants, the leaves touch sooner. Restricting their vegetative growth also means not letting the plants develop more bud sites. And finally, more plants require more care and attention, which not every grower can afford.
How Much Weed on Average Does a Cannabis Plant Produce?
What all weed growers want is to get the maximum potential out of their plants and get as big a yield as possible. Let’s see what you can expect from your harvest depending on whether you grow indoors, outdoors, or autoflowers.
When growing indoors, you need to simulate the natural growing environment, which means you have total control of all the variables. Therefore, having the right equipment is crucial. One of the most important elements when growing indoors is making sure your plants get the optimum amount of light required for them to produce high yields.
The standard measure for estimating how much weed you’ll get is a maximum of one gram of weed per one watt of light (1 gram = 0,035 oz), though novice growers should expect a little less than a full gram per watt. So, for example, you could get 350-400 grams (or 12-14 oz) of weed per one 400-watt HPS grow light.
However, depending on which type of grow lights you use, the results may differ a little bit. For example, LED, CFL, and HPS of the same wattage will perform differently.
You should also remember that the intensity of the indoor grow light is the highest in the center and decreases towards the periphery, which means that the plants closest to the center will soak up more light. To take full advantage of the wattage, it’s best to have fewer plants per lamp so that all of them can receive an adequate amount of light.
Average Indoor Plant Yield
200W – 400W CFL and HPS Lamps
- 200-watt CFL lamp in a 3.5 x 1.5 x 6.5 ft grow space could yield ~40-60 gr usable weed (or 1.5-2.0 oz), but experienced cultivators could get ~100 gr (or 3.5 oz);
- 250-watt HPS lamp in the same size grow space could yield ~80-150 gr usable weed (or 3.0-5.0 oz), but experienced cultivators could get ~250 gr (or 9 oz);
- 400-watt CFL lamp in a 3.5 x 3.5 x 7 ft. grow space could yield ~100-200 gr usable weed (or 4.5-9.0 oz), but experienced cultivators could get ~400 gr (or 14 oz);
600W – 1000W HPS Lamps
- 600-watt HPS lamp in a 4 x 4 x 8 ft. grow space could yield ~150-300 gr usable weed (or 5.0-10 oz), but experienced cultivators could get ~600 gr (or 21 oz);
- 1000-watt HPS lamp in a 5 x 5 x 8 ft. grow space could yield ~250-500 gr usable weed (or 9.0-18 oz), but experienced cultivators could get ~1000 gr (or 36 oz).
While outdoor plants automatically have more space to grow than indoor ones, you don’t have much control over the weather, temperature, pests, etc. However, if the growing conditions are good, the plants get enough sunlight, you water them regularly, and the pH of the soil is good, you can expect to yield close to a pound of weed per single plant, which is roughly close to 500 gr or about 17 oz.
If you use gallon pots for your plants, it would be best if they’re a size of at least 15 gallons so the roots have enough space to extend. While for outdoor plants the genetics of the plant plays a big role, if you play your cards right, you can get high yields. In order to make a head start, germinate the seeds indoors where you can control the temperature and humidity.
There is one advantage and one disadvantage that autoflowers have against photoperiod plants. The advantage is that they don’t depend on light changes to trigger the flowering stage, so they flower faster during their life cycle, which means a grower can have more than one harvest in a growing season.
The disadvantage is that their growing capacity is limited and they can never grow bigger than photoperiod strains. While their average yields can increase if grown outdoors, they can never be as big as or bigger than photoperiods. Still, when done right, autoflowers can give you some very decent yields.
Factors That Influence Cannabis Yield
There are a lot of factors that will influence your final yields. The genetics of the cannabis seeds you pick is, of course, the starting point. But there are also others, such as:
- Nutrients and pH – both essential for the plant as they’re food for the plant and support the development of the root system and vegetative growth of the plant;
- Environmental conditions and weather – outdoor plants are left at the mercy of the elements, and when the conditions naturally are good, the plant can thrive;
- Light – cannabis plants love light, especially photoperiod plants since their life cycle stages depend on the amount of light they receive daily;
- Temperature and humidity – weed needs warmer temperature and slightly humid environments, both of which are easier to control for indoor growers than if you grow outside;
- Size of grow tent and pot size – the more room the branches and the roots have to grow and extend, the more bud sites will be developed;
- Training – marijuana plants that are cultivated by using different training techniques tend to give better yields.
Tips for Getting Higher Yields Without Fail
Use Training Techniques
Training techniques involve changing the direction of the growth of the cannabis plants during the vegetative stage with the purpose of enabling every single part of the plant to receive adequate light. This strengthens the plants, maximizes the development of the bud sites, and produces large plants. Training techniques like the SCROG technique, topping, pruning, and splitting, are some of the most commonly used techniques by experienced growers.
Extend the Vegetative Stage
Extending the vegetative stage is perfect if you have fewer plants. The logic behind it is if you extend the vegetative stage and let the plants grow large, they’ll develop more bud sites, which will result in more buds.
Growing Fewer Plants Can Be More Fruitful
Growing fewer plants can be more fruitful if you’re restricted by the size of your grow tent. We already touched upon this, but it makes a really big difference. Growing 16 plants and 4 plants can result in the same yield in total, but the yield per plant will be different. To get the optimum results, it’s much more sustainable for you to focus on getting the maximum out of those four plants.
Grow In Hydroponics For Even Bigger Yields
Growing in hydroponics is very different from growing in soil and it’s more suitable for experienced growers because it requires a complicated setup. Growing in hydro can increase your final yield by 20% because the plants can uptake the nutrients more efficiently.
Hydro is less forgiving than soil if you make mistakes, so you’ll have to be precise and maintain the correct pH of the water. You should also remember that the plants will require more of some specific nutrients during the different stages of growth, for example, they need more nitrogen during the veg stage and more potassium when they’re flowering.
Measuring your cannabis yield is one of the most exciting parts of the process, but it can be stressful when you don’t know what to expect. This uncertainty dissipates as you gain more experience and learn to control all of the variables that influence the final yield. Still, the most important things to remember are that wet and dry weed don’t weigh the same and that it’s always better not to crowd the plants under one grow light to ensure they all receive an adequate amount of light.