When it comes to growing marijuana, the lyrics of epic songs reveal to us a forgotten part of the grower’s toolkit: Love.

Love is all you need, love makes the world go around, if loving you is wrong, I don’t want to be right, better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all, I’m living for the love of you. Iconic songs all, and hundreds of millions of us have sung those lyrics to ourselves and those we love.

I’ve found that of all the ingredients, equipment, materials, supplies and other gardening inputs and aspects related to growing marijuana, love is as essential as N-P-K, and most often missing. Here’s what I mean…

Starting with a definition of love is useful here. It’s not lust, craving or desire. It’s more than a feeling (thank you, Boston). It’s a deep appreciation for what you love, leading to caring for what you love. Love isn’t just an emotion, it’s an active principle. Ask yourself—do I truly love my marijuana plants?

My answer is an emphatic yes. I especially love what they do for my mind and body, their incredible, scintillating range of scents and tastes, the beauty of their flowers, their resilience, and how they provide income that pays my bills. I can identify individual marijuana plants by their personalities–some droop in intense light, others crave it. Some can’t handle 1000 parts per million feed programs, others want more than that. Even among clones, I’ve noticed phenotypic and morphological differences between plants, just like the differences between identical human twins.

Human females who’ve been romantic partners in my life have accused me of loving my female marijuana plants more than I love them. And I happily plead guilty to that. Female marijuana plants require tender care and attention, but in return, they give a guaranteed boost to my endocannabinoid system that makes me feel good when before I was feeling bad. Marijuana plants get rid of my physical pain. Marijuana plants stimulate my mind to be more creative and aware, and heal my heartbreak and sadness.

The human females I’ve loved as romantic partners sometimes provide some of those benefits,  but even when I’ve given them way more tender care and attention than I give my marijuana plants, they’ve also caused terrible frustration, sadness and heartbreak that marijuana helps get rid of.

So hell yes, I love my marijuana plants more than I love anyone or anything else.

How Love Motivates You to Be a Better Marijuana Grower

How does love motivate you to be a better marijuana grower so your plants are healthier and happier and give you more harvest weight, cannabinoids and terpenoids? Here’s how…

First of all, when you love something that’s alive, you pay closer attention to its needs and personality. You spend a lot of time thinking how to make things better for the ones you love. Just like good parents feed their kids only the healthiest foods, give them the safest, happiest home life, and guard them from the evils of the world, love-filled marijuana growers do the same for their plants.

When you love your plants, you want their root zones large enough so roots are free to breathe and expand without hitting the sides of the container they’re in. You want your grow lights properly adjusted in their intensity and wavelengths, and at the right height, so you don’t sunburn your plants’ delicate leaves or deprive them of adequate photon doses.

You want quality nutrition and reverse osmosis water and the right pH so your plants have the best food and drink, so their roots aren’t being poisoned by garbage nutrients or acidic or high-alkaline water filled with contaminants or harmful bacteria.

You want your grow room temperatures and humidity in the right range—not too hot and humid, not too cold and humid. You protect your beloved cannabis plants from thrips, spider mites, broad mites, root aphids, mealybugs, gray mold, powdery mildew and other enemies that want to eat them alive. You protect your plants from their most evil enemies: police and rippers.

When your plants are just starting out as seedlings or clones, you baby them by giving them specialized lighting, a humidity dome, root boosters, and reduced nutrients dosage. It’s all about loving and caring enough to tune in to their needs and give them what they need so they’re at maximum comfort.

If you love yourself and your family, that love motivates you to be the best marijuana grower you can be, because your income and security depend on it. And tuning in to what your plants need and want leads you into creative exploration of what’s best for your marijuana plants.

In nature, where plants evolved to grow, they experience a far different environment than in an indoor grow room. For one thing, light intensity, origin point, and wavelengths change throughout the day as the sun rises, reaches peak zenith, and sets.

Marijuana plants didn’t evolve in a situation where all of a sudden several thousand watts of light equivalent to the light of a noonday summer sun are poured on them relentlessly for 18 or 12 hours, and then suddenly shut off.

Instead, the natural environment for marijuana plants has sunlight gradually increasing in the morning, noon, and early afternoon, then tapering off gradually to fade away at dusk. Also, sunlight comes from different angles as the sun goes from horizon to horizon. In most grow rooms, these light nuances are absent.

It takes creativity and work to give your plants the wavelengths, intensity, origin point and type of light that works best for their metabolism and evolutionary biology. It helps if you have LED grow lights with programmable controllers you use to automatically set sunrise, sunset, wavelength intensity and ratios to duplicate natural sunlight patterns. It also helps if you have light movers to move your lights back and forth across the canopy. If you have top-mounted grow lights along with angle-offset side lighting, you better approximate natural sunlight patterns and penetration.

Is it worth it? My plants do better when I give them tailored lighting rather than just hanging metal halide and high pressure sodium bulbs above them and having the lights come on full-intensity for 18 or 12 hours per day.

The same principle applies when it comes to temperature in the ambient air and in the root zone. In nature, a plant’s root zone is often 10-15 degrees cooler than the air aboveground. Ambient air temperatures drop at night. When you love your plants and pay attention to their origins and “personality,” you adjust temperatures to suit the plants.

For example, I was growing a landrace Afghani that came from a windswept high-desert plateau where night temperatures were 15-30 degrees colder than day temperatures, especially during bloom phase. Soil in that region was little more than desert powder, with very low nutrients content but fantastic drainage, porosity and oxygen-holding capacity. High elevation and climate realities created relentless windstorms, low rainfall, low humidity, and intense sun with lots of ultraviolet light.

Many marijuana cultivators growing Afghani varieties put them in the same root zone media as any other cannabis strain, give them the same feed program, and don’t do much to control the ratio difference between lights-on and lights-off temperatures, or to control humidity. They grow those plants just like they’d grow a tropical Sativa.

But when you love your plants, you want them to feel at home in their indoor grow room environment. Just like I wouldn’t adopt a child from the remote Afghani desert and bring him to a cloudy, grey-sky, cold, rainy, dismal, big-city location and expect him to thrive, I won’t put my Afghani cannabis plants into an environment or give them inputs totally at odds with what they’re used to.

They were growing well where they were adapted to grow, so I try to duplicate their original environment by using more fans set to the highest setting, UV-B grow lighting, chilling their nutrients water, less watering and nutrients, increased porosity root zone material (more perlite) and do other things to make them feel at home. I create their Afghan desert in my grow room, they feel appreciated and understood, they grow faster and produce stonier buds.

You may have just read the sentence I wrote (“they feel appreciated and understood”) and think I’ve gone woo-woo, New Age, Marianne Williamson on you. Yes, I actually believe but can’t yet prove scientifically that marijuana plants are smarter  and more conscious than we give them credit for. Not only do they feel the love, they show the love. As the Beatles sang all those years ago, “the love you take is equal to the love you make.” And that’s definitely true when you’re growing marijuana.

So as you grow the world’s most amazing, versatile, fun, healing and wonderful plant, apply the Beatles’ philosophy in the ways I’ve outlined here and now summarize as follows:

  • Love your plants as you’d love a person.
  • Understand and pay attention to your plants as if they were people you love.
  • Love isn’t just a feeling, it’s an active, creative, practical principle. Translate love into action.
  • Show your love by accommodating your marijuana plants’ needs, even if it takes extra work and thought to do so.
  • Don’t just look at your plants as cash cows to be milked and slaughtered. Show them respect, gratitude and love.
  • When it’s harvest time, it’s like putting a beloved pet to sleep. Say a little prayer, and say goodbye to your plants, in a loving way.
  • As with a beautiful woman, your children, a pet or anything else alive that you love, remember—everything is impermanent and passing away. Be in the moment and appreciate what you have. Spend time in the grow room inhaling terpenoid scents and taking in the sights of lush green leaves and beautiful white pistils. Nothing lasts forever. Pretty soon, bloom phase will be over, and those plants will be gone. RIP.
  • If you’re a bitter, hateful, angry, vindictive, mean person, feed your heart with love, and feel the benefits not just in your marijuana garden, but in your entire life.

When your marijuana growing is motivated by love, not just by a craving to get high, or to get rich selling weed, you enrich your life, and your plants give more back to you.