There’s something special about growing cannabis as nature intended. Even though indoor growing is more practical for many cultivators, there are dozens of pros associated with sowing marijuana seeds outdoors. As a perk, outdoor growing is much cheaper than operating an indoor grow tent or greenhouse.
How To Grow Cannabis Outdoors: Essential Tips For New Outdoor Cultivators
Although outdoor cannabis cultivation has many pros, it’s not the ideal situation for every cannabis grower. There are dozens of special considerations to review if you’re interested in starting an outdoor garden. If you’re interested in giving outdoor cannabis growing a try, spend some time evaluating your harvest goals and weather situation to see if it’s a good fit for your climate zone.
First Step: What Are The Cultivation Laws In Your State?
Just because a state legalized recreational weed doesn’t necessarily mean it’s OK with outdoor cultivation. In some situations, you may need to grow weed indoors to abide by local policies. Before diving into the best outdoor weed techniques, please review the cultivation statutes in your home territory. Although laws are relaxing in many areas, it’s essential to know exactly what you’re getting into before growing this plant in the wide open.
Is Growing Outdoors Right For Your Goals: Pros & Cons Explained
After you’ve determined you could legally grow weed outdoors, it’s time to review the benefits & drawbacks of this strategy. To start on a positive note, outdoor weed cultivation is more cost-effective than indoor grow tents. There’s no need to spend money on grow lights or ventilation systems when your plants have access to the sun and wind.
Also on the bright side, outdoor weed doesn’t require as much maintenance as indoor weed. You won’t need to set fans, lights, or humidifiers throughout the grow cycle. In some climates, all you may need to do is plant your seeds, water a few times each week, and monitor their growth. Anecdotally, many cannabis growers claim outdoor weed tastes better and has higher yields than indoor weed.
On the downside, you can’t control Mother Nature. Outdoor growers must constantly watch weather reports and protect their plants from torrential rain or strong winds. In addition to weather threats, there’s an increased risk of insects and animals destroying an outdoor crop. Cultivators need to have an anti-pest strategy in place to prevent losing all of their pot to pests.
It’s also impossible to grow cannabis year-round with an outdoor method. Once harvest season is over, you’ll have to wait till spring to plant your next batch of seeds. People who want to grow multiple rounds of marijuana will need to employ indoor growing through the winter season.
Lastly, outdoor cultivation is also the worst method for cannabis growers concerned with stealth. To prevent issues like theft, growers need to find a location that’s both well-hidden and has good access to sunlight. People who live in cramped city environments may not have the space to effectively grow cannabis outdoors.
What Conditions Do You Need To Grow Weed Outdoors?
In general, cannabis prefers warm zones with plenty of sun and moderate to low rainfall. Summers should be hot and somewhat humid, while falls should be mild and dry. People who live in territories with Mediterranean or subtropical climates are in a great position to grow pretty much any cannabis strain.
The ideal daytime temperature for growing cannabis outdoors is roughly 75º – 86º F. However, it’s not impossible to grow cannabis slightly outside of these temperature averages. Growers in more northern areas may need to be more selective with their strains.
How Do You Choose The Right Strain For Outdoor Growing?
As hinted above, the “best” strain for outdoor growing depends on your environment. Traditionally, sativa-dominant strains only perform well in reliably hot subtropical or Mediterranean regions. By contrast, indica strains tend to have an easier time adapting to climates on the “chillier” side. If you live in northern latitudes, you’ll likely have a better chance of successfully growing indica-dominant strains.
Not only are indicas more resilient than sativas, they tend to have a shorter flowering schedule. Many indicas take roughly 8 – 10 weeks before they hit the flowering stage. By contrast, sativas could take upwards of 12 weeks before they approach harvest. People in areas with short summers need to research the average lifespan of their plants to ensure they have enough time to comfortably reach flowering.
For those who are extra concerned about their weather or sunlight conditions, autoflowers are the safest bet. Unlike indicas and sativas, an autoflower strain will mature at a pre-set schedule. It doesn’t matter how many hours of sunlight your plants get each day — autoflowers always reach their final stage within about 8 – 10 weeks. Plus, autoflowers tend to be the most resilient to less-than-ideal outdoor conditions. You can find out more about growing autoflowers in this previous guide.
Where Should You Position Your Cannabis Plants Outdoors?
Once you’ve picked a cannabis strain that you feel is right for outdoor gardening, you have to pick an area that receives a lot of sunlight and a fair amount of breeze. Strive to put your cannabis plants where they will receive at least six hours of direct light daily.
For people who don’t have access to a lot of outdoor space, consider growing your weed on a balcony if it’s available. Balconies tend to be the ideal outdoor location for cannabis fans in big cities. Just remember that growing cannabis on the rooftop is highly conspicuous!
When Do You Start Growing Weed Outdoors?
You’ll need to wait till the final frost is over in your state before transitioning your cannabis seedlings to an outdoor environment. In most cases, you could bring your weed outside in April or May. Be sure to keep a lookout on the local weather conditions for the best info on starting your cultivation.
It’s an excellent idea to germinate your seeds indoors to have the best success rate growing outdoors. During the seedling phase, your cannabis plants are at their most vulnerable. By growing seedlings indoors, you’ll give your plants a head start on root development that will make it easier for them to thrive outdoors. Please read our “Guide on Seedlings” for more details on tackling this tricky development stage.
So, Is Growing Weed Outdoors Right For You?
Some cannasseurs claim outdoor-grown weed has a richer flavor than strains grown indoors. While it’s debatable whether outdoor cannabis truly tastes better than the competition, there’s something satisfying about growing this plant in its natural environment. Plus, there’s no replicating the sun’s natural wavelengths with an LED panel or HPS bulb.
All that being said, growing outdoors gives cultivators far less control than grow tents or greenhouses. While it’s relatively easy to cultivate cannabis in Mediterranean and subtropical zones, it can be a pain in states far from the equator. You’ll need to evaluate your area’s average weather conditions and see which strains may perform well in your region. Be sure to read plenty of grow journals and ask around at local dispensaries to get a feel for how to grow weed outdoors.