Your Guide to Growing Marijuana & Hemp Outdoors
Growing your own cannabis outside can be a fun and satisfying experience. Whether you are considering a large growing operation or you have a sunny spot in a private yard, balcony or rooftop, you can successfully grow both marijuana and hemp outdoors.
With the high costs of indoor growing, many people choose to outdoors. Other motivating factors include:
- Yield: outdoor cannabis plants can grow to 15 feet in height, sometimes taller.
- Quality: some feel that marijuana that was grown outdoors has a special aroma and flavor.
- Eco Friendliness: without the electricity needed for indoor growing, cannabis grown outside can have less environmental impact. Also, it’s easier to run an organic cannabis operation outdoors.
The first step in determining the best time for growing cannabis outdoors is understanding your local climate.
Part of your choice of when to plant is understanding seasonal weather patterns in your area. Although cannabis is an adaptable plant, extreme weather could negatively affect your crop. For example:
- Sustained temperatures below 55 degrees F can result in stunting or death
- Sustained temperatures above 86 degrees F can result in growth stoppage
- High winds and heavy rains can result in plant damage
- Too much moisture can result in powdery mildew or mold
To get a jump on the season, growers — both from cannabis seeds and clones — often start growing their plants indoors in the late winter and early spring. Plants started indoors need to be hardened off — a process of gradually introducing plants to sunshine and cold nights by moving them outdoors for a portion of the day for a number of days before transplanting.
Another crucial climate-oriented step to successfully growing cannabis outside is understanding the available seasonal daylight in your area. For example, on the longest day of the year (summer solstice):
- If you live in an area along the Gulf of Mexico, you will have about 14 hours of daylight.
- If you live in an area along the US/Canadian border, you will have about 16¼ hours of daylight.
Another important climate consideration for maximizing your outdoor yield is choosing the right strain. Some strains are better suited to familiar climates. For example:
- Tropical varieties grow better in areas where the length of the day doesn’t vary much throughout growing season. In northern latitudes they tend to flower too late, not producing before they die from cold weather, heavy rain or lack of daylight.
Clones vs Seeds for Growing Outdoors
Although cannabis seeds are well suited for growing outdoors, clones have become increasingly popular. This popularity can be attributed to, among other reasons, consistency. Clones are all female plants that exhibit the same characteristics of the original or “mother plant.”
An Important Reminder
With the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana in many states, more people are considering home cultivation. Laws, limitations and regulations are different for each state. It is important that you fully understand the legality of growing cannabis in your area before starting any growing operation — small or large — and comply with those rules.