A Guide to Transplanting Clones Outdoors
To get a head start on the season, many growers will start growing their plants (marijuana and hemp) indoors in the late winter and early spring. To ensure that your plants make a healthy transition from indoors to outdoors, there are a number of best practices to follow.
As you plan your outdoor growing season, there is key information you must take into account, including:
- When you will have daily temperatures that will not dip below 55 degrees F for sustained periods of time: You don’t want to transition your plants outside early and expose them to too much time below 55 degrees that could stunt their growth or even kill them.
- How many hours of daylight per day you will typically have during your growing season:This is important information to help you plan the cycle of light exposure while you are starting your clones indoors.
Indoors Outdoors Photoperiod
Many indoor growers give their cannabis plants an 18 hour photoperiod every day (18/6 cycle).
However growers starting plants indoors then moving outdoors often use a cycle with a shorter period of light. This shorter period is matched to the natural light period the plant will get once they are moved outdoors. For example, if your growing season starts with 14 hours of light per day, give your plants 14 hours of light a day when they are indoors.
Talk to your clone provider about various strains to determine which would be the best choice for growing cannabis outdoors for your situation.
The ideal soil for outdoor marijuana plants is:
- Rich with organic matter
- Slightly acidic
A month or more before they plant, many growers dig large holes for their plants and mix in compost and other organic matter.
You want a pH in the 5.8 to 6.3 range (ideally 6.3) for
- The growing medium used to start your clones indoors
- The soil that you will be using for your cannabis plants outdoors
- The water you are using to hydrate your plants
Although you don’t want to overfeed your plants, to be healthy, they need nutrients such as:
A good fertilizer is typically sufficient, but you might need to supplement with nutrients to avoid a cannabis deficiency that can lower your yield.
Plants moving from indoors to outdoors need to be hardened off — a process of gradually introducing plants to sunshine and cool nights by moving them outdoors for a portion of the day for a number of days before transplanting.
- Because natural sunlight contains a much broader spectrum of light than most indoor grow lights, start your plants in partial sun to limit the amount of full sun they get before they are hardened. Start them in shade or partial shade for a few days and then, over time, progressively move them to get more direct sun.
- Start leaving the plants outdoors for a limited time, progressively leaving them outside for a longer period of time each day until they are acclimatized and ready to be outdoors full time.
- Make sure your plants are properly hydrated.
- Inspect for diseases and pests. The leaves are more vulnerable before they harden off.
- Monitor the container when the plants are hardening off, direct sunlight can overheat heat the container and soil — and thus “cook” the roots.
Start your plants with an hour or two outside the first day. The next day bring them out for an hour or two more than the first day. Keep doing this until the leaves toughen up (about 10 days).
Keep in Mind
As the laws around both medical and recreational cannabis change, your first step is to take the time to fully understand the legal aspects of growing, storing and transporting cannabis in your area.
Starting Indoors, Growing Outdoors
Although starting your cannabis clones indoors and then moving them outdoors takes a little planning and some extra work, many growers think it is well worth it. They suggest that outdoor marijuana plants can result in
- taller plants with a higher yield.
- a product that has a unique flavor and scent.
- a lower cost of production.
- an easier way of running an organic operation.