Here’s everything you need to know about growing hemp flower in North Carolina.
Plant Hardiness Zone(s)
According to the US Department of Agriculture North Carolina plant hardiness map, the state is divided into a variety of zones ranging from 5b to 8b. Minimum winter temperatures reach an average of 15 degrees Fahrenheit in the southeastern part of the state, while in the cooler, mountainous, northwestern part, average winter low reaches -15 degrees Fahrenheit. Industrial hemp flower thrives in plant zones 8-11. Farmers need to perfectly time their hemp growing season to ensure that their crops are ready for harvest before the arrival of the first frost.
Most regions of the state experience humid subtropical climate, while the mountainous northern part is classified under subtropical highland climate. The mountains occupying the northern portion of the state usually act as a barrier to cold temperatures and storms approaching from the Midwest. The state’s average annual temperature is 59.8 degrees Fahrenheit.
Length of Growing Season
The average growing season in the state of North Carolina is around 175 days long. The length of the growing season is influenced by the state’s cool spring, warm summer and mild winter. It is however worth noting that due to the variations in geography and climate in different parts of the state, the length of the growing season may also vary. Hemp’s growing season usually lasts about 120 days. Planting can start as early as mid-April in some parts of the state.
Average Annual Sunlight
Hemp flower requires more than 12 hours of sunlight to grow to its maximum size during the vegetative growth stage. When this period becomes shorter than 12 hours, the flowering stage is triggered, and growth ceases. The day length increases from 12hours during the start of the growing period, which may be as early as April in some parts of the state, to more than 14 hours during the Summer Solstice in June, before it starts decreasing.
Average Annual Precipitation
The average annual precipitation in the state of North Carolina is around 52 inches. The southwestern part of the state is the wettest, while the French River valley is the driest. The rainiest month of the year is July, while November is the driest. Annually, hemp flower requires an average minimum of 25-30 inches of precipitation. Most of the moisture is needed during the earlier stages of growth.
The average elevation of the state of North Carolina is 700 feet above sea level. The state’s elevation rises from the Atlantic Ocean, at sea level, upwards to Mt. Mitchell, which stands at 6,684 feet above sea level.
Most North Carolina soils are said to be acidic and require liming to support cultivation. Hemp flower does well in soil pH levels ranging between 6 and 7.5. The acidic North Carolina soils have a pH level ranging between 5.8 and 6.2; meaning that liming is necessary to achieve the desired pH level.
North Carolina’s state soil is Cecil soils. These are mostly very deep, well-drained, and mildly permeable in nature. They cover about a third of the entire area of the state and are great for cultivation. To grow high-quality hemp flower you need well-drained, aerated soils that hold nutrients and moisture well.
Some of the common pests and diseases affecting hemp plants in this part of the country including the European corn borer, viral, bacterial, and fungal pathogens.ß
Obtaining A Hemp Flower Grower’s License In North Carolina
Under federal law, it is illegal to grow hemp flower anywhere in the United States without first obtaining a grower’s license from the appropriate regulatory body for the state in which the interested party intends to plant the crop. For information on the legal status of hemp in North Carolina, as well as a breakdown of the application process, click here. Read about hemp legality by state.