South Carolina is known for its agricultural potential, here’s a look at whether it can support the growing of high quality hemp crops.
Plant Hardiness Zone(s)
The USDA South Carolina plant hardiness map divides the state into a variety of zones, ranging from 5b to 8b. The western part of the state is considered to be cooler than the south eastern part. Industrial hemp flower is classified under plant hardiness zones 8 to 11. This means that it can be grown in most parts of the state.
The state of South Carolina has a humid subtropical climate. It is important to note that the highland areas in the state have a climate with fewer subtropical characteristics. In this part of the country, summers tend to be hot while the winters tend to be mild. The average annual temperature across the state stands at 63.8 degrees Fahrenheit. The minimum average annual temperature required for growing high quality hemp flower is estimated to be around 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Length of Growing Season
South Carolina enjoys a relatively long growing season, thanks to the mild weather conditions. The average length of the growing season is around 220 days. This starts from February to September; the due to the state’s varying geography, these dates may vary from one area to the next. Hemp flower usually takes an average of 120 days to grow from planting of the seeds to harvesting of mature plants.
Average Annual Sunlight
The state receives an annual average of around 3,011 sunlight hours. The length of the day increases from 12 hours in mid March, around the start of the growing season, to over 14 hours during the summer solstice in June before the day-length starts to decrease. Hemp flower needs more than 12 hours of sunlight to grow to its maximum size during the vegetative stage.
Average Annual Precipitation
The state of South Carolina receives rainfall throughout the year. Most of the precipitation in coastal parts of the state occurs during the summer months, while further inland the wettest time of the year is usually around the month of March. Average annual precipitation in the foothills ranges between 60 and 70 inches; 45 to 50 inches in some portions of Piedmont; 50 to 52 inches along the Coastal Plain; 42 to 47 inches in the Midlands, which is also the driest part of the state. Even though hemp flower requires minimum annual average rainfall of between 25 to 30 inches, most of the moisture is required during the early stages of growth.
The mean elevation of the state of South Carolina is 350 feet above sea level. The elevation rises from sea level at the Atlantic Ocean to Sassafras Mountain which stands at 3,560 feet above sea level. Hemp seeds should be planted at an elevation below 600 feet above sea level.
In most parts of the state, soil pH is acidic. Hemp flower does well in soils with a pH level that lies between 6 and 7.5.
South Carolina soils are grouped into 3 main regions the Piedmont, Central Region, and the Coast. Well-drained, nutrient-rich loamy soils are best for the cultivation of hemp flower .
The European corn borer is one of the most common pests that pose a threat to hemp plants in this part of the country.
Obtaining A Hemp flower Grower’s License In South 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 South Carolina, as well as a breakdown of the application process, click here. Read about hemp legality by state.