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The Ultimate Guide to Growing Cannabis Outdoors

growing cannabis outdoors

Table of Contents

Growing cannabis outdoors is a terrific option since it’s free, and you can depend on the sun’s energy. In a private yard or even on a rooftop, you may grow cannabis outdoors if you access sunlight. This method depends on the seasons and local conditions but does not need as much equipment and utilities as indoor cultivators do.

If you’re going to be growing cannabis outdoors, it’s a good idea to connect with other people doing the same thing so you can learn from their experiences. Local weather conditions differ, so you may want to examine what strains flourish in your area and when other growers are seeding, harvesting, and more in your region. An excellent place to start is at your local grow shop, but you may also join online forums or social media groups.

Benefits of growing cannabis outdoors

Growing cannabis outdoors has several advantages for farmers and cannabis plants with the appropriate cannabis soil. Everything from free resources to more time spent outdoors is a good endeavor. There’s no denying that growing cannabis outdoors has its issues (which we’ll discuss later), but it also offers a slew of fascinating advantages, including:

Sustainable and environmentally friendly

The rise in the popularity of indoor horticulture has increased energy use. Grow rooms use a lot of power because of lighting, ventilation systems, and other equipment.

On the other hand, outdoor gardening needs sunlight, air, and water to flourish. It has no impact on the environment in terms of carbon emissions, and in fact, it helps maintain the ecosystem’s dynamics. With the best outdoor grow setup, you have an excellent option if you’re concerned about the environment.

Low start-up costs

Indoor cannabis cultivation requires a slew of high-priced technologies, not the least of which are lighting and ventilation systems, as well as precise measurement devices. On the other hand, if you are learning how to grow cannabis outside, you should know that sunlight is one of the most apparent advantages, but there are many more. The how much sunlight a cannabis plant needs, which is superior to grow lights in photosynthesis. Fresh air, carbon dioxide, and precipitation are also free. The tough cannabis plant, as we know, needs all of these ingredients to thrive.

Furthermore, if you want to learn how to grow cannabis outside, you should know you’ll require very little knowledge. Good seeds and sufficient care are necessary for a plant to grow. Technically, they can grow on their own after they sprout. However, you’ll need to do more than that. You’ll still gain something even if you just put forth the bare minimum of effort.

Massive yields

While growing your cannabis inside is undoubtedly a fantastic approach to better managing the external environmental variations necessary to developing healthy plants, they will never rise to the size of healthy outdoor cannabis plants. If you want to know how to grow cannabis outdoors, you must keep the number of yields in mind.

Growing cannabis outside allows the plants to grow two times as large as those grown inside for the same amount of time and effort. This will not only get the biggest outdoor yields, but it will also need much less knowledge and time.

Under ideal circumstances, outdoor cannabis may produce up to 17.5 ounces (500 grams) of cannabis per plant. If you want to accomplish this, you’ll need a massive piece of ground where you can put your plants 3 to 5 feet away from each other.

You’ll also need to ensure the outdoor cannabis plants have adequate water, nutrients, and protection from pests and disease to guarantee this high degree of development. It would help germinate cannabis seeds as early as possible for the plants to have the time they need to become enormous.

Satisfying and relaxing

Gardening may have a calming effect on the mind and body. Spending some time outdoors, getting your hands filthy for a bit, is calming. Nothing beats the satisfaction of puffing on a joint you have grown yourself.

When you produce your outdoor cannabis plant, you have total control over its quality. When you cultivate cannabis outdoors, you’ll get a larger crop with a longer shelf life (saving you time and money). In addition to guaranteed freshness, you can rest easy knowing that it hasn’t been tampered with.

Are there any drawbacks to growing cannabis outdoors?

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows when you’re growing cannabis outdoors. Crop failures may result from minor difficulties to complete crop failures in this dynamic and living ecosystem. Observe how outdoor farmers deal with some of the main issues.

Potential security issues

Your outdoor grow is less private than an indoor grow. Large Sativa cultivars will extend their branches over the fence. In legal areas, a canopy full of blossoms can attract the attention of criminals, even if you reside in a legal region. Guerrilla gardening is an excellent strategy to go around the law and stealthily produce away from metropolitan areas.

It would help if you had maximum security for your outdoor cannabis plant and one way to do that is by growing as discreetly as possible. The last thing you need is prying eyes knowing what you are up to. Keep in mind cannabis plants are pretty valuable.

Climate requirements

If you want an excellent outdoor grow yield, you should know that it is considerably more difficult to cultivate plants in the open air in northern latitudes. Because of the shorter growing season and the frequent rainfall, growers in these regions are forced to use fast-flowering genetics, which results in smaller plants and poorer yields. While auto-flowering strains do well under these conditions, they aren’t as productive as sativas, tall, tree-like plants.

Outdoor cannabis plants
Outdoor cannabis plants growing with the SOG technique

Outdoor cannabis plants are also at risk from a variety of weather conditions. As a result of gale-force winds and heavy rains, branches and stems might be snapped, and disease can spread during the blossoming period. Extreme heat and dryness may result in plant stress, resulting in withering and drowning. Plants may be killed entirely by spring and fall frosts.

How to choose the best outdoor grow setup

Growing cannabis outdoors is ideal because you won’t have to spend a fortune on it and can rely on the sun’s power. You can learn how to grow cannabis outside if you have access to a sunny spot in your yard or even a balcony, terrace, or rooftop. You’ll be dependent on the sun, the seasons, and the local weather, but you won’t have to spend as much cash on equipment and utilities as indoor gardeners do.

What’s the climate like in your area?

It’s critical to understand the climate in the area where you’ll be growing cannabis outdoors. Cannabis is highly adaptable to various environments, but it is vulnerable to extreme weather. Temperatures above 85°F will cause your plants to stop growing, while temperatures below 55°F can cause plant damage and stunting, as well as death. Rainstorms and strong winds can physically harm plants and decrease yields, while excessive moisture can cause mold and powdery mildew, especially during outdoor cannabis flowering.

How to choose your outdoor cannabis grow site

After you have figured out the climate in your area, there are a few things you should think about before growing cannabis outside.

Sunlight 

Cannabis plants require at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. You may have a backyard, but it may not be ideal for growing if it does not receive full sun every day. Your cannabis plants should receive as much direct sunlight as possible, preferably during the midday hours when the light quality is best. As the seasons change and fall approaches, your plants will receive less and less sunlight throughout the day, causing the flowering stage to begin. Examine whether your outdoor location receives enough sunlight per day.

Wind and weather

A gentle breeze is ideal because it promotes the development of strong root systems. Strong winds can harm or even destroy a crop. A constant breeze is beneficial to your plants, especially in hot climates. However, if you live in a windy area, consider how to protect outdoor cannabis, like using a windbreak of some kind, such as a wall, fence, or large shrubbery.

Privacy and security

Having security is essential for keeping the best outdoor grow setup. If you plan to grow cannabis outside, local laws require that you keep your outdoor garden secure and out of sight of the public. Many growing cannabis outdoors producers value a quiet garden to deter trespassers and avoid bothering neighbors. A tall fence, tree, or shrub can offer some discretion for a fully grown cannabis plant if you have next-door neighbors. Hide your cannabis plants by pruning them in an unusual pattern or by using other plants such as pride of Madeira, jasmine, staghorn sumac and lavender.

Additionally, it is essential to comprehend your state and local home cultivation rules before investing in an entire outdoor grow setup. While most states have medical cannabis laws and many have adult-use regulations, not all of them permit cannabis home cultivation. In states where cannabis home growing is legal, the cultivation limits may differ between recreational and medical users. Furthermore, local governments can necessitate a cannabis growing permit, limit garden sizes, and prohibit outdoor grows.

Types of outdoor cannabis grow spaces

There are two kinds of outdoor cannabis cultivation: natural outdoor cultivation, in which you grow plants outdoors and expose them to the elements, and more controlled cultivation in a greenhouse, using an indoor-outdoor program. Some gardeners plant in containers hidden on balconies or rooftops, while others construct heavy-gauge wire cages to keep thieves and animals at bay. Whatever you choose, consider how big you want your final plant to be—outdoor cannabis plants can grow to be 10 feet tall or even taller, depending on how much space you give them.

Garden plot

Most people will plant cannabis alongside other vegetables in this location, which is arguably the most widespread outdoor growing location. Garden plots are among the most pleasant places to cultivate cannabis.

Advantages
  • There is plenty of room.
  • Possibility of growing companion plants in a polyculture.
  • Cultivating away from the public eye.
Disadvantages
  • Possibility of pests.
  • Mold in the soil is a risk.

Greenhouse 

Greenhouse cannabis cultivation is becoming increasingly popular, particularly in states where recreational cannabis cultivation is legal. It allows you to control the garden environment, nutritional inputs, and the total number of hours of light your plants receive per day. With appropriately designed greenhouse growing, you get the gain of the universe’s cheapest grow light (the sun) as well as wind-driven air movement. In an indoor-outdoor grow, you can move plants indoors during bad weather, pests, or diseases, or when the 12-hour no-light cycle is needed to trigger and retain the flowering phase for photoperiod strains. It means keeping the plants outside during sunlight and moving them inside during dark hours or for emergencies such as torrential rain.

Cannabis plants in the greenhouse
Cannabis plants growing in a big greenhouse
Advantages
  • Possibility of extending the outdoor growing season.
  • Pest control for certain pest species.
Disadvantages
  • During heat waves, plants may become stressed.
  • If there is insufficient ventilation, stale air and humidity can accumulate.

Balcony 

A balcony is one of the best outdoor grow setups for growing cannabis due to its accessibility. This can be a great location if it gets good light (ideally, it faces south) and has a lot of wind. However, you may have to protect your balcony to keep nosy neighbors out. However, certain variables can significantly impact the size of your harvest.

Advantages
  • Adequate natural light and fresh air.
  • South-facing balconies receive direct sunlight throughout the day.
  • Reduced water and electricity bills.
Disadvantages
  • Balconies facing north obtain almost no natural light.
  • Plants may experience strong winds in high-rise buildings.

Cultivators must know how to grow cannabis outside as Mother Nature offers most environmental growth conditions. Keep this outdoor grow guide yield in mind as you begin growing cannabis outdoors. Planting a week earlier, a week later, watering less, watering more, and so on can make a big difference. Quality cannabis soil is critical to crop success and one of the few factors you control when growing outdoors. Because practice makes perfect, keep a grow journal and record any mistakes and victories along the way. Keeping a record can help ensure that your future harvests are successful.

Choosing the best outdoor grow medium

There are various types of grow mediums for cannabis to use outdoors. Soil is the best growing medium for many. For centuries, gardeners have used soil to grow various plants including cannabis. Conversely, many other soilless mediums now provide alternative ways to grow your cannabis. A cannabis plant will grow and bloom regardless of the medium, as long as the roots have enough room to grow and access fresh oxygen, water, and nutrients. However, most growers will have a strong personal medium preference based on growing space, ease of use, and desired yields. These are the most popular mediums among expert cannabis gardeners:

Soil 

Soil is a popular pick because it is simple, an all-natural resource, and widely available. Because all cannabis comes from the soil, it is both sustainable and difficult to beat. Cannabis soil is an excellent choice for beginning gardeners, and a variety of soil blends, such as worm castings, eggshells, and organic waste, can be added to improve and build your compost.

Advantages

  • Cheap.
  • User-friendly.
  • Sustainable.

Disadvantages

  • Prone to pests and diseases.
  • It is heavy.

Silt soils

The optimal growth medium is silty soil. It’s simple to work with, warms quickly, retains moisture, drains well, and is high in nutrients. The best silty soil is dark, crumbly loam—fertile and won’t require any amendments. Moreover, silt soil has a medium granular size.

Advantages

  • Contains natural fertilizers (nutrients).
  • Keeps water.
  • Plants are stabilized.

Disadvantages

  • Has poor drainage.
  •  It is easily compacted.

Sandy soils

Sandy soil is simple to handle, drains well, and heats up quickly, but it does not hold nutrients well, particularly in rainy areas. Dig large holes for your plants and add compost, peat moss, or coco coir to help bind the soil together. You should mulch sandy soil to aid water retention in hot environments and keep roots from becoming overheated. Sandy soil has a large granular size and low pH.

Advantages

  • Good water retention.
  • Easy to handle.
  • Has high levels of oxygen.
  • Prevents compaction.

Disadvantages

  • Has poor water retention.
  • It dries quickly.
  • Nutrients are washed out.

Clay soils

Heavy clay soils drain gradually and do not hold oxygen well, necessitating extensive amendment. Dig large holes for your cannabis plants a few weeks before planting and fill them with large amounts of compost, manure, worm castings, or other decomposed organic matter. This provides aeration, drainage, and nutrients to the plants. Clay soil has small granules and a high pH.

Advantages

  • Minerals are supplied
  • Keeps water
  • Plants are stabilized.

Disadvantages

  • Has poor drainage.
  • Soil is very heavy.
  • Work is difficult.

Loam soils

Loam soil comprises nearly equal parts sand and silt, with less clay. A good sand-silt-clay ratio is 40% sand, 40% silt, and 20% clay. Loam soil is generally described as the ideal soil composition for most garden plants. Loamy soils should form a loose ball that holds its structure briefly before breaking apart in large chunks when squeezed. Loam soil has a near-neutral pH.

Advantages

  • Good drainage.
  • Easy to work with.
  • Has high levels of oxygen.
  • Contains natural fertilizers (nutrients).
  • Retention of nutrients.
  • Helps microorganisms.

Disadvantages

  • It is expensive.

Soilless media

Coco coir

The brown hairy husk of the coconut, chopped up into small pieces, is known as coco coir. Cultivators initially used this medium in hydroponic setups, but it has grown in popularity as a soil substitute for cannabis plant pots. It has anti-rot properties and does not retain water, making it especially effective when used with LED lights (so, therefore, controlled nutrient feeds are more efficient).

Advantages

  • Uniform in composition and odorless.
  • Has good drainage.  
  • High water holding capacity and excellent absorption.
  • Promotes strong root growth.
  • Cheap and high quality.

Disadvantages

  • Nutrients are required from the start.
  • You must check pH levels regularly.
  • To activate, it must be hydrated.

Bat guano

Guano is a superfood high in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, three essential plant nutrients. During the vegetative cycle, nitrogen promotes vigorous and verdant growth. Phosphorus promotes flowering and root growth. Potassium ensures that the trunks and branches are strong. Guano also contains many micronutrients essential for overall healthy plant development.

Advantages

Disadvantages

  • When proportions are off, bat guano can burn your plants.
  • It is expensive.

Perlite

Perlite begins its life as obsidian, a type of volcanic rock. It’s a non-toxic substance with a pH of 7.0, essential for growing cannabis in soil and soilless mediums. After being mined and crushed, obsidian is subjected to high temperatures, which evaporates the moisture inside and causes the obsidian to expand rapidly. This process produces an incredibly soft and brilliant white popcorn-like substance ready for commercial distribution. Perlite is well-known in the cannabis industry for improving drainage, and its airy structure is highly valued.

Perlite For Cannabis Soil
Perlite in a steel scoop

Advantages

  • Boosts oxygen levels.
  • Improves root development.
  • Reduces soil weight.

Disadvantages

  • pH testing at regular intervals.
  • Watering has been increased.
  • More attention is required.

Vermiculite

Since vermiculite is a non-toxic mineral that will not deteriorate in your soil, its effects will last long. It is not helpful as a nutrient source because it does not degrade. Instead, it acts as a structural aid for your soil. Its unique shape traps water and nutrients, which can then be extracted by the root of your cannabis as needed. This means you should water less frequently than you would if your soil did not contain vermiculite.

Moreover, vermiculite is not known for providing excellent aeration because it acts more like a sponge and absorbs more water than perlite. When you use vermiculite as an amendment, your roots will receive less oxygen. When cannabis plants are grown in vermiculite, they are more prone to root rots.

Hydroponics 

Hydroponic development is a method of cultivating cannabis in a solution of water and nutrients. The growing medium’s purpose is to support your plants’ root systems and water and oxygen to the crops in between watering durations. Hydroponic growing mediums are typically made of rock or mineral-based material, plastics, or extremely tough organic matter that will not degrade for an extended period. Rockwool, coco husk and floral foam are a few examples.

Advantages

  • For maximum yields, your plants will grow large and quickly.
  • You have control over your cannabis’s pH and nutrient levels.
  • You don’t need to feed as frequently (if you have a recirculating system).
  • Pests and soil-borne diseases pose little risk.

Disadvantages

  • Maintain the proper pH and nutrient levels.
  • Empty your tank and clean your system regularly.
  • Provide hydroponic nutrients from the beginning.

Cannabis can be grown using various mediums. Although some mediums are more beneficial than others, they can all result in the growth of large, healthy buds. It all comes down to finding the suitable medium for you in the end. We recommend that novice growers begin with a soil medium to understand better how the cannabis plant grows, then experiment with various other mediums until you find the one that produces the results you want; large yields and robust buds.

Choosing the best outdoor cannabis seeds

Autoflowering cannabis seeds and Feminized outdoor cannabis seeds are the two main seed options. Overall, Feminized photoperiod strains can be expected to grow outdoors for 5-6 months. One disadvantage of growing Feminized photoperiod outdoor strains is the risk of losing the entire crop if the plants do not finish maturing before the harsh winter weather arrives. As a result, many outdoor growers enjoy growing a few autoflower seeds. It is extra protection in case of bad end-of-season weather, which can reduce photoperiod harvest quantities. Outdoors, autoflower seeds typically take 100-110 days to mature from seed to harvest. That is significantly faster than Feminized photoperiod seeds.

Many people who grow in the shortest summers prefer the fast-growing qualities of autoflower seeds. For some growers in harsh climates, autoflower seeds are simply the only viable option for completing an outdoor cannabis crop on time. Autoflower seeds are an excellent way for many growers to supplement Feminized seeds.

Consider how much space is available

Whether you want to grow cannabis in your backyard, front yard, or balcony, you must first determine how much space you have available. Some growers plant in containers hidden on balconies or rooftops, while others construct heavy-gauge wire cages to keep thieves and animals at bay. Whatever you choose, consider how big you want your final plant to be—outdoor cannabis plants can grow to be 10 feet tall or even taller, depending on how much space you give them.

How much cannabis are you growing outdoors?

Newcomers are always astounded by how large outdoor cannabis plants can grow. Outdoor cannabis plants grow like they are on steroids instead of indoor cannabis plants. The great outdoors produces cannabis trees, whether it’s due to natural sunlight or deep root space. As a result, you must decide how many cannabis plants you want in your garden. If you can’t find an appropriate number, you might discover underused garden space or a literal cannabis jungle. It’s much simple to calculate how many cannabis plants will fit in your outdoor garden to avert extremes. The final size will be influenced by the cultivation technique you use. SCROG, Low Stress Training, High Stress Training, and other methods will determine the overall size and shape of the pot plant.

The best outdoor cannabis strains

We have listed our favorite cannabis cultivars that promise incredible results in a natural setting.

Cannabis plant growing outdoors
A cannabis plant soaking up the sun’s rays in an outdoor grow operation.

Amnesia

Amnesia is an excellent pick for growing in hot and humid weather because it is derived from old-school Haze and is considered one of the best variants. This cannabis plant can quickly grow to be more than ten feet tall. Limit their root growth in your garden by topping crops or using pots. They flower in 9–10 weeks and yield a whopping 21–28 oz./plant. This outdoor strain does not necessitate years of expertise. Even if you’re a novice, you can quickly cultivate these plants outside. They are resistant to harmful bugs and promise rapid growth with little effort.

Alien Cookies

Alien Cookies is a hybrid strain produced by crossing the famous Alien Dawg and Girl Scout Cookies. This bud is extremely difficult to find, but it is entirely worth it every time due to its flawless combination of its parents’ effects. If you are growing Alien Cookies cannabis for the first time, you can seek advice on the hybrid’s growing process and methods to achieve a high yield.

Gelato

The Gelato cannabis is an Indica-leaning hybrid that crosses Sunset Sherbet and Thin Mint GSC. The Gelato strain has many Indica characteristics, such as tiny buds with a robust and dense structure. The green leaf color of these plants is accented by deep purple hues and illuminated by vibrant orange pistils, making them visually appealing. Gelato thrives in warm, humid climates when grown outside. Its quality would improve if it could be exposed to cooler temperatures before flowering. In mid-October, Gelato is ready for harvest.

Durban Poison

This cannabis strain originated in Durban, South Africa. Durban Poison is perfect for growing outdoors because it can thrive in various conditions. This pure Sativa landrace can grow very tall outdoors. By late September, you should be able to harvest your buds.

OG Kush

There isn’t much to say about OG Kush, one of the most famous cannabis strains of all time. This fantastic 75% Indica, is ideal for growing outdoors in the sun. A single plant can produce 500 grams in just eight weeks of flowering in this region.

Should you grow feminized or autoflower seeds outdoors?

Autoflower seeds frequently produce smaller harvests; yields of 50-75 grams per plant are not uncommon for the auto grower. It is entirely possible to harvest a couple of hundred grams of dried bud from an auto under ideal conditions. Conversely, a sizable Feminized photoperiod outdoor strain could easily yield a Kg or more dry bud under optimal conditions. Autoflower plants typically grow around a meter tall and are convenient/easy to grow and hide outdoors. Outdoor strains with a high growth rate can reach several meters in height. This is ideal for a large private back garden, but it is not suitable for those living in more urban areas. There will be times when an outdoor cannabis producer will want to grow an auto and other times when they will have the time and space to grow a sizable Feminized photoperiod plant. 

Outdoor grow nutrients

Cannabis plants need a diversified diet to flourish, grow and produce a high-quality crop. Cannabis depends on a precise equilibrium of minerals and components throughout its growth cycle to carry out critical physiological functions. Ensure you rely on an outdoor grow guide when looking into the essential nutrients.

Growing high-quality cannabis requires more nutrients or fertilizer than most other crops.

When transplanting a pot plant outdoors, outdoor cannabis farmers generally add powdered fertilizers to the soil. It will provide the plant with all or most of the nutrients it requires for its whole life cycle, and if you want to add extra nutrients to plants later, you may do so by adding them to the top of the soil, which is known as “top dressing.”

Healthy cannabis plant
Well-nourished cannabis plant

Macronutrients

Soil nutrients

Some of the macronutrients that outdoor cannabis plants need come from the soil, either decomposed organic matter or synthetic fertilizer. Here are a few of them:

  • Nitrogen

When growing cannabis outdoors, nitrate, a nitrogen compound, is a mobile nutrient in cannabis plants. Nitrogen is an essential nutrient for your outdoor cannabis plant to get throughout its growth cycle. In contrast, 98% of the soil’s nitrogen is organic. For plants to make use of this rare resource, microbes are required.

Nitrogen is essential to the growth and development of plants. The chlorophyll molecule, which enables plants to perform photosynthesis, is likewise made up of this element. Amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, also include nitrogen.

  •  Phosphorus

Fresh, immature growth can get phosphorus since it is a transportable nutrient. Plants absorb an anion form of the element, and it is then used in a wide range of physiological functions. Phosphorus is a vital component of all live plant cells.

Energy exchange, photosynthesis, starch, and sugar transformation rely on it. Phosphorus aids in the distribution of nutrients inside plants and the transmission of genetic traits from one generation to the next.

Element helps to root formation and stem toughness during vegetative growth. Phosphorus is essential in floral development and production later in the growth cycle.

  • Potassium

Suppose you are learning how to grow cannabis outside. In that case, you should know that potassium is necessary for plant growth, metabolism, stress resistance, root development, and the root system’s structure.

Potassium is also essential for conserving water. It’s time to revisit the “guard cells” from before. The stomata open and shut with the help of potassium. Whenever outdoor cannabis takes in carbon dioxide, it loses water via these tiny pores. During water scarcity, plants need potassium to seal their stomata, allowing them to save water. Potassium is essential for plants as an enzyme activator and plays a significant role in protein synthesis.

Soilless nutrients

  • Carbon

Stomata are small holes on the surface of leaves that allow plants to “inhale” carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. There are times when stomata aren’t open, allowing carbon dioxide to pass through. Each hole is guarded by a pair of cells that open and shut based on demand.

When it comes to planting health, carbon dioxide plays a critical role. Photosynthesis is how plants transform carbon dioxide gas into the kinetic energy they need to grow.

  • Oxygen

Carbon dioxide is broken down into oxygen by the plant’s apical portions. Because they cannot access light and hence cannot do photosynthesis, the roots take up oxygen.

During the respiration process, oxygen is required to assist plants in releasing energy held in glucose produced during photosynthesis.

Hydroponic nutrients

  • Hydrogen

During photosynthesis, plants use water molecules to synthesize hydrogen. They can do this by using the energy of light.

Carbon dioxide and nitrogen are two building blocks that plants need to thrive. During photosynthesis, plants need hydrogen ions to power the electron transport chain.

Micronutrients

Soil micronutrients

These nutrients are present in minimal levels in plant tissue, yet they play a critical function in the plant’s development. Plant nutrition would be reduced without these nutrients, resulting in decreased plant production. Some of the micronutrients present in soil include boron (B), chlorine (CI), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), molybdenum (Mo), zinc (Zn), and nickel (Ni).

Soilless micronutrients

Some of the soilless micronutrients include calcium and magnesium.

Chalk, clay, limestone, and gypsum are all sources of calcium, while dolomites and Epsom salts are magnesium sources.

Hydroponic micronutrients

Magnesium, calcium, iron, sulfur, boron, cobalt, copper, manganese, molybdenum, and zinc are essential micronutrients and minerals. All of these factors lead to a bountiful crop. Notably, hydroponic fertilizers are solution-based and delivered to cannabis plants through the water.

Mixing your nutrients vs. pre-made blends

Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium concentrations in nutrient solution bottles and fertilizer bags are indicated by N-P-K (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium). For example, a product labeled “10-4-4” shows that it contains 10% nitrogen, 4% phosphorus, and 4% potassium by weight.

Vegetative fertilizer should be rich in nitrogen, low in phosphorus, and moderate in potassium: 9-4-5 is a good starting point. A 3-8-7 ratio of nitrogen to phosphorus and potassium is a good starting point for flowering plants.

It’s also common to classify products into “grow” and “bloom” solutions based on their nutrients for vegetative growth and flower development. Just use these generic words if you don’t want to become bogged down in statistics.

Luckily, you don’t have to go through this process, considering you can always rely on pre-made blends.

Potential nutrient deficiencies outdoors

The most common cannabis deficiencies outdoors include:

  • Nitrogen deficiency
  • Phosphorus deficiency
  • Potassium deficiency
  • Calcium deficiency
  • Magnesium deficiency
  • Sulfur deficiency
  • Copper deficiency
  • Iron deficiency
  • Manganese deficiency
  • Zinc deficiency

Outdoor feeding schedule

Most fertilizer companies supply feed charts to their clients. Understanding these charts is essential for providing the proper nutrients to your plants at the right time.

A feed chart will generally outline a developing cycle of 12–13 weeks. The weeks of the process are often displayed along the chart’s x-axis. They may additionally contain information such as the photoperiod for each week and other details.

Most essential, your feed chart will specify which nutrients to feed your plants and in what ratios over the several weeks of their life cycle. Nutrients are typically administered once a week, and most fertilizer products will give you a feed-to-water balance (either in liters or gallons). Some feed charts may additionally provide a PPM range for their solutions. Get a PPM meter and test your nutrients before feeding for further precision if this is the case.

After you have fed your plants, you should always check the PPM and conductivity of your soil to verify they’re collecting nutrients appropriately.

Growing cannabis outdoors timeline

A plant’s existence goes through a succession of phases in its development. Light, water, and nutrients are all varied requirements for each step of the cannabis production process.

The length of time it takes to cultivate a cannabis plant may range from four months to eight months, depending on the climate. A few weeks into an indoor grow chamber, your plant is capable of flowering!

If you don’t understand the phases of cannabis development and the lifetime of your plants, you won’t get the best results. With an outdoor cannabis calendar, you can be confident you are doing everything right.

Outdoor grow timeline

Let’s take a look at the plant’s life cycle. When it comes to outdoor cannabis cultivators, timing is everything.

When does the outdoor grow season start?

It’s best to start your seeds inside by the end of April, but it should be between February and April if you’re growing cannabis outdoors in the Northern Hemisphere. Because seedlings are more sensitive, some gardeners start them inside in a controlled setting before transplanting them to the ground once they are more prominent. Another month or so is allotted to cultivate cuts or autoflowering plants. By the end of June, most plants need to be outdoors and in the ground.

Outdoor cannabis plants
Cannabis plants growing outside

Between September and November, the crops are ready for harvest. In the Pacific Northwest, harvesting may begin as early as September. In Northern California, harvest can begin as late as October, depending on the year’s weather conditions and your region’s environment.

Germination

Germinating outdoors

Cannabis seeds are the earliest stage of the plant’s life cycle. The color of a cannabis seed should range from light brown to dark brown, and it should be firm and dry. Squishy, green or white, and immature seed has a low chance of sprouting.

It would help plant your seed in soil when it has germinated or sprung when growing cannabis outdoors. The seedling’s stem will grow upward while the taproot descends.

Two spherical cotyledon leaves will emerge from the stem as the plant grows out of the seed’s protective covering. The plant’s first set of leaves is essential for absorbing the sunlight to grow and thrive.

You’ll know your cannabis plant is a seedling when the stalk begins to climb, and the first characteristic fan leaves appear.

Find out everything about germinating cannabis seeds.

Germinating indoors and then transferring outdoors

Even if your outdoor cannabis plant is just a seed, the effort you put in will determine its success or failure. Germination is when the first root emerges from the seed’s shell, which takes 1–7 days. You can use the wet paper towel method to start germination indoors. Once your seeds germinate and the seedlings reach 2-3cm, you can transfer them into a suitable growing container and take them outdoors.

Seedling

The best time for the cannabis seedlings stage is spring to early summer. Regardless of whether you started your plants from seed or purchased a cut, they are very vulnerable during their first few weeks of existence.

To keep their plants safe and warm, people in colder regions frequently start them inside, waiting until they are 6 to 8 inches tall and robust enough to endure the elements outside before transplanting them to the outside. As seedlings are vulnerable to pests, disease, and mold, many gardeners choose to start their plants inside to give them an advantage.

According to gardeners, plants should not be planted in the ground until there is no risk of an overnight frost and sufficient sunlight in milder locations. Moving plants outdoors after Mother’s Day is an ancient gardening rule of thumb, and they should be outside and in the ground by the Summer Solstice.

You could, of course, cultivate your outdoor cannabis in pots or other containers. It’s common for outdoor gardeners to utilize pots and other containers since they can move their plants within if the evenings are very chilly.

Vegetative stage

The plant’s development takes off in the summer and early autumn during the vegetative stage of cannabis. It will continue to sprout new leaves for a few weeks, rising even higher into the warm summer light.

Plants may be topped and trained during this period to stimulate outward growth. While maintaining the plant’s overall height ensures an equal distribution of light to the leaves. More water and more nutrients, such as nitrogen, will be required as the outdoor cannabis plant grows more extensive roots.

Potential veg problems

You must eliminate the males before pollinating your female plants if you use only female plants (and wreck your harvest).

For as long as there is an even distribution of light and darkness, photoperiod plants will continue to thrive. The blooming stage is the most exciting phase of photoperiod plants for farmers.

Flowering stage

The flowering cannabis stage takes place during fall, and here, most of a female cannabis plant’s energy will be used to produce flowers. Three steps are involved in the blossoming process.

Stages of flower

  • Flower initiation: When you notice white, hairy pistils forming, you’ll know it’s time to get your hands on some buds. The plant will likely continue to develop, albeit slower than before.
  • Mid-flowering: The buds will begin to form, and the plant will halt its growth.
  • Late-flowering/ripening: The blossoms will swell and become sticky and coated with trichomes as they get larger and larger. It’s time to start thinking about harvesting when the pistils turn brown.

Growers typically use a trellis, bamboo canes, or another sort of support to assist their plants in managing the weight of the blossoms as they mature. During the blossoming period, you can apply additional nutrients such as phosphorus.

Harvesting

As a female cannabis plant nears its end of life, it will expend most of its energy. However, the standard rule is that harvesting cannabis occurs around the fall equinox. A thorough examination of the trichomes is also beneficial. It’s common for growers to seek trichomes with an amber color. When the plant is ready to be harvested, the fan leaves will most likely begin to yellow, curl, and dry out, as seen in the photo.

Drying and curing outdoors

If you want to avoid the growth of fungus and bacteria, drying and curing cannabis is essential. To extend the shelf life of your cannabis, remove any excess moisture. The harshness of the cannabis will be a consequence of the drying process being completed too rapidly.

To cure cannabis, you place it in an airtight container and store it in a temperature-controlled cabinet in the range of 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

It would help if you did not pack jars too tightly to prevent a reduction in ventilation. They must be kept in storage for up to three weeks and opened once a day for a few minutes to remove any gases that may have accumulated and let the fresh air infiltrate them.

Outdoor cannabis training techniques

Growing pot can be the most straightforward process ever, or it can become extremely complicated, with intricate systems and tools that take weeks to master. In any case, with so many different methods of cultivating cannabis available today, growers must find the one that works best for them year after year.

Training techniques to use outdoors

Training techniques are used by cannabis growers worldwide to manipulate and enhance the growth of their plants. This contributes to stronger, bushier plants with a higher overall yield. Even though it may appear intimidating, training techniques only require a little practice to master, and even inexperienced growers can benefit from them. Training your plants is one of the simplest – and most natural – ways to improve your final harvest. There is a suitable training technique for your garden, whether you are training plants to fit into a smaller space or simply training them to yield many buds. Naturally, this eliminates the need for chemicals to achieve the same results. So put on your gardening gloves and try one of these training methods.

Light dep cannabis

The light deprivation method is a cannabis growing technique in which cultivators control the daily hours of light that cannabis plants receive, fooling the plant into thinking fall is approaching and it is time to flower. This expedites the process, allowing growers to harvest two or even three times per season. When the plants are duped into thinking that October is just around the corner, they prepare to produce more seeds, which will fall to the ground and keep the plant alive until the following year. Gardeners get real buds rather than seeds in half the time it takes to bloom. Cannabis cultivation using the light dep tactic is one of the most impactful methods for producing a high yield in a short period. It’s a rewarding harvest, but it’s also time-consuming if growers don’t automate the process.

SCROG

If your local regulations restrict the amount of cannabis you can nurture, the SCROG method will allow you to make more growth sites per plant, resulting in more buds.

Outdoor scrog
Cannabis plants growing outside using the scrog method

The SCROG technique forces cannabis plants to grow horizontally through a suspended screen, allowing colas to form in otherwise dormant plant areas as it spreads laterally across the screen. The SCROG method directs the plant’s branches to grow horizontally rather than vertically, exposing more flower nodes to the light source.

Super cropping

Super cropping is a more “intense” type of bending method used for stems that are too tall but have become woody and challenging to bend. The technique known as super cropping involves “softening up” the stem before bending it at an extreme angle. Super cropping can be highly beneficial in taming an out-of-control plant, and it also has a few other advantages because it can stress the plant in a “good” way. This technique entails strategically using high stress to increase the plant’s production of cannabinoids and terpenes. Also, super cropping involves pinching and tying down areas of the stems. The plant then transfers more energy to that area to heal it, causing nearby bud production to increase. If you try the super cropping method and put too much stress on the plant, cover the damaged area with duct tape to help it heal.

Mainlining

Mainlining is a training technique used by growers to stimulate the growth of multiple large, uniform colas rather than just one. We accomplish this by splitting the cannabis stem and creating a Y-shaped hub with the manifold. This redirects nutrients and resources to various branches. The technique is simple, but it also necessitates little extra effort. You can mainline cannabis plants in minutes if you know how and when. Once you’ve established your central manifold, you can repeat the process on newer growths, effectively doubling the number of colas each time.

Topping

Topping cannabis plants is a method of encouraging new growth and the production of more branches, effectively doubling your plants’ yield. It is achieved by clipping the growth tip of the plant’s main stem, which is located at the very top of the plant, resulting in the formation of multiple colas rather than just one. When topping a plant, always cut it at a 45-degree angle. Topping cannabis plants in this manner slows the plant’s vertical growth, allowing lower bud areas to catch up to the upper development on the main stem. Outdoor cultivators can use topping continually to increase yields, topping dominant growth tips several times to turn one into two, two into four, and so on.

Fimming

The FIM method (or fimming) is comparable to topping cannabis because it involves cutting the main tip. Conversely, fimming takes most of a budding tip rather than cutting it entirely at a 45-degree angle. The goal is to stimulate new growth by producing many colas instead of one main cola. Fimming, caused by improperly topping the plant (hence the name FIM, short for “F**k, I missed”), can result in an uneven canopy because it is difficult to control the extent of developing growth sites.

Lollipopping

Removing growth from the plant’s lower portion, resulting in a lollipop-shaped plant, redirects more energy to the plant’s higher, cola-producing branches. Because the lower branches don’t get much light anyway, this method prunes them, forcing the plant to concentrate on cola growth. Lollipopping is particularly successful in promoting optimal yield in SCROG and other outdoor cannabis grows that allows little light to the lower branches.

Potential issues when growing cannabis outdoors

Growing pot outdoors is a simple procedure that does not necessitate much effort on your part. All you should do is choose a location where you will grow cannabis, make sure the soil is good quality and rich in nutrients, and make sure it is outdoor with plenty of air and light. You will need to fix the soil with nutrients to ensure the best possible growth in most cases.

Not all cannabis strains thrive in the outdoors. Since the environment outside is difficult to control, selecting the right strain for an outdoor grow is critical. When growing cannabis outdoors, you have less control over the natural area. Choose a robust outdoor cannabis strain because various problems can occur outside and affect your plants.

Insects 

Insects and bugs on cannabis are challenging to eradicate once they have infested your cannabis plants. The best thing to do is to keep them from invading your plants, but because you are growing cannabis outdoors, it is challenging to keep insects under control. Spider mites and whiteflies are two other common pests that can wreak havoc on your cannabis plants. They can be found under the leaves and, if not removed, can cause yellowish-white spots on the tops of your plants’ leaves. Spraying synthetic insecticides on your cannabis plants should be avoided. Organic pesticides and insecticides can be effective if used correctly. It is always best to avoid spraying anything on your plants while flowering if possible.

Animals and other pests

Animals that want to eat cannabis plants are a common problem when growing cannabis outdoors, but you can solve this by erecting a fence around the garden area. When deciding to grow cannabis outdoors, choosing a location is critical. Choose a location not inhabited by rabbits, deer, or other wild animals, as these animals would love to eat your cannabis crop. You can keep these animals out of your garden by enclosing them with a fence or wire mesh. Moreover, check your cannabis plants regularly for pest damage caused by slugs, snails, and caterpillars. These pests can consume the plant’s leaves and buds.

Cold weather

Most outdoor cannabis strains can withstand extreme temperatures and varying weather conditions. No matter how tough these strains are, they cannot survive in temperatures below freezing for long periods. Frost is one of the most common and severe issues that pot growers in cold climate countries face. Although you cannot avoid this, you can take precautions by growing an Indica strain to complete its entire flowering cycle before the first frost. You can also prevent frost damage by planting cannabis in April. If your cannabis crops are exposed to cold temperatures, they will stop growing, and if this happens for an extended period, they will die. Bring them inside if the weather becomes inhospitable for an extended time.

Heatwaves

When growing cannabis outdoors, you have fewer alternatives for reducing heat during a heatwave than when growing indoors. You can, however, monitor your local weather via forecasts and use that information to aid you in preparing for whatever conditions may arise. Plants can often take several weeks to recover after a hot or dry spell, so the best medicine for outdoor plants is prevention. Controlling heat waves in the open air is more complicated. However, effective countermeasures can still be taken by the grower. Shading plants will help and will also increase watering. A simple screen can be constructed using ordinary green gardening shade material. Use it to block out some of the harsh sunlight. You can avoid this problem by planting the best cannabis seeds at the right time of year. Prepare by researching the local weather data.

Storms

Outdoor cannabis growers do not have the same luxuries as indoor growers. Inevitably, you will have to deal with inclement weather. Storms are another major threat that an outdoor cannabis grower must contend with. No one expects them, especially in the spring and summer, but they can appear out of nowhere and destroy your cannabis plant’s branches and leaves. However, the most dangerous time for such unexpected rain is during flowering. At that point, the flowers bloom, and a few weeks later, they begin to produce large buds.

An unexpected storm may not only break the branches due to the weight of the water. Storms may also cause more serious moisture problems. which are usually complicated to fix without cutting off lots to minimize your losses. To avoid this, cover the plants with a canvas or plastic cover whenever the weather forecast predicts a high likelihood of strong storms caused by significant changes in atmospheric pressure.

Intruders 

Choose a garden location that is easily accessible but rarely visited by others for security reasons. When growing cannabis in a pot outside, you must watch for hungry animals that want to nibble on your cannabis plants. Also, you should watch out for thieves who want to steal your cannabis plants’ big, fat buds. Don’t let the robbers leave you empty-handed. Choose a site where there will be no passersby to keep your garden safe from both authorities and thieves. Choose a garden location with tall annual crops to hide your cannabis plants.

Now you know how to grow cannabis outdoors

Growing larger buds outside isn’t all rainbows and sunshine. It’s a lot of fun and an incredible experience, but there are some difficulties. The most important thing is to ensure that all necessary conditions for optimal growth and performance are in place. Once you have nailed down the preparation, it’s difficult to screw up the results. To ensure the quality of the harvested buds, avoid handling them excessively and store cannabis away from direct sunlight.

The outside world has some advantages for cannabis cultivation. Now that you understand how to grow cannabis outside, you can plan your planting. Cannabis requires a lot of attention, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. There are a variety of supplies available to help first-time growers get started. If you want to learn more about growing the best outdoor cannabis, visit our cannabis growing tips page for some helpful information and our outdoor cannabis growing section to see which strains are best for you!

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Janice Bernstein
Janice Bernstein
Janice has been on the cannabis scene for many years now, though she tends to keep to herself and might fly under the radar for many, even those well-versed in cannabis growing. Her writings on different methods of watering cannabis helped bring the use of reverse osmosis water to the forefront of cannabis gardening. As she developed her knowledge further, Janice began to look more at how we feed cannabis plants in general, using standard nutrient feeding as a base and adding techniques from other botanical fields to create more contemporary feeding schedules. In more recent years, Janice has increasingly expanded her horizons, both literally and figuratively, observing and analyzing the goings-on in her ever-growing outdoor garden and begun to offer more insights into growing cannabis outdoors in general.
Janice Bernstein
Janice Bernstein
Janice has been on the cannabis scene for many years now, though she tends to keep to herself and might fly under the radar for many, even those well-versed in cannabis growing. Her writings on different methods of watering cannabis helped bring the use of reverse osmosis water to the forefront of cannabis gardening. As she developed her knowledge further, Janice began to look more at how we feed cannabis plants in general, using standard nutrient feeding as a base and adding techniques from other botanical fields to create more contemporary feeding schedules. In more recent years, Janice has increasingly expanded her horizons, both literally and figuratively, observing and analyzing the goings-on in her ever-growing outdoor garden and begun to offer more insights into growing cannabis outdoors in general.

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