Growing weed outdoors is true bliss. In fact, it is also a blessing as not everyone can afford to grow marijuana outdoors due to various reasons.
So if you are among those lucky ones who can and want to grow cannabis outdoors – then stop wasting your time delaying and get down to action ASAP.
There is no guide to growing weed outdoors that can really help you before you first understand that growing outdoors and planning go hand in hand.
The more you plan, the more you’ll be rewarded upon harvesting. The more carefully you plan, the more you will enjoy a trouble-free outdoor adventure.
It goes without saying that growing weed outdoors also comes with the benefits of enjoying sufficient savings so your budget won’t be put to a test.
The reason why we adore growing marijuana outdoors is that you have so much room for experimenting. There is no better way of letting your imagination go wild when cultivating your own green medication than outdoor growing.
“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience” –Ralph Waldo Emerson.
You can’t possibly get down to growing weed outdoors without considering the specifications of the climate in your region.
In fact, taking into account all the important details regarding the climate based on your geographical location is the very first step of a successful and happy growing-weed-outdoors mission.
If you do already have some gardening experience with growing your own herbs, veggies and/or fruit, then you most probably have all the know-how you need when it comes to the weather patterns in your region. But in the case you are a newbie gardener, you need to first study up the weather patterns of the climate carefully before you get down to planting your green ladies.
Here’s a neat cheat sheet of weather patterns’ considerations you want to keep in mind.
1. Average daytime/nighttime temperature rates
If the temperature in your region gets above 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius) for an extended period (anything more than 3-5 days in a row), then your weed plants can suffer stunted growth which equals poor yields.
If the temperature gets below 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius) for even a few days, this can also result in stunting the growth of your plants. Make sure that your plants can tolerate a variety of temperatures before planting cannabis outdoors.
2. High/low chances of heavy rains/harsh winds
Although sometimes the weather can be truly unpredictable, most geographic locations across the globe are subjected to particular weather patterns that make it easy to predict the possibility of heavy rains and/or harsh winds.
Both rains and winds can cause physical damage to marijuana plants, significantly reducing yields. In a worst-case scenario, too much raining or harsh wind blowing in your cannabis garden can mean dead plants.
Fortunately, there’s much you can do to handle issues related to unfavorable temperature rates, heavy rains or harsh winds before any of these conditions cause damage to your crop. We dig into detail on that matter in the last section of this article protecting marijuana plants outdoors.
Finally, you need to learn how many hours of daylight does your geographical location receive seasonally. To illustrate this better, some of you can get approximately 10 hours of sunlight in June while others will receive about 14 hours of daylight in June it is the latitude of your region that plays a key role in evaluating the hours of daylight depending on the season. Once you know the latitude, rest is mainly Googling things up (no need to teach you anything on that note!)
As soon as summer in your region is brought to an end, the hours of daylight you receive will decrease, and this is closely related to picking the best date for planting your green ladies.
Best of all, we highly encourage you to ask local fellow gardeners for their expert guidelines regarding the climate patterns in your region.
Experienced local gardeners will possess tons of know how, and most of them will be more than glad to share it with you. Asking the experts at your local garden store can be of great assistance, too.
Cannabis Seeds vs. Clones
When discussing the best practices for growing weed outdoors and their correlation to the climate in your region, it’s crucial to point out the differences in working with marijuana seeds vs. clones.
The most effective way to make sure your marijuana plants grown from seeds will flourish outdoors is to start germination with the paper towel method (meaning that you do not place the seeds directly into the ground).
Once the seeds are germinated, it’s a highly personal matter of choice whether you will plant them outdoors or you will choose to start them indoors at first – that depends on the favorability of the climate in your region.
But with growing marijuana clones outdoors, your best move is to always start with indoor growing before you gradually let them “harden off” until they are fully ready to be transplanted outdoors (for detailed guidelines check out our comprehensive guide to growing marijuana clones outdoors).
Even if you do perfectly understand all the important factors of the climate in your region, this can mean nothing if you choose to grow the wrong cannabis strains.
For instance, if you choose to grow Sour Diesel (a good example of a Sativa-dominant hybrid) in Vancouver, British Columbia, it won’t possibly finish flowering as cold, unfavorable weather and lack of sufficient sunlight will block the plants’ from further development.
But if you choose to grow Sour Diesel in Australia, it will finish flowering with ease and success because of the suitable climate for this strain’s specifications.
We do need to highlight, though, that not all Sativa-dominant hybrids take long to finish flowering, meaning, these can be cultivated successfully in different regions. Similarly, not all Indica-dominant strains finish flowering in a breeze so knowing the specifics of the strains you work with is a game changer.
That’s why you always want to know your seeds or clones. And the only way to do so is by opting for clones and/or seeds from reputable retailers.
Many marijuana treatment patients or aficionados of the herb don’t take the time to choose the right strain that will respond great to the climate in their region while also providing an excellent, exquisite array of mental/physical benefits– don’t be one of these people!
Do your research. Study up the strains you’re interested in. Dig deeper to understand their effects and growth specifications before you plant them – and we promise you this will be one of the best decisions you can make as a well-educated cannabis connoisseur in the long run.
Choosing the most suitable location for your outdoor cannabis garden is the next crucial decision you’ll need to make after understanding the climate and picking suitable strains to grow depending on the region where you reside.
Then again, understanding the specifics of the particular strains you are about to grow is closely related to picking the most suitable location.
You want to consider the average height your plants will reach so that you can plan the discretion/privacy of your garden accordingly. Next, you can opt for a decently-sized fence, planting large bushes or other companion plants that can camouflage your outdoor marijuana garden from thieves or judgmental eyes like maize, nettle and/or sunflowers.
Also, there will be no way that your weed plants will receive reliable access to sunlight if you position them in a shady spot in your garden, right?
It’s really important to think critically when picking a good location for growing weed outdoors.
In the case you know fair well that the average summer temperatures in your region reach higher than the recommended for marijuana plants, consider picking a location that has access to sunlight early in the day and later in the afternoon, as opposed to sunlight during the peak hours.
If you have no other option but to position your plants right under the hot summer rays during the peak hours, then consider building an easily-portable shelter that can serve much like a beach umbrella helps us avoid getting burned.
It might seem tempting to simply plant your seeds directly into the soil outdoors and let nature do the rest for you.
However, since you want to yield high-quality buds upon harvesting, understanding the specifications of the soil you are about to work with is of utmost importance.
In a nutshell, the major categories of soil found outdoors include sandy, clay, and loamy soils. But in most cases, the soil is actually a combination between these different types.
You will grow healthy marijuana plants in soil that is not too heavy but not too light, either; it should be able to drain water well while also retaining a sufficient amount of water so that your plants will have the time to utilize their nutrients (which can be quite difficult in soils with very high drainage).
For detailed information on understanding the type of soil you might be dealing with, we highly encourage you to check out our comprehensive guide for choosing the best soil for growing weed. We have also shared our favorite recipe for mixing organic cannabis super soil so it can be worth giving it a try.
Better yet, we believe that the best way to understand and upgrade already available soil for outdoor marijuana growing is to invest in professional soil testing. Having your soil tested is inexpensive (a basic soil test costs about $10 while a complete test costs about $20).
If you do have experienced fellow gardeners, though, you can save a few bucks on soil testing. Anyway, professional soil testing is affordable, convenient, and best of all – you can always ask for further advice on soil pH balancing and the best methods for fertilization.
Don’t want to mention cannabis? Ask about tomatoes. Cannabis and tomatoes flourish following similar patterns when it comes to best soil and nutrients.
If you don’t have any idea about the type of soil in your outdoors marijuana garden to be, here’s a quick fix to help you achieve well-functioning water retention drainage rates.
- Dig a 1x5ft x 1x5ft deep hole in your garden.
- Fill the hole with water.
- Check how long it takes for the water to drain.
- If it takes 10 minutes or less for water to drain, you may add peat, coco and/or compost to improve water retention rates.
- If it takes about 15-50 minutes for the water to drain, you still need to add peat, coco and/or compost to improve the texture of the soil.
- If it takes 55+ minutes for the water to drain, you may add sand, coco and/or perlite to improve drainage.
As far as fertilizing outdoor marijuana plants is concerned, you have a big room for experimenting.
Top dressing, composting, brewing your own compost tea, mixing homemade fertilizing solutions or opting for readily-available organic/ non-organic, liquid/powdered fertilizers is only a matter of personal preferences.
Just make sure you feed the right nutrients based on the growth stage of your green ladies higher levels of Nitrogen during vegetation vs. higher levels of Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K) during flowering (find out more in our guide on the best nutrients for growing weed).
To Dig or not to Dig?
Before you get down to planting your green ladies straight into the ground, it is good to consider the benefits of opting for suitable containers instead.
If this is your first outdoor marijuana growing mission in a particular region (no two locations are exactly alike!) then we highly encourage you to choose to grow in containers.
Growing weed outdoors in high-quality, decently-sized containers can grant you massive yields (still, slightly decreased than the yields you can achieve by planting directly in soil but in some cases, planting in the soil can actually mean decreased yields if you lack experience with climate/strain/soil specifics).
Fabric pots can be the best choice because of two important reasons.
Firstly, fabric pots allow the roots to receive good levels of oxygen and access to better airflow which also helps to prevent root rot.
Secondly, fabric pots are easy to carry around so in the case of unfavorable weather you can always protect your marijuana plants from damage.
Last but not least, fabric containers are available in multiple sizes, and you can pick as large fabric pots as you wish to enjoy sufficient yields.
Watering Weed Plants Outdoors
Depending on the type of outdoor weed grow operation, watering can prove to be effortless for some or rather complicated for others. But then again, careful planning can take you a long way.
Did you know that over watering is the number one mistake cannabis growers make?
Certainly, both under and over watering have their downsides and the related damages can be easily spotted if we could monitor easily the roots of our plants.
When watering cannabis plants, it is good to water at once, and water deeply with pH-balanced, temperate water (not too cold, not too warm). Then you want to wait until the top inch of the soil feels completely dry to the touch before watering again.
In determining whether or not your cannabis plants need flowering, you can also take advantage of a soil moisture meter.
As we mentioned careful planning for watering your outdoor weed plants, here are several excellent tips that will get your creative juices flowing.
For those who want to grow cannabis outdoors in regions that are prone to drought and/or excess heat, consider adding water-absorbent polymers to the soil. Water-absorbent polymers can serve as a water reservoir for your plants whenever needed. They are added deeply into the soil so that plants will only access the water-absorbent polymers later on during flowering.
You can also consider placing clay soil and/or pebbles at the bottoms of the planting holes to slow down the drainage and improve water retention rates. Last but not least, you can plant your green ladies in a shallow depression that will work much like a funnel runoff to bring rainwater to your thirsty plants.
For those who want to grow cannabis outdoors in regions that exhibit a rainy climate, you need to do everything possible to improve drainage. Otherwise, your beautiful green ladies will be highly susceptible to fungal disease due to excess water locked in the root zone.
You can add perlite, gravel and/or clay pebbles to increase soil’s ability to drain water. You can also direct water away by digging ditches. Nevertheless, you can place your marijuana plants in mounds or raised beds.
For those who might not be able to water their outdoor weed garden frequently due to traveling often or for whatever other reason do consider slow drip irrigation. As a matter of fact, drip irrigation has many benefits so anyone can consider this particular type of watering for helping cannabis plants flourish.
Regardless of the climate, weather patterns, strains, and type of soil you utilize as part of your journey for growing weed outdoors, you want to measure the water pH.
It is pH levels that affect your plants’ capability of transporting carbohydrates and nutrients which means feeding your plants water with unsuitable pH can lead to nutrient deficiencies in other words, you might be spending money on nutrients in vain. A simple pH meter is all you need it’s inexpensive and easy peasy to use.
Protecting Marijuana Plants Outdoors
Apart from all the fun involved in the process of outdoor marijuana growing, those who want to grow healthy plants have to be extremely attentive and well-prepared to protect their crop from possible damage in the best way.
Rabbits, deers and other animal pests of larger sizes than the tiny insects are rather straightforward to deal with just install a reliable fence or place your plants in cages and you’re good to go.
As to the multiple tiny crawling or flying pests that can be damaging to your marijuana plants, consider companion planting.
For instance, basil, mint, chamomile, and nettle are suitable marijuana companion plants as they release aromatic molecules that naturally repel a vast array of pests.
Also, you can take advantage of natural pests’ predators such as ladybugs and wasps.
Planting sunflowers can attract wasps to your garden. Just make sure companion plants are placed near but not too close to marijuana plants to compete for nutrients and/or water obtained from soil.
Best of all, regular monitoring will help you catch any pest related issues on time and act accordingly.
There are plenty of non-harmful, organic pesticides you can opt for in cases of emergency.
Lastly, keep in mind that healthy marijuana plants perform fairly well when it comes to dealing with pests. The healthier your plants, the higher is their natural resistance to pests which means any damage can be easily reversible.
Strong winds can break the stems or branches of your marijuana plants, and it goes without saying that this is not what you want.
Harsh winds can stress out your green ladies and stunt their growth, leading to decreased yields and decreased resistance to pests and/or diseases.
What’s more, a strong wind can damage trichomes, thus, lowering the potency of the cannabis.
Because of the negative impact of highly windy conditions on pot plants, it’s good to consider some form of windbreak such as perforated plastic sheeting attached to simple garden stakes. Also, you can add trellises to further keep your green beauties well supported.
Storms and/or Heavy Rain
Unexpected storms and/or heavy rains can lead to an increased probability of mold and mildew related issues. These can be especially harmful during flowering as it might be hard to reverse damage without affecting yields at that point.
If you already know that climate in your region shows a high tendency to heavy rains and storms, consider choosing a strain that has good resistance to mold and mildew. Better yet, opt for planting your green queens in containers that you can easily shelter in cases of emergency.
Constructing a simple, contemporary DIY plastic sheeting shelter can also prove to be very helpful.
We do highly encourage you to further support your pot plants with stakes and tie them well so that when rainwater collects due to heavy rains, it won’t weigh down the branches to the point of snapping them.
Unexpected Fluctuations in Temperature
Sometimes, no matter how well you plan your outdoor weed growing operation, the living nature can surprise you, and in particular, weather patterns can be unpredictable.
If you’re faced with unexpected and/or abrupt fluctuations in temperatures, you will need to get crafty and think of ways to quickly improve the conditions to help your plants stay healthy.
There are various protective enclosures you can take advantage of, no matter if the temperatures are lower or higher than the recommended rates. For instance, you can use cold frames, hot cups, or cloches.
Also, even a simple DIY tiny greenhouse can work great but it would be impossible to shelter your plants in a greenhouse if they are not planted in containers, so think in advance.
On another note, outdoor marijuana garden protection can be also associated with the privacy of your garden. There are numerous ways to ensure the discretion of your outdoor grow as briefly mentioned previously in the article – positioning a fence and/or disguising marijuana plants among different companion plants.
We truly hope that you feel much better prepared on growing weed outdoors after going through the essential tips and tricks we compiled in this guide.
The last (and by far, the best) piece of friendly advice we want to share with you is to give your cannabis plants love, attention, and care. By spending time with your green beauties you can easily learn to speak their language and understand their needs literally in a glance.
Growing weed outdoors is, above all, an adventure full of delight. You will learn new, amazing things about nature and plants and reap awesome rewards at the end so is there any reason not to enjoy the process the fullest?