When it comes to growing cannabis plants, the great outdoors is where they thrive. Planting in a sunny, well-aerated area during the spring or summer months and harvesting in the fall is ideal. However, if outdoor gardening isn’t an option due to space limitations or local laws, growing cannabis indoors using high-powered grow lights is a viable alternative. Just be sure to check with your local officials to ensure compliance with any regulations.
Growing cannabis plants indoors, especially using artificial lighting, requires a certain level of skill and knowledge. Fortunately, there are a plethora of resources available in the form of books and websites to help you get started.
For the purpose of this article, we will primarily focus on outdoor cannabis gardening during the typical growing season.
|Plant Hardiness Zone||Temperature Range (°F)||Ideal Time for Outdoor Cultivation|
|Zone 1||-60 to -50||Not recommended for cannabis cultivation|
|Zone 2||-50 to -40||Not recommended for cannabis cultivation|
|Zone 3||-40 to -30||Not recommended for photoperiod cannabis cultivation|
|Zone 4||-30 to -20||Not recommended for photoperiod cannabis cultivation|
|Zone 5||-20 to -10||Late May to early June|
|Zone 6||-10 to 0||Early to mid-May|
|Zone 7||0 to 10||Mid to late April|
|Zone 8||10 to 20||Late March to early April|
|Zone 9||20 to 30||Late February to early March|
|Zone 10||30 to 40||Year-round outdoor cultivation is possible|
|Zone 11||40 to 50||Year-round outdoor cultivation is possible|
It’s important to note that while these temperature ranges provide a general guideline, other factors such as humidity, precipitation, and sunlight hours can also affect the growth of cannabis plants. It’s always a good idea to research the specific strain you plan to grow and the local climate conditions to ensure the best possible outcome.
Basics about Cannabis Plants
Cannabis is a genus that encompasses several species, including Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis. These species interbreed easily, giving rise to hybrid strains that possess traits from both parent plants. It’s worth noting that the nomenclature surrounding Cannabis is constantly evolving, so it’s a good idea to stay up to date with any changes.
Due to years of selective breeding, there are few, if any, truly pure Sativa or Indica strains. Most commercially available cannabis strains are hybridized.
Cannabis is dioecious, meaning that male and female flowers grow on separate plants. This may seem unusual, but it’s a common feature among many plant species, such as Gingko trees, stinging nettles, date palms, and pistachios. Only female cannabis plants produce the coveted flower clusters, or “buds,” while male flowers are small and fall off after releasing their pollen.
Determining whether a cannabis plant is male or female is called “sexing,” and it requires a trained eye. At our nursery, we take the guesswork out of the process by ensuring that all our plants are female.
While it’s possible to grow both male and female plants together, doing so will result in low-quality buds full of seeds. By only cultivating female plants, the flower clusters will grow larger and more potent as they are not pollinated. Any male plants are identified and composted to prevent pollination.
Seeds Or Clones for your outdoor grow
Many cannabis farmers—old-timers and first-timers, medical users and commercial growers—still prefer seed-grown starts. Others prefer starting from rooted cuttings, known in the industry as “clones”. Clone plants start as small branches cut from a “mother plant” and rooted in trays indoors in a controlled climate under artificial lights.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both seed-grown and clone-grown starts. Seed-grown plants tend to be more vigorous, but can sometimes show variation in their production, and they need to be sexed properly to exclude males (something that needs to be taken care of at the nursery). Clones, being genetically identical to the mother plant, will produce bud with a consistent look, smell, and potency, but are often less vigorous plants and have specific light requirements that can be tricky for beginning growers (see below). Clones are only cut from known female plants, so all clones are female from the start.
Along with seed-grown plants, clones in 4” pots that are well-rooted and acclimated to natural light and air are available, making them ready to plant in your garden straight from the nursery.
Cultivation of cannabis plants is not a difficult task, but there are certain basic rules that can enhance the quality and yield of the crop. The following sections explain the essential aspects of cultivating cannabis:
Soil: Beginners are advised to use commercial potting soil rather than native garden soil. Natural dirt is fine for experienced gardeners, but commercial soil is easier for new growers to work with.
Container: The larger the container, the bigger the plant. Commercial cannabis farmers use 200-gallon or bigger fabric grow bags, but a 20-gallon pot or a hole at least 30 inches across and 18 inches deep in the ground is sufficient for personal use.
Fertilizer: Any organic fertilizer will do. Fertilizers formulated for cannabis usually contain plant nutrients. In the vegetative phase, cannabis requires more nitrogen, while in the flowering phase, it requires more phosphorus and potassium.
Spacing: With proper care and sufficient root space, outdoor, seed-grown plants can easily grow to be eight feet tall and equally broad. A well-cared for cannabis plant in a 20-gallon pot can still grow to be four feet tall by equally wide, so plan your space accordingly.
Trellising/staking: Modern cannabis strains have been bred for heavy bud production. As the branches grow out, tying them to thin bamboo stakes with plant tie wire will prevent them from breaking off later during the flowering phase.
Pest Control: Cannabis is relatively pest-free, but there are a few pests that can destroy the crop. Spider mites and russet mites are two such pests that can ruin plants and buds. Powdery mildew and bud mold are fungal diseases that can also affect the crop. Preventive measures and regular inspections can help control pests and diseases.
Harvest and storage: When most of the white hairs have turned brown and receded into the bud, it’s time to harvest. Once harvested, the buds should be dried and cured to enhance their flavor, potency, and longevity.
Growing Cannabis Clones Outdoors
Growing clones outdoors is a popular method among cannabis cultivators, as it allows for a quick and efficient way to grow plants that are genetically identical to the mother plant. In order to begin growing clones outdoors, it is necessary to first grow a mother plant from a favorite seed strain or similar genetic material.
To grow a mother plant, you will need to select a healthy female plant with desirable characteristics, such as high potency or a certain flavor profile. Once you have identified your mother plant, it is important to keep it in a vegetative state by providing it with 18-24 hours of light per day. This will allow the plant to grow and develop new shoots, which can then be used to take cuttings.
To take cuttings, or clones, from the mother plant, it is important to select a healthy and vigorous shoot that is at least 4-6 inches in length. Using a sharp, sterile blade, make a diagonal cut at a 45-degree angle just below a node on the stem. Remove any leaves or branches from the bottom third of the cutting, and then dip the cut end in rooting hormone to promote root growth.
Once your clones have rooted, it is important to gradually acclimate them to outdoor conditions before planting them in their final location. This can be done by placing the clones outside for a few hours each day, gradually increasing the amount of time they spend outside over the course of a week or two.
When planting your clones outdoors, it is important to choose a location with well-draining soil and plenty of sunlight. Dig a hole that is slightly larger than the root ball of your clone, and then gently place the plant in the hole. Fill in the hole with soil, being careful not to pack the soil too tightly around the roots.
It is important to note that clones may have a higher susceptibility to pests and disease than plants grown from seed, as they are genetically identical and therefore lack the natural genetic diversity that can help protect against pests and disease. For this reason, it is important to keep a close eye on your plants and take appropriate measures to prevent and control any issues that may arise.
In general, it is recommended to start your clones indoors 4-6 weeks before the last expected frost date in your area. This will allow the plants to develop a strong root system and become acclimated to outdoor conditions before being planted in their final location. By following these steps and taking proper care of your plants, you can successfully grow healthy and robust clones outdoors.
Live in Ontario, great advice. Can’t wait to do my first outdoor grow.
Whoa! This blog looks just like my old one! It’s
on an entirely different subject but it has pretty much the same page layout
and design. Excellent choice of colors!
Excellent choice of topics!