how to grow marijuana

How to grow marijuana (outdoors): a beginner’s guide

The good news is that a tiny outdoor garden may produce a lot of high-quality cannabis without requiring a lot of money. You can successfully cultivate cannabis if you have access to a sunny location in your own yard or even a balcony, terrace, or rooftop.

This outdoor marijuana growing guide will go over all of the key things you should think about before starting your first outdoor marijuana grow.

Jump to a section:

  • Benefits of growing weed outdoors
  • Step 1: Consider the climate
  • Step 2: Pick a space for your outdoor grow
  • Step 3: Decide on cannabis genetics
  • Step 4: Acquire some soil
  • Step 5: Get some fertilizer
  • Step 6: Choose your containers
  • Step 7: Give your cannabis plants water
  • Step 8: Protect your cannabis plants

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Benefits of growing weed outdoors

  • Low costs: You won’t need to spend a lot of money on an outside grow because it will be powered by the sun. To get them started, you’ll need soil, fertilizer, seeds or clones, and perhaps a tiny greenhouse. Lights, air conditioners, and dehumidifiers will not require electricity, and rainwater can be collected.
  • Big yields: With outside plants, the sky is the limit—as long as they’re manageable, you can let them grow as big and tall as you want. A single plant can produce up to a pound of cannabis! It’s plenty to grow a handful for yourself. With an indoor grow, you have a lot less room to work with.
  • Environmentally friendly: Indoor growing can be wasteful, as all those lights, fans, and other equipment consume a lot of electricity. The sun and the wind are both completely free!
  • It’s fun and relaxing: Gardening has a therapeutic purpose that should not be overlooked. Spending some time outside, rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands filthy for a moment is calming. And there’s nothing like smoking marijuana that you raised yourself.

Step 1: Consider the climate

how to grow marijuana

It’s critical to understand the climate in the location where you’ll be growing. Cannabis can adapt to a wide range of circumstances, although it is vulnerable to harsh weather.

Temperatures above 86°F can cause your plants to stop growing, while temperatures below 55°F will cause plant damage and stunting, as well as mortality.

Heavy rains and strong winds can cause physical damage to plants and limit yields, while excessive moisture can induce mold and powdery mildew, especially during the flowering stage.

In addition to weather patterns, you must understand how the length of the day changes in your area over the seasons.

For example, on the summer solstice (the longest day of the year), you will have just over 14 hours of daylight at 32° N latitude (San Diego), but at 47° N (Seattle), you would have about 16 hours.

Understanding the quantity of sunshine available throughout the year is critical for causing plants to “switch” from the vegetative to blooming stage, when buds begin to form.

It is beneficial to use local resources because skilled gardeners in your region will have a plethora of knowledge about growing flowers and vegetables, which can be applied to growing cannabis.

If you have any expertise gardening or growing vegetables, you will probably find that cultivating cannabis outdoors is a rather simple task.

Step 2: Pick a space for your outdoor grow

how to grow marijuana

Choosing a location for your outdoor grow is one of the most crucial decisions you’ll make, especially if you’re growing in the ground or huge static containers.

Your cannabis plants should be exposed to as much direct sunshine as possible, preferably during the midday hours when the light quality is optimal.

As the seasons change and fall approaches, your plants will receive less and less sunshine throughout the day, causing the flowering period to begin.

A steady wind is beneficial to your plants, especially in hot conditions. However, if you live in a windy environment, consider planting near a windbreak of some kind, such as a wall, fence, or tall shrubbery.

Finally, you should think about privacy and security. Many homeowners wish to keep their gardens hidden from nosy neighbors and would-be robbers.

Unless you reside in a remote place, tall fences and huge shrubs or trees are your best bet. Furthermore, most state regulations require you to keep cannabis plants hidden from the public eye.

Some growers plant in containers hidden on balconies or rooftops, while others construct heavy-gauge wire cages to keep thieves and animals at far.

Whatever you choose, consider how big you want your final plant to be—outdoor cannabis plants can grow to be 12 feet tall or more, depending on how much space you give them.

Step 3: Decide on cannabis genetics

how to grow marijuana

The success of your outdoor cannabis grow will also be determined by the strain you choose to grow for your specific environment and location.

If you reside in a place where cannabis has been grown in the past, chances are that many strains will grow successfully there, and some may have even been created specifically for your climate.

Seeds vs. clones

Plants grown from seed can be more robust as young plants than clones. Even in mild, damp climates, you can put seeds directly into the soil in early spring.

The biggest disadvantage of growing from seed is that you never know what you’ll get. If your seeds aren’t feminized, you can wind up with both men and females, in which case you’ll have to sex them to get rid of the males (only females produce buds).

Even if you have all female plants, each will be a unique phenotypic of the same strain. To achieve the greatest form of that strain, you must first choose the best phenotypic, which can be a time-consuming process. Many new growers start with feminized seeds.

You may be able to purchase clones or seedlings from a local dispensary, depending on the legality of cannabis in your state. Some growers avoid these because they believe they are not as strong as growing plants from seed.

Autoflowering seeds are another popular alternative for outdoor gardening because they begin blooming as soon as they reach maturity, independent of day duration.

With autoflowering cannabis, you may either have a fast-growing crop or fit numerous harvests within a year. The disadvantage of autoflowering cannabis is that it is far less powerful.

Step 4: Acquire some soil

how to grow marijuana

Soil is made up of three basic components in various ratios:

  • Clay
  • Sand
  • Silt

You can either plant straight in the ground or buy dirt and container it. Cannabis plants grow on soil that is rich in organic matter and has good drainage. If you opt to plant directly in the ground, you must first analyze the makeup of your soil and then amend it correctly.

Heavy clay soils drain slowly and do not hold oxygen well, necessitating extensive amendment. Dig huge holes for your cannabis plants as least a month before planting and fill them with significant volumes of compost, manure, worm castings, or other decomposed organic materials. This provides aeration, drainage, and nutrients to the plants.

Sandy soil is easy to work, drains well, and warms rapidly, but it does not keep nutrients well, particularly in rainy areas.

Again, dig deep holes for your plants and add compost, peat moss, or coco coir to help bind the soil together.

In hot areas, sandy soil should be mulched to aid water retention and keep roots from becoming overheated.

The best growing medium is silty soil. It’s simple to work with, warms rapidly, retains moisture, drains well, and contains a lot of nutrients. The greatest silty soil is black crumbly loam—fertile it’s and doesn’t need to be amended.

If you truly want to secure good outcomes and avoid difficulties, you may have your soil tested, which is simple and inexpensive.

A soil testing service will inform you of the composition and pH of your soil, as well as any contaminants, and will prescribe products and fertilizers to amend your soil.

Step 5: Get some fertilizer

how to grow marijuana

Cannabis plants require a considerable amount of nutrients throughout their life cycle, primarily nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. The technique you pick to feed them will be determined by the makeup of the soil as well as your own methods.

Commercial fertilizers marketed to home gardeners can be utilized if you understand how they work and what your plants require. However, a first-time grower should avoid these, particularly long-release granular fertilizers.

Best nutrients for an outdoor grow

You can buy cannabis-specific fertilizer solutions at your local grow shop, but they are usually pricey and can harm soil bacteria—they are typically made of synthetic mineral salts and are intended for indoor growing.

Organic fertilizer maximizes soil microbial life while minimizing hazardous discharge. Many other natural and organic fertilizers, such as blood meal, bone meal, fish meal, bat guano, and kelp meal, are available at local home and garden stores.

Begin with inexpensive and easily accessible fertilizers. Some of these materials release nutrients fast and easily, whereas others take weeks or months to produce usable nutrients.

If done correctly, you can combine a handful of these products with your soil amendments to supply enough nutrients for your plants’ entire life.

Again, having your soil tested may be quite beneficial since it will tell you how to amend your soil and what sorts and amounts of fertilizer to use.

If you’re not sure how much to use, go easy on it—you can always top dress your plants if they start to exhibit signs of deficiency.

Step 6: Choose your containers

how to grow marijuana

If you don’t have good soil, you may need to grow all of your plants in containers. Furthermore, if you are unable to perform the heavy labor required to dig holes and adjust soil, containers may be your only option for growing your own cannabis outdoors.

If you don’t have a sufficient plot of land for a garden, containers can be placed on decks, patios, rooftops, and a variety of other surfaces.

You can move them around during the day if necessary to take advantage of the sun or to protect them from extreme heat or wind.

Because you will be utilizing premixed soil, you can also utilize regular cannabis nutrients suited for indoor growing. This will remove a lot of the guesswork from fertilizing your plants.

Plants grown in pots, buckets, or barrels, on the other hand, will likely be smaller than those planted in the ground since root growth is limited to the size of the container.

In general, the size of the pot determines the size of the plant, yet giant plants can be grown in small containers with suitable practices.

In general, 5-gallon pots are appropriate for small to medium-sized outdoor plants, whereas 10-gallon pots or bigger are advised for large plants.

Regardless of size, you’ll want to keep your plants’ roots from overheating during hot weather, as pots may quickly become hot in direct sunshine.

This will drastically restrict the growth of your plants, so make sure to screen your containers when the sun is shining brightly.

Step 7: Give your cannabis plants water

how to grow marijuana

While outdoor cannabis gardens benefit from rain and groundwater, you will almost certainly need to water your plants frequently, especially during the hot summer months. In warm weather, some massive cannabis plants might consume up to ten gallons of water every day.

Growers in hot, arid climates may frequently dig down and deposit clay soil or pebbles below their planting holes to impede drainage, or they will plant in shallow depressions that act as a funnel for runoff toward other plants.

Another good technique to improve water retention is to add water-absorbing polymer crystals to the soil. Water your plants thoroughly in the morning to ensure that they have a enough supply throughout the day.

If you live in a particularly rainy climate, you may need to improve drainage around your garden, as waterlogged cannabis roots are susceptible to fungal diseases.
Among these methods are:
  • Planting in raised beds or mounds
  • Digging ditches that direct water away from the garden
  • Adding gravel, clay pebbles, or perlite to the soil

It’s a good idea to test the water before using it, whether it’s from the tap or from a well. This water may contain high levels of dissolved minerals, which can accumulate in soil and affect pH, or it may contain high levels of chlorine, which can kill beneficial microorganisms in soil. Many people filter their drinking water.

Plants grown in hot or windy climates will require more frequent watering because high temperatures and winds cause plants to transpire at a faster rate.

Over-watering is a common rookie mistake—the rule of thumb is to water deeply, then wait until the top inch or two of soil is completely dry before watering again. For a beginner, a low-cost soil moisture meter is an excellent tool.

Step 8: Protect your cannabis plants

how to grow marijuana

Outdoor cannabis growers must protect their plants from storms and other weather events that can damage or even kill plants because they lack the ability to control the environment as easily as they can indoors.

Temperature changes

Thus, if you live in an environment in which late spring or early fall frosts are a common cause, try using a greenhouse or other protective enclosure, temperatures below 40°F may damage most types of cannabis quickly.

Wind conditions

High winds can break branches and stress plants excessively. Set up a windbreak if your garden is in an especially windy area, or if you are expecting an especially heavy blow. This can be as simple as attaching your plants to plastic sheets.


Regulation is usually seen as a nuisance by the growers of cannabis when it is useful for watering your garden. It can damage your crop seriously and cause mould and mildew. In particular, when they flower, you don’t want rain on your cannabis plants.

If you know that rain is under way, you may construct a DIY greenhouse or use only plastic sheets and stakes for temporary shelter.


It may be difficult to protect your cannabis garden from pests. You may have to keep large animals like deer in the water depending on where you live by building a fence around your crop.

However, the harder challenge is to deal with the huge range of flying and crawling insects that can attack your plants.

The best way to protect your plants is to maintain healthy. Strong, vigorous plants of cannabis are natural to pests and can easily cope with minor infestations.

It is also a good idea to keep your cannabis plants separate, as plagues can easily spread among them, from other flowers, vegetables and ornamentals.

Take a look for pests a couple of times a week at your cannabis plants. If caught early, an infestation is much easier to cope with.

Many organic pesticides are specifically designed for use on cannabis and beneficial insects are also an excellent option.

You now need sufficient knowledge to start your own outdoor cannabis garden successfully. The cultivation and cultivation of plants is a pleasant and enriching pastime, so remember spending time on plants and having fun!

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