The Different Ways to Grow Cannabis Buds Outdoors

15 Jul 2023

Growing Cannabis plants outdoors does not just mean planting seeds during Spring and waiting out each season. There are many ways to produce a top quality crop later in the year, so if you missed out planting in Spring, then here is your chance to make those numbers back up. In this article we explain the different methods using seeds, clones, plants started off indoors and autos.

How late in the year can I flower Cannabis plants outdoors?
Normally, around August to September time is when Cannabis plants will respond to the short days and longer darkness periods and begin producing pre-flowers, which mature into buds. On the basis that you can plant outside before August, you can still grow small sized plants. However, working with rooted clones, indoor plants and autos can be a real game changer, especially if you live in a Mediterranean climate. 

Planting Cannabis seeds in Spring
This is the conventional way to plant photoperiod Cannabis seeds, meaning that they will grow in a vegetative state over the Summer months, and then begin to stretch and flower around the end of August depending on the strain. A high percentage of outdoor growers will only plant during Spring with the intention of a heavy harvest late in the year, providing up to 6–7 months of growing time in total. 

  • Cannabis plants that have grown from Spring until Winter will produce the most yield.
  • During May until July, Cannabis plants will focus on producing leaves, stems and roots.
  • The weather during Spring time is around 24 degrees and high relative humidity.
  • Plants will often grow as tall as 6–10 feet, depending on the cultivar and climate.

Planting Cannabis seeds in late June/ July
Mid-June to July can be one of the hottest months of the year and a time when there is around 14.5-14 hours of light and 9.5-10 hours of darkness. Planting Cannabis seeds outdoors during this time will result in small to medium-sized plants that keep a low profile and are easy to maintain. The other benefits of planting during this time of the year is that the quality produced by smaller sized plants can be superb, with minimal amounts of heat stress, wind burn and insect damage. 

  • It is best to plant the seeds into a container around 20–25 liters in volume. 
  • Indica strains will remain the smallest and not stretch much once flowering. 
  • Planting in a SOG can be beneficial and result in a large yield per square meter.
  • Sativa strains will grow as tall as 90-120 cm in size when planted outdoors.

Growing rooted Cannabis clones outside in June / July.
Using rooted Cannabis clones that have been started off indoors, or in some cases rooted outside off another plant, can be highly advantageous. Clones that have started life indoors and have been grown to a size of 1-2 ft tall with a healthy and well established root ball will thrive once planted outside and left to flower over August, September and mid-October. 

  • Working with strong, healthy and good-sized clones can help save time.
  • Clones are easy to source and can allow a grower to plan ahead outdoors.
  • A high number of clones planted closely together will produce excellent results.
  • Clones can flower immediately, so can even be planted later than June. 

Planting autoflowering Cannabis seeds outdoors
Autos are a wonderful way to grow Cannabis plants outdoors, without depending on the seasons to shift. Unlike photoperiod plants which will begin to flower as the days become shorter and start blooming, autos will grow in a bushy vegetative state for the first 30–35 days before stretching and producing buds. Autos work incredibly well in hot climates, and growers in Northern Europe can achieve excellent results with the right fast flowering and resilient auto strains. 

  • Autos can be planted from February to November in Southern Europe.
  • They are very easy to grow, maintain and ideal for a beginner grower.
  • Autos keep a low profile and will usually finish between 60-150 cm tall.
  • Plant autos in a large pot to increase the chances of a large yield. 

Starting seedlings indoors
If you are reading this article and have an indoor set up, then why not start some seedlings indoors, growing them to around 30-45 cm tall and then putting them outside during August? During this time of the year, the temperatures are much cooler, there is less risk of insect damage and as long as you have healthy and strong plants, then you will achieve the same quality harvest as anyone who planted earlier during Spring time. You can easily make up for the yield by growing a high volume of smaller sized plants.

  • Plants started off indoors will have the best chance of producing top quality.
  • Keeping the timer set to 18/6 until the plants are put outside will work best.
  • Cannabis plants will usually double or triple once flowering starts outdoors.

The benefits of planting later in the year

  1. If you have missed out on Summer for whatever reason, then planting outdoors late will give you a chance to make up for lost time. You will have to forget about growing 10-foot monsters and settle for medium-sized plants that are capable of producing around 28–56 grams per plant once dry.
  2. If you are comfortable, you can always plant a patch of autos, 30 cm tall clones or seedlings at the same time, so you have the best of the bunch. This is also a great way to see in real time over a year which method produces the best results and is most practical for you personally.
  3. Starting seedlings indoors in a good quality growing medium, providing plenty of nutrients and minerals, will give you an advantage when planting late in the year. Indoors, plants have the chance to establish a prolific root zone and produce a good amount of foliage ready for the marathon ahead!
  4. The temperatures are not only cooler during this part of the year, there is also less risk of thieves, helicopters and neighbors seeing what you are up to. Low profile plants are often the best bet for keeping a secure and stealthy garden, especially when growing in the countryside. 
  5. Smaller sized plants are much easier to maintain than large sized ones, once traditionally associated with planting during Spring time. A high number of small plants, as used for SOG setups, can still produce just as much flower as a large sized plant. So, for example, growing 36 medium-sized clones, may be the equivalent of 2 large outdoor plants.

Just because Spring has passed you by, and we are close to the end of Summer, don’t think you have to wait until next year for a chance to harvest some outdoor high grade buds. Cannabis is an extremely versatile plant that can be grown multiple ways. Good luck finding out which methods work best for you this year!