For the Northern hemisphere, at least, summer is on its way – and that means many of us are about to move to favourable conditions for growing cannabis outdoors. There are considerations, of course, for you to be aware of before embarking on outdoor cultivation. We’ll look at these first, and then recommend some great outdoor cannabis strains.
The most important thing to factor in before planting cannabis outdoors is the climate, and that depends on where in the world you’re located. Suppose you’re in a part of the world with cooler, shorter summers. A good recommendation is to consider autoflowering strains with short flowering periods to combat the likelihood of inclement weather in the latter weeks of summer. Choosing seeds with Ruderalis genetics will give your crop a better chance of surviving unpredictable changes in weather such as cold snaps or prolonged bouts of rain.
If you’re in warmer areas with long, hot summers (i.e. closer to the equator), congratulations – you have a far wider range of possibilities for strain choices. However, there are still a few caveats to growing outdoor plants. These parts of the planet have much longer daylight hours and will see the mercury push up to insanely high temperatures, and the downside of that is that some strains will begin flowering too soon. This means shorter plants and possibly smaller yields, so choosing landraces (such as Durbans or Afghanis) or sativa-dominant hybrids may be the best option for plants to thrive in the baking heat.
A good rule of thumb is that the closer you are to the ocean, the more humid the climate will likely be. If this is you, seek out strains that tout an excellent resistance to mould among their qualities – although this should be a prerequisite for any outdoor cultivator, regardless of your location.
Why You Should Grow Cannabis Outdoors
There are pros and cons to growing cannabis outdoors.
Low cost – You don’t have to worry about buying expensive equipment and setting it up. Lights, fans and so on are not needed to grow quality cannabis plants in an outdoor setting. All you need is land, sunlight and soil.
Big yields – With less restriction on growing space, your plants can grow as tall and wide as possible. Between the extra space and the amount of light plants can absorb outdoors, they can reach their full potential, which translates to stellar yields. Don’t believe us? Look at the yield ratios when choosing strains and see what any particular strain offers in gr/plant!
More flavourful cannabis – Many consumers prefer outdoor-grown cannabis as the plant will have a full and natural terpene profile, meaning your cannabis will be noticeably more delicious-tasting.
Environmentally friendly – Plant growth is powered by sunlight, so you have a perfectly sustainable operation without additional energy consumption.
Elemental exposure – Your plants are at the mercy of the environment, meaning if you live in an area prone to high winds or storms, your plants are at risk – but there are steps you can take to mitigate those risks.
Pathogens and pests – A factor when growing indoors, but outdoor cultivation carries a higher risk. Insects and animals may come snooping to see what you’ve got to offer.
Less control over the environment – With the plants receiving natural light, water, air flow and humidity, you can’t exert the same control over their environment as with indoor cultivation.
Best Cannabis Strains for Growing in Hotter Climates
Dutch Passion’s Durban Poison is an excellent choice for outdoor growers in Northern and Southern climates. Durban Poison grows well indoors and outdoors even at higher latitudes in northern European summers. It is a very mould and pest-resistant strain. When grown indoors flowering is completed in 8 – 9 weeks. Outdoor plants can grow to be very large reaching 3 meters in height before being ready to harvest in late September or very early October before the weather turns.
Durban Poison is a sativa-dominant strain, so expect taller plants, especially when growing outdoors where they have adequate room to stretch and reach their full capacity.
The structure, bud development and potent, clear, uplifting, energising high are all clearly sativa in style. Only the darker green leaves betray its small proportion of indica genetics. It has an appetising flavour of aniseed/liquorice with notes of clove.
Dier Durban THCV 1:1
And now, for something a little different.
Diet Durban THCV 1:1 is an example of a new trend for novel cannabinoid strains that emphasise the production of some lesser-known cannabinoids. In this case, THCV is the cannabinoid in question and one that is produced in higher amounts in equatorial sativa strains. Diet Durban THCV:THC produces equal amounts of both THCV and THC with approximately 7% of each.
Diet Durban THCV 1:1 performs extremely well outdoors its later harvest time towards the end of October means that growers will need to be sure that the autumn weather will remain fine and sunny until then.
The scent and taste are pine-focused, like a walk amongst the conifers, with some citrus notes. The THCV:THC ratio is 1:1 with a total of approximately 14% of those two cannabinoids combined along with around 2% CBD. Together they produce a highly lucid, stimulating, cerebral effect that also acts as an appetite suppressant.
Northern Lights Auto
A classic strain we all know and love, Northern Lights has a reputation as a reliable plant with high THC content. By crossing the original with a Ruderalis, Seedsman has upped the game and created Northern Lights Auto, resulting in an even more robust and reliable version of the famed Indica. The addition of Ruderalis genetics translates to a perfect choice for outdoor and greenhouse cultivation thanks to increased resistance to fungus, plant diseases and pests – just what you’re looking for if you’re growing in outdoor environments.
A maximum flowering time of 9 weeks means three harvests per season may be possible in warmer climates, and the reward is a smaller plant, but those buds are packed with up to 23% THC. Look forward to a strong body effect and mental relaxation from this delicious-tasting strain known for its earthy, fruity, sweet and sour flavours.
Alaskan Diesel Auto
This sensational strain pops up on many lists recommending the best strains for hotter climates, and it’s easy to see why. Alaskan Diesel Auto is a vigorous, fast-growing strain that is the result of crossing two auto-flowering strains, viz. Candy Fruit Auto and a Diesel Auto that was subjected to a special selection process. Alaskan Diesel Auto is quick to mature and produces some good yields in such a short space of time.
Outdoors each plant can produce between 60 – 90 gr. of dried bud each. The very short life cycle means that it is possible to obtain two crops per growing season except in higher latitudes where growers will have to content themselves with just one crop.
Dried and cured buds have a sweet diesel scent and flavour. The buds are very resinous and produce a potent, relaxing high.
No list such as this would be complete without this top-shelf, future hall-of-famer. Blue Dream has established itself as one of the most in-demand strains around, and when you look at its credentials, it’s easy to see why. Cross-breeding Blueberry Ice with Haze gave birth to this tremendous 70% sativa strain that offers almost everything you could wish for, but it takes its rightful place on our list of top strains to grow outdoors due to its ease of cultivation, high production and superb resistance to fungus.
If you want high yields, Blue Dream doesn’t disappoint – after a maximum flowering time of 10 weeks, get ready for a busy harvest that can see you pull as much as 700-850 gr/plant from these visually-striking crops that grow to an impressive 350cm when planted outdoors in dry, warm climates.
Blue Dream has even more secrets to reveal – she’s a highly flavourful strain with notes of citrus and berries to the fore, but with spicy, herbal undertones contributing to the sensational flavours of this incredible plant. The high levels of alpha-pinene in Blue Dream make it a much sought-after therapeutic strain with the ability to help fight pain and inflammation, and its 20% THC content means a long-lasting euphoric effect that can help stave off depression and stress.
Best Outdoor Strains for Growing in Cooler Climates
White Widow FAST
If you’re looking to grow outdoors in the northern hemisphere, where cooler temperatures and shorter summers, White Widow FAST from Seedsman is an excellent choice. It can handle colder climates, and its resistance to pests and pathogens such as mildew makes it a smart pick for outdoor cultivation, reducing potential headaches in crop survival. Toss in those FAST genetics, and you add a flowering time of just 7 weeks, meaning a quick turnaround before the colder weather sets in.
The sugary appearance of the plant is down to its high trichome count and gives a strong indication of its potency. It may be a shorter plant, but it packs a THC content of between 15-20%, meaning a powerful head effect that gives way to the familiar blissful and relaxing body sensation for which White Widow is famed.
Jack Herer FAST
A quick-flowering version of the classic strain, Jack Herer FAST ticks a lot of boxes. With the familiar genetics of the original Jack, you can be sure that this one will thrive nicely in those cooler climates. A flowering time between 6 and 7 weeks assures your work is done, and you will reap the rewards before the inclement weather kicks in. Jack Herer FAST grows without the need for any special care other than adequate lighting, and its short stature makes it a good pick for a discreet outdoor project.
This FAST version retains the signature sweet, peppery taste of Jack Herer, meaning if you’ve tried the original (and let’s face it, almost everyone has) then you know exactly what you’re going to get – you’re just going to get it sooner! A high THC content of around 20% is the reward for your efforts from buds that positively drip with resin. This is a highly potent strain with a pleasant, balanced effect.
C99 x Blueberry FAST
C99 x Blueberry Fast is a quick-flowering sativa-dominant hybrid marijuana strain. Its parents are Cinderella 99, Blueberry and a Fast parent plant.
Outdoor yields are ready during September and are even bigger whether grown in the ground or in a greenhouse. Its buds have relatively few larger leaves and this makes trimming very easy.
Due to the high proportion of Thai Sativa genetics in this hybrid, the taste of South East Asia comes through strongly.
Purple Ghost Candy
Purple Ghost Candy is an exciting cross between Ghost OG and one of the very best recent Purple cuts, viz. Candyland Purple. Purple Ghost Candy is 60% sativa with 40% indica genetics. These are large plants, easy to grow and with high potential yields outdoors.
Outdoors in the northern hemisphere harvest time will be during the middle of October with each plant capable of yielding between 700 – 900 gr. each. A noteworthy facet is the very large, golden resin crystals that are produced, and these become noticeable after only a week or two of the flowering stage and which sticks like glue having a scent that persists for hours.
While Purple Ghost Candy has the typical fuel-like scent of OG strains, it is typified by spicy and earthy flavours alongside supporting notes of lemon with peachy tones. Initial notes are of a lemon-lime soda mixed with a peach/mint note on the tongue. Crisp, smooth, fruit-like aftertaste on exhale reminiscent of peach/grape candy.
Wedding Cheesecake Auto
Wedding Cheesecake Auto is an indica-sativa hybrid strain with a short flowering time, high production and very high THC content. Another easy to grow plant from FastBuds.
Wedding Cheesecake Auto finishes in just 8 – 9 weeks from seed to harvest making it a safer choice for those outdoor growers with shorter summers such as in northern Europe and it also has good resistance to the cooler temperatures.
Delicious flavours reminiscent of cookie dough are supported by notes of earth and creaminess with a sweet fruit tart finish. THC is around 22% with less than 1% CBD. Looking to grow cannabis outdoors? Here’s an excellent strain to start with.