Cannabis use is legal in many states that host an excellent climate for outdoor cannabis cultivation. Many medical patients and recreational users alike are becoming increasingly excited to save some money and grow better products by growing their own weed. Growing cannabis outdoors is a great way to save money and run a cheaper garden than indoor grows, and while it isn’t an easy feat, it’s a relaxing and fun hobby to take part in.
If you’re just getting started with cannabis cultivation altogether and looking to start your own outdoor garden, you’re probably wondering where to begin. Between different strains and genetics and a myriad of different growing methods out there, it can be tricky to decide which strain you should grow on your first run. Here’s a resource on how to find the perfect strain for your new outdoor grow along with a few suggestions for the best outdoor strains.
What are the benefits of growing outdoors vs. indoors?
Growing outdoors is a lot easier for newbies than growing indoors, though it does come with a list of pros and cons. To grow outdoors, all you need is the space, seeds, soil, and water. They’re not always practical for people living in cities, but outdoor grows produce much larger plants and larger yields. Most importantly, it’s cheap! When you grow cannabis outdoors, the only major startup costs are for concealing and protecting the plants. You don’t have to buy expensive lights or ventilation equipment, so you usually see a much bigger return on your investment in your first run when you grow outdoors than you would if you grow indoors. Further, most people simply believe that sun-grown bud tastes better than indoor flower every day of the week.
The biggest advantage of growing indoors is the control over the plants. Outdoor plants are at the mercy of the elements and are susceptible to wind, heavy rains, bugs, and disease. However, with proper care, concealment, and protection, these feats are manageable. Additionally, with an outdoor grow you typically only get one large harvest in the fall while indoor setups can flower perpetually. Ultimately though, if you have plenty of space and the ability to protect your plants from the elements you’ll save money and grow much larger plants by growing outdoors instead of indoors.
If you opt to grow indoors instead, check out this useful guide on the best weed strains for indoor grows.
How to choose an outdoor cannabis strain
Unlike indoor cannabis grows where you need to choose your genetics based on your space requirements, outdoor strains need more careful consideration. This is especially true for newbie gardeners who want more forgiving strains if the conditions aren’t just right. With that in mind, the most important aspect to look at in a strain is the climate in the place you intend to grow. The closer you are to the equator, the easier it will be to grow. However, if you’re in the north, you’ll want to choose a strain that grows and flowers quickly as winter frosts will make it impossible to harvest certain strains.
Temperature also plays a role in choosing a strain. Cannabis requires consistently warm temperatures for the vegetative cycle, and while it likes cooler temperatures during flowering, they can’t tolerate excessive cold or heat. The same is true for light intensity. Light intensity is reduced the farther you get from the equator, so even in the summer, plants may be less potent in northern areas. THC production is linked to light intensity, so many strains grown in northern latitudes tend to be lower in THC and higher in other cannabinoids like CBD.
If you live in a cool-temperate climate, you experience short, mild summers and long winters. You can expect one outdoor harvest every year in these zones, so you’ll want to stick to sturdy strains, typically indica varieties that flower fast and are ready to harvest earlier. Some strains include Honey Cream, Critical Kush, and Banana OG.
If you live in a warm-temperate climate, you experience mild winters and long sunny summers with warm days and cooler nights. Late flowering varieties can be planted comfortably here, including many sativa strains. A few options include Hulkberry, Moby Dick, and OG Kush.
Last but not least, you need to take your local laws into consideration. While cannabis has been legalized in the majority of US states, not all of them allow for home cultivation without a license. When it comes to outdoor growing specifically, there are always many laws in place stating that your grow must be in an area that isn’t visible to anyone. Typically this means erecting a greenhouse and cultivating outdoors that way. At that point, space will become an issue, so you’ll need to choose a strain that grows a manageable size for your garden.
Top 5 cannabis strains for outdoor grows
While there are many different needs and requirements for growing cannabis outdoors based on your climate, one thing is always necessary for newbie growers: sturdy genetics. If you’re trying your first outdoor grow and you’ve done your research, these hybrid strains do well in most areas and produce high yields. More importantly, their genetics are stronger against the elements.
1. Super Skunk
Super Skunk tops our list of the best outdoor cannabis strains for being an extremely high-yielding strain with mostly soothing and uplifting indica-dominant effects. The biggest downside of it is it’s extremely skunky and pungent aroma that can be smelled within a quarter-mile radius and may draw unwanted attention as it flowers. Aside from that though, the strain stays a manageable size and is ready to harvest in as little as 6 weeks.
2. Durban Poison
Durban Poison is very easy to grow since it’s comfortable in most environments. As an added bonus, it’s been around for so long that it’s developed natural resistances to diseases and even some pests The biggest downside to Durban Poison is its height which can be difficult to manage in enclosed greenhouses. However, it throws high yields in as little as 7 weeks and promotes a euphoric, energizing high.
3. White Widow
White Widow grows like a weed in any environment, both indoors and outdoors. However, it thrives outdoors thanks to its natural resistance to pests and diseases. Like many of the strains on this list, it flowers fast and yields high with an average harvest time around 7 weeks. Growers love it for its upbeat and mellow mental effects and pungent, earthy aroma.
LSD is a fantastic strain for newbie growers thanks to its natural disease-resistance and sturdiness in most growing conditions. It flowers in about 8-9 weeks and produces up to 25% THC. It throws medium yields of about 600 grams per square meter, and is pretty easy to manage in its medium size. It’s popular for its exceptionally euphoric high and potent body buzz as well as its sweet, earthy flavor.
5. Grape Ape
Grape Ape is an indica-dominant hybrid that is exceptionally quick to flower and forgiving of cooler climates. It’s named for its distinctive grape-tinged aroma and for its potent pain relief and positive mental lift. Grape Ape grows on the smaller side, but produces large yields in as little as 6 weeks. It’s long-standing genetics are also less susceptible to disease and pests, and as an added bonus, it throws lovely purple flowers.