How to grow weed outdoors – a comprehensive guide

Growing marijuana outdoors is often considered the most simple and natural method, as it replicates the way it has grown in the wild for thousands of years. This basic guide to on how to grow weed outdoors will provide you with the information to make the most out of what nature has to offer.

The benefits of growing marijuana outdoors?

Growing marijuana outdoors provides many of the expensive essentials that need to be paid for when growing indoors, free of charge. The sun provides the equivalent of 2000 watts of light per square foot and natural air provides a level of CO2 that is extremely difficult to manufacture indoors. Plants grown outdoors receive far more light which helps develop the buds growing at the bottom of the plant as much as those at the top. Although you don’t have the control of an indoor grower, successfully growing marijuana outdoors provides you with a much larger yield.

Where can I grow weed outdoors?

Successfully growing weed outdoors is dominated by climate, soil, and water supply, regardless of whether you are in your back garden, or in a remote mountain patch. In order to have a bountiful outdoor grow your plant will need at least 5 hours of direct sunlight a day.

Grow tip – If you’re growing weed outdoors check the light supply by standing in your chosen location. You’ll be able to tell if there are any light blockages.

Backyard Growing
Backyard growingGrowing weed outdoors in your backyard enables you pay close attention to your plants and have relatively good control over their environment. Prepare your soil in fall, removing weeds and digging beds for your plants, turning the soil. Cover your turned soil with mulch over the winter months to hold in the nutrients. You will be able to transplant your seedlings in April or after the last frosts.
Growing in pots
Growing Marijuana Outdoors in Pots
If you’re growing marijuana outdoors in pots, it’s likely that you’re growing on a terrace, patio, rooftop or balcony. If you have your pots in a high location, take precautions against strong winds, as these can dehydrate your plant and carry rogue male pollen.

Try to keep your plants out of prolonged direct sunlight as this may overheat the pot and destroy the plant’s roots.

Guerrilla Growing

Guerilla GrowTo put it simply, Guerrilla growing is farming outdoors away from your own property, mostly in a remote location where it is unlikely to be found. Security and location are considered the main factors for the guerrilla grower. It’s recommended that the guerrilla location you choose is remote, near a good water source, receives a good amount of light and is out of direct wind.

Grow tip – Guerrilla growing – take your water in a container that makes it look like you’re hiking.


There are many different types of soil with some being more suitable for outdoor marijuana growing than others. This basic guide on soil for your outdoor marijuana plants should help, regardless of your growing location.

Clay soil
Clay soil
– Prepare clay soil at least a month before growing by adding compost and manure or perlite. Clay soil holds a lot of water so can drown roots and suffocate your plant. Be sure to excavate deep, adding a lot of organic material to increase drainage and air circulation.

Sandy Soil
Sandy Soil
(Sandy Soil) – Marijuana plants can achieve excellent root penetration in sandy soil, but doesn’t hold nutrients well. Add compost and mulch or vermiculate to sandy soil to increase its water and nutrient retention.

Loam soil
Loam Soil (Loam Soil) 
– Loamy soil holds moisture well, has good drainage and is easy to work with and is perfect for growing marijuana outdoors. Loamy soil is dark, fertile and crumbly in the hand. Check the PH of loam soil as this varies and ideally, your soil’s PH should be between 6.5 and 7.5.

Grow tip – If you have poor soil for outdoor marijuana growing, dig holes that are 3 feet deep and wide, filling with a good compost or potting soil.


Most of the water your plant requires will be provided by fresh rainwater. If your plants do not receive the water they need through natural means, it is up to you to supply it. Remember, the bigger the plant is, the more water it needs so keep an eye out for signs of under-watering. Plants will show signs of wilting throughout the hot summer month, but this is normal. If you get 1 inch of water a week, you won’t need to water your plant. There is more information in our water section.


Fertilizing your outdoor grow will help your overall final yield, especially if your soil quality is not great but be careful not to over fertilize young plants! Use a fertilizer high in nitrogen for the vegetative growth stage, changing to high phosphorous formula when your plant is flowering. More information on the nutrients can be found in our nutrient section.


Harvest your weed before the cold, damp weather of fall starts to set in. Many strains can take a short freeze, but sustained periods in temperatures below freezing will kill your plants. Harvest your guerrilla grow at night time to avoid detection. Information on when your plant is ready for harvest can be found here.

Choosing your weed strain

Not all strains are good when growing weed outdoors. Its important that you pick a strain that suits your outdoor growing environment. Use our outdoor weed strain collection to help you make the right choice.

Grow tip – When growing marijuana outdoors, germinate your seeds and start the seedling for 2-3 weeks indoors before transplanting outside.

What problems can you face when growing marijuana outdoors?

Growing weed outdoors will mean you have a lot less control over the environment your plants are in, which brings with it a different set of issues that may affect your plants.
Burst pollen sacks
Rogue Pollen (Bursts Pollen sacks) Pollen from rogue male plants or hemp can pollinate you female flowers. Although this is a difficult problem to avoid, there are measures you can take. June and July are when pollen levels are at their highest, so plant with the intention of flowering in August. Keep a close eye on the wind direction, and read pollen reports that are easily found online.

Pests and bugsPestsCheck your plants regularly for any damage from pests. Caterpillars, slugs and snails can eat away at your plant. Attracting birds to your grow using bird feeders will provide it with some natural caretakers.

Animals – Look out for any animals that may cause your outdoor marijuana grow some damage. Keep animals away from your plants with wire mesh. Avoid picking a place that is inhabited by deer and rabbits, as both like a nibble on growing marijuana.

Frost (Frost Damage) – Although marijuana is a hardy plant, it cannot survive long spells of temperatures that are below freezing. Avoid frosts by planting in April, choosing a strain that will go through a full growing cycle before the first frost come. Indica strains have a shorter cycle than sativas if local frosts come early.

Mould – As you can’t maintain the humidity or the amount of rain supplied by Mother Nature, keep a close eye on your buds for any mold growth. You can reduce the risk of mould by shaking your flowers out after any large rain falls. Remove moldy buds before they spread.

Learning how to grow weed outdoors will allow you to take full advantage of mother nature. The detailed guide above will have you successfully growing weed outdoors in no time at all.



71 comments on How to grow weed outdoors – a comprehensive guide
  1. Kyanne

    I was given some plants about 1 1/2′ tall. They are already starting to bud. Should I top them off??

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    Rating: +7 (from 53 votes)
  2. Green Man

    Hi Jeff,
    Flowering in outdoor plants is triggered when the days become shorter and the plant begins to receive around 12 hrs of light a day. In regards to knowing when to harvest your plants, checking the maturity of the trichomes is the most effective way to know. Here is a link for more information about harvesting

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  3. Jeff

    Hi Its my first grow and I was looking for some help wrt when I should harvest. I am growing outdoors in Southern Ontario. All of the plants are healthy, approx. 8′ and were planted the May 24 weekend. Jack Herer, Grand Daddy, Trainwreck, and Cheese Fem. What triggers the flowering -is it the number of hours of sun (ie when there is less than 13 hours or 12 hours) or is it how fast the number of hours of sunlight is decreasing (ie if the number of hours of sunlight decrease 1.5-2 hours over a 30 day period)? Any help would be greatly apprecited.

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    Rating: +2 (from 12 votes)
  4. Green Man

    Hi There,
    For growing in hot humid climates sativa strains are ideal. A few examples of sativa strains that thrive in hot environments are Amsterdam haze and amnesia haze.

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    Rating: +2 (from 4 votes)
  5. Autumn

    What strains will grow in a humid-summer climate?

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    Rating: -3 (from 9 votes)
  6. Green Man

    Hi There, If you are looking for a shorter, bushier plant then you should be looking at indica dominant strains. One recommendation would be THC Bomb. Also any autoflower strain will remain short throughout its growth.

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    Rating: +2 (from 6 votes)
  7. Ric

    What strain grows the best in mid Ohio? Is there a certain kind of strtain that will produce a squatier or bushy plant rather than a tall slim plant?

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    Rating: +4 (from 18 votes)
  8. James

    what are good plants to grow in northern Ontario, Canada? I have been told sour diesel is one. I am a beginner but with the new law coming in Canada, i will be growing my 4 plants ..

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    Rating: +4 (from 18 votes)
  9. Green Man

    Without images and genetics it would be hard to say why this may be the case, however, plants need sunlight to photosynthesise and create the essential nutrients that make up THC so there should be no real difference between a well executed indoor or outdoor grow.

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    Rating: +1 (from 7 votes)
  10. Green Man

    No, do not remove all the leaves. You can remove some of the large “shade” leaves closer to the base and trim out some of the larger leaves higher up, but at no time should you remove more than 30% of the vegetation.

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  11. Bert

    Is it a good ideal to remove leaves off your grow while it is budding to get more sun light into the buds? And what are the different leaves called,such as the ones that stick out and the ones that grow right close to the buds?

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    Rating: 0 (from 22 votes)
  12. juan luis

    I grew 4 plants all exotic strains that flowered beautifully, but they did not get me high. I think the UV light outdoors ruined them. Should I grow indoors for better high?

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    Rating: -2 (from 22 votes)
  13. Justin

    Okay sonits perfect weather here in cali right now for the most part and my plants gave been doing great but now all of a sudden one of my plants smells of mould and the leaves and everything are dieing out how do i stop it cuz i dont want it to affect any of my other plants so soon to floweing. None habe yet but their about to i dont it to get hurt so far i cut the leaves of thats have died from it. I pulled some other plants thats could of created to much moisture around, there gone i do clean my plants every now and again since theres no rain in cali yhey seem to love it and i do shake them off from exess water. My ground is nice ph levels the water i gibe them have great ph level straight from the fauset i check everytime with a 15gallon bucket special made by me! Lol! But i need to stop it deal in its track! Is it possible i can mix some bleach and soap and losts of water or something and wash them of or should i just get a fan put it around them and stop watering as much idk idk? Please help

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  14. Howard Shokler

    I have a great looking 18 ” plant in a pot outdoors. What size pot should I be letting it grow in ?

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    Rating: +15 (from 69 votes)
  15. Steve Swafford

    Where to you acquire the seeds to grow?

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    Rating: +5 (from 31 votes)
  16. Thebish

    I live about 25 mile north east of Seattle. I don’t smoke much pot but I like to have it around for guests. I was given a few seeds from a family member that lives in hot Sacramento area. They grow outside. Do you think it is to late in the season to grow a few plants outside in mid June around Seattle. I was told these seed were female and really really good.

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    Rating: +6 (from 36 votes)
  17. jack penn

    I get constant indirect light, with about 3 hours of direct. I am starting them in germinating with the indoor paper towel technique. I am afraid to move my plant on to my deck, because it is then visual from the lawn below. Years ago I grew a single plant, in a 30 gallon can, and at harvesting time came away with 1/2 pound of buds. I harvested it because one of my adjacent penthouse neighbor’s college age adjacent penthouse son started complaining about the smell. At the time I was living in West Hollywood. Now I am outside of New Orleans, LA. Major temperature and sun availability. Any ideas? I have a small walk in green house but it only gets a few hours of direct sun light. Is purchasing a grow light a good idea?

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    Rating: -5 (from 23 votes)
  18. autofloraison cannabis interieur

    My spouse and I stumbled over here coming from a different page and thought I may as well check things out.
    I like what I see so i am just following you. Look forward to looking over your web page again.

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  19. mark


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  20. kari

    I have a plant growing outside in a 10 gallon bucket it is starting to flower now haw do I pick to buds and when?

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    Rating: -17 (from 85 votes)
  21. CLARENCE 123

    Starting too grow at 5300 ft Prescott as cool nights, it kills my tomatoes same with buds .. THX

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    Rating: -6 (from 10 votes)
  22. zrick

    I got started late, just planted my seedlings a week ago.Should I be OK?

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    Rating: -6 (from 40 votes)
  23. Buddy h

    Help!! My plant is in a 30 gallon pot on my deck. I thought direct sun cycle from February to harvest in fall was good. But anyways today I go check on my girl and I realize one half side of the branches in thick and dark green and the other die directly down the middle of the entire plant and stalk is light green and thinner and looks malnourished. I don’t get what’s wrong because the color split freaks me out. What’s wrong

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  24. rene shupe

    I am growing outdoors in Pots………I have several beautiful seedlings that are doing just fine in the 90+ degrees. In the hottest part of the day, late afternoon, I am shading them with a very convenient Screen, from the direct sun……the next 2 weeks here, we are going to be experiencing 100+ degree temps……….do I let my plants stay outside for the early morning till noonish and bring them in or is the screen that protects them from from direct sunlight in the afternoon sufficient….. Help me please…….I learn fast.

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  25. Donald Novick

    How much 100 degree heat per day can my potted plants tolerate.

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    Rating: -5 (from 29 votes)
  26. Donald Novick

    HELP. Any input on growing outdoors, in pots in the desert . Yes. But as far as how much sun at 100 degrees

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    Rating: +2 (from 14 votes)
  27. gunslinger

    can i plant now 4/2/2016 in north ca.

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    Rating: -4 (from 16 votes)
  28. Buggs

    The sun does not produce 2000 watts per square foot lucky you really it’s only approx 1000 watts about per square meter. The then the co2 comment was off the mark. It’s the same inside as outside. They make greenhouse co2 generators that are just burning a small propane flame inside the greenhouse to make it higher than outside. Please where did you get these crazy ideas.

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    Rating: -4 (from 14 votes)
  29. sina

    my plants are about 30 cm hight
    can i get flower from them in this season ?
    by the way outdoor grower i am.
    what should i do? plz help. tnx

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    Rating: +2 (from 4 votes)
  30. mary ann reeves

    Will the plant grow bigger if you pick off the big leaves?

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    Rating: -2 (from 12 votes)
  31. mary ann reeves

    I’m thinking about growing an just wanted to no if you pick off the big leaves would the plant get bigger. Or what?

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    Rating: 0 (from 8 votes)
  32. Mary Hammond

    I’m having issues and need help. Years ago when I grew a few plants I kept the large leaves trimmed and used nothing but miracle grow once in a while. Now I’m with a caregiver who grows 72 plants a year outdoors. He uses hundreds of dollars worth of organic crap on them. They grow 6-9 ft tall. My problem? He never trims them and the quality of his weed is nowhere near the shit I smoked in the 80’s. I seriously need to smoke a couple myself before being only slightly buzzed. What’s he doing wrong? Idk. I know myself for a fact that bigger is not always better lol

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  33. G

    For outside growing, can one use compost instead of soil or potting mixes?
    What’s the minimum size of a pot to grow the plant outside?

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  34. louise samaduroff

    My experience shows that marijuana plants LOVE wind! It keeps them strong and mold-free. Bugs also stay away when it is windy. I always try to make sure my plants are on a nice sunny and WINDY hillside. a little morning shade is nice for Sativas. This is just my California foothill outdoor growing point of view. Neighbors who grow weed (more than you would believe!) rarely let male plants become mature enough…and a few rogue seeds are always welcome for next crop, if the little buggars do squirt on your breeze

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  35. Don


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  36. edward

    the top of my plant is turning brown and leaves fall off when it overwatering?

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    Rating: +10 (from 144 votes)
  37. Joe Hewitt

    I want to know how to change one branch to male on a female plant. Can you please help me with this.

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    Rating: -1 (from 5 votes)
  38. chase

    A Sisco kid I just transplanted a green cush clone it looks good watered it to the Temps running around 70 to 80 any advice I’m a virgin grower haha any advice peace

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  39. siscokidd

    I’m going to grow in above ground in big 20 gallon containers with bottom cut out and chicken wire to keep gphers out thought they don’t seem to like pot. this is my third crop hear and hear is on top of a mountain in hemet area . the average temp runs around a 100 and I have two deep wells to water from witch is a drip system. I have a lot of rabit poop and the place has been growing since the thirties and the soil hear is awsum.
    I have averaged 3 pounds per plant and the buds are so big that a bunch of them were a half pound with the average being an once. had 6 different strains last time and it was all great . still sitting on a bunch. I’m a 64 year old hippy that has always smoked bud and finaly I’m not paying for it. I have discovered that the clones hear are going threw a change and with out ever topping them they brach out like a shrub and its real great when its a 10 ft tall shrub. don’t forget planning the trim and I put out 5 gs to trim last crop down to dispencery quality and size.. this crop is bigger and I’m buying an automatic trim machine witch I can rent out around hear. the mountain hear are covered in growers and every one faces the trimming game. if u wait to long to get it all trimed and sealed up fr the curering process. I hope my exsperiances will help my fellow growers and I well come any feed back on my raised beds se ya guy the siscokidd

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    Rating: +44 (from 70 votes)
  40. Richard mar

    I’m pretty sure you can grow two crops a year , one starting in February and bud in may and the main crop from April to October . It depends on location, location, location.

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  41. Richard mar

    Con you grow start weed in February and have them bud in may . I know the main crop is from April to October and will the crop that buds in may be as good as the one in October

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    Rating: -8 (from 30 votes)
  42. J. Math

    I have an outdoor plant that is close to harvest trichoma’s are about 50% milky in the past couple days 2″ below the top of the bud( very green still ) the bud turned brown about 3″ down when I broke it apart it had brite white cobweb inside I was wandering if it could be mold or insect .

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    Rating: -20 (from 84 votes)
  43. NiddleEastGrower

    I’m a noobie when it comes to growing anything, but I’m very dedicated on growing weed.
    I would just like to ask you guys if its possible growing weed on the middle east particularly on one of the gulf countries, they only have two climates, summer and winter, as of now winter is coming soon, its until February-March.

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  44. Smart Ass

    To y’all asking common questions. Get a grow book. Save the questions for advance stuff such as proper ppm levels, water temps,etc gheesh can’t stand stoners looking to be spoon fed info they can find them selfs.

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    Rating: -65 (from 115 votes)
  45. Wendy

    Planted White haze auto seeds directly into soil on 6th May. They germinated nicely within a week, outside in the Canary Islands but are showing flowers already, They are only about 6 inches high with four sets of leaves. Should I stop the flowering process or quickly pot-on into my prepped 10lt pots? We currently have 15 hours of daylight. Thank you and please accept my apologies for taking up your time. There is so much conflicting advice on line..I’m confused!

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  46. marty bryant


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  47. ranchogaul

    Is it smart for me to guerrilla grow with the plants in pots instead of in the ground? What auto flowering strain would you most recommend for this? Also what are the chances that my freshly germinated seeds would die if I put them straight into their pots that they will spend their whole lives and never transplant them, is there something I can do to better guarantee their survival?

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    Rating: +8 (from 76 votes)
  48. micah foss

    okay so i havent grown in a while and i have clay soil where i live would it make a difference if i mashed the clay into crumb would it make a difference?

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    Rating: -11 (from 31 votes)
  49. davsky

    Hi I’m a resident of Florida and we managed to get amendment two(legalized med. marijuana) on the November state ballot and it’s passage is looking very possible.I’m studying growing techniques and I’m wondering if I can grow marijuana hydroponically in a green house.I’m thinking that one could take advantage of the Florida sunshine coupled with the benefits of a hydroponic growing technique.Any thoughts on possible pitfalls of this “type of setup”?Thanks

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  50. Grower554

    Can I start the seed in a ziplock with a paper-towel inside ? With sun light from 12 to 6?

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  51. marlies davies


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  52. Dgrubb

    I have recently purchased the Garden Patch Growbox. I was going to grow in my small but private back yard. I get medical cannabis and it’s legal for me to grow. The Growbox is semi hydroponic with a water trough below the potting mix. 2’x8″ it has fertilizer for vegetables that slowly dissolves over a 4 mth period. I live in the desert and although it’s winter we have mild day time temps 50s to 70s and al least 5 hrs of sun. I’m wondering if I plant small plants purchased from the local dispensaries if I can grow them successfully in this climate. And how many could I place in one planter.

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  53. Green Man

    Light is essential for marijuana plant growth so if the location doesn’t have access to light it’s going to be difficult to grow the plant. Also the idea of growing marijuana outdoors is that you use the natural sunlight rather than lights.

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  54. Nolan Acevedo

    If i was to grow in the woods (I live in New England) were the coverage of the trees covers some if not most of the sunlight would i need lights?

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    Rating: +3 (from 39 votes)
  55. Green Man

    It is possible to grow marijuana seeds outdoors without starting them off inside. We would always recommend germinating using paper plate method outlined here as you will have a much better success rate. It is possible to plant seeds direct in the soil you just need to be careful not to over water and not to sow them too deep otherwise there is a high chance the seeds will die.

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  56. blunt heads

    So can’t I plant the seed directly into the soil on day 1 and start water them and have sun shine on them without the indoor process

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    Rating: +3 (from 23 votes)
  57. Green Man

    It could be for a number of reasons but it’s most likely to be either a nitrogen deficiency or over fertilizing your marijuana plant. Also as you approach harvest the leaves will naturally turn yellowish/brown as your plant uses up it’s nutrients to produce resinous buds. There is a section in the troubleshooting page that covers Leaves you can find it here.

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  58. Randy

    what cause leaves to turn brownish-yellow on their edges?

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  59. Tim

    has any one try some Epsom salt in the ground when planting new plants outside ?
    I was told this will help keep some pests away as well help the roots grow stronger and bigger and better plants. I have clay soil were I live and I also live right on the beach, So I have to worry about the salt from the ocean. That’s why I am asking the question and yes I am a first time grower. not doing to good get the plants to grow inside but when placed outside with in a few weeks all are dead. The temp is about 25 to 35. I have try to put them in the sun and gave them shade but nothing seems to work I might to just keep them inside or not grow any at all. I have heard growing pot is as easy I can not tell I must have planted at least 50 plants and not one lasted past one month. can some one help a poor pot smoker with some help.

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  60. darc9171

    I germ on paper towls and keep it in the microwave once the tap root is solid about 1/4
    inch I move them to the prepaired soil using single serve macaroni and cheese containers to start the plants until they sprout they only need water and warmth
    becarefull of direct sunlight where it gets hot morning and evening light are great
    minehit the shade at aout 1230 pm yet get 14 hours of light a day
    hope this helps ifso like east texas farmer tip pine forest suck to plant in

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    Yes, the majority of growers germinate before planting. Follow our Germination guide which includes a step-by-step guide.

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    Hi there, it’s always best to start seeds indoors and move them outside. Follow the germination example in our Germination section. Once seeds have sprouted the seedlings then need to be left indoors under lights for 2-3 weeks until they are strong enough to be moved outside and transplanted.

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  63. zack

    Can you explain how to start growing inside before transplanting outside? Should I use any lights? Just please give me some instructions

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  64. Joseph

    Should you do germination and then plant them?

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