In this article we are going to look at some top tips for getting the best out of your outdoor cannabis grow if you live in climates with warmer temperatures such as Mediterranean. This area traditionally includes regions of Southern Europe and North Africa, parts of California and South America, South Africa's Cape and southern Australia.Growing the right plants and using the best genetics is the surest way to produce the best results in yield and quality.
Growing Cannabis Strains in Southern Regions
When we talk about the 'southern regions', we are typically talking about those areas that lie between the latitudes of 45° - 35° north of the equator. They are characterized by climates that feature strong sunshine and high temperatures (temperatures can exceed 40° C in parts of Spain at the height of summer).
The biggest enemy of the outdoor cannabis grow in southern regions is the heat, the dryness and the associated pests and diseases that nature will send the way of the plants. But there are steps you can take to help insulate yourself from these threats.
Establish Your Base!
At Paradise Seeds we can never stress too much the importance of giving your cannabis seed / plant the best start in life. We recommend planting your germinated cannabis seed in a pot, preferably the one it will spend its life in.
Pots allow for more control of your environment and provide some more versatility. A good growing base includes high quality soil, plus mediums such as perlite and coco to provide good aeration for your soil. Avoid using terracotta pots - sure they look nice but they will bake your soil hard under a hot sun and avoid black pots for the same reason, as this colour will absorb the sun's heat. Using a square pot is better for root growth and remember, the bigger the pot, the bigger the plant! A good tip with plastic pots is to use one stacked inside another to provide an air cushion that will keep your plants cool.
However, if you want really big plants, such as those that we showcased in our test field videos, then plant in the ground, although make sure it is properly prepared and your plants aren't fighting with the vegetation around them for light and root space. If you take this route then a warning - be prepared for a monster in your garden!
Think About Heat NOW!
Shade is the best friend of the outdoor cannabis grower in southern regions. In fact shade is essential to the health of your plant. Excessive heat will stress your plant and stunt its growth and could even kill it off completely. This is particularly true for indicas which originate from mountainous regions and whose juicy fat buds are not naturally built for exposure to extended periods of intense heat and sunshine.
The most dangerous time of day for plants under a Mediterranean sun is between 13.00 and 17.00. In some parts of Spain, this is siesta time and this should be the same for plants which should have sufficient shade during this time of day. This is a reason why pots are useful as they can be moved around, but if this is not an option pick your spot well when planting in the ground in spring and ensure plants have some shadows for protection when the summer sun is at its highest.
Pests and Mold
Hot and dry conditions provide the perfect natural environment for a whole host of pests that can do serious damage to cannabis plants in southern regions. These include White fly, Red Spider mite and caterpillars.
One solution to escaping the attentions of these destructive cannabis plant pests is to plant later in the season. Germinated cannabis seeds that are planted as seedlings in June will often escape the attention of these pests because they have already selected their targets elsewhere in the garden!
If you do get a pest infestation in your cannabis plants, it needs to be dealt with quickly. At Paradise Seeds we always recommend doing this organically if you care about your health as well as the health of the plant. Garlic, pepper and nettles are a good friend of the organic outdoor gardener, and we have covered this topic in our news section.
Even in warmer southern climates, mold can be an issue on exposed coasts where there is more rain or in mountainous pockets where there is restricted sunshine or a localized microclimate. If cannabis mold is a problem in your part of the world, we suggest you consider a more radical approach to growing your outdoor plants through the use of training. Top tips on training are available in our step by step Skunkworks video series.
Choose Your Outdoor Cannabis Grow Strain Wisely!
Sativas love the sunshine! They will seek it out and thrive. We have reports of our classic Dutch Dragon reaching heights of 3m in parts of Spain. If you are an indica fan, we suggest you grow hybrid varieties that are indica dominant rather than full indicas.
Hybrid 50/50 plants tend to be better performers at higher temperatures than pure indicas and do not have flowering periods as long as sativas. Popular indica based varieties in southern regions for this reason are Wappa, Mendocino Skunk and Belladonna.
Autoflowering varieties are also a great choice for cultivators in southern regions as it is possible to get two and sometimes even as many as three harvests in a year.
Southern Regions: Best Time To Plant?
If you want to see large plants in your outdoor cannabis grow, then it is advisable to germinate in the spring (April / May). Until the temperature is stable, protect your plant on a terrace or behind glass to prevent any damage from the cold.
If you prefer shorter plants then germinate in June so the plants will have a shorter vegetative period. This option is good for growers that have a desire to be more discreet with their outdoor cannabis grow (to avopid unnecessary attention of the neighbours perhaps). If this is the case, then it is necessary to take care with the first phase of growth and to keep plants cool and avoid exposure to heavy sunshine.
Taste of the Outdoor Cannabis Grow Difference!
With an indoor grow you are more guaranteed high yield and consistent results, but there is nothing quite like the richness of taste and effect that comes from an outdoor plant that has been tended to by the sunshine and Mother Nature!
The most important thing to remember is that every garden is different. The outdoor cannabis grower must find their own way and work out their land and how it affects the growing process. Nevertheless, we hope these tips will help you towards a healthy harvest this year.
Please do share pictures of your results. We love to see gardeners' work and it always inspires others to start growing the outdoor way too!