Should I Grow Marijuana Outdoors Or Indoors?

The age old questions: is indoor-grown cannabis better than outdoor-grown cannabis? Is growing cannabis outdoors easier than growing it indoors?

Well, there really is no clear-cut answer, it’s more dependent on the grower, and their available resources. There is a lot to take in consideration when deciding to grow marijuana indoors or outdoors. Both settings have advantages, and drawbacks, and both come with inherent challenges which appeal to different preferences or growing circumstances.

In this article, we will go over the distinctions between growing cannabis outdoors and indoors, to help you get a solid understanding of the most important factors when deciding between which is best for you!

Pros & Cons of Growing Marijuana Outdoors

growing cannabis outdoors

There are many potential upsides to growing cannabis outdoors. Outdoor-grown cannabis has undergone thousands of years of adaption and evolution to thrive in natural conditions! However, no two grow spaces are the same, and the cannabis plant prefers certain types of climates and conditions, so it’s not capable of thriving in all of them!

Let's have a look at some of the positives and negatives of growing cannabis outdoors.

Pros

1. More Space

Growing marijuana outdoors allows the plant to grow freely and expand its canopy, leading to a much larger plant that is capable of producing bigger yields!

2. Lighting

Natural sunlight provides the perfect spectrum of light for the plant, including multiple types of UV (ultraviolet lightwaves) which can help increase yield and quality.

3. Huge Yields

Since the cannabis plant isn’t confined to a certain sized space, or in a room, it has much more space to expand and thrive! However, you should be mindful of local regulations; while cannabis cultivation is permitted in many states, it might require you to grow in a private and enclosed space. Explore the specifics of cannabis growing legalization across the US with our comprehensive checklist.

Moreover, since growing cannabis outdoors is done on a seasonal schedule, the yield capacity is much larger than that of a single indoor plant.

4. Cost

With a very low startup cost and minimal overhead, growing cannabis outdoors becomes accessible to a much larger audience, especially when a minimalist approach is used. All that is really needed is some good soil and water!

Cons

1. Pests

Outdoor growing comes with a much larger threat of cannabis pest issues. A mere breezy gust of wind can introduce various whiteflies, aphids, mites, caterpillars, etc.

2. Climate

Obviously, when growing cannabis outdoors, you have no control over the weather or climate. Winds, rain, hail, snow and more can very easily wipe out your entire garden!

3. Lighting

Cannabis plants need a minimum of 8 hours of direct sunlight ("direct" means the sun is directly hitting the plant). This sometimes isn’t possible, if there are cloudy days, you are growing in a north/south facing garden, or your space is shadowed by trees or buildings. Your outdoor growing space may not be able to meet this crucial necessity.

4. Seasonal Harvest

Outdoor grown cannabis is grown within a seasonal period, usually taking about 6-7 months from seed to harvest. In this span, you might have completed 3-4 indoor grow cycles!

5. Environment

There is no control over the environment, leading to less optimal conditions. This can affect the yields and quality potential of the plant, and also cause issues like weed mold, such as the mildew and bud rot!

6. Discretion

Outdoor growing is exactly that: outdoors! That, quite literally, leaves your plant out in the open for any one to see and usually smell. If you’re trying to avoid theft or local authorities, growing marijuana outdoors may not be the best option.

Pros & Cons of Growing Marijuana Indoors

indoor grown cannabis by Hey abby grower CraigAlot

Growing cannabis indoors brings full control and manipulability of the grow environment, and also provide the plant shelter. Plus, it allows for certain cannabis training techniques to be applied, which might greatly increase the quality and yield of your final buds.

Yet there are some drawbacks to indoor growing as well, like confined space! But, unlike outdoor grown cannabis, there are some things you can do to help mitigate those drawbacks! Let’s delve into the pros and cons of growing cannabis indoors.

Pros

1. More Control

Growing marijuana indoors allows for full control over all aspects of the grow space, and control is crucial for optimization! If set up properly, with the right equipment, indoor growing grants you control of the:

  • Lighting: Light schedule, light intensity, and even spectrum;
  • Environmental Conditions: Temperature, humidity & air movement;
  • Watering and Feeding Schedule: You can set the grow space up to water/feed automatically;
  • Stage of Growth: You have the capability to control how long the plant will grow vegetatively, which allows you to control the size of the plant, and when it transitions into the flowering stage. You have the ability to change the light schedule and induce flowering.
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growing cannabis indoors with hey abby_grower @Rocks
trimming dried buds_Hey abby grower @Rocks

Image via Hey abby grower @Rocks_thriving plants & trimmed buds

If you're new to home cannabis growing and unsure where to start, just activate Auto Mode in the hey abby APP. The advanced algorithms will craft the perfect growing environment for you. With less than half an hour of weekly attention, you can harvest up to 6-8 oz of dried buds every 3-month cycle, and get to enjoy the freshest flavor and satisfying poteny.

2. Perpetuated Cycle

There is no “season” for indoor growing. You have perfect light scheduling right at your finger tips, under your control! That means you are able to grow year round!

By the time one outdoor harvest is complete, you could have had 3 or 4 indoor harvest done in the same period of time! This means no more scrapping pipes or unraveling roaches during the off-season!

3. Shelter

Indoor growing allows the plant to be fully sheltered and out of the harsh conditions of outdoors. Not only does this keep the plant out of the elements, but it also helps prevent pest infestations, and mold contraction! It also brings a certain level of security, which leads me to my next point...

4. Security and Discretion

No more worrying about nosey neighbors reporting you to local authorities, or thieves chopping and stealing your plant. Your garden is safe and surrounded! With the use of a stealth grow box, carbon fillers and odor neutralizers that can get rid of the weed smell, no one will ever know you’re growing!

5. Advanced Grow Techniques

training cannabis in Hey abby grow box_@Alexander RastaMan

Image via Hey abby grower @Alexander RastaMan_cannabis plant training

Since you have full control of all components, growing marijuana indoors allows you to apply some advanced manipulation and growing techniques, like:

  • hydroponic growing and crop steering,
  • SCROG or manifold training,
  • CO2 supplementation,
  • Low Stress Training,
  • light manipulation,
  • and even breeding your own strains!

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Cons

1. Initial Startup & Operating Cost

Growing cannabis indoors comes with the necessity of a lot of equipment: grow tent, grow lights, fans, air conditioning, dehumidification, irrigation equipment, nutrients, ph/ppm meter, and controllers to operate all of said equipment. (By the way, choosing a complete cannabis grow tent kit can significantly simplify your shopping list as most of these items will be pre-assembled or included in the kit.)

It doesn't stop there though. You will also notice an increase in your utility bills (water, gas and electricity) to run and operate the indoor grow space.

2. Space

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Indoor-grown cannabis needs dedicated space, which isn’t always feasible for those who live in an urban area, unless you're using the Hey abby grow box, which will allow you to grow almost anywhere that a small cabinet would fit.

3. Complexity

If you go for traditional weed tents, the level of precision and control needed for a successful indoor grow, along with setting up the indoor grow space, requires some knowledge and education. This may not be suitable for novice growers. Automated and pre-assembled grow boxes can be a helpful solution though.

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Differences Between Indoor-Grown and Outdoor-Grown Weed Plants

There are some major differences in the stature and yield of individual plants grown indoors vs outdoors.

Will it change how the weed plant looks like? To some extent, particularly in size. As outdoor plant have a much longer vegetative growth period, it could lead to a much larger plant, capable of producing a much larger yield than indoor plants.

That being said, the manipulability and control that comes with indoor growing allows for a far better quality potential, like higher potency! CO2 supplementation alone can help increase yield and quality of indoor grown cannabis. But, one needs have the “how-to” knowledge to be able to properly control the plant for increased yield and quality.

I would sum it up like this: Although some quality may be sacrificed, outdoor allows for a much larger yield from one plant, and presents an unmatched ease of growth! Whilst indoor growing brings the best quality available, it also comes with a lower yield and higher risk of a botched grow!

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Is Sunlight Better Than Artificial Cannabis Grow Lights?

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With today's technology, it makes it hard to compare high quality grow lights to natural sunlight - it’s like comparing apples and oranges.

Previously (before the advances in LED technology), natural sunlight provided many things that grow lights could not: UV exposure, full spectrum, dynamic lighting angles, and cost efficiency. However nowadays, cannabis grow light technology is so good that it is able to keep up with natural sunlight.

New advances in lighting technology now enable growers to bring uv exposure, full spectrum lighting, and even spectrums that are not available with sunlight, along with much lower operating expenses than previously available in artificial lighting.

I wouldn’t say the quality of light is better from artificial grow lights, but they allow more control over the plants' lighting schedule, intensity, and placement. That, in my opinion, leads to better growth and production.

Indoor vs Outdoor Cannabis Growing: Which Yields More?

Outdoor grown cannabis brings a prolonged vegetative growth stage, and much more space available for the plant to grow. This allows for a much larger plant. Typically, the larger the plant is, the larger the yield capacity. Indoor grown cannabis have set amount of space to let the plant grow. As a result, most indoor grown cannabis has a vegetative period of 3-5 weeks, leading to smaller plants. Since outdoor plants have so much more time and space to grow, they will usually have a much higher yield form a singular plant.

However, because outdoor growing is seasonal, it only allows for one harvest a year. While indoor growing allows for a perpetuated grow which you can yield year-round!

In a nut shell, outdoor marijuana growing will produce a larger yield from each plant, but indoor growing will allow for multiple harvests in the same time frame than outdoor growing!

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