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By finding the point at which your plant will be receiving 18+ hours of sunlight each day, you will be able to determine the best period for vegetative growth. The next important factor is finding when sunlight drops below 12 hours in order to trigger flowering and eventually harvest.
Sunlight is what encourages natural leaf and stem production in cannabis, allowing it to flourish and reach heights that can far exceed indoor grows. With an outdoor grow, the best yield will come from plants that have the most access to sunlight (in favourable conditions), so this will always be key to take into consideration when moving your cannabis growing skills outside.
For guerrilla growers, it might be a great idea to pick several locations to plant your autoflowering seeds. Known as the “plant and forget” method, this technique allows you to simply put a seed in the ground and forget about it (for a few months). When you come back to your locations, you will have already increased your chances of getting a crop. You might not get the biggest yields, but if you have concerns about getting caught, this is a simple sidestep.
HOW MUCH SUNLIGHT PHOTOPERIOD CANNABIS NEEDS
Photoperiod cannabis plants use photoreceptors to sense forms of phytochromes or cytochromes created by light. Therefore, the photoperiod of cannabis can be considered in terms of the hours of light a plant receives over a 24-hour time period.
Autoflowering strains are developed so that they are able to flower under nearly any light conditions. This makes them great for beginners, and keeps things simple for all growers. But it is still important to get as much sunlight as possible when growing autoflowering seeds outdoors. Your final yield is a direct reflection of this.
When seeds are planted in the spring, plants should shift steadily from their vegetative stage to the flowering stage after the solstice. As the nights get longer, outdoor photoperiod strains begin to bloom more steadily; some late-blooming sativas can continue to grow until late-autumn. The kind of sunlight the plant receives will directly affect the way in which it develops.
Now, you might have to make some compromise for your ideal spot after you have taken issues like water access and security into consideration. If you choose to grow photoperiod seeds, your plants will require more attention. Don’t forget to be patient and use as many resources as you can to acquire the best data on your plant’s climate, such as a sun calculator.
While cannabis may have its roots in Asia, the plant has managed to spread and adapt (thanks to the help of humans) to almost every corner of the globe. Varieties that have adapted to the unique climate and light cycle of the tropics and equator typically germinate much earlier than those adapted to grow further north or south. They may also stay in veg much longer, and even continue developing foliage as they flower, leading them to produce elongated and airy buds.
Outdoor growers in the Northern Hemisphere will typically germinate their seeds in between spring and early summer, depending on their location. Along the Iberian Peninsula, for example, growers might start in early March and manage to grow two full crops of autos by August. Further north, however, growers will have to start a little later to avoid facing frosts, rain, hail, or other unfavourable conditions.
Find out how much sun your cannabis plant needs, and how to best take advantage of it.
How to Grow Weed Outdoors Along the Equator and in the Tropics
Growers in the Southern Hemisphere, on the other hand, might kick off their grows as early as September, and will typically harvest between March or May, although some sativas might be ready by early June (depending on the genetics and the local climate).
Whether sunlight “beats” artificial grow lights is an age-old debate in the cannabis community, with proud, loyal legions on either side. At RQS, we’re firm believers that there’s no replacement for Mother Nature, but we understand that growing indoors under artificial lights also has a lot of benefits.
Given the Earth’s orbit, its poles tilt toward the sun during different times of the year; the Northern Hemisphere is closest to the sun on the June solstice, while the Southern Hemisphere is closest to the sun during the December solstice. The closer a pole is to the sun, the more direct sunlight it receives, and the longer the days in the corresponding hemisphere.
However, when growing weed at home, you’ll want to provide optimal conditions to maximise the size and quality of your yields. If they’re growing in the shade, your plants will reach for the sun and develop long, lanky branches, few bud sites, and light, airy buds with less resin.