10 Things every cannabis garden needs to succeed

Published May 1, 2023 09:00 a.m. ET
Unsplash / 2H Media

Growing cannabis outdoors can be a fun, fulfilling and educational experience for many enthusiasts as the process of nurturing and carefully tending to this kind of garden is sure to foster a deeper connection to this amazing plant.

It’s also beneficial in the sense it doesn’t cost money to run lights or take up space in your home and this garden isn’t likely to need too much attention overall since mother nature is an excellent carer and sure to cover the basics needs of your plants even if you’re not around for a few days. That all sounds relatively easy, but cultivating outside certainly comes with some downsides too.

Growing outdoors takes away your control since you can’t make the sun shine brightly, or the rain pour down when the soil is dry and your plants are thirsty. That’s why outdoor crops often deliver lower yields. Cannabis gardens face so many challenges so it’s important to pick the best spot  for your cannabis plants, and essential to find one that will offer the most nurturing environment.

A complete checklist of cannabis garden requirements

As you’re considering potential locations for your garden, or pondering the reasons why last year’s plants didn’t do as well as you’d hoped, this checklist of requirements should help to point out any potential problems, by highlighting the most essential requirements that every cannabis crop needs to be healthy and flourish.

1. Privacy

One of the most crucial factors to consider is how much privacy your precious plants will have, since they are valuable making them an appealing target for thieves. For that reason, it’s best to put your garden in an area that’s not easily visible to the general public whenever possible.

2. Sun exposure

Cannabis plants need a lot of light to grow well and be healthy, so the ideal location for this garden should receive full sun exposure for at least six hours each day. Any less than that and your yield may be smaller and any buds you do manage to harvest are likely to be less potent.

3. Soil quality

These plants require soil that can drain excess water away, to prevent damage caused by root rot. It’s also important to perform a test to show its pH and nutrient levels. If the numbers you get suggest the garden is not ideal, you’ll need to fix it before planting, by digging up the plot to loosen the soil or adding amendments like compost or organic matter.

4. Nutrients

Even if tests show an ideal pH level, and the area seems to be nice and loose which should help with drainage, it may be worth considering improving the environment even more by adding nutrient-dense soil, organic compost, or fertilizers to ensure your cannabis plants have access to the things they need to grow well. Water access should also be assessed, and if sources are lacking, you might want to install a tap or hose or find somewhere nearby to keep a watering can so it’s easy to give your garden a drink when it’s needed.

5. Temperature


Cannabis is a plant that thrives in some of the hottest most humid environments, something that’s nearly impossible to recreate in most regions. They will of course still grow, and certain strains may even do really well as long as the growing season is reasonably warm. Growers residing in colder regions or areas where sudden drops in temperature are a regular occurrence may want to consider raising plants indoors instead. But it’s also important to note that some cultivars are simply better equipped to withstand the cold, so it may also be beneficial to find and grow them in your garden instead of more fragile heat-loving varieties.

6. Airflow

Unrestricted airflow is essential to the development of a cannabis plant's roots. It also helps to dry any excess moisture that may pool in your garden after heavy rainfall preventing the growth of mold or mildew. So it’s best to select a location that offers plenty of ventilation and a nice consistent breeze.

7. Space

One of the biggest mistakes growers make is underestimating the amount of room a cannabis plant needs to reach out and flourish, so it’s essential to ensure your garden offers enough space to accommodate your chosen number of plants even once they’re fully mature. How big this area should be is dependent on the cultivar. Be sure to do plenty of research so you know how large of a garden you’ll need this year, to support your cannabis plants all through the growing season.

8. Security

Cannabis plants are worth money, so privacy as we mentioned previously is key to this crop's survival, but there are also other ways to improve the security of an outdoor garden. Those who live in the country or low-traffic areas might not need to fear but if you’re in a city, and your yard is easily accessible, it might be a good idea to invest in some cameras to deter any thieves who might be tempted to walk away with all of your hard work.

9. Access

All of the factors listed so far are essential but another often-overlooked feature of the ideal cannabis garden is easy access. You’ll want to have unrestricted access to every corner which will make it easier and more convenient to deliver proper care, which may include fertilizing, watering, trimming, implementing pest control measures, or doing any other maintenance that might be needed throughout the season.

10. Ensure you’re chosen location meets all legal requirements

Before planting or even putting together a plan to make your cannabis garden it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the rules and restrictions surrounding growing in your area. Some planes don’t allow cultivation at home. Others may have clear limits on the number of plants you can have, and some may even require you to secure your plants in a way that makes them impossible for anyone to get to them. Each place is different, so be sure to do some research before starting this project.

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