Growing cannabis outdoors in the winter – Yes it’s possible!

Published Nov 7, 2022 10:00 a.m. ET
iStock / Ryan Lange 

Many green-thumbed enthusiasts look at growing cannabis outdoors as something that can only be done at a very specific time of the year, when the days are warmer, and nights are far more forgiving, but the truth is that it’s not hard to produce a high-quality product at any point, even in the heart of winter. The key is understanding what you’ll need to make it work.

What you’ll need

It’s essential to understand that this won’t be as easy as growing in summer, nor will it be as cost-efficient. However, most who try it say that the biggest expense comes in the early days, as cultivators prepare for what comes next. Here we’ll discuss five of the most important things you’ll need if you want to succeed at growing cannabis in sub-zero temperatures.

1. A high-quality greenhouse

The first and most important piece of this puzzle is the protection of your fragile crop, which is impossible to secure without the help of a solid greenhouse. Of course, it’s also important to note that the average gardener doesn’t need an expensive and or massive facility, so it’s completely reasonable to look at temporary, low-cost setups instead, as they’ll still offer a good barrier, without taking up so much space or financial resources.

2. Cold weather cultivars

Yes, cannabis is a predominantly tropical plant species, requiring high temperatures and a healthy humidity index to flourish, but there are some cultivars that have been bred specifically to withstand colder climates. Even with a warm home to grow in, it’s a good idea to opt for winter strains, because there will be far more barriers when it comes to maintaining a consistent temperature, and chilly breezes are practically inevitable.

3. Heating

We tend to think of greenhouses as these incredible warm, fantastical places that are impenetrable by the elements outside those four walls when the truth is that cold will reach in somehow at some point. Once the sun sets on chilly winter days, the temperature inside greenhouses will plummet. Without the natural power of the sun to keep things toasty, it won’t take long for the space to reach dangerously low temperatures, so you’ll definitely need additional sources of warmth.


4. Lights

Nights are long, and days are incredibly short in the winter months, so if you’re cultivating cannabis outdoors, even with the aid of a greenhouse, you’re going to need some extra lighting to maintain control over the growth of your crops. Without them, your plants are highly likely to get confused, and as a result, switch to the flowering phase way too early to be beneficial in terms of harvest.

5. Lower expectations

The most important thing to remember when you’re growing cannabis outside is that it’s likely never going to produce the same quantity and quality you might expect when nature is on your side. This is nothing to be upset about, but it is something to keep in mind to avoid disappointment or frustration that is inevitable otherwise.

10 winter strains

If you’re on the hunt for cultivars that are guaranteed to produce better results in the colder months, then this list is an excellent place to start.

  • Orange Candy Legendary OG Punch
  • Afghani Kush
  • Blue cheese
  • Grandmommy Purple
  • Bubble Kush
  • Green Crack Punch
  • Dutch Outdoor
  • Midnight Mass
  • Pineapple Kush
  • Special Queen #1
How to winterize your greenhouse


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