When and how to grow marijuana outdoors in Canada

Published Jul 31, 2019 12:02 p.m. ET
iStock / Aleksandr Kravtsov

Now that growing marijuana is legal in Canada, there are plenty of consumers that are suddenly considering this option. Though cannabis is an incredibly hardy plant species, most marijuana strains originated from regions with hotter, more humid climates. So even if you do your research and select a type that is well suited for growing in colder temperatures. It will only survive during a short window of time in our Canadian climate. Here, we experience some pretty extreme weather fluctuations. From super humid and hot to freezing cold and moist, which is harsh on the bones and our local plant life. Which is why growing marijuana in this climate takes both skill and proper timing. Here, you will find everything you need to know on how to grow cannabis successfully in an outdoor garden. Including when to plant, how to best prepare, tips and tricks on getting a much-needed head start for marijuana strains that require a longer growth time, and a list of some of the best-suited types for outdoor growers in Canada.

When to plant cannabis outdoors in Canada

This one is most definitely going to depend on which specific region you live in, and how long of a growing season the marijuana strains that you are growing will need. Generally, a cannabis plant will want 8 hours of daylight per day, and they can take anywhere from 40-60 days to fully mature. For most people in Canada, it would be safe to hold off until some point in July. However, in general, the beginning of June is ideal for marijuana strains that will take longer to flower.

How to prepare for growing marijuana outside

Much like any plant species, cannabis needs a fresh supply of nutrients, and specific conditionsto thrive. A ready to go marijuana garden should include every checkpoint listed below.

  1. Location
    Though many people believe that any area of dirt should be suitable to grow plants, there is quite a bit to the spot that you select. Growing marijuana plants need full-day sunshine and a good source of water whenever possible. Be sure that the garden isn’t shaded by trees or buildings, and that the soil itself is capable of holding moisture.

  2. Tilled
    Cannabis plants once established, will grow a broad root system beneath the stem. These roots are responsible for absorbing essential nutrients and do best with oxygen. Well, aerated soil will help new plants to get comfortable, and keep them well fed throughout the season.

  3. Soil amendments
    Growing marijuana requires a massive amount of nutrients. Using some type of super soil, or soil amendment like manure can go a long way in boosting the overall health of a plant, which ultimately helps to increase yield.

Marijuana strains best suited for the Canadian climate

There are three main types of cannabis genetics that might be used in the making of any particular strain. They are Indica, Sativa, and Ruderalis, and each has different growing requirements as far as temperatures, and length of the season needed to fully mature.

Indica
This species of cannabis hails from the Middle East, which is a dry mountain covered region. These plants are short and wide, which affords them extra protection against cold temperatures, but they do not pair well with large amounts of moisture from either humidity or rain. These marijuana strains often flower in as little as 8 weeks, making them an ideal choice for growers living in regions with cold autumns and shorter summers. Just like those that we see in Canada.

Sativa
These marijuana strains do best when they are grown in areas along the equator, as their tall, light, and spindly physical traits can handle the hotter and more humid climate. Unfortunately, this type can take up to 14 weeks to grow, which isn’t compatible with any Canadian environment.

Ruderalis
This species genetics are most frequently added to auto-flowering and high CBD marijuana strains. It does quite well in just about every type of environment, but since they do not provide high levels of THC, they are generally bred with either Indica or Sativa strains to produce hybrids.

List of marijuana strains that do well in Canada

Though technically there are hundreds of strains that might be ideal for this region, here are ten of the most recommended for our Canadian climate.

1. Afghan Skunk
2. White Widow
3. Black Diamond
4. Domino
5. G-13
6. Gas Mask
7. Jupiter
8. King Louis XII
9. LA Confidential
10. Zombie Kush

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