The marijuana plant naturally grows in the wild, where it was once discovered many hundreds of years ago before people even fully understood the crop’s capabilities.
Fast-forward to the 21st century, and there are now new technologies that do not even require cannabis to be grown outside, meaning you can grow cannabis indoors. Although outdoor marijuana grows are centuries old, the practice of cultivating marijuana inside began not even a century ago. Indoor-grown cannabis became more popular around the time of prohibition when individuals could no longer flaunt the tall green plants they had growing in their backyards.
The time arose when adaptation was necessary, and out of this evolved the indoor grow. It was a more discreet option that, once perfected, maybe could even yield almost as much as the green grown outside. In addition to indoor and outdoor cannabis growing methods, in recent decades, the greenhouse option has also appeared as a halfway alternative that offers some of the good qualities of both the all-natural and artificial methods of cultivating cannabis.
Keep reading to discover the differences between indoor, greenhouse, and outdoor cannabis strains and what exactly makes each growing method so unique and individualized…
A centuries-old practice for growing marijuana, outdoor cultivation is an intuitive way to plant seeds and watch them flourish. However, it comes at one high price: you have to reside in the perfect climate for your crops to thrive. In reality, very few individuals who cultivate cannabis actually live in a location where their plants could survive well outdoors.
This is particularly true when considering where some of the most famous marijuana strains arise from; the Netherlands. This Dutch environment is in many ways almost inhospitable for the often warmth-loving cannabis crop. In California and Oregon, there is a region that is often termed “The Emerald Triangle”. This spot reaches extensively throughout Humboldt county, a region of California where the summer weather is usually sunny and dry, much like the Mediterranean, which is ideal for cultivating many different strains of marijuana.
By planting seeds outdoors, crops can photosynthesize utilizing purely the sunlight, a source of nourishment that is unmatched by any attempts in recreation, even by the greatest indoor light technologies currently being released. On some occasions, the presence of growth through natural sunlight is said to actually improve the flavor profile of the marijuana itself because terpene development is stimulated.
By far, the biggest drawback about outdoor cultivation is the fact that the crops are openly exposed to a massive slew of pests, diseases, and animals. Additionally, some environmental factors have to be controlled; specifically, there needs to be a source of water nearby that can hydrate the extremely thirsty weeds.
Outdoor Cultivation – The Pros:
- Inexpensive compared to other growing environments, for nature takes care of most of the process.
- More low maintenance than some of the other growing environments.
- Usually higher yields from outdoor grown crops, as well as a more pungent, potent flavor profile.
- Pests are typically more of a problem because the plants are exposed to all the outdoor factors.
- Need for ideal weather conditions.
Best Outdoor Strains to Grow
If your environment does permit, there are a handful of strains that seem to grow exceptionally well in an outside setting. Therefore, they may be ones to consider if you are planning on outdoor growing:
Indoor growing is a relatively new practice of cannabis cultivation that only became popular during the time of prohibition. This method is a discreet way of producing quality marijuana that can thrive and produce sizable yields, even in the most inhospitable conditions. For this reason, indoor cultivation has become the go-to for many, especially those in regions where the climate is far from ideal.
Some regions that commonly turn towards indoor growing techniques include the Netherlands, Scandinavian countries where it is cold, England, New England, and parts of Canada, just to name a few.
Additionally, although it is risky to run illegal cannabis operations, there is an aspect of secrecy that can be achieved when your crops are all in a well-protected, secluded area. With indoor grows, it is possible, and actually necessary, to control and closely monitor every part of the fabricated conditions. These variables should all be designed to mimic the ideal outdoor environment that the specific strain would normally be in. Conditions such as humidity, heat, temperature, ventilation, and light are all regulated to promote the growth of healthy, thriving crops.
Indoor cultivation means the grower has full control over variables such as temperature and humidity.
Furthermore, some pests, animals, and diseases that can sometimes affect outdoor grown crops, cannot reach indoor crops. Specifically, this relates to larger animals like deers, which are notorious for munching on the leaves of these plants. The female plants are also better protected from any fly-over cross-pollination from neighboring male plants. So, indoor cultivators can worry less about picking out the males from the bunch, especially when sprouting feminized seedlings.
Of course, these factors are all positive, but growing indoors does come at a cost. Beginning an indoor operation is a serious initial financial investment. All the proper equipment needs to be purchased, which can become expensive fast. This investment simply might not be a viable option for those who plan on growing weed for personal use and other non-commercial purposes.
Indoor Cultivation – The Pros:
- Easy to control the environment, climate conditions, and other natural forces, which means the crops will not just die off suddenly.
- Easier to protect from cross-pollination from a male marijuana crop.
- Indoor-grown plants are safer from pests, especially bugs and animals found outside, and like to eat cannabis plants.
- High cost to grow cannabis because it requires a lot of specialized equipment, especially for those who do not intend to cultivate for commercial purposes.
- Yields are typically smaller than outdoor-grown strains.
Best Indoor Strains to Grow
Certain strains tend to grow better indoors, many of which were specifically bred, designed and developed for the inside. It is important to note that, when cultivating indoors, knowing the height of your strain type is crucial because certain marijuana species can grow massively tall and may not fit in an enclosed space with not enough overhead room.
For this reason, unless you are properly equipped, choosing a shorter indica-dominant or hybrid strain is more rational and less risky once the crops are at full height. Choosing feminized seeds also helps with the process because fewer resources will be wasted, including time and energy. Here are some brilliant strains to grow indoors:
Cheese (feminized), Amnesia Haze, White Widow, Girl Scout Cookies, Northern Lights (automatic), ACDC, Jack Herer, Maple Leaf Indica, and American Dream, just to name a few.
Greenhouse Cultivation – A Bright Alternative
Although greenhouse cultivation is not a widely popular option, it serves as a happy medium between indoor and outdoor cultivation. Growing cannabis plants in a greenhouse particularly benefits those who do not reside in a location with a cannabis growing climate yet also do not have the resources or indoor space for cultivating inside.
Greenhouses are like massive glass boxes that allow sunlight to shine through while maintaining a specific temperature inside, in addition to the humidity level, etc.
Greenhouse-grown crops can thrive all year round, but electricity costs are cut back significantly because very little supplemental lighting becomes necessary, except only maybe during the dark times of year in certain regions.
The greenhouse also acts as a protective bubble-like barrier that keeps pests, molds, mildews, and diseases out and far away from the vulnerable marijuana plants. Although these glass structures generally maintain a fair balance with heat, temperature, etcThere is a slightly larger shift in climate at times, so it is also essential to choose the right strain to grow in a greenhouse.
Strains like Tahoe OG and Northern Lights seem to be strong and capable of withstanding even sudden changes in the environment.
The Difference Between Indoor and Outdoor Weed
If you’ve always wanted to grow cannabis but are unsure of the differences between growing indoors and outdoors, then we’re here to help. In a nutshell, with indoor grows, you can cultivate cannabis plants in a controlled environment. Therefore, you can adjust each variable in the grow room to create the optimal growing environment. The most important of these variables include temperature, humidity, lighting, and soil pH.
Conversely, outdoor growers who are fortunate enough to live in a warm, sunny, Mediterranean-type climate can largely let Mother Nature take care of their crop.
Of course, outdoor growing comes with a different set of problems than indoor-grown cannabis. Outdoor growers need to pay particular attention to the weather and watch out for pests and animals looking to feast on their cannabis plants. Security is another issue, and additional fencing is an added cost and burden to keep out would-be thieves.
For those growing strains outdoors, security should be a considered factor.
There are drawbacks to indoor-grown cannabis, too. Replicating the ideal growing conditions in an indoor grow room can get very costly. The basic expenses include increased energy costs due to heating and lighting and the outlay for high-quality soil and nutrient-rich fertilizers. Furthermore, advanced growers with larger indoor setups typically spend more on specialized equipment, i.e., ventilation systems, hygrometers (to measure humidity levels), pH readers, CO2 rigs, etc.
An alternative to both indoor and outdoor cannabis cultivation is growing marijuana in a greenhouse. In a sense, it is almost a fusion of both growing environments. With a greenhouse, you get protection from inclement weather and lots of control, which is similar to a large indoor grow room. Also, growing cannabis plants in a greenhouse is a great option for those who don’t have the space indoors.
Read on to find out more.
Greenhouse vs. Indoor
We just discussed the question, “what does indoors mean?”, in relation to growing cannabis. We’ve mentioned how important it is for indoor growers to monitor temperature and humidity levels. The same is true for those growing cannabis in a greenhouse.
You can also add ventilation to that list, as a sizable crop can have a pungent odor. Plus, having a good ventilation system in place helps improve airflow and prevents excess humidity.
Some growers begin germinating their cannabis plants indoors before transplanting them to a greenhouse when they start to grow and stretch during the vegetative stage. Naturally, the larger growing area of a greenhouse allows growers to cultivate a bigger crop and make significant savings on energy costs.
Typically, cannabis cultivators who live in the Northern Hemisphere start the germination process in April. By mid-May, the cannabis plants have reached the stage where they are large enough to move to a greenhouse for the rest of the growing process.
If the cannabis plants are planted in individual pots, and the weather is suitable, you can move the plants outdoors for a few hours to absorb the sunlight.
If you’re growing autoflowering strains, then the cannabis plants will automatically transition to the flowering stage as they mature without adjusting the lighting schedule. However, indoor growers will need to change to a 12/12 (12 hours of light/12 hours of darkness) lighting schedule for standard photoperiod strains.
After the summer solstice, those growing their cannabis plants in a greenhouse will notice that they naturally transition to the flowering stage as the days become shorter.
Finally, you might be wondering about greenhouse vs. indoor quality; is the bud just as good, or even better? Well, cannabis cultivators say that greenhouse-grown buds are more potent than indoor-grown cannabis or outdoor buds.
Greenhouse vs. Outdoor
We addressed the question, “What does outdoor mean?” when we discussed the differences between indoor and outdoor-grown cannabis. Now, we’ll discuss some of the differences between outdoor cultivated cannabis and marijuana plants grown in a greenhouse.
Let’s start with the basics. With outdoor growing, cannabis plants are exposed to factors like inclement weather, animals, and pests. In contrast, plants grown in a greenhouse are sheltered from extremes of weather, hungry pests, and animals.
Like a large indoor grow room, a greenhouse is a much more controlled environment for your cannabis plants. As mentioned, in a greenhouse, you can manipulate the growing variables like light, heat, humidity, etc. However, you can’t alter these variables with plants grown outdoors, as they are controlled by the climate.
A greenhouse is often considered the best of both indoor and outdoor growing; however, it can be costly.
Naturally, outdoor plants can potentially be harmed by baking hot summer days. In a greenhouse, you can monitor the temperature using a thermometer. Furthermore, you can control the temperature by installing a ventilation system with large fans to help keep the cannabis plants cool and improve airflow.
One advantage greenhouse growing has over outdoor-grown cannabis is you can use light deprivation techniques to force plants into flowering earlier. By simply using blackout covers, you can control the amount of light your cannabis plants are exposed to.
Another advantage of greenhouse growing over outdoor cultivated cannabis is you’re not limited to one harvest per year. Those growing outdoor plants know that you’re limited to a single growing season outside. However, with a greenhouse, you can use artificial lighting to extend your growing season.
We mentioned security is an issue for outdoor growers. A greenhouse is a great way to address this issue, as it is a far more discreet and secure way to grow cannabis than having your plants out in the open.
Greenhouse Options for Cannabis Growers
Of course, growing cannabis plants in a greenhouse has some drawbacks. You need to have sufficient outdoor space to set one up, not to mention the additional cost of the greenhouse itself.
The good news is that there are lots of different types of greenhouses available. They come in various sizes and are made from different materials, so you can choose one that best suits your needs and your budget.
The lowest cost ones use a flexible transparent plastic mesh sheet that fits over a small plastic/metal pole frame. These can cost as little as €20 but can only fit a single plant inside. Some greenhouses are designed to be leaned against an outside wall of the house. The heat from the house helps keep the greenhouse warm. Greenhouses are also available for people that live in an apartment and have a small balcony.
Polycarbonate greenhouses use toughened ‘unbreakable’ transparent plastic panels instead of glass; these are useful if you are worried about safety or have small children. Whatever your budget and space, somewhere, there is a greenhouse for you.
Final Thoughts on the Different Type of Strains
Suppose you are new to the world of cannabis cultivation and want a greater understanding of the fundamental differences between indoor, greenhouse, and outdoor-grown marijuana strains. In that case, this article can serve as a guide. Presenting the pros and cons of each option allows you to make the most informed decision for your needs.
We hope you not only found this article to be entertaining but also educational and informative. It is important to remember that the consumption of cannabis is the user’s sole responsibility, and discretion should always be taken.