When does cannabis flower outdoors?
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When does cannabis flower outdoors? The flowering period is the most anticipated moment of the year for many cannabis homegrowers, as it’s when your plants start growing their precious, sought-after flowers.
Knowing exactly when your plants are going to begin their flowering period is incredibly important – depending on how you prepare your growing area and how you prepare your plants for such a delicate phase, you’ll obtain better or worse results. However, keep in mind that many different factors are involved when growing cannabis successfully, so we’re going to give you a few tips on how to deal with your plants, answering the age-old question: when does cannabis flower outdoors?
In order to know exactly when your plants are going to flower outdoors, you’ll need to understand how it works and the concept of photoperiodism. You’ll also need to know when the light begins to change outdoors during the day and nighttime – flowering in cannabis plants is generally caused by an increase in the hours of darkness that your plants receive.
Photoperiodism is the word used to describe a process that naturally occurs in certain types of plants – they use light in order to know when they have to grow and when they have to flower, furthering their species and eventual evolution.
Photoperiodism happens when there’s a variation between the hours of darkness at night and sun during the day time, which change depending on how the earth is spinning in relation to the sun. This causes seasons to change which therefore influences the amount of daylight hours and hours of darkness at any given time of the year.
Spring Equinox (Growth)
The start of spring is introduced by the spring equinox, which happens around 20-22 nd March in the northern hemisphere. In the southern hemisphere, this happens around 21-22 nd of September.
Summer Solstice (pre-flowering & flowering)
The start of the flowering period in your plants is marked by daylight hours decreasing, which happens right after the summer solstice. The summer solstice marks the longest day of the year, and after that daylight hours begin to decrease until autumn begins. In the northern hemisphere, this usually occurs around 20-22 nd June, and in the southern hemisphere it’s around 20-23 rd December.
Pre-flowering Cannabis | When does cannabis flower outdoors?
When it comes to cannabis plants, the pre-flowering period is a sign that your plants are going to start flowering soon – they’ll begin to slowly show signs of flowering, growing thicker and thicker flowers as summer goes on. The first thing you’ll notice is the plants’ sex (male, female or hermaphrodite) which is why it’s called pre-flowering. You’ll soon start to notice your plant growing much taller than before, as it’s probably preparing to hold up massive flowers.
You will also need to prepare your plants’ structure for an intense flowering period, so that it can easily hold up hefty buds in the future and also spend more energy on making larger flowers. You’ll need to strengthen your plants’ natural strengths and immune system using organic products in order to ensure that no insects or fungi can get near your beautiful specimens. If your plants start flowering on the right foot, they’ll have a much easier time reaching the harvest date fully intact. Once they begin to flower, you’ll need to start feeding your plants using a more complete and intense nutrient schedule.
Flowering Cannabis | When does cannabis flower outdoors?
The start of the flowering period outdoors and how long your plants are going to flower for depends highly on the strain that you have chosen to grow. Some indicas are ready to harvest at the beginning of September, whereas other sativa strains are ready from December onwards. This is why you should always pay close attention to the strain that you’ve chosen to grow. You can also grow autoflowering plants, which we’ll discuss now.
Autoflowering cannabis plants are another widely available option when it comes to growing cannabis; these strains do not need any sort of change in photoperiod in order to start flowering; they’ve developed their own automatic flowering system. They’ve adapted and survived in colder areas this way, allowing them to flower when they reach a certain size rather than depend on the light or dark to produce potent, hefty flowers. Nowadays you can get plants that flower after just 60 days.
During the flowering period, if you want to get the best possible results, you’ll need to use products rich in minerals such as phosphorus and potassium, as well as correct amounts of micro-elements, carbs, and amino acids. Another important thing to keep in mind is that you’ll need to use preventive and plant strengthening products in order to avoid plagues and fungi.
When does cannabis flower outdoors? Find out more here; everything you need to know about photoperiodic cannabis plants and when they flower outdoors.
Leafly’s outdoor cannabis grower’s calendar
Growing cannabis outdoors is easy. All you need is a nice open space that gets lots of light, a water supply, good soil, and a way to cover the plants when the weather turns.
One of the most important things to know is that cannabis is dependent on a photoperiod, meaning that it changes from the vegetative to flowering stage when days start to shorten and nights get longer. You want to time things right so your plants can maximize their exposure to light during the summer before fall sets in.
Growing and harvest times here reflect ranges of time in the Northern Hemisphere. For more growing tips on specific regions, check out this guide on different climates.
On the West Coast of North America, cannabis farmers in Northern California have a long season: They can put plants outside early and harvest later into the season because of the region’s relatively warm weather.
Washington state, on the other hand, will have a shorter time frame, as plants can’t be put outside until later in the season because there’s not enough sunlight yet. Harvest needs to be completed earlier, before cold weather descends on buds and makes them wet and moldy.
The Spring Equinox is a good reminder that it’s time to kick off the outdoor growing process and start germinating your seeds.
As the sun reaches up high in the sky, your cannabis will want to as well. Make sure all of your plants are outside by the Summer Solstice.
The weather will start to turn and the sun will begin descending in the sky as your plants fatten up with sweet, sticky buds. It might be tempting, but wait until around the Fall Equinox to start harvesting.
Everything should be cleaned up, dried, and curing well before the Winter Solstice. Now’s a good time to make your own cannabutter, topicals, or tinctures with all that trim from the harvest. Kick your feet up, relax, and hunker down for the cold, it’s been a long growing season!
Notes on phases
I can’t stress enough that the time frames on this graphic are ranges of time for the Northern Hemisphere. You’ll need to adjust them based on your specific region and local weather and climate.
Be sure to keep a grow journal to track the progress of your plants. Looking back on your notes will help you learn from mistakes and maximize the quality and quantity of your buds.
Take meticulous notes on when and how you perform each step, as well as what the weather is like. Other notes can include how much water you give plants, at what intervals, and how much nutrients you give them. Pictures will also give you a better sense of how your plants look along the way.
Figuring out which strains you want to grow, where to purchase them, where on your property you want to grow, and your local climate and weather can take some time and work. And once you order seeds, it can take a few weeks for them to arrive. Be sure to do your research early and get a head start so you aren’t scrambling at the last minute and miss the ideal time to grow.
It takes about 3-7 days to germinate a seed. A lot of growers will do this indoors because seeds are delicate and it’s easier to control the temperature and climate inside. But if you live in a warmer climate, by all means, start growing them from seed outside. You can also use a small greenhouse outside to keep them warm.
When you start growing your seeds depends partly on how big you want your plants to be for harvest. If you’re going for high yields, the earlier you grow your plants, the bigger they’ll be. But keep in mind that smaller plants are more manageable and easier to top and prune.
Move outdoors/Put in the ground
If germinating seeds and growing them indoors first, this is the time frame that you’d move your plants outside so they can get some serious sunlight. You want them to get at least 6 inches – 1 foot in height before putting them outside, so they’re big and strong enough to handle the weather.
Some old school gardeners will tell you to wait until after Mother’s Day to take them outside, and generally speaking, you want them in the ground by the Summer Solstice at the latest.
Most growers top their plants a few times (two or three) throughout the season to encourage outward development and make plants bush out. It’s a good idea to give them an initial top after the plant develops five or so nodes.
Once your plants start flowering and producing buds—generally, sometime in August—you want to stop topping your plants.
Pruning and cleaning up plants is done as-needed. You want to get rid of dead leaves and lower branches that won’t get light so the plant can use that energy for producing buds in healthier branches.
Growers can clean up their plants anywhere from 1-4 times during the season, depending on how big the crop is and how much labor is needed.
What kind of strain you have and what climate you live in will determine when to harvest your strains. Indicas typically grow stouter and bushier and there is more of a concern that their dense buds will get moldy, so they’re usually harvested on the early side of the season. Sativas are generally taller and less dense, so they usually get harvested later.
Growers in colder climates will need to finish their harvests earlier, sometimes as early as September, for fear of wet, cold weather setting in and molding out buds. Warmer climates can sometimes harvest well into November.
This post was originally published on January 15 31, 2019. It was most recently updated on May 1, 2020.
Growing cannabis outdoors is easy, but timing is important. This guide will tell you what you need to know to get the most out of your garden.