by Seshata on 12/03/2015 | Cultivation

Growing cannabis outdoors: pots or open soil?

Outdoor There are various ways to approach outdoor cannabis growing. Some growers prefer to simply sow seeds or plant seedlings straight into the open ground, while others prefer containing their plants within planters or pots. Here, we take a brief look at the pros and cons of each method.


Growing Cannabis outdoors in pots

Pros:

1 – One of the most obvious pros of growing outdoors in pots is the fact that your plants are therefore easily transportable. This provides a degree of flexibility to the grower that planting straight into the soil simply does not afford.

For example, if living in an area of occasional extreme weather, the ability to carry your plants to a sheltered spot can be a huge advantage. Leaving plants at the mercy of gale- or hurricane-force winds, driving rain or sleet, or golfball-sized hailstones can be disastrous, and months of hard work can be ruined in one night.

Similarly, if you are growing at a time of year where hours of daylight are not optimum, moving your plants to an artificially-lit room (or a dark room if days are too long to induce flowering) can mean the difference between a good harvest and a non-existent one.

2 – Another advantage of growing outdoors in pots is the ability to control the growth rate and eventual size of your plants, which can be highly useful if concealment is an issue.

Some varieties of cannabis (particularly sativas and sativa-dominant hybrids) can easily exceed two metres in height, meaning that if nosy neighbours are taking an interest, your plants will be easy to spot and identify.

Containing your plants in pots ensures that once they have run out of space for the roots to occupy, they will cease vegetative growth.

3 – A third advantage of growing in pots is the ability to control the uniformity and quality of the growing medium, and to fix any problems that may arise by simply transferring to a new pot with new soil.

Growing cannabis outdoors: pots or open soil?
You can be certain that your pots contain only what you put in them, and that no mixing with native soil has occurred. This may also go some way towards controlling unwanted pests and bacteria, although in an outdoor environment total control of this aspect may be difficult.

Cons:

1 – On the other hand, containing plants in pots may be undesirable for the very fact that it restricts growth, thereby reducing potential harvest and general overall health of the plant. Of course, there are some huge pots available for outdoor cultivation, but if you truly wish to maximize the potential of your large plants, restricting their access to soil is not the way to go.

2 – Another potential problem lies in the fact that plants are transportable in pots—it’s a definite advantage for many outdoor growers to be able to move plants indoors or into a greenhouse if necessary, but the fact that you can pick them up and carry them around also means that other, less well-intentioned people can do the same.

If your site is very remote and there is little chance of trespassers discovering your crop, this may not be an issue, but for many back-garden growers in villages and towns the world over, theft is a very real concern.

3 – Another possible disadvantage is the need for more regular and meticulous maintenance when plants are in pots. Hand-watering is typically essential, as even if your pots are in a position to receive water from precipitation, they will not have access to the groundwater or moisture held within the topsoil—which for plants grown in open soil, can potentially entirely negate the need to water by hand.

Growing cannabis outdoors: pots or open soil?

Growing cannabis outdoors in open soil

Pros:

1 – The most obvious advantage of sowing seeds or planting seedlings in open soil is the fact that they have full, unrestricted access to nutrients and whatever moisture can be reached by the roots.As the roots are able to freely grow downwards, they may be able to fulfill their water requirements purely from the groundwater.

This ensures that your plants can achieve their full potential in terms of height, vigour and eventual yield, and also means that less maintenance is required. If conducting a ‘guerrilla grow’ in a site that is not easily accessed on a daily basis, open soil is often preferred for this reason.

2 – Another potential advantage of growing in open soil is reduced set-up cost. While purchase of pots is not generally going to break the bank, keeping costs low is generally a good thing, from the smallest hobby-gardener to the biggest criminal outfit.

When factoring in the fact that growing in pots generally necessitates the need for several transplants throughout the plant’s life into incrementally bigger pots, cost of pots alone can run into the low hundreds for a small grower, and possibly even thousands for large-scale growers.

Growing cannabis outdoors: pots or open soil?

Cons:

1 – Of course, growing cannabis outdoors in open soil means your plants are not transportable, which is an advantage if theft is an issue, but can also be a great disadvantage.

Non-transportable plants means that you are at the mercy of the weather and season—if thunderstorms, gales, or floods occur, your plants may well not survive them, unless you are able to construct screens or wire cages to protect your crop from the worst of the severe weather.

2 – Furthermore, if your plants cannot be moved, they must be grown only at favourable times of year, as they cannot be moved into a well-lit or completely dark space if natural daylight is preventing them from flowering or from vigorous vegetative growth.

3 – Another big concern with growing cannabis outdoors in open soil is the quality and uniformity of soil. Most growers opting for this method will make great effort to ensure that the soil is appropriate in terms of drainage, consistency, and pH, and will often mix the soil with additives such as lime (to increase pH), sand (to improve drainage), or manure (to increase available nutrients).

However, without an impenetrable barrier between your plants’ soil zone and the native soil, these efforts can be negated—by agricultural runoff contaminating your soil zone with toxic chemicals, for example.

Comment Section

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gorgz

I've got 2 plants growing in the garden one of them is about 4 and a half foot high and leafing lovely I haven't been looking after them just left them they have been growing for at least 6months lol and u can see that they want to bud. The other is about 2 and a half foot high and leafing lovely to.. that looks like it wants to bud and been growing the same time the stem stinks on both wat shall I do now... I can't take them in as it's not my home... its been raining for a few days on and off now what shall I do

25/08/2015

Big nutz grow

Sounds a bit sus to me^ but i would wait untill they are ready for harvest? Like what are you gonna do cut them down without any buds on XD

31/03/2016

Al

Rain won't hurt the plant. In it's early stage of flowering is ok. You might want to cover them up once they flower more. And allow good ventilation so no mold grows

15/04/2016

Donald Novick

When starting my outdoor potted plants, should I put them in a sunny yet shaded area? Desert sun 100 plus degrees.

02/06/2016

Scarlet Palmer

Hello Donald,

Thank you for your comment ? Unfortunately we cannot respond to grow questions on the blog, but we do have the Sensi Seeds Forum where you can ask a thriving community of gardening fans for advice, share your experiences, and see if your question has already been covered. I hope this helps.

With best wishes

Scarlet

03/06/2016

Luis

If you have a plant that is over 4 feet shouldn't it have buds already. I don't know. Could it be a male?

28/06/2016

The dude

Luis, just because the plant is 4 feet tall has nothing to do with it having buds on it due to the plants hight. Mj only goes into the bloom phase and begins growing buds once the amount of daylight drops below 13 hours per day, so until that is reached the plant will just keep growing taller and taller. 4 feet tall isn't even that big I have some 10ft plants that are just now starting to show signs of blooming

21/08/2016

Barry coppage

Can you leave plants in the ground to ling

16/09/2016

MissBudsCali

I need help with safe in-ground growing methods. I have grown outdoors but only in boxes or smart pots. What is the best way to grow mj in the ground...what do you use to line the holes so there isn't a ph problem with roots hitting natural soil after being in mixed potted soil? Plastic lining with drainage holes? Burlap? What's best!!? Thx

16/02/2017

Scarlet Palmer

Hi MissBudsCali,

Thank you for your comment 🙂 Unfortunately, for legal reasons we cannot respond to grow questions on the blog, but we do have the Sensi Seeds Forum where you can ask a thriving community of gardening fans for advice, share your experiences, and see if your question has already been covered. I hope this helps.

With best wishes

Scarlet

17/02/2017

Tricia

This is my first time growing and I have them in pots. I live in Sacramento so the temp get to over 100 degrees at times during the summer. I water them at least 2 to 3 times daily using a counting system ( I count to 7 on each plant) now I know I sound pretty dumb but I would like to make sure I am doing my plants good and not bad. I have plant food and something to help them flower all from the hydroponics stores. I just put those tomato rings around them and I need to now find a pest control agains spiders and other bugs. Can you help me out and give me so advice. I have 6 plants and I would like keep growing once my plants now are harvested. My intentions are for personally use only since the cannabis stores are so over priced. Help please ?

12/07/2017

Scarlet Palmer

Hi Tricia,

Thank you for your comment 🙂 Unfortunately, for legal reasons we cannot respond to grow questions on the blog, but we do have the Sensi Seeds Forum where you can ask a thriving community of gardening fans for advice, share your experiences, and see if your question has already been covered. I hope this helps.

With best wishes

Scarlet

12/07/2017

Softshooter

I have grown in pots before but this year I bought the Vivosun pots that allow the roots to breath. It is a breathable growing pot 20 x 10 and I only filled the soil half way as to keep the plants from growing too tall ..they are now about 6ft and budding. Should I now be watering the soil only?
SS

21/08/2017

Scarlet Palmer

Hi Softshooter,

Thank you for your comment 🙂 Unfortunately, for legal reasons we cannot respond to grow questions on the blog, but we do have the Sensi Seeds Forum where you can ask a thriving community of gardening fans for advice, share your experiences, and see if your question has already been covered. I hope this helps.

With best wishes

Scarlet

21/08/2017

User 100119

What should you do with the soil on your pots after growing your plants?
Like after harvesting; should you take out everything, the dying plant with its roots and the soil?
Or can I just cut the stem from the base and re-use the soil (that would have the old roots within it)?
I ask this specially for really really small pots and plants (almost ornamental)
I imagine that the nutrients needed will get low as they have been sucked up by the first plant. But can leaving the roots there cause any other problem?

30/09/2017

Scarlet Palmer

Hi there,

Thank you for your comment 🙂 Unfortunately, for legal reasons we cannot respond to grow questions on the blog, but we do have the Sensi Seeds Forum where you can ask a thriving community of gardening fans for advice, share your experiences, and see if your question has already been covered. I also found these two posts which might be of interest to you: Outdoor cannabis growing: pots or open soil? and What is the difference between micro growing and regular indoor growing?

I hope this helps.

With best wishes

Scarlet

02/10/2017

Frans

I just started out as a grower planted my seeds in pots outside germination inside the pot outside. I used potting soil. Will this work

06/10/2017

Scarlet Palmer

Hi Frans,

Thank you for your comment 🙂 Unfortunately, for legal reasons we cannot respond to grow questions on the blog, but we do have the Sensi Seeds Forum where you can ask a thriving community of gardening fans for advice, share your experiences, and see if your question has already been covered. I hope this helps.

With best wishes

Scarlet

06/10/2017

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