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Is It Too Late To Grow My Pot Outside?

October 23, 2020

Is it too late to grow pot outdoors?

"Spoiler Alert: It’s never too late to grow weed!"

The summer months are coming to a close, and with that, so is the outdoor growing season. Or so you might think. As long as it’s before the first frost, it’s never too late to begin a late outdoor grow, that is as long as you start right now. Read this article to learn how to get started and how to best handle a late season grow.


The cannabis grow cycle

The cannabis growing cycle can easily be broken down into 4 phases: germination, seedling, vegetative, and flowering -- assuming the grower is starting from seed


The germination stage runs five to ten days with various different methods for germinating seeds, including planting them directly into the soil, waiting a few days for seedlings to emerge.

We also begin by soaking seeds in a small, shot glass of water until their tails appear and seeds “pop.” You can do the same thing with peat pellets or a damp paper towel, just be sure to keep it moist every few hours or it will dry out and kill the sprout. 


Once your seed has “popped,” congratulations, you’re now the proud parent of a cute lil’ cannabis seedling! Now, place your seedling into your chosen medium -- soil or hydroponic. This stage lasts up to three weeks, where seedlings need up to 18 hours of uninterrupted light. 

Pro-Tip: Be extra careful with your plant during this vulnerable stage, when it is especially prone to mold or succumbing to overwatering. Your plants are in a very fragile state, and your actions will determine whether they live or die… No pressure..

You’ll notice your seedlings develop their signature jagged leaves, establishing leaf sets with more and more leaves. Look for your seedling to produce 5 or more leaves per set. 


When your cannabis plant develops the most rapidly, lasting 3-18 weeks, and requiring up to 18 hours of direct sunlight. Transplanting your plant into a finishing pot helps your root system to grow to be very large. Planning on topping or doing LST (low-stress training) on your plant? This is time to do it.

You should also be watering more by this time, as your plant has become quite the beast! 

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This final stage is our favorite: watch your cannabis plant form beautiful flowers, in a stage that lasts 8-11 weeks! You should have your plants on a lighting schedule of 12 hours of light, 12 hours uninterrupted darkness. This is very important as your plants could revert back to the vegetation stage if they do not receive the darkness they need.

Growing indoors? Use lighting to represent the daylight hours changing from the long summer to the shorter fall days!

This is when plants begin showing if they’re male or female. You can tell the difference between males and females by looking for sacs growing on the nodes, indicating sex.

If you see any signs of your plant being male, act fast to immediately separate them from the females or they will pollinate them. A pollinated female is filled with seeds, which is undesirable for many reasons. Your plants can also be hermaphroditic, showing both male and female characteristics after undergoing massive stress, sudden changes in temperature, or confusing light cycles. 

Never prune plants during this stage, to avoid upsetting their hormonal balance or cause them to become hermaphrodites. Your buds will form the most in the sixth and seventh weeks, slowing down towards the end as the buds begin to mature. You will know it’s time to harvest when trichome heads become a milky white under a microscope.


👉Related: What To Look For In A Weed Scale 

How to Grow Marijuana Outdoors

Most novice growers lack the finances to invest in sophisticated growing lights or high-end in-home grow rooms, so growing marijuana outside is a great option for many beginners. 


Before you learn how to grow a weed plant outdoors, research what cultivars (aka “strains”) do best in your climate. For hot, dry climates like California, pick a strain that grows best in a hot or sunny climate. If your home is humid, like Florida or the southern US, you’ll want to choose a mold-resistant strain that can stand the humidity.

Live somewhere that’s not warm year-round? Consider when it will start getting colder, to plant after the last frost before spring,  making sure to harvest before Fall’s first frost. 

Choose your spot

Choose a spot in your outdoor space that you know will work well for growing marijuana plants, where the plants will receive as much direct sunlight as possible. Planting directly in the ground or using large pots?You won’t be able to move them easily or quickly. 

If you want to keep your garden discrete, consider a place where your plants won’t be visible. If you want to continue growing outdoors during the winter, consider a heated greenhouse to ensure plants get enough light, and the perk of also keeping your plants safe from animals. 


👉RelatedCannabis Flowering Stages 


Marijuana Flowering 

The outdoor flowering period will be around September, when the days begin to shorten, and temperatures drop. The decreased amount of light will trigger flowering. In the Northern Hemisphere, pre-flowering starts after the summer solstice, when the days start growing gradually shorter. 

How Long is Flowering Stage Outdoors?

Your plant will enter the final stages of flowering around August. Your plant should be ready to harvest by late October, at the latest. Warmer climates  get a bit more time than those living where the first snowfall occurs before Halloween. 

When your plants begin flowering, ramp-up their nutrient intake to ensure they will survive, keeping a close eye on pests and diseases that can destroy a crop overnight if the grower isn’t highly  vigilant. This is why we recommend using a growing calendar and setting alarms on your phone to remind you to check for things like pests and humidity levels to get ahead of any crises before they ensue.

Illustrated Marijuana Grow Guide

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Using a Marijuana Grow Calendar 

Growing calendars are great tools for both beginners and more advanced growers, and many advanced growers swear by them.

 that are especially useful when growing weed outside, as it tells you what stage your plants should be in for each month of the growing season -- and what you need to do to ensure your plants make it to the next stage. They help in informing us of what nutrients our plants need at each stage, and how to troubleshoot  problems. 

Use it like an almanac, to track how much daylight you have and the average temperatures and humidity levels to expect during daytime and nighttime to inform you if you need to move your plants indoors at night to protect them from frost. Each month lists what stage your plant should be during its growing cycle, what nutrients you should be giving them, and what to watch for at this stage. 

In addition to using an outdoor or indoor grow calendar, you should also consider keeping a cannabis grow journal. That way, you can track your plants’ growth closely and make a note of any issues that might pop up. This could be the difference between having a successful grow or a complete failure.

Advanced Growing Techniques

Even beginners can utilize the growing techniques pros use! Some advanced growing techniques may seem tricky at first, but once you get it down, it’s there for life! Using advanced outdoor growing techniques will help ensure that you avoid the common mistakes beginners make.

Here are some tricks to improve the quality of your outdoor cannabis plant and boost your yield. Prune your plants to receive as much light as possible, which results in more flowers. Some “top” the top nug before they go into flower to ensure 2 medium-sized top colas, instead of 1 fat one. 

Always use clean shears, simply trim branches that don’t look as productive. as they’re bound to die anyway; you’re just speeding up the process! Branches on the lower end of the plant will not receive enough light, so they will not produce. May as well trim them off and free up that energy for the top part, and to allow the kind of air flow through that can prevent mildew build-up and hiding places for caterpillars.

Be careful when pruning as too much of it will stress out your plant and lead to a stunted plant, affecting yield. Never prune during flowering, as this will upset the delicate hormonal balance of the plant.


👉Related: Grow Weed Starting From Seed


How to fatten up buds before harvest and improve yield

Topping is an expert pruning method that trims the top of the main shoot. When done right, it leads to two main colas instead of just one, resulting in a bushier plant with more of those delicious buds! 

Another popular method, super cropping, involves pinching the stems to slightly inhibit their ability to take in nutrients. The stem will repair itself, coming back stronger and more efficient than ever. Be careful with this advanced growing technique as you don’t want to damage it to the point where it won’t repair itself!

Planning a Late Season Outdoor Grow

When planning a late season outdoor grow, there are many things to consider. First, take into account your climate and plan accordingly. Live somewhere with very cold fall and winter seasons? Choose a heartier strain with a shorter growing cycle. Fall tends to be a bit wetter than summer, so choose something with sativa genetics that will be more resistant to mold and mildew.

Ensure you have an ideal spot for your plants with as much sunlight as possible; if there’s still light until after 8 pm, your plants should have enough!

C a cultivar that is easier to grow. A late-season grow is not the time to experiment with growing more difficult cultivars. You will likely not end up with the results you want.

Growing Auto-flowering plants Outdoors, in Winter

Ensure the success of your late season outdoor grow by growing auto-flowers. Unlike photoperiod plants, auto-flowers are not dependent on the amount of light they receive to start flowering, making them ideal for this type grow. You’ll still need to ensure they receive the right amount of humidity and that the temperature does not drop too low, but this is not hard. Plus, you can always bring them indoors if they do. 

Auto-flowers do not grow as large as photoperiods, making them easy to move inside at night! Auto-flowers finish their grow cycle much quicker than photoperiods, so the best time to plant may be now! A late fall harvest can last you through winter!

It may be Fall, but that shouldn’t stop you from growing cannabis outdoors. Our Complete Marijuana Grow Kit will help you be successful at any time of the year.


FAQ On Late Season Outdoor Growing 

How Long is Flowering Stage Outdoors?

our plant should be ready to harvest by late October, at the latest.

How Long Does The Seedling Stage Last When Growing Cannabis Outdoors?

This stage lasts up to three weeks, where seedlings need up to 18 hours of uninterrupted light. 

How Long Does The Germination Process Last When Growing Cannabis Outdoors?

The germination stage runs five to ten days with various different methods for germinating seeds, including planting them directly into the soil, waiting a few days for seedlings to emerge.


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