growing marijuana in cold weather
Cannabis plants are usually associated with lush gardens and sunlight where bees buzz around the sticky resin filled buds swaying in the wind. However, a tropical and sunny climate is not a luxury that everyone in the world can has. If you live in the northern hemisphere, you will know that sunlight is scarce and the winds are cold. Growing marijuana in cold weather conditions can be a challenge. Thankfully, cannabis is a robust crop that can stand its ground even in the harshest of conditions. Today, you will learn how to grow your own cannabis plant regardless of the sub-zero temperatures outside.
How low can the temperature get?
It can get pretty cold once winter in the midst of winter, but just how cold can a cannabis plant get? When we mean cold, we are referring to temperatures that are below 12 degrees. When growing marijuana in cold weather the biggest issue at hand is the plant’s root system and its metabolism. A plant fighting its way through the cold is not likely to grow well into maturity.
The root system of the cannabis plant is quite tough. It is built to withstand harsh climates and absorb as much as it can from its surroundings. But what happens when the soil temperature gets too low for the plant? This is when the metabolism of the plant starts deteriorating. With its lowered metabolism, the plant will struggle to absorb nutrients, oxygen and water from the soil. The lack of resources will cause the plant to come to a halt in terms of propagation which will eventually result in stunted growth.
Certain strains when subjected to such extreme stress, can even start to show signs of hermaphroditism. This where a single plant will produce both buds and pollen sacs, resulting in self-pollination.
Cold weather marijuana strains
Picking a plant with the proper genetics to suit its growing conditions can go a long way. Almost every seed bank in the world currently provides cannabis strains with different genetics to suit certain climates. Picking a strain that is better suited towards colder winters will be helpful in the long run.
For this reason, we advise you to go with strains that are Indica dominant, such as Pure Indica Feminised. What makes indicas a great choice for growing marijuana in cold weather? Well its all in the genetics. These strains originate from the Himalayas and the mountain ranges of Asia and Afghanistan where they have to survive harsher winters. Sativa strains usually grow in the warmer tropical side of the world. Therefore, Sativa plants might face difficulties in adapting to the colder environments you pot it in.
If possible, we recommend you to go with an autoflowering variant such as Northern Lights Auto. Cannabis Ruderalis is the variety of cannabis that takes the main focal point of autoflowering strains. This variety is native to Russia and central/eastern Europe and is more accustomed to the harsh cold winters.
How does cold weather affect cannabis plants?
Can you grow cannabis plants outdoors during Winter? This is dependant on how cold your winters get, but most of the time the answer will be no. The very narrow exception would be if your area gets low snowfall and rain. But even then, the extra moisture and cold can potentially ruin your crop.
If you do have a plant growing outdoors right now during winter, there are a few tips that you can follow to ensure that your plant makes it through. However, a successful vegetative and flowering period is never guaranteed when there is cold weather involved.
Top tips for growing marijuana in cold weather
1. Protect your plants from the excess moisture
Having excess moisture will always promote the growth of mold. The plant is already struggling during the winter season; therefore, the presence of mold could be the tipping point for the plant.
Strains such as Cheese Auto will naturally have a certain level of mold resistance, and the autoflowering genetics will also mean the strain handles colder climates much better.
2. Increase the soil temperature
This is a difficult task to accomplish if you are planting your cannabis crops outside. However, if possible, try to increase the temperature of the soil surrounding the plant. This will allow it to keep up its metabolism. We recommend a heating mat. Some users even suggest digging a hole nearby and lighting a fire to heat up the soil; but this is a very crude method and could do more damage than good.
3. Try a transplant?
If you are able to move the plant indoors, then by all means do so. This is the most successful way to ensure that both your plant and your buds survive the snow. However, bringing a plant indoors requires a lot of management.
First off, remember to follow the same outdoor light pattern. Changing the amount of light after transplanting could negatively affect the plants budding cycle. For example: if the plant was in the flowering stage and it started getting more light after being taken indoors, the plant could re-enter the vegetative phase. This is known as revegetation or revegging.
4. Force flower your plants
If transplanting your cannabis plants indoors is not an option at this point, then force flowering your plant is the next best option. This has to be done before winter hits, so that by then the plant would be done flowering.
The easiest method to force-flower would be to cover up your plant during day time to mimic shorter light cycles. Any light proof fabric would suffice.
5. Try Growing cannabis indoors
Growing cannabis plants indoors during winter is much easier than growing it outdoors. Most of the parameters are under your control, which makes the growing process much smoother. For a successful indoor grow, you need to control the 3 most crucial elements; light, humidity and temperature.
There are two leading light systems in the market that cannabis growers use. The first is the old school HID light system and the other is the new LED light systems you see everywhere. Both these light systems have their pros and cons which we will be discussing.
HID lighting takes a lot more power than a LED system. It also emits a lot more light and heat when in full swing. HID lighting can give out some serious heat, which is why a lot of HID users install cooling systems to survive the summer heat.
Usually growers prefer to use metal-halide lamps during the vegetative phase and HPS or sodium vapor lamps when flowering. The increased heating from these lamps could mean that less energy is spent for temperature control during winter, which is an advantage if properly managed.
LED light systems are the new thing in the growing bible! LED systems have mostly taken over HID lights due to the fact that they consume less energy and emit almost 75% less heat. While some might argue that the energy saved by the LED lamps are negated when the issue of heating comes into play, we can safely say LED lamps streamline the process of temperature control when compared to HID lights. Sure, HID lights emit more heat that is beneficial for your cannabis plant, but there is no real method to control the emission of heat.
Controlling humidity is very important as humidity is the main cause of mold in cannabis plants. If you wish to effectively regulate your room’s humidity, we recommend that you purchase a grow box. This reduces the area to which your plants are exposed to; thereby reducing the volume of space the grower has to monitor. Purchasing a good dehumidifier should do the trick.
8. Temperature control
Once again having a soil temperature between 15-25 degrees is crucial to the plant’s survival. Luckily, as your plant is now inside, you can freely control the temperature of the surroundings. We recommend an automated system to control your grow house temperature.
The best cold climate cannabis strains
Zkittlez is a Cali strain that is well known for its lemony and almost candy-like sugary flavor. It is a great cold weather cannabis strain and can even make its place outdoors. It can push out an impressive harvest in just 9-10 weeks. As it flowers as quickly as it grows, this plant is ideal for those growers that are trying to push in a few plants before winter.
The plant is composed mainly of Indica genes. It has a THC profile of 23% with an impressive terpene profile.
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The dwarf part of its name really suits this strain. Royal Dwarf is not a strain that grows up to be a massive plant sprouting branches everywhere. It is a very compact hybrid that is mainly Indica with hints of ruderalis and sativa. You can expect a complete harvest in just 8 weeks from the point of germination. It has a modest THC content of 13% and its high is labelled as creative and uplifting.
Royal Dwarfs is one of the best cold weather cannabis strains because of its robustnes. Thanks to its ruderalis genetics this strain can easily withstand harsh winters and strong winds.
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An old school strain gone full auto! Northern Lights has been a favourite amongst stoners for years. This is a purely Indica strain that has some ruderalis in its genes to make it an autoflower strain. This strain has a flowering period of only 6 weeks. Coupled with its high yield potential (150g+), you have an absolute beast of a plant that can withstand most climates. It has a THC content of 14% and a piny, earthy terpene profile.
Sometimes you just can’t beat the old school genetics. Northern Lights crossed with the tough ruderalis genetics makes this one of the best all round cold climate marijuana strains you can grow.
Everybody in the cannabis world has heard of the White Widow strain. This strain is loved by beginner growers thanks to its robust nature. The plant can hold its own against harsh climates and sub-optimal growing conditions. With a THC content that surpasses 19%, this is a psychedelic powerhouse. The terpene profile of the white widow resembles that of pine which brings forth a sensuous high. It has a 50% Indica to Sativa ratio. As it is not an auto strain, its flowering period comes down to around 9 weeks. But a single plant can yield almost 500g if properly taken care of.