Growing weed indoors vs. outdoors? I am hoping you got here from passing the questions in Part 1: How to determine if growing cannabis is right for you. If not, go check that out then come back. We’ll wait.
However, if you passed the first question and determined that you do indeed want to try your hand at growing your own cannabis, now you want to know what is the best way to grow weed.
If you search the internet you will find yourself overwhelmed with information, some of it credible and a lot of it garbage.
Relax. The basic elements needed for marijuana to grow consist of nothing more than air, water, light, and nutrients.
How you provide your plants with these elements where the art of growing premium marijuana comes into play. And if you are going to go to the trouble of growing cannabis, you might as well grow top shelf.
Pros and Cons of Growing Weed Indoors vs. Outdoors
Let’s look at the pros and cons of both methods to determine what is right for you.
Outdoor Cannabis Cultivation Pros:
Less expensive: You can grow some fine quality marijuana with an investment of $200.00 or less depending on what you already have on hand. After all, the sun will never send you an outrageous electric bill.
Less work: While you will have to watch and tend to your plants, outdoor grows usually require less overall maintenance and tinkering.
More environmentally sound: When you use natural sunlight and rainwater you consume far less environmental resources.
Bigger harvests: It’s hard to beat the power of Mother Nature! Under the best circumstances with good natural sunlight you can grow some HUGE plants outdoors. We have a friend who once yielded 5 pounds of trimmed flowers from a single outdoor plant!
Outdoor Cannabis Cultivation Cons:
Exposed/More Vulnerable to Humans: Unless you live way out in the middle of nowhere with no nearby neighbors, outdoor grows are generally harder to hide and usually more exposed. Law enforcement aside, your outdoor grow is enticing prey for neighborhood thieves, unethical meter readers, or any other cannabis lovers with questionable morals who might happen upon it. Depending on the laws where you live, you might also have beware of those who don't like marijuana and will report you to the police.
Exposed/More Vulnerable to Pests: I’m not saying you can’t get predatory pests indoors, but some of the outdoor variety can be difficult if not impossible to control. For instance, spider mites are a common problem both inside and out. However, you'll never have to deal with critters like squirrels, birds, deer, and locusts (yes locusts) when you grow inside. All of these creatures have endocannabinoid systems too and they all enjoy cannabis.
More Vulnerable to the Elements: Growing Weed Indoors vs. Outdoors: What’s right for you?
You Only Get One Chance: With an outdoor grow you get a single shot. If something goes wrong and it dies during the season you are out of luck until next year.
Indoor Cannabis Cultivation Pros:
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More Controllable: To your indoor plants, you are God. You control their water, their light, and their nutrients. You also control how long they stay in veg state. By changing their light cycles you control when they go into flower too. Finally you determine when they are ready for harvest.
Year Round Harvests: You can set up your indoor plants on a rotating schedule so that you are continually harvesting throughout the year. Some growers set up to harvest a few plants every week, others every 2 weeks, others every month. If you plan to keep a perpetual grow find a rhythm that works for you.
More Stealth: In theory it’s easier to keep an indoor grow a secret, unlike an outdoor garden exposed to God and everyone.
Indoor Cannabis Cultivation Cons:
Way more expensive: Even if you grow in soil (as opposed to hydroponically) you will still need a system of lights to grow indoors. In order to keep the room at optimum temperature you will probably have to vent it and/or run air conditioning, especially if you live in a hot climate.
If you grow hydroponically expect to spend more buying or making the equipment involved including a water circulating system, not to mention a system for filtering water so it’s pure. You will also need fans to keep the air moving and help strengthen the plant leaves and a way to filter air to reduce odor.
A system to supplement the room’s CO2 content will also help you grow better plants with bigger yields. If you don’t have a room or two you can dedicate to growing, you’ll also need to purchase a grow tent or two. It all adds up.
Even on the cheap, expect to spend a minimum of $500 to $2500 to set up a small indoor grow. However you can save a lot by buying a complete grow kit over piecing out the parts.
More work/time consuming: Indoor grows, especially hydroponic grows, generally take more daily work and tinkering than their outdoor counterparts.
Bigger learning curve: It’s not difficult, but there is more to learn about maintaining a successful indoor grow.
Bigger physical risk: Because the lights use substantial electricity there can be fire dangers. Always consult a trusted electrician and be sure you have adequate power to handle the electrical drain of your indoor grow.
This shouldn’t be a problem with one or two plants, but always do your homework before planting. This used to be a far bigger issue before LED technology evolved. Today's LED grow lights use far less energy, run cooler, and grow great cannabis. (More about this in a future article.)
Vulnerable to Power Outages: If you live in an area that’s subject to frequent power outages it can interfere with your plant’s light cycle and damage your crop unless you have an emergency back up plan that keeps the lights on without interruption.
Now that you have made a decision on whether or not to grow indoors or outdoors, check out some of our other grow content. Also, if you are growing indoors, the BudGrower.com has TONS of great free educational grow content.