Growing Marijuana in Extreme Climates

The marijuana plant can withstand extreme weather, but if it does, it may develop abnormalities and growth problems. Although you can’t always avoid bad weather, it is still a good idea to do whatever you can to prevent your plants from getting damaged. Keep reading to learn how to protect your plants from the dangers that come from growing marijuana in extreme weather.

Protecting marijuana plants from the wind

Protecting marijuana plants from the wind

In windy areas, it is a good idea to plant crops on the perimeter of your cannabis growing area closely together to serve as a windbreak to protect the other plants. Tying plants to stakes driven into the ground, or constructing a rope and stick fence, are two ways you might achieve this. The drawback, of course, is that those plants will be competing with each other for soil nutrients, sunlight, and water.

You can also try keeping your marijuana plants clipped. This will likely limit your harvest slightly, but the plants will adapt and become denser in their branching, improving their flowering.

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    Protecting marijuana plants from cold weather

    As a grower, your primary job is keeping your plants alive until the weather takes a turn for the better. If you can maintain a reasonable temperature, most plants stand a good chance of surviving unscathed. When better weather returns, the plants will effectively restart the growing process.

    Protecting marijuana plants from cold weather

    There are a few ways to provide temporary heating until a cold spell passes.

    bring the plants inside and give them a moderate light-on cycle
    use “passive heaters.” To create these, fill up some dark-colored containers with water, let them heat up during the day, and then they will radiate heat at night.
    construct a temporary greenhouse with a wood frame and plastic coverings that will trap the heat (creating a greenhouse effect).
    use propane-powered patio heaters to ward off frostbite. They’ll also burn gas that produces CO2 and water vapor. The added CO2 will promote growth.

    All of these methods are easy to set up as long-term solutions for cold weather problems, or they can be quickly taken down with the arrival of better weather.

    A smaller scale solution is wrapping individual plants with Polyethylene. This will not only protect the plants from wind and rain, but it will also preserve some heat. Some growers even use high thread count bed sheets. Keep in mind that with this simple method, the cold will eventually make its way to the plants unless you’ve provided them with some source of heat. Forced air heaters can also work but be sure to set the gauge at 70*F (21*C) to avoid overheating and use fans to distribute the heat evenly.

    If you know it is going to be cold, you need to be extra careful to keep an eye on your plants. Check on them often and make sure they stay warm.

    Is it safe to leave them out?

    What if your plants are not yet mature, and the weather is getting cooler? How long can the plants stay outside if the temperatures are becoming too cool?

    The answer to this question depends on the amount of available sunlight. As the Earth shifts seasons from autumn to winter, sunlight intensity and overall longevity decrease. Plants that might have been in full light in the summer and early autumn are now shaded for most of the day.

    Clouds might also decrease the quality of the sunlight. In the winter, the plants are not allowed adequate light energy and should be harvested to avoid a wasted crop. Even if the buds are not ripe enough to smoke, they can at least be processed for kief, extracts, or for cooking.

    If the weather is cold, but the plants are still receiving adequate sunlight, you could protect them using the methods mentioned above.

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      Protecting marijuana plants from humidity problems

      Protecting marijuana plants from humidity problems

      Keeping plants dry is the best protection from humidity problems. If you can move the plants or construct an enclosure, then rain will not bother them, but moisture still might. Increasing temperatures in the enclosed area (up to the 70’s F or 24-26*C) could protect the plants and help dry out the buds thereby curbing mold growth. Circulating the hot air with a fan certainly helps as well.

      If rain is forecasted as a brief, one-time occurrence followed by a continuation of warm, dry weather, then you can protect the plants by treating them with an anti-fungal like potassium bicarbonate or Serenade before the rain. If prolonged rain is expected, then you might just think about harvesting the plants right then instead of having them just turn into mush. If humid weather is commonplace while the plants are ripening, you might try different varieties with looser, drier buds.

      Without the right knowledge and preparation, too much heat can destroy the crop and leave you with nothing to harvest. Fortunately, there are tricks to combat this problem. The key is to keep the plants and their heat-sensitive roots cool and hydrated.

      Here are some of the problems caused by hot weather:

      Extreme heat is deadly to marijuana roots, especially in young plants. In addition, the faster evaporation rate in dry places may result in hard and cracked soil. Left unchecked, the combination of hot and dry upper soil can burn the roots and destroy the plants.
      One of the most common issues in a hot climate is heat stress. In mild cases, this can cause the marijuana leaves to start cupping or curl up. You may also see drooping or wilting. If ignored, the condition may become severe, and the plants will stop growing.
      Often, hot and dry climates have long day cycles and as short as five hours of dark hours at night. This can be problematic to marijuana plants since they require at least 12 hours of complete darkness to flower. This unsuitable light and dark cycle may cause further stress to the crop.

      Burnt roots, heat stress and unsuitable light and dark cycles can make it challenging to grow marijuana in desert-like climates. The good news is, there are many remedies for these problems, in addition to proper watering. 

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      Protecting marijuana plants from heat problems

      If you are growing in hot weather, it is essential that you do not let your growing medium dry out. Marijuana plants drink a lot of water when it’s hot. If they don’t have anything to drink, they’re going to dry out by the end of the day. Water your plants as early in the day as possible and make sure they get frequent rehydration during the day. Avoid getting the leaves wet since droplets can magnify the sun’s heat and burn the foliage.

      Protecting marijuana plants from heat problems

      Here are a few other growing aspects that can be altered for hot weather:

      Seeds

      The seeds that we use play a huge role in ensuring the success of your marijuana harvest. Because of their places of origin, these strains developed a resistance to the punishing heat of the sun. Of course, they grow even better with a regular watering schedule and some shade from the hot sun. Here are some heat-resistant seeds that are perfect for growing in hot climates.

      Sativa, Haze, African and Hawaiian

      These strains come from very hot or dry climates, so they are built to withstand tough conditions. This includes having very little water as well as scorching temperatures. In fact, most of these strains can go unfazed for many days with a temperature over 100°F (38°C).

      Despite the limited water and high heat, some of these strains can produce high yields. This is especially true with sativas – which can adjust to very short dark cycles. Some also boast high levels of THC.

      Recommended strains:
      Jack Herer
      NYC Diesel
      THC Bomb
      Headband OG
      Afghan, and Kaya Gold

      Auto-Flowering Strains

      For growers who want to ensure a quick and decent harvest, there are auto-flowering strains. While they’re not designed for hot climates, some of them developed heat-resistant genes due to cross-breeding. Typically, they will begin to flower after 8-10 weeks without relying on a lot of dark hours to trigger the process.

      Soil

      When growing outside, you can grow plants in soil or coco coir. While each has their own pros and cons, coco is more suitable when cultivating in a hot environment. Because of its loose structure, it has root-soothing properties that help plants deal with over or under watering. Hence, it’s the perfect medium to fight heat stress.

      It’s also versatile enough to be used as a potting mix or combined with soil. Bear in mind that it’s an inert medium which means it doesn’t contain any nutrients. So, it’s essential to add nutrients in the water from day one. Other than that, the growing experience is very similar to soil.

      If you do grow in soil, watch for signs of overwatering. This means your plants will start drooping and wilting no matter how much water they receive. Since hot water contains less oxygen, it won’t be able to revive the plants. Instead, they will drown in it especially if you keep giving it more during the day. So, while constant rehydration is vital, make sure to do it the right way.

      To avoid suffocating the plants, provide plenty of drainage in the soil to allow the water to escape. This includes incorporating 30% perlite into the potting mix to make it loose, airy and filled with oxygen. You also want to ensure your water is cool so that it will contain lots of oxygen.

      Watering

      The point of frequent rehydration is maintaining coolness in the roots as well as promoting their formation deep in the soil. During a very hot day, this can help the plant survive even when the upper roots are burnt. To achieve this effect, some growers place water-holders in the soil to provide water once the soil dries out.

      You can also create a humidity tray for potted plants. You simply need a wide, shallow tray that’s filled with pebbles or gravel. Next, pour in water up until the top, then place the plant container on the tray. The gravel or pebbles will hold the pot above the water and prevent the roots from absorbing it. As the sun evaporates the puddle, it makes the air around the plant a few degrees cooler.

      Common Watering Issues

      Supplements

      Marijuana plants fight heat stress a lot better when they’re stronger and healthier. Therefore, you should fortify their resistance by giving them the following essential minerals.

      Humic Acid Supplements

      This waxy, brown mineral is found in the soil as a result of millions of years of compressed peat. While the plants may already have some of it from the soil, adding extra gives them a much-needed boost. In essence, humic acids protect the roots from water stress caused by over or underwatering.

      For best results, some growers combine humic acid with kelp extract. Together, these plant supplements enhance each other’s effectiveness. As humic acids fight water stress, the kelp extract helps the plant combat heat stress.

      Kelp Extract

      As mentioned, seaweed kelp extract is a popular solution for heat stress in plants. But aside from that, it’s also found to fight the frost as well as boost growth and yields. It may also improve seed germination, speed up the absorption of nutrients and help plants become more resistant to fungal diseases and insect pests.

      Silica Supplements

      Rarely, plants suffer from silica deficiency but adding a little of it can help them a lot, since this supplement strengthens their cell walls so they can beat the heat and other stress. The strong stems are also better able to support heavy buds without breaking. Some popular products are Botanicare’s Silica Blast and General Hydroponics’ ArmorSi.

      Sun Exposure

      One of the best ways to deal with heat and its rapid evaporation is to place the plants under partial shade. This way, most parts of the plants are kept from burning while also providing darkness when the natural light cycle does not.

      If you can’t bring plants to shade, create it. A simple example is a mesh shade net over the plants or a frame around them that we can throw a shade cloth over. When using a cloth for shade, make sure that it allows airflow to cool the plants down.

      If the heat gets out of control, move the plants indoors but make sure that it still gets some amount of light. So, place them close to a window or a light bulb to let them know that it’s still their day period. This will avoid messing up their circadian rhythm and keep them from feeling more stressed.

      Airflow

      Stagnant air is one of the greatest enemies of the marijuana plants in a hot outdoor climate. Without fresh air, the plants won’t have a steady supply of carbon dioxide to help create food for energy. And a lack of energy is equivalent to poor resistance to any stress. If it happens during the flowering stage, it would mean low yields of buds.

      So, scout which part of the yard has suitable breeze which means just enough to rustle the leaves and not knock the plant down. An excellent example is on the side of a hill where it’s a bit windy but also sunny.

      Other helpful tip includes looking for a spot that has surrounding plants which act as a shield from strong winds. They also increase security from people who wander as well as provide shade from the sun.

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      Containers

      If growing in a container, keep the roots cool by putting a barrier between the plant and the heat of the sun. You can achieve this with a variety of methods.

      Use a larger container. The extra soil acts as a buffer for the roots. Since there’s more soil, it will take a bit more time for the heat to bake it completely. You can also place the main container inside a larger one to bar the soil from the hot air. This way, the water given to the plant stays in the main containe
      Dig a hole. If you don’t have a large container, simply dig a hole in the ground and place the main container inside. This is an excellent strategy to stop the sun from baking the soil and burning the roots
      Use a container that minimizes heat. You want something that reflects heat while also allowing a good amount of air to pass through. It should also . Fabric pots are typically an excellent choice for containers since it can let air in from all sides, increase oxygen for the roots and allow for draining. Just remember to water enough because these containers also cause the soil to dry out quicker.

      Even in extreme weather, it’s possible to grow a successful marijuana crop. All it takes is knowledge and patience since there are many strategies for maintaining a healthy environment for your plants. But for the best results every time, it’s best to start with the most suitable strain. If you are growing somewhere that frequently has cold temperatures, choose a strain that can withstand freezing temperatures. If it is often windy where you grow, select strains that grow dense and hardy.

      If you arm yourself with the solutions, the chances of success increase. So, take note of the tips that we shared in this article and have a fun and less stressful growing experience wherever you grow.

      FAQ about weather and cannabis plants

      What are the best cannabis strains to grow in winters?

      Here are top 5 strains you can easily grow in winters: White Widow, Blue Cheese, Northern Light, Mother Gorilla and Skunk XL.

      What are the best cannabis strains to grow in summer?

      Here are top 5 strains you can easily grow in summer: Strawberry Cough, Green Crack, New York City Diesel, White Fire OG and G13

      What are the best cannabis strains to grow in rainy season?

      Here are top 5 strains you can easily grow in rainy days: Berry White, Superglue, Romulan, Double Cream and Forbidden Fruit

      Robert Bergman

      Robert Bergman is an Amsterdam-based marijuana grow expert who has years of experience from small grows to massive operations. His passion for growing lead him to develop his own Gold Leaf strain. Now, Robert is dedicated to sharing his knowledge with the world.... [Read full bio]

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        20 comments on “Growing Marijuana in Extreme Climates”

        1. I live in Oklahoma and I started 1 plant this year and it has buds on it and it’s looking great but , now it’s September and I am worried about the temperature outside the windshield went down to 35 last night and I just put a sheet around it but tonight it’s going to be in the low 50s and I don’t want it to die on me . I heard to take it out before it freezes well the first freeze I will have to cut it down I guess. Thank you for your help

        2. I planted 12 clones and 4 teens the weather was June gloom 75 and moist, the next day it hit 95 dry and windy and they all started wilting I did everything to save them and lost everything. Sucks

        3. Thanks alot for the detailed information. It’s nice to hear straight forward answers without it feeling like some info has been (not shared).

        4. ….my plan was to put our 14′ mesh trampoline over the plants to provide partial shade. Our lawn grass does really well under the thing…

        5. We’re New Englanders who are transferring young indoor started plants, that are roughly 18 inches tall, to the outdoors. We are expecting unseasonably high heat in the mid 80’s this coming week. Should we wait until after the heat subsides?

        6. Do you have any other High THC outdoor , cold climate seeds to recommend ?? Had those before would like something new.

        7. I ve been reading your artical for a while. I dont grow and I dont use the product. But I am very keen to start growing the plant. A couple od months ago a plant just appaired in my back yard
          . I left it and now it is about 2m high. But it is standing at a kak place. It only get sunshine until about 11h00 in the morning. It is late autem and it is getting very cold at night. I dlnt know the straint of the plant and would like if you could identify this plant for me. I will emaill some pics.
          Ut

        8. Right now I have (6) plants growing from your various selections of seeds and only grow outdoors. I’m 70 years old and have been smoking since 1970 (Viet Nam War) and love your articles, seed choices etc… I haven’t order more products due to city restrictions on how many plants allowed per season etc but please continue to sent your articles and seed chioces etc.
          Best regards and loyal customer for the last 5+ years.
          Tim

        9. i’ve grown Durban Poison in Southern Ontario, Canada where the summers are nice and warm usually (although we’ve had some crazy heatwaves the last few years) and the fall is cool and sometimes wet. it’s not unusual to get our first frost at the end of October or start of November. if the fall is wet, the rains generally start in September and can last through until mid October. strains that are prone to mold, botrytis and fungal diseases (black spot/rust) are just sitting ducks outdoors during these times unfortunately.

          i agree with many of the points in the article. one other thing i’d like to add is that chitosan supplementation in early to late vegetative growth (in additon to or in parallel with kelp meal) can also help the plant combat cold stress outdoors quite successfully. this has traditionally been done with guano (bat primarily) but can also be done with shrimp, crab and krill derivatives.

          i did use coco coir in the soil the year i grew the Durban Poison outdoors (i grew 2 different pheno’s, both feminized) and although they did not yield favorably compared to my other strains, the effect produced by one of the pheno’s was absolutely out of this world!

          so in conclusion, with a bit of luck, knowledge and the right guiding hand … most strains can be grown anywhere, both outdoors and indoors.

          indoors may offer more control, stability and ability to fine tune … but in my opinion, it should always be practiced if outdoor growing is not an option. it’s just a shame to waste natural sunlight … and that’s coming from a grower that has enjoyed many wonderful strains over the years, grown both outdoor and indoor (in soil and in water – dwc and aeroponics). i know that good cannabis CAN be grown anywhere, but real sunlight can only be obtained outdoors. one can collect rainwater, one can build a good living organic soil, one can simulate wind with swiveling fans set on timers … but nobody can store the sun’s light to be reused in the exact same spectrum with the exact same intesity fluctuation. Blackdog, KIND, Fluence, HLG all have amazing approaches that yield stunnig results when used correctly. still, the power of the Sun eclipses them all.

          PS: one year, i grew some landrace mazars outdoors and cross pollinated them … managed to retain fungal resistance going forward without going outside the landrace gene pool. the mothers that bore those seeds survived THREE frosts (by frosts i mean night temps below -5C) and the seeds produced in 45 days created some fantastic female plants (which were not pollinated in following years) but that retained the fungal resistance that is so
          important here in our cool and sometimes wet falls. Afghani Mazar hash (true landrace Mazar I Sharif) is a true delicacy in the world of cannabis and i sincerely hope that as many people as possible get to sample it in their lives. it’s just too good to miss.

          happy growing to all

        10. Very helpfull article,too much informations for watering outdoor strains.Too much important theme for people who leaves in hot climates.Thank you Robert for sharing all these imformations with us.

        11. Living in Oklahoma it’s up near a 100 degrees forjuly @ August. Thank you for the tips as the seeds I got from y’all are 1 to 2 foot tall now. I can’t wait to show y’all my righteous bud in October.. keep up the good work your friend King Enzo.

        12. I am growing Durban Poison from seeds. After germinating I place three plants in outdoor pots. The pots are big.

          Temperatures were in the 100’s for the past three weeks. The plants thrived and appear okay. Irrigation three times a day and I mist the soil in between.

          Also we have high winds 20-30 mph.

          Plants are strong!

        13. Tadlhg,

          you should look into drought resistant seeds. I suggest you join our support forum for additional support from our members living in and around Arizona. aupport.ilovegrowingmarijuana.com Happy growing

        14. I live in Tucson Arizona USA. An apartment dweller so I can only grow one or two plants a year. My apartment faces south so I will be getting plenty of light. Am putting up some grow sunscreen material on the patio to keep nosey neighbors from seeing my plants.
          What seeds would you recommend for me.