The Pros and Cons for Indoor vs Outdoor Cannabis Grows
January 18, 2022
Cannabis plants have been cultivated and grown outdoors for thousands of years. At the beginning of the 20th Century, anti-cannabis legislation in the US forced cannabis growers to hide their crops indoors. These days, with so many legal cannabis states, many cultivators grow cannabis outdoors. However, due to the federally illegal status of cannabis, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is still confiscating and destroying outdoor legal cannabis crops. As a result, many growers are choosing to use indoor facilities to avoid problems with law enforcement but more importantly to create peak growing conditions. The result is cannabis flower that is potent, clean, and high quality with strong, unique flavors. In this article, I will present the pros and cons for both indoor and outdoor growing.
- Growers can completely control the environment; temperature, humidity, lighting, pH levels of soil, nutrition, and pest control.
- Allows for all year round growing rather than having to wait for growing seasons; 3-4 harvests yearly.
- Requires less pesticide spraying which results in a cleaner, safer product.
- Mitigates all the risks that accompany outdoor cultivation; frosts, excessive rain, high winds, smoke from fires, dust, predators and pests.
- Fewer security regulations and personnel are needed compared to outdoor sites.
- Potency is typically higher than with outdoor cultivation due to higher trichome count and denser nugs.
- The appearance of cannabis plants is better than those grown outdoors. Indoor plants are shielded from predators and are grown under optimum conditions, which allows indoor strains to have stronger, unique flavors.
- Many of the newer cannabis genetics, which are predominantly hybrids, grow better indoors.
Due to advances in the technology for indoor grow facilities and the development of cannabis plant genetics conducive to an indoor environment, more and more retailers prefer to stock cannabis grown indoors.
- Results in smaller yields unless replicating natural sunlight which is extremely expensive.
- It is much more expensive to grow indoors than outdoors.
- Pests such as aphids and spider mites can pose threats to crops with no natural protection.
- Thousands of years of cultivation have allowed cannabis plants to adapt to the ideal climate which naturally controls pests and disease.
- Higher yields are typically produced in outdoor grows compared to indoor facilities. Certain strains grow to enormous heights and are ill-suited to many indoor spaces.
- Cannabis plants have access to the natural nutrients in the soil; nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium and magnesium. This significantly decreases the nutrition costs for the plants.
- Environmentally more friendly; outdoor crops leave a much smaller carbon footprint.
- It is much less expensive to grow cannabis outdoors than indoors
- Longer gestation period.
- Tighter security regulations for outdoor cultivation and the need for more security personnel adds to the overall cost of cultivation.
- Weather conditions are beyond the control of growers
1. Controlling the humidity levels is crucial when growing cannabis plants. Dry conditions with low humidity can cause a spider mite infestation. Excessively wet conditions with high humidity can cause mold and mildew of the cannabis plants, including bud rot.
2. Excessively hot conditions, fires, storms, tornadoes and mudslides can decimate an entire crop.
3. Animals such as deer, cows, rabbits, gophers, foxes and raccoons are fond of nibbling on cannabis leaves and digging around the base of the cannabis plants which can be lethal.
- With more potential predators and pests, more pesticides are needed which leaves a residue on the plants.
- Quality control is much more difficult.
4 Common Outdoor Cannabis Pests
These 4 pests do most of the damage in outdoor grows:
- Hemp Russet Mites feed on epidermal cells which kills the top layer of the plant. An infestation may result in the curling of leaves.
- Eurasian Hemp Borers can borrow into the stems and even leaves. This creates dead and damaged areas which are vulnerable to other insect attacks.
- Corn Earworms tunnel into the buds. They not only eat them but they leave behind feces which can cause disease.
- Aphids can cause fungal contamination.
A Final Note
Since 2009, we at Cure Solutions have cultivated cannabis flower in Colorado, Oklahoma, and Ohio with some of the finest medicinal genetics, grown by patients for patients. Our cannabis flower is grown indoors under carefully controlled sanitary conditions. The end result is a dependable brand with consistently high-quality results, which our patients can depend on. Our patients’ safety is of the utmost importance which is why we test every batch of cannabis for purity and potency. We go to great lengths to make sure that the shelves of our dispensary partners are always well stocked with the products that our patients need.