Can I grow cannabis outdoors in the UK?

by dope smoker on August 1, 2011

Weed can grow in your garden

Yes you can!

An amazing amount of cannabis does grow without problem outside in the UK! And as we know weed that has been grown in the sun is always going to be better than weed grown using artificial lighting.

Guerilla growing (growing weed in the ‘wild’) is quite popular – costs are low and it can be done almost anywhere. The south of England is better, but plenty of fine weed has been grown outside in the north of England, Scotland and even Wales.

If you have a nice private back garden, all the better.

Strains proven to grow well in the UK are:

Passion Number One from Dutch Passion – an easy to grow indica that thrives outside in the UK. The dutch have been apparently growing this outdoors since the 1980′s – in their cold climate.

Frisian Dew also from Dutch Passion – This strain is half indica half sativa and again will thrive outside in the UK.

Purple Maroc from Female Seeds – A sativa that produces lots of resin and finishes in mid July, does well in the UK.

Plants are normally started outside in in April – although recent arctic conditions would suggest this isn’t sensible. May perhaps! You could also start plants inside, as they don’t need big lights to start with – a simple florescent light can be used to start them off.

Flowering generally begins in August or September, depending on the strain and can take several weeks at the least. Some plants will not finish until October – some strains such as Purple Maroc or autoflowering strains will finish much earlier, lessening the chances of mold affecting the buds, or hitting a frost.

Never plant seeds directly into the soil. It’s much better to grow the plant in a controlled environment for 4-8 weeks before slowly introducing them to an outdoor space by increasing their exposure by an hour each day before replanting or leaving them outside permanently.

Consider also that plants grown in pots will generally not grow as big as ones grown in the ground, so if you have to use pots consider using Smart Pots or Root Pouches I have just tested these and found them to be amazing, indoors and outdoors.  They are what’s used in many big US grows. They allow for air pruning of the roots. I will never use a normal pot again after personally seeing the results of plants grown in these pots. They are known as aeration containers.

J Arthur Bowers Multi-Purpose Compost with added John Innes‘ is a highly recommended compost.  Perlite is often added to compost to help it hold moisture.

The plants will need different types of fertilisers when they are in their different stages, flowering requires different nutrients to the initial vegetative stage. You can buy organic fertilisers for this or make your own. Bat shit (Guano) is also popular for the flowering period. Avoid chemical fertilisers. Some people even use piss. You may also want to investigate using molasses – specifically black strap molasses.  Always use much smaller measures than suggested by the manufacturer. Often following manufacturers instructions leads to over feeding and burning. Do be very careful it’s an easy mistake to make. It may be better at first not to use any fertilisers as it’s so easy to cock it up – especially if you are using a soil with fertilisers already in it.

Another thing to bear in mind is that you can get a plant quite a long way on with just a fluorescent kitchen type light, then gradually introduce it outside for flowering (controlling the darkness ensuring 12 hours of total darkness each night) so this way it is possible to kind of do an indoor/outdoor grow and grow during winter. The (initial) vegetative stage is fine under a kitchen light. I did this recently with some Northern Lights and it worked fine.

Flowering requires powerful lights or the sun. This way you can grow whenever you like, but you do end up looking after the plants a lot, putting them to bed each night.

If you can’t be bothered with all that you can still start plants outdoors when it is not April. You could plant something in say August  and all that would happen is that it would go straight into flower if there is enough darkness. In effect seeds planted when we have long nights (12 hours dark or more) will ‘autoflower’ and should be fine as long as they don’t get too cold. You can protect plants from the cold with cloches, cold frames, a greenhouse or by bringing them inside for cold nights. Growing out of season yields are obviously not as big as normal, but certainly can be larger than some autoflowering plants. For many people the smaller size of plants grown like this can also be an advantage. Remember you can also ‘tie down’ plants that are getting too big, or ‘top’ them to keep them under a certain height. This normally leads to higher yields.

Autoflowering plants are becoming popular in the UK, with the possibility of two grow seasons in one summer.

There is a new class of Autos known as ‘Super Autos‘. ‘Chaze‘ is particulaly good as an outdoor plant in the UK that yields significantly more than your normal  auto.  Autoflowering plants can also be topped up.  You can keep an autoflower successfully under 24 hour light – many people have – so if the weather is crap you could bring an auto inside at night for more light – which would mean buying a light etc.

The water that you use to water your plants is hugely important, particularly if you are growing in pots. In the earth this tends to be less of an issue. Tap water can have a higher PH than necessary which can be damaging. You can easily test the water you use with a PH testing kit or meter. Around 6 is good.  Lower the PH of water using ‘PH down’ if necessary.

UPDATE 13.12.03

Since I first wrote this article, more autoflowering strains have come out, and I have discovered others which I must include:

Maxi Haze – These plants are very high yielding outdoors, up to 200g per plant. From Grassomatic, an expert Spanish company. Well worth a look.

Frisian Dew Auto – This is Dutch Passion’s autoflowering version of their very best outdoor plant. Ideal for the UK climate.

The Ogre – A brand new autoflowering plant from the Joint Doctor which apparently yields very well. (Not sure I would follow the transplanting instructions given for it there).

Super Skunk Automatic – The classic from Sensi in autoflowering format.

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  • http://www.skepticat.org/ Ariadne_Stoner

    I’m growing PJs and they’ve sucked so far. Really bad genetics in the batch of seeds I got. Out of 10 seeds, only 3 have made it past the seedling stage and today the first of them showed sex – male! So all my hopes are pinned on the remaining two, which are now growing quite nicely on my patio (I move them to mini greenhouse overnight). A lot of the seedlings grew weirdly in one way or another but click here to see the strangest one:

    http://www.thctalk.com/cannabis-forum/showthread.php?26843-Weirdly-mutant-seedling

    Love the blog, by the way.

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  • http://www.dope-smoker.co.uk dope smoker

    That’s a buggar. I got 8/10 germinated with 7/10 female. Starting to show their purple bits slowly.

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  • First time grower

    i found 3 seeds in my bag of herb, planted and all 3 grew !! my son knocked 1 over and it died :( the other 2 are now growing in the garden, and looking better by the day ! i smoke a fair bit of hydro grown stuff, im looking forward to the o’natural when it finally buds ;) i’ll keep you informed. Love the blog also :)

    First time grower

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  • http://www.dope-smoker.co.uk Andy

    Best of luck with that! Nothing like buds grown in the sun..

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  • Tidybo1

    Hi I have done the same thing and I am a first timer, how are yrs coming along and wot will you do with them when it starts to get cold?? I’m not sure how and when mine will flower they are about 350mm tall and have 7 blades on them

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  • http://www.dope-smoker.co.uk Andy

    Bring them in at night when then the low drops below around 10 degrees. If you bring them in to a lit area you’ll be able to control when they flower. They need 12 hours of complete darkness to flower – if you ensure they are only getting 10 then they wont flower, they will just keep growing until you change the light. If you don’t do any of this they should start flowering once they’re big enough to – and that point is different for each plant.

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  • Tidybo1

    So a quick update I flowered one of my plants by putting a bin over it to keep it dark so it’s getting 12/12 and it seems to be flowering quite nicely and the rest I have just left in the garden and have started flowering naturally that all seem to be coming on ok I just hope the weather stays ok and I can harvest before the frost comes this garden growing would be a lot easier out of the uk but more of an experiment this yr to see wot happens

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  • http://www.dope-smoker.co.uk Andy

    Ah glad to hear you’re making progress. There’s nothing like experience. 

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  • mrhaze

    the 12 hours rule is a general guide that covers all strains so that given 12 hours of darkness any strain will flower no matter what part of the globe it originated 
    many indica strains only need 9.5 to 10 hours of darkness to reach the critical darkness point and trigger flowering :) 

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  • http://www.dope-smoker.co.uk Andy

    That’s interesting do you happen to know which ones?

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  • JS

    when can i plant my passion 1 outside in the uk please and when can i plant my white berry outside ??? any advice would be great thanks

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  • http://www.dope-smoker.co.uk Andy

    Not yet! I’d wait until the low is steadily above 9 or 10 degrees (a min/max thermometer is useful for this). And when they go out just a bit at a time each day is recommended so they can adjust properly.

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  • Anonymous

    Hi cant tell you how glad i am to come across your piece above on outdoor growing, I have spent the last year trying to digest indoor growing just from bits here and there in different books. Indoor growing is great , nothing better than producing enough to keep you going for the next year in a three months , but with the hazzards of light heat/increase low energy usage/ odour control ya tend to spend the whole process with cross fingers. odour and lighting heat is ya major risk of gettin ya collar felt.

    Also with energy costs rising and the equiptment needed for indoor growing it still costs ya a few quid to run a complete process.

    Ive ordered the dutch passion , I dont wanna use soil, in the process of my research i come up with my own design of oxypot 6 pot system , which i now works absolutly amazing, that much so that im selling these kits i produce myself .

    Do you see any problems in me using this system outdoors that will have affect on the sucess of the plants,   and when do you suggest i put them out side, is there a paticular month or is it just when temp is above 9 degrees ? and i take it im best to get these as big as i can, is that on  continuous light untill outside growing day comences ?? or contoled reduction of timed light slowly braught down to the hours  daylight hours when there starting their outside growing

    And finally have you heard of size and yield increase from heat controled oxypot nutrient feeding  ?? , and also  the understanding that roots are lets say the  nerve centre of the plant, and thats where the growing can be manipulated  im thinking if im using the oxypot system outdoors with a heated oxygenated nutrient water tank would the plant above the roots be able to handle being out in cooler temperatures than 9deg

    Thankz .

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  • Luckylorenzo123

    hi , i nead same advise, out side grow in the uk, can it be done, whats the best, plant to plant

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  • http://www.dope-smoker.co.uk Andy

    I’m afraid I can’t answer individual growing questions, I will probably be wrong and it will take up too much time. Will update articles as I learn more. You could try the http://www.uk420.com/ forums there are plenty of professional UK growers there with a lot more experience than me

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  • Anonneh

    Why does no one ever give a good time to first put your plants out? but only the flowering dates? seriously its crazy hard to find some one stating a good time to start going outside. That would go rele well in this little guide .

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  • http://www.dope-smoker.co.uk Andy

    I have made a small update to the article. Good luck.

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  • http://sensiseeds.com/en/cannabis-seeds devideaster

    Wow! this is such a great news that we can grow cannabis in outside of the UK. These are some valuable tips for growing cannabis in a better way. I am going to apply all these techniques for growing cannabis in my garden.

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