Growing Cannabis Outdoors – Part 1

Outdoor Tips to Get You Started – Types of Plants, Seeds and Soil

Although this site focusses on CBD, we would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge that there are many people who use cannabis (marijuana) to manage their day to day living, pain or just for good old recreational pleasure. In light of this, and because of the changes in marijuana laws, especially in Canada, people are growing cannabis plants, either inside their homes or out in the garden – or at least attempting to. I tried in the past and never got very far because I didn’t have this information.

Over the next few weeks, we will discuss growing cannabis outdoors and indoors, from seed selection to beautiful full-grown plants.

Sativa, Indica, Ruderalis Marijuana Plants


There are three major species, a couple of which you may already have heard about: The two common ones are Sativa and Indica and a lesser-known one is Ruderalis.

Properties and Characteristics of Each


The Sativa plant is tall, thin, has narrow leaves and produces more fibre. They take longer to grow and mature and require a great deal more light. When used in medical marijuana, they tend to have a higher ratio of THC to CBD.

It is an annual plant, indigenous to eastern Asia, as a source of industrial fibre, seed oil, food, recreation, religious and spiritual moods and medicine. Sativa means things that are cultivated. The flowers can be male or female. Growers prize the female plant because of its high THC content.


Indica is shorter and bushier and has wide leaves. They grow faster and have a high yield. When used for medical marijuana, they tend to have a higher ratio of CBD to THC. It is also an annual plant originating from the Indian subcontinent.


Ruderalis are smaller plants and are mostly used for making clothes, rope, etc. It grows in harsh climates, is low in THC and is native to Central and Eastern Europe and Russia. It is much debated whether it is a sub-species of Cannabis sativa.


Getting your marijuana seeds can present a challenge, depending on where you live and the laws that pertain to the sale and purchase of seeds.

For example, in Alberta Canada, you can now purchase online from a Government retail outlet. They are sold 4 to a package and are female. These are from an Ontario producer (Tweed) and are offered in two varieties – one mainly THC and the other a hybrid combination of THC and CBD (only ships within Alberta). Future plans include selling live plants.

Cannabis NB is hoping to eventually sell seeds.

How to Order or Recognize Quality Seeds

Buy from reputable seedbanks such as:

I Love Growing Marijuana (US Based)

  • Free shipping to the US and Europe. Ships daily to the US, Australia ($25 fee), New Zealand and West European countries; offer to track (not on regular/standard shipping)

  • Guaranteed germination

  • Guaranteed delivery

  • 27/7 grow support

  • Offers a large selection of seeds

Toronto Cannabis Seeds (Toronto based – ships all over Canada and will discreetly ship to other countries).

  • $10 flat fee  $25 Express

  • Free seeds with all orders

  • Offers a large selection of seeds

  • Carry 55+ cannabis strains

Look for Mature Seeds

Usually dark brown (or shades of dark grey and black) with slightly lighter stripes and firm to the touch. Pick the ones that are rounder and fatter. Avoid white or light green as they are not ready to plant.

Female, Male or Hermaphrodites?

Did you know that marijuana plants have two sexes – male and female? Sometimes, some varieties will have both male and female characteristics and are called hermaphrodites.

Unless you have specifically purchased feminized seeds, you most likely will have to go through the process of planting several seeds to determine the sex of the plant, then separating them to get rid of the male plants.

Why should you care if your plants are male, female or hermaphrodites (characteristics of both male and female)?

The first signs of which gender you have is when the plant develops pre-flowers or little green shoots. Males reveal their sex typically sooner than females. On the pre-flowering males, you will notice a small cluster of ‘balls.’ On females, the pre-flowering appears as small white hairs.

Female plants are the ones that produce bud cannabis (produces the most ‘high’). Male plants produce the pollen to pollinate the female plant. If you want seeds, then it is okay to leave the males and females growing together. If you want to control the strain, isolate the females by cutting the males out, let them make pollen, take the pollen and choose a female plant(s) you want to work with, pollinate it and you will have your seeds.

The hermaphrodites are good if you cross-breed it with a female because your next crop will be mostly females.

So this brings us back to the importance of separating the males from the females – if not done and pollination takes place, you will have a crop of useless, low-quality flowers. Once the sex is determined, it is best to remove the males, place them in plastic bags and discard them (bye-bye guys!).

Role of the Male Plant

Does this mean male plants are useless or have no purpose? No. Here are some things that the male plant is definitely good for but not just ‘any’ male.

  1. Breeding – eliminate those that:

    – flower too soon or autoflower
    – grow tall and gangle
    – have a pithy stem – the spongy tissue in the plant stem (they should be large and hollow)
    – have loosely packed buds
    – have a weak scent

  2. Hemp Fibre Production

    – for making goods such as textiles, bed linens, and towels

  3. Pest Control

    – grow them in your flower or vegetable gardens – the terpenes (aromatic oils) are a natural way to control pests instead of harmful pesticides but you will want to keep them far away from your female plants to avoid the risk of pollination

  4. A Little ‘High’

    – there is some THC present in male plants (in sacs, leaves and stems) so use them to make cannabutter.

  5. Cannabis Drink

    – make a nutritious drink and enjoy the benefits of the cannabinoids. The male plant contains the same cannabinoid acids as the female.

Most importantly, they are needed for Genetic Survival to avoid having strains disappear.

We will go in more depth on the sexes later but in the meantime, here is a short video showing the difference between the female, male and hermaphrodites plant.



For the sake of this article, let’s assume you now have legally purchased your seeds. There are two main ways to grow marijuana, outdoors and indoors. Here we will discuss growing your plants outdoors, especially as planting season is just around the corner in many areas.

Of course, getting your seeds is just the start. There are many variables that will come into play – Where do you live? How much space do you have? Growing conditions? How many plants do you want to grow? WHY are you growing them – what do you hope to achieve? What kind of growing conditions do you have – sunny, shady? Do you have privacy or are you open to your neighbour’s scrutiny?

Soil Conditions

Since good soil is important, what makes it ideal?

Sufficient nutrients are needed, i.e. nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium with a pH balance between 5.8 and 6.5. Commercial fertilizers tend to make the soil more acidic.

Sandy soil contains large particles that are rounded rather than flattened. On the plus side, it has a high pH and good drainage. The downside it has poor water retention dries quickly, and nutrients wash away.

Silt soil is granular and between sand and clay in size. The plus side is that it is more fertile than other soils and has good water retention. The downside is it has poor drainage.

Clay soil has a large percentage of fine particles. On the plus side, it is rich in nutrients and good for water retention. The downside is it is heavy and difficult to work with; it also drains poorly.

Loam soil contains a lot of decayed vegetable matter and does not contain too much sand or clay. On the plus side, It also has a neutral pH balance, great drainage, water and nutrient retention, and easier to till than clay. The downside, unfortunately, it is also very expensive.

While searching for the perfect soil, you might be flooded with terms you aren’t familiar with such as perlite, peat moss, compost, bone meal, fish meal, etc., and it can all be very overwhelming and frustrating.

If you have absolutely no idea where to begin, go to an expert in a nursery or a specialized store and explain what you are looking for. If you are uncomfortable discussing marijuana, ask for the type of soil you could use to grow tomatoes in – yes, tomatoes!

“Ideal growing conditions will promote high-quality THC production in female plants.”

If you are adventurous or just very conscious about the soil you use, here is a video on how to make 100% organic soil.

And if this seems like too much work for you, you can always just buy it.

Okay, we have come to the end of Growing Cannabis Outdoors – Part 1.

In Part 2, we will discuss the Germination of your seeds, the next important step.

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see full disclosure here.

DISCLAIMER: As mentioned in all my posts, you need to do your due diligence with regard to the legality of marijuana and CBD – I AM NOT A LAWYER; make sure it is legal to purchase marijuana seeds in your area of residence! Read all disclaimers carefully.

We would love to hear your comments and views on growing your own cannabis. Is this something you would try or have tried in the past?

26 thoughts on “Growing Cannabis Outdoors – Part 1”

  1. I had plenty of experience with growing through hydroponics in my younger days…but unfortunately I don’t live in a ‘good weather’ country, so I’ve never really gone as far as attempting to grow outside (inside window sills is as close as I came!). 

    I’m wondering if this sort of thing could be pulled off in countries where the summer months are not always trustworthy (UK for instance)? Would the plants still grow reasonably well in outside daylight as opposed to strong sunlight?

    • Hi Chris,

      Although plants can survive with as little as 6 hours of sunlight, 12 hours is recommended followed by 12 hours of darkness.  Knowing that they need plenty of light, choose an area in your garden where they will not be obstructed and will receive the maximum amount of light as possible. Making sure they have a good head start indoors will increase their chance of survival outdoors. Also bear in mind, the strain you use can make a difference. Indica-dominant strains that are quick to mature, such as Black Widow, would be a good one to try.

       Hope this helps.

  2. The CBD revolution is one that is fast sweeping every facet of life. CBD oil is very effective in handling a number of diseases and conditions, it’s a no brainer to why it’s now so popular.

    Thanks for this guide on growing sativa. However, is it legal for an individual to grow sativa? Just want to be on the right side of the law.

    • Hi Louis,

      You have to check the rules for your areas. For instance, in Canada, it is now legal to grow some of your own plants. I don’t know your area but you should be able to find that information on the internet. Just google “Is it legal to grow marijuana plants in (your area). I am sure you will get some answers.

  3. I have bookmarked this page and even added the website to my list of go-to places for all things CBD and marijuana. One topic I am very interested in is what you have covered in this post – growing cannabis outdoors! There is a lot more to it than I remember as a kid when we just threw some seeds from the local marijuana we bought (called Minnesota Green and not that good)…

    You have provided a wealth of information and now we can get seeds that are from a reputable source, and homes and property will no longer be confiscated if you get caught like in the early 70s when I was growing up. It was a constant battle between the local cops and the rest of us back in those days!

    I have taken notes as I read through this all, and I look forward to reading part 2 of this article as there is just so much I need to learn before I get started growing my own outdoor crops again as I did so many decades ago! This post also brought back a lot of memories for me!

    • Hi Dave,

      Glad I could help you take a walk down memory lane :).

      There sure is a lot involved and you have to be willing to give your seeds/plants lots of attention. It sounds as though you live in an area where you are allowed to grow your own weed plants. With your experiments from growing it in the past, I am sure  you will do just fine.

  4. Hey nice info here. I am for Alberta my self and did not know I could get seeds in stores. Quick question… When a seed is sold as female, are they assured to be female? And if I am not a smoker what are the options for someone wanting the high without smoking? Are edibles a potent option. I don’t like the feeling of smoke in my lungs so I need another option. Thank you for sharing your info…


    • Hello Pierre,

      If you buy from a reputable seed bank and they are selling feminized seeds, make sure there is a guarantee attached. The two I mentioned do offer a guarantee.

      As for an alternate method to smoking, definitely edibles will work. My husband does not smoke and enjoys weed brownies. 

  5. Sometimes ago ,I tried growing cannabis plant ,but it didn’t work out well, I tried the second time ,then I concluded it was probably the seed that’s bad . but going through this article I’m sure I have all the information I need to grow cannabis plant again, I will definitely go through the remaining parts

    • Thanks for stopping by. I too tried years ago and failed miserably. I hope this informatilon will give you a good start. Sometimes, it is just a case of bad seeds to begin with.

  6. Very interesting post. I never knew that there was a difference between the  male and female plants. However, I started to research this topic and encountered your website. For the longest, I heard that the male plant had more benefits than the women plants for seeds. According to your website I can now see why the women plant is more beneficial than the male plants. I would like to get into CBD, yet I don’t want t risk it ha. Thank you for this well written and informative website.

    • Hello Nia. 

      I am glad you were able to learn something from the article. Just remember, if you are NOT looking for the high but want to control pain or just want to relax, CBD products very low in THC is probably what you are looking for. If you take a look at my website, under Shopping, you will find several companies that produce quality CBD products with little to no THC. Don’t be afraid to check it out.

  7. I tried growing cannabis plant in my small garden sometimes ago ,but it didn’t work out well,it was slow and dried up fast. I tried the second time ,then I concluded it was probably the seed that’s bad or the soil . but going through this article I’m sure I have all the information I need to grow cannabis plant again, I will definitely go through the remaining parts and afterwards I will plan to plant again. Information is key

    • Thanks for stopping by. I too tried years ago and failed miserably. I hope this informatilon will give you a good start. Sometimes, it is just a case of bad seeds to begin with.

  8. Marijuana is always frowned upon because of how it is being abused. But it has many medicinal qualities and in my country it is being used to make hair products. 

    I am happy I came across your post, because it has opened my eyes to many things about growing marijuana. 

    I never in my wildest imagination know that plants have male and female, talk more of knowing that marijuana has male, female and hermaphrodite. Now I know that among many other things about growing marijuana. 

    • Hello and thanks for stopping by. The cannabis plant is a very interesting plant and there is always something to learn. Every bit of knowledge helps, especially when you want to grow your own.

  9. ”Growing Cannabis Outdoors – Part 1” is an informative and educative article. Cannabis and it families as well as products are getting more popular in recent years especially after the Canada law! I have never plan to plant Cannabis before because I always thought the planting is not something you can just do but with this article I can confidently say I will try it out and succeed. You are very thorough and exhaustive, from types of marijuana plants to properties and characteristics of each types to how to order or recognize quality seeds to soil conditions. You couldn’t be more exhaustive!
    I love your writing skill. Do you know how to extract CBD oil from the plant?

    • Hello. I am glad you were able to get so much information from my artilce. 

      If you are really interested, there are several ways to extract CBD oil. You can google your question online and there are several videos that will show you how as well as several websites. Also, if you go back to my website, there is an older article, April 2018, titled “how to make CBD oil at home.” Hope this helps.

  10. Thanks for sharing this article on growing cannabis outdoor. It’s nice to know that the Government of Canada has allowed the planting of marijuana with controlled policy and purchasing from the government retail outlet. I just got to know the types of marijuana and their sexes and their usefulness. It just that in our part of the world growing of Cannabis is not yet legalised but it good to know that it is allowed to be planted in some countries. Thanks alot.  

    • Yes, it is important to know where you can and cannot grow marijuana as not all laws are the same. What area do you reside in? Maybe it is on the agenda for the future.

  11. Hello Ann,

    I have read your article on Growing Cannabis Outdoors – Part 1. really very helpful and interesting article. you have provided thorough and clear details on growing cannabis outside. this is really appreciating. thank you so much for your article and i am waiting for part 2 about growing cannabis outdoor.

    • Hello and thankyou for stopping by. I am glad you were able to get some helpful informtion. Part 2 will be available soon.

  12. What an informative and exhaustive Outdoor Tips to get Started on growing cannabis. Is actually a knowledge added to know the three major species, a couple of which I already have heard about the two common ones which are Sativa and Indica and never know that there is another one called Ruderalis.
    I agreed that getting marijuana seeds can present a challenge, depending on where you live and the laws that pertain to the sale and purchase of seeds. For example in my area we can’t just get it from any agricultural material outlet, except from some authorized agricultural agencies. Planting season is just around the corner in many areas as growing it outdoor will be good. All this tips on the Female, Male or Hermaphrodites sexes of cannabis seeds are great and helpful. Soil condition based on sufficient nutrients are needed, i.e. nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium with a pH balance between 5.8 and 6.5. Commercial fertilizers tend to make the soil more acidic is also needed. I do like to get some planted in my uncle’s farm, as I go to the necessary agricultural agencies for the seeds. Thanks useful post.

    • Thank you for your comments. You are lucky that you have some authorized agricultural agencies to get your seeds from. Hopefully you will be able to have some healthy plants on your uncle’s farm.

  13. Thanks a lot for sharing this useful informational article about cannabis. I’ve learned a lot from this post about this tree. I was aware of CBD’s products. Especially CBD Oil, which is very beneficial for health. But there was insufficient knowledge about the trees. From this article, I can identify Sativa, Indica and Ruderalis type Morijuana trees. Also, I have found necessary soil and other components for this tree. Which made my knowledge shortcomings subtly. Which will help in my garden in the future…

    • Hi Irin. Good luck with your garden. Every little bit of knowledge comes in handy and I am glad I was able to provide some for you. In Part 2, we will talk more about what you need to grow healthy plants.


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