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One great thing about growing cannabis is that you can tailor it to your preferences. If you love being outdoors with the sun and grass, you can grow it in your garden. If you prefer technology and indoor comfort, you can grow it indoors. Sometimes, your choice isn’t just about what you like. Some people have to grow indoors because of strict laws, while others grow outdoors due to budget constraints or landlord rules.

Whether you’re new to growing cannabis or have experience in one of these settings, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons. For example, outdoor plants need at least six hours of direct sunlight daily. If your garden faces north or is shaded, meeting this requirement can be tough. But don’t worry; we’ll explain the advantages and disadvantages of growing cannabis outdoors versus indoors below.

Why should you consider cultivating cannabis outdoors? For one, the plant thrives in this setting—over 12,000 years of domestication is proof of that. But the term “outdoors” is vague. There are many different climates and landscapes in this world, and cannabis doesn’t do well in all of them.

Benefits of Outdoor

Getting into outdoor cannabis cultivation has its perks, including natural sunlight, a richer microbial environment, and more space. This combination leads to healthy, robust plants and significant yields. 

                      More Space!                    

One of the major advantages of outdoor growing is having plenty of space for cannabis plants to thrive. With room for their roots to spread and their canopies to grow, outdoor plants can reach their full genetic potential. When you transplant seedlings into garden beds, they can grow freely without the constraints of pots or containers. This allows them to develop extensive root systems and access ample nutrients and water. While some outdoor growers still use containers to control plant size, having more space means they can use larger pots to cultivate taller and more productive plants.

Additionally, having more space enables the cultivation of a variety of plant species. Many cannabis growers choose to grow companion plants to enhance their garden’s biodiversity, reducing pest damage, controlling the spread of diseases, and preserving soil quality. This “polyculture” approach serves as an effective biological pest control method, reducing the need for chemicals and store-bought pest control products. Common companion plants include white clover, chamomile, dill, and borage.


Outdoor cannabis plants benefit from ample sunlight, which varies based on the local climate. Sunlight, like indoor grow lights, activates chloroplasts in cannabis leaves, driving photosynthesis. However, natural sunlight offers distinct advantages over artificial sources.

Sunlight contains two primary types of ultraviolet (UV) radiation: UVA and UVB. UVA is harmless to plants, while UVB can cause DNA damage. In response to both UV types, plants produce protective resin layers containing compounds like cannabinoids and terpenes. Exposure to this radiation can enhance the effects, aroma, and flavor of the buds.

Diverse Soil Life

Outdoor garden beds support a diverse ecosystem. Establishing and mulching garden beds while following no-till practices fosters a thriving soil food web. This web includes bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes, arthropods, and worms, working together to recycle nutrients from organic matter for plants.

Certain bacteria and fungi form symbiotic relationships with plant roots, exchanging minerals for sugars. Besides nutrient benefits, a healthy soil food web improves soil structure. Mycelial threads and bacterial biofilms create soil aggregates, preventing erosion, while worms enhance aeration and drainage through their tunneling.


Growing cannabis outdoors can significantly reduce startup costs, especially with a minimalist approach. While items like greenhouses, polytunnels, and irrigation systems can be expensive, creating a no-dig bed for impressive harvests only requires a few bags of compost and cardboard sheets. Even in regions with short growing seasons, this technique can succeed with the right genetics.

Want access to our recommended Seed Banks? Go to CG Australia for a variety of quality Cannabis seeds shipped discreetly or look at Sacred Seeds for more strains. 

Disadvantages of Outdoor

Outdoor growing has its challenges, from minor difficulties to potential crop failures. Let’s look at some common problems faced by outdoor cannabis growers:

Pest Pressure

Similar to vegetable gardening, outdoor cannabis cultivation can attract pests like slugs, aphids, and nematodes. These pests can harm your plants, so it’s essential to learn how to protect your crop from caterpillars, spider mites, whiteflies, and other invaders.

Adverse Weather

Outdoor cannabis plants are vulnerable to various weather conditions. Strong winds can damage branches and stems, heavy rains can lead to root rot and increase disease risks during flowering. Excessive heat and drought can cause under watering and wilting, while late spring and early autumn frosts can be fatal.

Unsuitable Climates

In regions with northern latitudes, outdoor growing can be challenging due to a shorter growing season and frequent rainy weather. Growers in these areas often rely on fast-flowering genetics, resulting in smaller plants and reduced yields. While autoflowering strains can thrive in such climates, they can’t match the productivity of tall Sativa’s that resemble trees.

Subject to Nature’s Rhythm

Outdoor growers must align their efforts with the changing seasons. While this deepens their connection with Mother Nature, it also demands patience. Unlike indoor setups where you can manipulate the light cycle to induce early flowering in photoperiod strains (unless you employ light deprivation techniques), outdoor growers must await the arrival of shorter days.

Reduced Privacy

Outdoor plants are far more conspicuous than their indoor counterparts. The aroma of terpenes during the flowering phase can be detected by neighbors and passersby. Tall sativa strains may extend beyond the fence line. Even in legal areas, a canopy laden with buds can attract unwanted attention. To avoid legal issues or theft, consider establishing a guerrilla grow site in less populated areas. 

Check out our full Outdoor Grow Guide Here – https://www.cannabisgrowing.com.au/cannabis-grow-guide/outdoor-growing/

Benefits of Indoor

Indoor growers have full control over every aspect of their cultivation environment. They determine the light cycle and watering routine, decide when to initiate growth, and don’t need to concern themselves with factors like strong winds or heavy rainfall.

Enhanced Command

In indoor cultivation, control is king. The capacity to regulate lighting ensures plants receive the ideal amount for robust growth, regardless of weather conditions. Cultivators can also precisely time the induction of flowering in photoperiod strains by adjusting the light cycle to 12 hours on and 12 hours off. Temperature and humidity, critical parameters, are likewise under the grower’s control. Maintaining optimal levels throughout different growth stages promotes healthier plants and reduces the risk of diseases.

Protected Environment

With walls, a ceiling, and a floor, concerns about storms damaging plants or excess moisture causing mold before harvest are non-existent. Regardless of outdoor conditions, growers can visit their plants comfortably at any time.

Enhanced Privacy

Indoor growing offers greater privacy, except in cases of shared living spaces or unexpected landlord visits. If you have a house or apartment to yourself, you’re in the clear! Worries about thieves inspecting your garden or the outdoor crop’s scent permeating the neighborhood are a thing of the past. Although indoor plants can be just as pungent, carbon filters and odor neutralizers swiftly resolve this issue.

Continuous Harvests

Who needs an off-season? While outdoor growers prepare for winter by clearing and mulching their beds in the fall, indoor cultivators are already germinating seeds for the next harvest. Indoor cultivation ensures a constant supply, with no need to watch stash jars run empty. Simply plant another seed as your current crop approaches its end, and enjoy year-round, perpetual harvests.

Disadvantages of Indoor

Appealing, right? All that warmth, shelter, privacy, and control may seem enticing. However, before you embark on setting up a grow tent in your guest room, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the drawbacks of indoor cultivation.

Reduced Microbial Activity

Indoor environments lack the rich microbial life found in outdoor soil. If you’re beginning with bagged compost, you won’t benefit from a well-established soil food web. Building a thriving miniature ecosystem indoors is possible but takes time. Many indoor growers are now seeking ways to replicate outdoor conditions, such as growing companion plants, using cover crops, and introducing worms, beneficial bacteria, and mycorrhizal fungi into the soil.

Higher Costs

Indoor growing involves substantial initial expenses. Essential equipment includes high-quality grow lights, a grow tent, fans, carbon filters, and, in humid climates, a dehumidifier. Additionally, there are ongoing costs, including increased electricity and water bills to maintain your indoor operation.

Sunlight Outperforms Grow Lights

Indoor grow lights excel at nurturing robust and productive cannabis plants. Nevertheless, they lack a crucial element found in sunlight: ultraviolet (UV) radiation. As previously mentioned, UV exposure triggers cannabis to boost resin production as a defense mechanism. While some growers choose lights that emit UVA, which aids in enhancing secondary metabolite production, it’s the inclusion of UVB exposure that truly elevates terpene and cannabinoid levels, providing outdoor plants with a distinct advantage in phytochemical production.

Check out our full Indoor Grow Guide Here – https://www.cannabisgrowing.com.au/cannabis-grow-guide/indoor-set-ups/


Is there a Color difference?

Sun-grown cannabis usually looks darker than indoor-grown cannabis. Outdoor green strains are deeper green, sometimes turning brown if not cured well, while indoor ones are brighter green. Purple strains outdoors turn rich purple, while indoors, they stay lighter unless the genetics naturally make them dark.

Another visual indicator is the color at the base of the cannabis flowers. Outdoor-grown buds typically have a light brown hue around the stem at the bottom of the bud (no need to be concerned, it’s not mold). Generally, the small bracts near the bottom of the stem also appear light brown. In contrast, indoor buds remain consistently bright green (or purple) throughout.

Are Cannabinoids different?

Many people wrongly believe that outdoor cannabis is less potent than indoor-grown cannabis, but this is not true. Farmers at Sunna Ra Acres have proven this by conducting tests over several years. They grew the same plant clones outdoors and indoors side by side. The outdoor plants consistently had higher levels of cannabinoids like THC, CBD, and THCv. This experiment shows that sunlight brings out the plant’s true strength and makes it more medicinal.

Are Terpenes affected?

In this case, terpenes, like cannabinoids, get a boost from sunlight. Sunna Ra Acres found that when they grow two identical plants side by side—one outdoors and one indoors—the outdoor plant has more terpenes. Sometimes, the outdoor plants even have terpenes we didn’t know about before. Smoking these two plants tastes and smells different, with the outdoor one being more flavorful and aromatic.

But there’s a catch: terpenes can vanish if they aren’t dried and cured right. Indoor growers are careful with this process because they have more control indoors. On the other hand, new outdoor growers might forget proper drying, and that can make them lose the strong terpene flavors.

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About the Author

Our deep love of plants and fascination with Cannabis has enabled over 25 years of successful small scale Marijuana cultivation from indoor hydroponics, greenhouses and outdoor growing set-ups.

As Cannabis laws around the world change, *we support the movement toward freedom of choice for responsible, consenting adults who wish to experience the joy and wonder of growing a Cannabis plant.

*All info is for entertainment purposes only.  We do not condone illegal growing of Cannabis.   Consult your state laws accordingly. 

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