A listener had some questions about planting outdoor cannabis clones. So let’s dive in.
A recent episode of The Real Dirt Podcast went in depth about the best techniques for planting outdoor cannabis clones. Some listeners have never had any issues transitioning their clones outside, but others are doing it for the first time this season.
While the main focus of the episode is about preventing early flowering in clones, a listener from Oklahoma who is new to growing wanted to know why early flowering is such a bad thing in the first place, and some other questions about planting outdoor cannabis clones.
Outdoor Cannabis Clones and Early Flowering
A lot of new growers might plant some clones outside, come back a couple weeks later to find them already flowering, and think they struck gold. If you could grow a cannabis plant in half the time and still have it produce flowers, why wouldn’t you? But that’s not really how it works.
Here’s how it usually goes: You take the plant out in May. Two weeks later you notice those pretty flowers. Two weeks after that, you get small buds. But then the plant stalls for two weeks to a month and begins to grow weird shaped leaves out of the buds. The plant then reverts back to vegetative growth.
At this point however, it’s already the middle of July, so your plant only has two or three more weeks before it goes into flower again under the natural light of the sun. In the end, you end up with less cannabis that doesn’t look as good.
There are a few things you can do to ensure that your clones thrive outside, but there’s also plenty of things to avoid.
The Do’s of Outdoor Cannabis Clones
Know your clones – Certain clones just don’t perform well outdoors. If they come from a strain that was bred indoors and is mostly cultivated indoors, you’re more likely to encounter problems. Before you just buy an exotic strain clone from your local nursery, do some research into its growth patterns and traits, so you can be sure to avoid strains more prone to problems.
Know your light cycles – Different areas of the United States have short and longer light cycles throughout the year. You can easily look up the light cycles of where you live to determine when you should plant your outdoor cannabis clones. In Oklahoma for example, May 1 has 13 and a half hours of daylight. By June 1, there is 14 hours and 23 min of daylight. Then by June 21, the longest day of the year, Oklahoma gets over 14 and half hours of sunlight. Most clones will want to flower at this point, which you don’t want.
Keep some backups – It’s always good to keep some backup clones on hand that you don’t plant outside right away. Especially if it is your first time growing outdoor cannabis clones, start with planting half to two-thirds of your clones outdoors after ensuring they aren’t prone to problems. Should they flower early by chance, you’ll at least have some plants you can salvage and continue to grow.
Transition your clones – Use a shade cloth or a greenhouse to acclimate your plants to the sun. As they adjust to natural light you can wane them off of supplemental lights until they are ready to transplant. If you want to keep it as simple as possible, you can keep your plants under tree cover and shade and then move them out into the sun when they are ready. With this method you most likely won’t have any supplemental lighting.
Keep an eye on them – Clones are extremely sensitive to transplants, and it’s common for outdoor cannabis clones to have issues when they are transplanted from a controlled indoor or greenhouse environment to an outdoor bed or pot. You need to check on your clones regularly to ensure none of them are suffering from transplant shock or other problems.
Seems simple enough, but there’s some things you need to avoid to increase your outdoor cannabis clones’ chances.
The Don’ts of Outdoor Cannabis Clones
Don’t put them out too early – Unless you are using supplemental lighting outdoors, you need to keep your clones in a greenhouse where you can control their light schedule to help them adjust to natural light over time. When the longest days in late May and early June only have 13-14 hours of light, your clones will begin flowering if not adjusted.
Don’t let your clones become root bound – The last thing you want is for your clones to become comfortable in their nursery pots, with roots wrapped around its base, only to strain those roots when you transplant them. If you transplant outdoors before your clones have rooted, it will be easier for them to adjust and root into their new medium.
Don’t stress your clones out – Clones are already delicate. They are raised in a controlled environment, with a specific temperature, humidity and lighting. If you’re keeping your clones at a steady temperature 72-74 degrees Fahrenheit indoors, you don’t want to transplant them on a 95 degree day. While it is important to keep your keep your clones wet for the first few days after transplanting, you don’t want to stress them by overwatering either.
This list of do’s and don’ts might seem long, but making sure your outdoor cannabis clones don’t flower early isn’t difficult to avoid. You can simply keep them in an indoor or greenhouse environment and slowly adjust the lights, so when you put them outside around solstice when the day is around 15 hours, your plants will be adjusted, and will transition to flower more naturally.