Do’s and Don’ts of Outdoor Cannabis Clones

Do’s and Don’ts of Outdoor Cannabis Clones

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.


Listen to the original episode all about planting outdoor cannabis clones and let us know if you have any questions we didn’t answer!

The Problems with Planting Clones Outside

The Problems with Planting Clones Outside

More states are legalizing, and that means more people are starting to grow their own cannabis compared to any other time in modern history.

While it might seem like indoor growing is the predominant method for most cannabis cultivation today, some of the largest cannabis producers in the country grow all their cannabis outdoors. Northern California supplies more than half of the countries cannabis, and a lot of that cannabis is grown in a big field outside.

While there is a place for seeds in outdoor growing, clones allow you as the grower to select the best plant in your garden and reproduce it en masse. But an inexperienced grower that plants clones outside in late May and early June might notice a serious issue. Clones flowering right away.

Planting Clones Outside

The number one mistake to avoid when planting clones outside is planting them too early. While the perfect time to plant is hotly debated, planting in early May is usually too early. Another mistake newer growers may make is using a bigger pot like a 5 gallon so they can grow a bigger plant in the end.

However, a one gallon pot will work just fine, with a clone about one foot tall. As long as your clones are not root bound already, you’re odds are good that you won’t have too many problems. For ideal results, keeping your clones in a greenhouse until they have developed sufficiently to about 4 or 5 feet tall. Once they’re stronger and in the right place, you can plant them later in the season, after the solstice and before August 1st, and see great results.

Another option is to start them a little earlier and smaller. When your clones are about 6 inches tall, they stand a better chance of acclimating to the outdoor environment, compared to larger plants that will need more help during the transition.

Tips for Success

Jason Miller of Kiskanu Farms has been growing the Bubblegum strain for years, a notoriously difficult strain to grow well, especially outdoors. But through his own techniques, Jason grows the best Bubblegum in Northern California. His main advice is to just keep your plants happy.

“It’s difficult when you are moving your plants from a comfortable, controlled environment out into the wild. For us, we always try to make it as easy a transition as we can, moving them into a covered greenhouse to transition from high pressure lights to regular sunlight, controlling temperature and giving them time to ‘harden off’, so they are more prepared for sunlight when we move them outside.”

Moving your clones from a controlled greenhouse environment straight into the sunlight will almost always result in your plants burning due to the rapid shift in light power.

This Week on The Real Dirt

This week’s episode has full stack of expert outdoor cultivators. Jason from Kiskanu, Chris from Cultivate OKC, Brian from Yumboldt Farms and Jeff from Little Hill Cultivators all share their best techniques for planting clones outside.

From how to transition your lighting to when you should plant your clones outside for the best results, this episode will make you confident in your first grow with clones, or help you change your game up for an ever better outdoor season than last year.

Listen to the episode right here on The Real Dirt, or Subscribe and Follow us on Apple Podcasts and Spotify to get the latest episodes straight to your phone for easy listening.

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