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Growing Autoflowers Outdoors: The Complete Guide

Can you grow autoflowers outdoors?  Yes. You can, and you should.

You might have seen the perfect cannabis bud while over at a friend's digs. Perhaps you accidentally grew it. Instead of wondering how to grow autoflowers outdoors, go and plant your Homegrown auto seeds and watch the magic happen. 

Not only is it easier on your wallet, but you're also likely to have a better-tasting product with some righteous bud appeal. 

A few years back, most serious marijuana growers would laugh at the thought of growing autoflowers outdoors. It simply couldn't compete with photoperiod cannabis strains. The yield, potency, and aroma were no match. 

Thanks to weed breeders and scientists, these strains easily compete with their photoperiod counterparts

Outdoor cannabis flowers
Outdoor cannabis flowers

Why grow autoflowers outdoors

Growing weed indoors is excellent for consistent yields, as you have total control over the environmental conditions. Taking things outdoors can work just as well.

Here are some reasons why growing autoflowers outdoors will be life-changing. 

Great for guerrilla grows

Autoflowering cannabis is extraordinary for guerrilla growth, as it only needs two months to mature after germination. These marijuana strains don't need a lot of special care or training.

You can plant your Homegrown outdoor autoflowering seeds in a low-traffic spot with loads of sunlight and access to water.

Expect bigger yields

Even with the best equipment, you'll never be able to produce as much lumen as the sun. 

Make the best of your automatic cannabis seeds by planting them outside, where they'll receive 12+ hours of sun every day. This is sure to increase your yield per weed plant. 

Smaller plants

Marijuana plants that stand 3m tall might not count in your favor if you're looking to keep your plantation discreet. 

When growing autoflowers outdoors, the cannabis matures too fast to get that high. These strains rarely stand taller than one meter. Easily hide your autoflowers from wandering eyes by planting them behind a fence or hedge. 

Smaller chance of pests or mold

Growing anything outdoors means exposing it to more pests and mold or rot, as the conditions are out of your control. Autoflowering plants have the upper hand here. 

Thanks to the short lifespan, they're less likely to be exposed to the conditions that cause pests and diseases such as spider mites, aphids, powdery mildew or bud rot. 

Save money

When mother nature helps you grow cannabis, you need way less equipment. Growing your autos outdoors is a noteworthy alternative if you don't have the funds to set up a grow room. 

You'll need some good soil and nutrients, but you no longer need to worry about perfect lighting, filtration, or ventilation


When to grow autoflowering cannabis outdoors 

Similar to photoperiod cannabis strains, automatics love strong sunlight. 

Growing autoflowers outdoors requires at least 10 hours of sunlight per day, but 16 hours a day ensures excellent yields and potency. The regular planting season is between April and late July, depending on where you reside. 

If you live in a colder area, wait till after the last frost, usually May or later. Avoid stormy months as well. 

For the lucky folks who live in areas with ideal year-round temperatures, this is easy. You can plant whenever suits you. 

Autoflower outdoors
Autoflower outdoors

How to grow autoflowers outdoors

We've all heard the saying when you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Make sure you've got all your goodies and planning done before you start. 

Toolkit: What you need

Make sure you stock your toolkit before you start prepping to grow weed. Here's what you'll need: 

Selecting and buying your autoflowering cannabis seeds

Make sure to select the correct cannabis strain for what you're trying to achieve. For a successful growing season, buy some of the best autoflowering seeds in the USA

Germinate autoflowering cannabis seeds

You'll have to germinate your weed seeds before planting them. Most growers prefer the paper towel method. Submerging them in water for about 12 hours before placing them in the damp paper towels is excellent for growing autoflowers outdoors. It allows the shells to soften so that the cannabis seedling can easily break through.

After your marijuana seeds have popped and you see a white taproot, you can transfer these seedlings to the medium. Make a 2-3cm deep hole with your finger or a pen to avoid damage. Be sure that you've selected the correct pot as autoflowers don't like to be transferred.  

Water and nutrients

These weed strains have a shorter lifespan than their photoperiod cousins. They need to be fed and watered more often as the development happens much faster. You can get away with feeding these cannabis plants half-strength nutrients; just be sure not to overwater them. 

If you've had dry weather or you've planted in pots, consider watering daily, especially once the plants get larger. Also, consider using plain water between feeds. 

This is where your pH testing kit comes in handy. Make sure to check that the pH level of the solution is between 6.0 and 7.0.

Harvesting your autoflowering cannabis crop

When selecting and buying your cannabis seeds, the breeder will likely provide an expected growth period. This time might be slightly longer for outdoor growing. 

Once the trichomes turn murky, there's a color change in pistils, they shrink into buds, and the leaves have gone from green to purple or yellow, your weed plant is ready for harvest. 


Autoflower outdoor grow yield

Whether you grow cannabis indoors or outdoors, genetics and growing conditions will impact the yield.

You can harvest between 40g and 200g per weed plant. Specific genetic characteristics, like bud density and how many bud sites, play a significant role. Choosing the right strain is vital. How you take care of your cannabis plants will also determine the size of your autoflower outdoor grow yield, so proper planning will go a long way. 


Growing pains and solutions when growing autoflowers outside

Growing autoflowers outside has come along leaps and bounds in the past few years, and you can match the potency in half the time. If your weed plants become infested with pests or powdery mildew, you won't have enough time to recover as they mature so fast. 

Mold and pests

When watering and feeding your marijuana plants, check for danger signs. Remove the affected bud or foliage at the first sight of mold. If possible, these plants should be moved to a drier area as soon as possible. 

Remove all visible pests by hand as soon as it's spotted. If the problem is more invasive, use a safe pesticide such as insecticidal soap or neem oil. For preventative measures, these sprays can be used weekly. Be sure not to spray directly onto the cannabis buds. 


Protect your weed plants from pets and other animals by fencing the area you plan to grow your crop. It's usually your best bet against rabbits, deer, and pets of all sorts. You can also make use of barrier plants that act as natural deterrents. 

Protect your plants

Outdoor cannabis plants are exposed to many different things that can cause severe growing pains. We're talking about bad weather, animals, and pests. A stressed-out plant can negatively impact your harvest. You’ll want to focus on security for growing weed outdoors. Check out these quick solutions to cultivating cannabis outside: 

  1. Build a small greenhouse to guard your plants against terrible weather. 
  2. Make use of companion planting to ward off pests. 
  3. Build a wire cage around your herb to protect it from animals. 
Outdoors cannabis greenhouse
Outdoors cannabis greenhouse

Key takeaways

This outdoor autoflower grow guide should have eased your nerves. Here's a quick summary of the benefits of planting autoflowers outdoors

  • Fatter buds and bigger autoflower outdoor grow yield thanks to sunlight. 
  • Depending on the weather, you can grow it outdoors any time of the year. 
  • Multiple harvests per growing season. 
  • Due to the short harvest cycle, it's less susceptible to pests.
  • You can use small spaces like a terrace or a balcony to grow weed

Buying exceptional quality marijuana seeds is the first step to growing autoflowers outdoors.

About the author: Derek LaRose

Also known as Kronic from The Cannabis Kronicles, Derek LaRose is a young ambitious cultivator and a staple educator for indoor cultivation.

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