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So, you are looking to grow some weed outdoors, but of course, outdoor growers do face some issues due to the cannabis plants relying on mother nature to grow big and tall. More often than not, growing cannabis outdoors results in smaller buds and lower potency than when growing indoors.
Today we are going to talk about proven and effective methods on how to grow bigger buds outdoors. When it comes down to it, there are 6 main methods/tips that you absolutely need to follow in order to maximize outdoor weed growing yields. These include;
- Pruning your marijuana plant.
- Using the right soil and nutrients.
- Stress training the weed plants.
- Spacing, placement, & lighting.
- The right timing.
- Pest control.
6 Best Methods To Grow Bigger Buds Outdoors
Let’s get right to it and find out how you can grow the biggest buds possible when growing cannabis outdoors.
1. Prune Your Marijuana Plant
One good way to help your marijuana plants develop larger buds when growing weed outdoors is through pruning the plant. Now, you might think that pruning your weed plant, or cutting off certain parts of it, would be counterproductive.
After all, the branches form nodes, which then means that there are more locations for buds to grow. However, more is not always better. This is a matter of quality over quantity.
You see, if you have a lot of nodes with buds growing on them further down the plant, it can actually have the reverse effect. The more buds there are growing further down the weed plant, the further they are from the canopy, and the canopy, or the top of the plant, the less light the lower parts of the plants will get.
Therefore, the lower sections of the plants will have small buds growing during the flowering time, but because most of the light is being blocked by the canopy, they never really mature and get large or potent.
However, because there are still buds growing further down the plant, buds that are not really going to mature into anything special, they take away valuable nutrients from the buds at the top which are getting adequate light. So, if you want to ensure that the buds grow as big as possible, especially near the top, you want to prune away any branches and nodes further down the plant which are not receiving adequate light.
When you do this, you do what is called “lollipopping” your plant, or in other words, you are creating a large canopy that absorbs all of the light.
Simply put, this will allow the buds at the top to get all of the energy and nutrients in one compact place, thus making them grow much larger than they otherwise would if you left buds growing near the bottom of the plant.
We have covered a good buyers guide on the top 10 trimming scissors / pruning shears, you can check it out here.
2. Use The Proper Soil & Nutrients
Another way to help ensure that your marijuana plant grows really big buds outdoors is to use the proper soil and the proper nutrients. Now, a mistake that many people make is to plop some seeds or seedlings into some dirt in the backyard.
This is a massive mistake because pot plants need nutrient rich soil, and chances are that the current dirt in your backyard does not contain nearly enough nutrients to support a healthy weed plant, not even in the vegetative state.
Therefore, before you plant your cannabis plants outdoors, make sure to replace the current dirt with real potting soil. We have another article about the best soil to use for marijuana growth (It’s a very detailed guide, you can check it out here). We would highly recommend going with one of those in order to maximize growth.
Remember that your weed plants require the proper nutrients for growth, mainly the NPK nutrients, which are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, so you need to get good soil with adequate levels of each.
This is not all though, because to maximize bud yields and potency, you will also need to supply the weed plant with the ideal level of nutrients all through the vegetative and flowering stages of growth.
Keep in mind that during the vegetative state of growth, your weed plant needs a lot of nitrogen. This will help spur on a lot of foliage and vegetative growth, as well as a strong plant in general. The more your plant grows during the vegetative state, the higher the yield will be in the end. However, this need for nutrients then changes for the flowering stage.
For the flowering stage, which is when the cannabis plant starts to develop the buds, the good stuff you will smoke, the nutrient requirements change a bit. For the flowering stage, you need to decrease nitrogen levels and increase phosphorus levels.
This will help encourage the buds to grow fast, to grow large, and to become quite dense. Another tip here is to use worm castings or bat guano to line the top of the soil when switching from the vegetative to the flowering stage, just for a bit of a nutrient kick.
Remember folks, you don’t need to measure each nutrient on its own really. Just get yourself the right nutrient blends for marijuana vegetation and then for flowering.
3. Stress Training Your Cannabis Plants
Yet another way you can help to ensure that your buds grow big and healthy outdoors is to train your cannabis plants. What you need to know is that when you let pot plants grow on their own, they will grow one large center stem, usually referred to as the stalk, which grows higher than all of the surrounding branches.
Yes, the large stalk will grow a really nice and large cola, which is the center stalk’s crown nug, but the downside to the center stalk of the cannabis plant being so much larger than the surrounding branches is that it ends up blocking light from those branches, thus causing the buds and colas on the surrounding branches to not get as much sunlight as they should be getting.
What you can do in order to correct this issue is to engage in some good old low stress training. This is where you slowly bend down branches so they are more horizontal and lower down, which in this case applies to the main stalk. You want to gently tie down the main stock so that it is no higher up than the rest of the branches.
This will then create an even plant canopy with all of the branches, including the center stalk and surrounding branches, to receive the same amount of sunlight, and lots of it.
This can be a bit difficult because tying plants down without damaging them can be difficult, but it is a solution you can go with to grow bigger buds outdoors, you just have to be really careful not to snap any branches, especially the center stalk.
If you happen to snap the center stalk, you better hope that the surrounding branches end up growing some nice buds to replace that beautiful center piece.
4. Spacing, Placement, & Lighting
Something else that is important to keep in mind when attempting to grow really large marijuana buds outdoors has to do with light. Now, when you grow indoors, you can select the type of lights you want, how many watts they put out, and you can dictate their distance from your cannabis plants too.
However, this is of course not something you have the liberty of doing outdoors. When you grow weed outdoors, you are relying on one single source of light, albeit the best and most natural source, the sun.
For one, you want to be sure to space your weed plants far enough apart so that they can all get sunlight. Sure, generally speaking, a single weed plant needs around 3 x 3 feet of space to grow, but this is in a grow tent where you can control the conditions and really blast the plants with light.
However, when you grow weed outdoors, you will want to increase that spatial allowance by a couple of feet in each direction, up to around 5 x 5 feet per plant. This will ensure that no leaves or colas from one plant overlap with another, and it should ensure that one plant does not cause another to sit in the shade.
When growing outdoors, the more light each plant can get the bigger and better the buds will be once it comes time to harvest. It is better to have a few less plants that grow big and potent buds because they are well spaced out, than to have a larger number of plants, half of which are in the shade because they are not spaced out right, which then results in a lower yield and less potency too.
The other thing to keep in mind here is that the sun rises on one side and comes down on the other side. The trick here is to try and grow your cannabis plants on a south facing slope. This will help maximize the amount of sunlight which each cannabis plant can receive.
Also, don’t plant any pot plants right beside a fence that is going to block out light, and definitely do not plant them right under or near trees which are going to throw shade onto your pot plants. The more light the better.
5. The Right Timing
Yet another thing that you need to do to ensure big and healthy buds when growing marijuana outdoors is to make sure that you plant them at the right time of the year. First of all, you really never want to germinate seeds outdoors, nor do you want to plant freshly sprouted seedlings outdoors, as they are extremely delicate and even small temperature or wind changes can kill them.
You want to sprout and plant your weed seeds inside and wait for a couple of weeks, until they have grown a few inches, to place them outdoors. Even more important here is that you can never put pot plants outdoors in the very early spring when there is still a chance of a frost occurring.
A night long frost will kill your weed plants. We do have a great article about the right temperature and humidity for weed (you can find it here), which will give you a good idea of how warm weed plants need to be in their vegetative and flowering states.
To put it bluntly, if the outdoor temperature gets anywhere near as low as 10 degrees Celsius, you want to hold off on planting your cannabis plants outdoors.
Yes, you should plant them in the spring so they are ready to harvest by late summer or early fall, but never make the mistake of planting them too early in the season or else you will risk freezing them.
If your cannabis plant suffers from cold stress, especially for a few consecutive nights, not only will you get small buds, but you might not get any at all, or even worse, the weed plant might just outright die.
6. Pest Control
Ok, so this does not exactly have to do with nutrients or growing bigger buds directly, but controlling pests is a pretty big deal no doubt. You might want to invest in some basic chicken wire or something similar.
Squirrels, deer, and other such animals can eat away at your plants, defecate on or around the plants, or they can eat away at the plants too. A good fence to keep out such animals is a pretty big deal.
On that same note, using some kind of pest prevention methods, to keep away all kinds of flies, gnats, and bugs, is definitely recommended too, as a serious spider mite or fungus gnat infestation can wreak havoc on your weed plants.
We do have an article specifically referring to spider mite and pest control (you can read it here, it’s very detailed), which is technically meant for people who are growing cannabis indoors, but generally speaking, when growing pot, indoor and outdoor pest prevention techniques are quite similar, especially when it comes to using essential oils to keep pests at bay or washing your plants with special solutions to get rid of pests.
The bottom line is that whether you are growing your weed indoors or out, how to grow bigger buds is something that we all want to know. After all, the whole point of growing your own weed is to supply yourself with as much of that righteous chronic as humanly possible.
So, be sure to space your plants out well, give them a good prune, make sure that they are getting the right nutrients and the right amount of them, and whatever you do, don’t plant them under any trees! If you follow all of these tips, you should have no problems getting really big and potent buds, even when growing outdoors.