Cannabis plants thrive in warm conditions, but in countries like the Netherlands, you may face the challenge of cold weather if you’re growing cannabis outdoors. Cold temperatures can lead to issues such as stunted growth and less robust buds. However, with the helpful tips provided in this blog, you can still ensure that your plants thrive in colder conditions.
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Cannabis Growth and Cold Weather Don’t Mix Well
Cannabis plants prefer warm climates. They grow and flourish happily in warm summers and long hours of sunshine. So what happens when you face a chilly, cold spring or a gray, gloomy summer? Can cannabis grow in cold weather?
Fortunately, cannabis is a resilient plant that can tolerate cooler weather. Even in colder climates, you can grow cannabis. However, your plants will benefit from your close monitoring, especially if the temperatures drop significantly. Cold can negatively impact the growth and flowering of your cannabis plants.
Negative Effects of Cold
Two primary outcomes of cold weather on cannabis plants need to be monitored. The first is the impact of low temperatures on the roots and growth.
If the temperature falls below 12 degrees Celsius, the plant’s metabolism will slow down. In cold weather, cannabis can either grow very slowly or even halt growth altogether. The plant will struggle to absorb nutrients and oxygen, and enzymatic processes crucial for growth come to a standstill.
This results in halted growth, and your plants may begin to wilt. Additionally, a sudden drop in temperature can shock the roots. Freezing is, of course, extremely harmful to the root system.
Another issue in cold weather is mold formation. This is particularly common in cold and damp conditions, a weather pattern that the Netherlands often experiences. Water droplets can cling to leaves and buds, creating ideal conditions for mold. This can lead to rotting of buds and leaves, putting your yield at risk.
Tips for Handling Cold Weather
Since cold weather is detrimental to the growth and flowering of cannabis, it is crucial to monitor temperature closely. Below are some useful tips to protect your plants from low temperatures.
1. Pay Attention to Temperature Fluctuations
When growing cannabis in colder climates, it’s important to focus on significant temperature differences between day and night. The more consistent the temperature, the better your cannabis plants will thrive. Aim to minimize these fluctuations as much as possible, particularly in the second and third weeks of the flowering period. Keep the temperature differences to a maximum of 2 to 4 degrees Celsius.
If temperatures drop below 12 degrees, you can use heat mats to prevent the soil from cooling too much. This can avoid cold stress on the roots. If heat mats are not an option, protect your plant roots with a layer of mulch.
2. Keep Seedlings Indoors
Seedlings and young plants are particularly sensitive to cold. It’s a good idea to sow indoors and keep the seedlings indoors until they are strong enough to transition outside. Wait until there is no longer a risk of frost.
3. Grow Cannabis in Pots or a Greenhouse
Using pots can help protect your plants against the cold. If your plants are in pots, you can easily move them. You can follow the sunlight and, in case of frost, move your plants indoors.
A greenhouse is another way to ensure your cannabis plants continue to grow despite cold weather. It is a significant investment, but it allows you to enjoy your cannabis plants year-round. Make sure to provide adequate lighting and control temperature and humidity in the greenhouse.
4. Force the Flowering Phase
Is the weather looking bad? If you can’t adequately protect your cannabis plants, you can try to trigger the flowering phase sooner. You can achieve this by covering your plants with a tarp that blocks light.
This reduces the number of hours your plants are exposed to light, encouraging them to enter the flowering phase. As a result, you can harvest earlier before bad weather sets in.
Best Cannabis Strains for Cold Weather
If you live in a colder climate, growing cannabis is still possible. However, certain strains are particularly well-suited for cold conditions. Indica strains are generally better adapted to cold than Sativas.
Choose strains with genes from Canada, the Himalayas, the Netherlands, or Afghanistan. If your summers are short, go for strains that flower quickly or opt for autoflowers. They have a short life cycle and flower earlier, allowing you to harvest before autumn and winter set in.