Stay updated on local laws before starting a home cannabis garden. Pictured: In this August 2015 photo, Jorge Cervantes stands near female clones that were raised indoors and transplanted to this backyard garden in Portland, Oregon. New laws limiting medical marijuana plant counts went into effect in March 2016. (Paul Stanford photo, provided by Jorge Cervantes)

How to grow weed in any climate: six top tips

Renowned grower Jorge Cervantes will answer readers’ questions and give advice on all things related to the cannabis plant. Got a question for Jorge? Email him at

Editor’s Note: Laws for cultivating cannabis vary from state to state and city to city — before germinating any seeds or planting any clones, take care to learn what your local laws are.


Question: I want to try growing and have heard outdoors is the easiest way to go. Can you give some tips about planning for spring planting?

Answer: The first step is to make sure you don’t get arrested and have your crop confiscated by law enforcement. Start by boning up on the state and local laws for growing cannabis. Type this search into Google: “Can I grow marijuana legally in (your state)” to get started. Don’t forget to check your local ordinances too. Once you’ve done your research on those particulars, start thinking about your personal options.

Cannabis can be grown in your backyard, on the terrace or patio, in a greenhouse and of course, indoors.

You can employ any of these cultivation techniques to grow a great crop of cannabis in any of the climate zones found in legalized America.

Mark your calendar: Check your local county extension website for general gardening information, including the average dates for the last freeze of the spring and first frost of the fall. Cannabis can grow outdoors in seasons as short as 90 days, but special precautions must be taken.

If you will be growing marijuana in an area where you’re not familiar with how much sun will be available during the season, or other environmental factors such as exposure to wind, consider starting with a small experimental plot or keep your plants in containers so they can be temporarily placed in various areas before going full-bore with a permanent plan.

Simple tricks to help your plants get a good start on life

1. You can start seeds indoors or you may be able to purchase clones (small plants) from a dispensary locally. Nurture seedlings or clones under artificial light until they are 12- to 36-inches tall before setting them outdoors. Setting out big plants early in the season can give you a big jump on the season.

2. Clones are cut from known female “mother” plants. They are guaranteed to be females. Planting clones is one of the best ways to ensure you are growing female plants. Female cannabis plants have a much higher cannabinoid profile than male plants.

3. If you want to grow from seed, purchase “feminized” cannabis seeds. Feminized seed should produce only female cannabis plants. Feminized plants produce big juicy flower buds. If you plant “regular” seeds, about half of the plants will be female and half male. Male plants are easy to spot and must be culled so that they do not pollinate females. (Watch this video about how to identify male plants.)

4. In cooler climates, plant early-flowering varieties of cannabis that can be harvested earlier in the fall.

5. If it is cold at night outdoors, grow plants in containers and move them indoors at night. Just a few degrees of extra warmth at night will speed growth. If you want to grow plants in an outdoor garden, put them in a raised bed. Raised beds warm earlier in the spring and stay warm a month longer in the fall. Warmer roots will help transplanted cannabis grow faster.

6. Cover cannabis plants with a plastic cloche or makeshift plastic cold frame to protect from cold spring rains and cool nights. Make sure to include ventilation for this homemade greenhouse to supply fresh air to the plant.

Your opinion is valuable:
Please tell us how you are growing cannabis in your climate in the comment section below. Our readers want to know your tips and tricks!

Please check out my YouTube channel, where you can find more than 200 cannabis cultivation videos. Also check for my cannabis cultivation books.