When it comes to growing cannabis there are two options – indoor or outdoor garden. Each of these options comes with their own unique benefits (and drawbacks). Some of the key differences of growing cannabis indoors vs outdoors are climate, cost of growing and the quality of the final product.
One of the key differences between growing cannabis indoors vs. outdoors is the ability to control climate. When you compare indoor and outdoor growing, there are pros and cons to both in relation to the environment.
With outdoor gardens, there is no way to manage the climate except to work with the natural weather conditions. Indoor growing, on the other hand, allows the user complete control over the growing environment – temperature, humidity, lighting, etc. Indoor growing tends to produce visually stunning flowers with higher THC content, but there is no substitute for natural light. Despite better climate management, indoor growers will usually have smaller yields and less robust plants due to a lesser spectrum of light.
Despite having full climate control, there are cons for indoor growers as well. Cannabis plants grown outdoors in natural environments, tend to be stronger and more robust due to unique environmental factors that are hard to replicate. For example, outdoor crops have natural assistance from ladybugs, wasps and ants in managing mites and other potential infestations. However, this is nearly impossible to duplicate indoors as there are too many unique variables. Therefore, mites are an extremely difficult obstacle to manage in an indoor garden (unless caught extremely early).
Cost of Growing
While the cost of growing cannabis overall can be high, it varies greatly on your method for growing and whether you choose to have an indoor or outdoor garden.
Up front, indoor is easily more expensive. Even a basic set-up for small grow of 4 to 6 cannabis plants can run $500 or more when you count the cost of the seeds, soil, lighting, containers, heating units, air conditioner, humidifiers/dehumidifiers, etc. Depending on your climate and location, you may be able to get away with less but at the very least grow lights and containers will be needed. However, most serious indoor and home-growers will invest in a grow tent or convert a closet or basement into a grow area.
Outdoor growing can be extremely affordable as essentially all you need is seeds or clones. However, if you want higher yields and denser, higher quality buds you will require a bit more. Fertilizer, soil, nutrients, fencing and other supplies – such as plastic sheets for temporary enclosures – will be vital to producing better plants. However, if live in an ideal climate and have quality soil, costs will be less and outdoor growers save on grow lights and grow tents.
Outdoor grows also require less maintenance and monitoring than indoor gardens. The negative side to this is that outdoor gardens will only produce a harvest once per year, whereas indoor operations can have perpetual harvesting and multiple grow rooms if they are a large operation.
Quality of Product
Indoor growing allows you the ability to control all aspects of your cannabis plant; breeding, nutrition, humidity, temperature, water distribution, etc. For experienced growers, this results in cannabis that tends to be more visually appealing and have higher THC levels. However, yields from indoor harvests tend to be lower as you are at the mercy of your grow lights, which determine how large your cannabis plant will end up.
Outdoor growing is opposite from indoor as there is no ability to control the weather conditions. Heavy winds, rainfall and daylight hours are all aspects outside the control of an outdoor gardener. However, there are plenty of things you can do to mitigate these issues. That being said, in ideal conditions, outdoor gardens can be very fruitful. For instance, outdoor grown cannabis will often provide a lot more yield per harvest. This is because there is limitless space to grow when rooted in soil. It is also due to the fact that the sun is the most powerful “grow light” available.
In terms of bud quality, frosty and pristine buds are often the result of indoor growing. While outdoor buds may not look as cosmetically appealing, they have an incredible aroma and solid potency when grown correctly. Some consumers even find organic grown, outdoor cannabis to be preferable.
Unfortunately, there is often a stigma surrounding outdoor gardens in regards to legality so harvest and curing can be rushed. However, when done properly, the quality of bud is quite comparable.
Overall, deciding where to grow will come down to personal preference, climate and experience. If the climate is favourable to growing cannabis, it may be more about personal preferences. If the climate is less-favourable, it may be a matter of cost for an indoor set-up versus giving it a go outdoors. Check out our beginners guide to growing outdoors and our tips for growing indoor articles for more information as well!