You’d be forgiven for thinking that in order to successfully cultivate cannabis outdoors, you’d need a significant amount of space to get the job done. After all, most outdoor cultivation guides tend to target growers with larger gardens, greenhouses and so on.
But what if the only outdoor space you have is a compact terrace or balcony? You’ve technically got an outdoor space for cannabis cultivation…albeit on the small side.
As is the case with indoor cannabis cultivation, growing cannabis on a terrace or balcony successfully is all about strategy. You’ve limited space to play with, but this doesn’t mean you can’t produce a serious amount of quality bud.
So for city-dwellers and urban-growers with very little space to play with, here are six helpful tips for growing better cannabis on a balcony or terrace:
1. Choose the right pots
First up, you’ll want to think carefully about the types of pots you use, along with how many you intend to place on your balcony. Material quality doesn’t matter a great deal, just as long as there’s good drainage and enough space for your plants to grow.
The size of any given pot will have a direct impact on the resulting size of the cannabis plant. If you’re looking to grow smaller plants to keep things under wraps, choosing smaller pots will help keep your plants relatively compact. By contrast, choose larger pots and your plants could grow much bigger.
Assess how much space you have available and what you intend to achieve, before selecting the most appropriate pots for your balcony.
2. Think carefully about genetics
It’s exactly the same when it comes to the cannabis strains you choose to grow on your terrace. Cannabis plants with pure or predominant sativa genetics naturally grow much bigger than their indica counterparts. Likewise, indica cannabis plants aren’t quite as demanding where sunlight is concerned, so could be useful if your balcony isn’t much of a sun trap.
Along with the size of the cannabis strains you choose, it’s also worth thinking about regular vs autoflowering strains. Autoflowering plants automatically begin flowering at a certain stage, which both accelerates the production process and limits the size of the plants. Regular cannabis plants can technically produce more bud, but need more time and space to do so.
3. Position your containers strategically
It’s not like you’ve got a great deal of space to play with, but you still need to be strategic when positioning your pots and containers. Light-dark cycles don’t matter a huge amount with autoflowering cannabis strains, but you still need to ensure your plants receive approximately 6 hours of direct sunlight per day, if possible.
If the early afternoon sun where you live is particularly powerful, you may need to think about shading your plants at certain times of day. Likewise, your plants will need to be protected from heavy rain and strong wind at all times. The benefit of growing in containers being that you can simply bring them inside, if and when the elements aren’t at their best.
Keep an eye on your plants as the weeks and months pass, moving them around your balcony when you need to.
4. Use the highest quality soil available
The quality of the soil you use will make or break your entire cultivation project. One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a home grower is to simply use the cheapest soil you can lay your hands on and hope for the best. It’s not as if premium quality soil is particularly expensive – especially in the kinds of quantities you’ll be needing.
Set yourself up with a high-quality organic soil from a reputable garden centre, ensuring it is well-aerated and provides good drainage. You’ll need to provide additional nutrients at various stages as your plants grow, but you also need to ensure that the soil has a good nutrient content to start with.
If in doubt, research recommended brands and specific soil types online, in accordance with the area you live in.
5. Get started a little earlier
Depending on the direction your balcony faces (and the space you have available), it could take slightly longer to get the job done than in a more typical outdoor grow space. As a result, it’s generally advisable to get started on your balcony cannabis grow slightly earlier than normal.
You don’t need to be too specific – simply make sure you get started towards the mid-reaches of spring and you’ll be onto a winner. Make the most of the warmer and brighter months of the year, to ensure your plants are as strong, healthy and generous as they can be come autumn.
Of course, this isn’t necessarily as important where autoflowering strains are concerned. Some smaller specimens can be taken from seed to harvest in less than three months, which can be great for balcony growing.
6. Keep your plants under control
Last but not least, it’s important not to let your plants grow well and truly out of control. The more cramped and congested things become, the higher the likelihood of your plants succumbing to any number of problems.
When your plants have been in the vegetative phase for approximately four weeks, the time comes to start pruning and training them. Most balcony or terrace growers prune in a way that encourages cannabis plants to grow outwards, rather than upwards. Coaxing your plants to become stout and bushy is usually the way to go with balcony growing, rather than allowing them to reach excessive heights.
If you’re not sure how to trim and control cannabis plants properly, you’ll find all the information you need online. A free YouTube video tutorial could prove particularly helpful.