When is the best time to move the plants outside?
Before considering moving your cannabis plants outdoors, it is important to determine your objectives: is it to help the vegetative phase of your plants? Or to trigger the flowering? This will determine your plan of action and the time of the year when you can proceed with the move. Indeed, the most important thing is to respect the natural cycles of the plant. It is necessary to know that from spring the sun generates more and more light per day, going from 12h in March to 16h of light per day in June. From June 21 the daily sunshine duration decreases which pushes the marijuana plants to enter in bloom between mid-July and mid-August.
Move your plants to help the vegetative phase.
If you want to give your cannabis plants natural sunlight to help them in the development of their vegetation, move them outside just after the summer equinox from 21 June, when the hours of daylight are longest. On the other hand, if you move them before, the plant could start the flowering process instead of continuing its growth. Indeed, if your indoor lighting cycle is 18 hours of light per day, the outdoor plant will take advantage of less light time and it will react naturally by entering in bloom. However, the light will gradually increase until the end of June and the plants will stop flowering to return to vegetative regeneration. Then in July, the daylight will begin to decrease and the cannabis plants will return in bloom for good. All this unnatural process is very long and very stressful for the plants which will deform and have a lower yield.
To move its plants for the bloom
Regarding the right time to move your plans for flowering, it will be recommended to do it from the summer solstice, i.e. June 21st. It is at this time that the days will start to shorten which will trigger the flowering. On the other hand, if you move your plants outside before this period, they will start to re-vegetate instead of flowering.
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How to prepare the plants outside?
Whatever your choice among the proposed options it is important not to expose the plants to variations of too violent lighting time in order to avoid unwanted flowering or plant regeneration. In other words, it is possible to acclimatize the plants gently and gradually so as not to stress them.
You have two options:
- Start growing your marijuana plants indoors with a classic 18/6 lighting cycle. Then, starting in March, familiarize your indoor plants with the new outdoor photoperiod by gradually reducing their indoor light schedules. This operation to be done daily for several weeks. When their light cycle is synchronized to the outdoor one then you will be able to move your plants outdoors, but do not move them if they will receive less than 14 hours of light per day.
- Start growing your plants indoors while following the natural outdoor photoperiod. For example, if there are 14 hours of light per day, also give your plants 14 hours of light per day. You gradually adjust the duration of your indoor lighting by a few minutes every few days to keep the two lighting cycles (indoor and outdoor) synchronized. This will then allow you to put your plants outside when you want, without disturbing the plant cycle.
By following these tips, you should be able to move your cannabis plants easily. Once outside, let them acclimatize for a few days to their new environment, the weather, the intensity of the sun and the length of the day. Then it will be time to transplant!