Do you want the benefits of sun-grown cannabis alongside a cultivation experience with a small form factor? Your balcony or terrace may be perfect for a little home cultivation.
Growing weed on a balcony can be an affordable solution for those in cities or anyone without access to outdoor space. This style of cultivation can make it very simple to get started. Your plants are right outside your door for a fraction of the cost of most setups. Plus, growing outdoors in containers has been tried and tested by cannabis cultivators for generations.
There are some unique considerations, however. Shade, wind, pests, and security often impact how you grow cannabis outdoors on balconies, rooftops, or terraces. While these are all issues with any grow, balcony growers want to pay special attention to these based on the location of their balcony.
The lifecycle for balcony cannabis plants often starts indoors. Seeds should be popped and have started the early vegetative stage before moving outdoors in containers. Everything else, including your harvesting, drying, and curing steps, will be no different than those recommended in our Marijuana Grow Bible.
Ready to get started? This article will discuss a few things to keep in mind, so you’ll be up and running in no time.
Growing your marijuana on a shaded balcony
Although many of the methods you’ll use to cultivate marijuana on a balcony will be similar to standard outdoor cannabis cultivation, shade poses a unique problem. You can’t change the direction of your balcony or grow space in a building. Like many things in cultivation, you’ll have to adapt. Start by reviewing the basic outdoor light needs to get up to speed.
If you’re one of the lucky ones with a balcony facing south (northern hemisphere), you can enjoy longer sunny afternoons. As you might know, more sun hours are ideal for photoperiods. For everyone else, shade will be inevitable.
The plus side is, you can do a few things to help with too much shade. First, the seeds you grow may need to be auto-flowering to thrive. Photoperiod plants may do well if facing east or west, but it depends on your building setup. Autoflowering strains, on the other hand, will take the sun they can get and make it work, so consider those if you have a lot of shade.
There’s no solution for 100% shade; if that’s your situation, you’ll want to consider growing indoors. If you have a south-facing window, you could move your plant to the window in the afternoons to keep getting direct sunlight. This can have some added benefits, like reducing weather stress.
The last solution to consider when dealing with shade is supplementing your outdoor plants with artificial light during the day. If your setup and budget allow, you can find some good options. However, grow equipment kept outdoors will have a considerably shorter lifespan.
Monitor your planned grow space for a few days and consider where the sun will be when you harvest to gauge your light level. Make sure to plan your grow around it, as light is one of the limiting factors for cannabis grown on balconies and everywhere else.
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Growing weed on a windy balcony
Depending on your location and elevation, cannabis grown on a balcony may be subject to some heavy wind. Wind, of course, isn’t bad, as plants need a steady wind to grow and stay strong throughout their vegetative stages. But too much will cause wind burn, cutting yields and potentially breaking the plants. Take these precautions to avoid seeing plants toppling over and grow medium flying out of your containers.
- Move the plants indoors if they are small enough. Time away from the wind and weather can help a plant recover. This would not be ideal for larger plants.
- If your balcony has railings consider blocking the space with plywood to encase the plant more in your balcony. Keep in mind this can cut down on wind, but it may also look obvious to anyone passing by. Get creative in how you block the space.
- Trellising and staking will be essential for windy grows. They won’t prevent windburn, but both can provide a solid structure and keep plants from breaking or snapping under weather stress.
Trellissing is also a good idea for taller plants in general. Autoflowers can also handle wind better, as they tend to grow a little tougher with their ruderalis ancestry.
<image: a trellis setup to illustrate the concept>
Planning for a windy balcony grow may take trial and error to find the best fit for your situation. However, with basic plant care, you can keep your grow healthy and give yourself the best chance of success. Don’t let a little wind ruin your work; shelter your plants and keep things shorter with training methods.
- Healthy plants = BIG yields
- Optimized recipe for each stage
- Strong plants from seed to bud
Cannabis pests on a balcony
Like all grows, pests can make or break a harvest. Balcony-grown cannabis is no different. When growing cannabis outdoors on a balcony or roof, you may think pests wouldn’t be a problem. However, the sweet smells of flowering plants will attract winged pests from quite a distance, especially if it’s a windy situation. Thrips, whiteflies, spider mites, aphids, and caterpillars can all pose a threat to your balcony cannabis grow.
This isn’t necessarily worse than standard outdoor cultivation and may, in fact, be much better depending on your setup. Including pest prevention in your routine will save you stress and headache down the road.
Methods like neem oil may help but must be applied during the veg stage to benefit the plant. It may be a rough journey if you don’t prepare for pests and find out you have them. Use bacterial and fungal controls to keep your plants healthy, and watch for any signs of pest damage or stress. For more methods to keep pests off cannabis plants, review our list of pest control techniques and browse our available plant protectors.
Growing cannabis on your balcony is great option. Here are top 10 strains to grow on your balcony,
How to hide your balcony grow
With balcony grows, there’s always a security concern. You don’t want neighbors spotting your plants from the street or surrounding properties. In the US, discretion is a requirement in states with legal home growing.
For security and stealth purposes, you can visually hide your grow with other balcony objects like other plants, chairs, or tables that would obscure the plant(s) from view. You can do this with almost anything you have. Use screens or trellising to quickly diminish lines of sight. Plant training methods can also help keep plants very low to the ground or behind an object or fence.
When it comes to the smell, there’s no hiding the wonderful aroma of a cannabis plant in full flower. When on the balcony, that scent will carry. To stop this, keep things small and consider your surroundings. Just because cannabis will grow on your balcony, it may not be the best idea. Make sure you can get through the flowering phase without stressing about the smells that come with it.
As far as general security goes, make sure there’s no easy route from the outside to get to your grow on the balcony. You don’t want plants to walk away overnight after you’ve put effort into them. Floodlights, cameras, and more can help with this element of security. Remember to keep your grow to yourself. As fun as it is to discuss, if you need stealth, stay quiet and cultivate wisely.
When to grow cannabis on a balcony or terrace
Timing is everything for balcony grows. As easy as they are to tend and get to, you are still dealing with mother nature. Plan for as much light as possible. Always be aware of the grow calendar and consider the full duration of your plants before getting started to avoid any surprises. If the weather gets cold or wet, be careful about starting photoperiods and stick to autoflowers. You may want to even plan to finish the harvest indoors if necessary.
With good planning, you can catch the seasons at the right time to optimize your grow and produce high-quality balcony-grown cannabis buds. The right time really depends on your location and the seasons.
Tips for growing weed on your terrace or balcony
Overall, growing cannabis on your balcony, terrace, or rooftop is similar to outdoor container cultivation for cannabis. With shade, wind, pests, and security accounted for, you can rely on your knowledge, setup, and the plant itself to create quality.
Outside of the environmental variables we discussed, you also want to look at your available space and plan well. Good use of plant training can maximize the yields a small space can deliver. Keep container sizes in mind to make sure they’re movable if needed. Always consider going with autoflowers on your balcony cannabis grow first, as they can take a rough environment and flower successfully at any time of the year since their growth cycle is based on age, not the light duration. Use this to your advantage, along with plant training methods like scrog and low-stress training, to put the plant exactly where she needs to be in your available space.
Have more to add? Leave a comment below to let us know if you’ve grown successfully on a balcony or have any remaining questions about how to get started.
Keep on growing!