The days are growing shorter while the temperatures are getting cooler. For many in the US, fall has arrived, with strewn leaves, chillier days, even colder nights. For those among us who have home grows they may have started in the spring, the time has now come to figure out what to do next. Is all hope lost? Can you bring your plants inside? Read on to learn how to transport your plants indoors without damaging your crops — or profits — for a successful offseason grow.
Unfortunately, most grow experts say that it’s actually not a great idea to start a grow outdoors and then move it inside. One of the biggest issues they face is that outdoor plants should be harvested outside. If anything, home growers would want to make this particular move in reverse — start inside and move plants outside until it’s time to harvest. However, not everyone may know this, or sometimes folks just want to experiment with indoor/outdoor grows, or it’s simply down to individual circumstance. So, if you find yourself in this situation — facing the autumn season with crops that need to be moved in or they’ll simply die due to the cold — what do you do?
Josh Haupt is author of cannabis grow book Three A Light and founder of the accompanying app of the same name, as well as chief operating officer of cannabis consulting service company Medicine Man Technologies. He says there are a variety of scenarios to consider when attempting to move a grow inside from the great outdoors.
When Moving Your Grow, Be Mindful Of Temperature
Haupt starts by recommending you keep an eye on nighttime temperatures when it comes to your outdoor crop in the fall. While you figure out the how and where of transporting your plants inside, continue to make certain that they are thriving. “If you see a cold night coming or anything even close to a cold snap, a sheet [i.e., thin bed sheet or anything similar] and stakes are going to be your savior,” he suggests.
Start by ensuring your plants are physically supported. Haupt says that a cannabis plant will take on a larger flower if well supported (and believing itself to be stronger than it really is). He recommends also supporting your larger buds with a stake or soft tie. Then, place stakes in the ground surrounding the plants. Take your sheet and place it over the plants, using the surrounding stakes to help tie it down, supporting most of the weight so the blanket doesn’t crush the plants themselves. “If you can insulate them with even one sheet,” Haupt says, “you will see that you can vastly extend the life of your plants. This is most important in their finish period.”
Transitioning Your Cannabis Grow From Outdoors To Indoors
Ideally, your outdoor plants have been growing in pots. That will make the transition from one space to another much easier, plus it reduces the chance of any damage to the plant from being moved around and jostled too much. As the temperature begins to cool at night, you still may have weeks of warmer day temperatures and bright sun. Haupt suggests bringing in your plants for the nighttime, but to bring them back outside in the morning to get some of that sweet, sweet sunlight energy.
His most important tip, regardless of where the plants grow? “Mimic the sun, always.” So, if you want to make use of the warmer, sunnier days, it’s OK to leave the plants outside, but bring them back in when the sun goes down (i.e. when the plants are used to being in the dark).
When the weather becomes too cold or volatile and it’s time to fully bring them indoors to complete your offseason growing, Haupt says it’s all about attention to detail, especially as it relates to the cycle of the sun. “Before bringing plants inside, you are going to want to keep a timer on the exact sunrise and sunset time of day,” he advises. “When you know exactly how to mimic the sun, then bring your plants inside.” Haupt’s two main points of advice: Keep a timer and do not mess with the photoperiod.
“If the sun rises at 5:38 in the morning, make sure your light is directly on at this time,” he explains. “If the sun sets and your plant is used to being in the dark at 6:02 p.m., make sure your light is off at 6:02 p.m. This is very important. You must complement Mother Nature. The sun is never out at 2 a.m., so your lights should not be on then, either.”
One other important thing to consider when moving plants from outdoors to indoors for offseason growing is keeping an eye on pot plant pests. You want to avoid moving in any gnats, flies or other insects that might damage your crop, so either give plants a light spray of water and dish soap, or a close once-over with a magnifying tool before bringing them in and encouraging any buggy hitchhikers to start reproducing indoors.
If you’re able to match and keep up with the natural light periods, you should have little trouble bringing your potted plants inside. However, your harvest may be a little lighter than usual due to even the smallest disruption, so keep that in mind. And unfortunately, according to Haupt, if your grow is already established and planted in the ground, you should not uproot your plants. This will put too much stress on them and could very easily kill them.
The ideal timing, if you’re starting outdoors and moving inside, is to have the plants outdoors — in individual pots! — for the vegetation phase, and then bring them indoors for flowering and eventual harvest. Again, this isn’t the most ideal way to grow your ganga, but if you happen to find yourself in a situation with no other alternative, remember to keep your plants temperate, make sure no bugs move in with them, and above all, mimic that sun pattern, so you’ll have little issue with bringing your outdoor grow in to the warmth and safety of the great indoors.