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Growing Cannabis Indoors vs Outdoors: Which is Better?

Last updated: January 18, 2022

indoors vs outdoors 2
When first getting into cannabis farming, it may seem odd that so many growers tend to choose an indoor climate over an outdoor one.

There is nothing inherently wrong with a plant growing in its natural environment, and a lot of the reasoning for indoor grows in the past came down to the stealth aspect of it do to illegality.

Nowadays, however, cannabis growing is legal in many places so now the question of whether to grow indoors or letting the plants grow outdoors seems more relevant than ever.

There are quite a few differences to be sure, but which is best?

Costs of Indoor vs. Outdoor Growing

Let’s start with the biggest concern new growers face when starting their first crop, their budget.

Growing indoors is an investment. To get the climate just right in an unnatural environment takes know-how, money, and time to nail down properly. From grow tents, to ventilation systems, the lighting, and the nutrients, there’s an awful lot of expensive prep-work needed for a crop to grow as intended.

outdoor weed

Image: Pickpik

Outdoors, on the other hand, can be as simple as buying some seeds and planting them in the ground during the season.

Growing in the great outdoors mostly has the upper hand here. As long as there’s a spot for it to grow in nature, cannabis will.

Winner: Outdoors


Here’s the main reason growers still stick to indoor crops. The control over outside variables is incredibly important to be able to ensure a healthy, high yielding, and quality crop come harvest time.

Though indoor growing was partially a consequence of prohibition, it also led to a lot of discoveries in creating high-quality cannabis due to how closely growers can monitor every single condition in the plant’s life.

Cannabis Grow

Image: Pickpik

Outdoors is much more difficult, if not impossible, to have control over many factors that may hinder a plant’s growth. Unexpected climate shifts, like a lack of sun or torrential rain, can even ruin a crop.

Indoors is the only way to ensure a good crop, just because of the amount of control that is possible.

Winner: Indoor, by a landslide

The Amount of Work

Farming of any kind is difficult, but doubly so for indoor growers. The prep-work for a grow alone, turning a room suitable for humans into a room perfect for plant habitation is very time-consuming.

Once growing starts indoors, constant monitoring needs to be given to the plants to ensure everything is going well in this unnatural environment.

cannabis outdoor

Image by chrisbeez from Pixabay

As long as the climate is correct, outdoor grows do not have this issue at all. There’s some amount of care that should be given to plants to avoid male plants fertilizing the crop and general health-maintenance in case of parasitic bug infestation, but all this is true for indoor grows as well.

An outdoor crop is much easier to care for than an indoor one, though it is much more difficult to ensure high-quality results.

Winner: Outdoor


As we mentioned before, the amount of control over the environment is very beneficial to indoor crops. This doesn’t just mean higher-yield, which is true, but also everything about the plant tends to be improved when given the opportunities an indoor grow affords.

Outdoor plants, though they will grow, tend to not reap these benefits without a decent amount of luck from the weather.

Winner: Indoor, again by a large margin


cannabis plants

Image by NickyPe from Pixabay

Quality versus quantity is what it comes down to with an indoor versus an outdoor grow.

An outdoor grow lets plant and its root stretch out much more than an indoor one. The sun, weather permitting, is what you’re trying to emulate indoors, but the real thing does wonders for the size of a plant.

Huge trees of cannabis are possible outdoors, allowing for the potential of pounds of buds to be harvested from a single plant. Remember, though, this will come in exchange for some quality.

Winner: Outdoor

Time Until Harvest

cannabis plant

Photo by Esteban Lopez on Unsplash

Cannabis is a seasonal plant when outdoors, it grows in the spring and produces its buds in the fall. When planting outdoors there is no easy way around this natural cycle.

Indoors, conversely, lets growers manipulate this natural rhythm. Cannabis responds to the timing of the light cycle. Long summer days are when it vegetates, but by fall the days have shortened. This is how the plant knows when to flower.

By manufacturing shorter days via a light timer indoors, growers can cut the time to harvest down substantially. This varies between strains, but some can be shorter by almost a month if properly cared for.

Winner: Indoor

Which is Better?

For pure quality and growing quickly, then an indoor grow is 100% the way to go. The amount of control of the environment manifests itself in multiple different, positive ways throughout an indoor grow operation and is highly recommended if budget and space allows it.

Still, there’s nothing wrong with a well-cared-for outdoor grow. It may not be the most optimal to get the best possible cannabis, but it’s still more than possible to get a good grow out of it.

Plus, outdoor growth benefits from the increased space and natural light. Which means huge yields for attentive cannabis farmers. They both have their place and either can be considered the best depending on the factors at play.