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growing weed in the tropics

Growing weed in the tropics

Plants in the vegetative and flowering cycles sometimes have different needs too—you might need to cover or uncover greenhouses depending on the weather, and plants in the different stages will need different nutrients. It’s more labor-intensive to simultaneously meet the needs of plants in two different stages as opposed to having them all on the same schedule.

There is some variance in sunlight depending on the time of year and where specifically you are in the tropics, but it’s a negligible amount—only an hour or so.

In the fall of 2016, I left the gloomy Northwest for the warmer climate of the Virgin Islands. Originally intending to work on a boat and sail around the Caribbean, I instead got involved in a work-exchange program and set up a self-sustaining farm.

For flowering, if your plants are vegging inside, you would move them outside and under the sun when you’re ready to flower.


Whether vegging or flowering outside, you’ll need an outdoor structure like a greenhouse. There are many ways to make a DIY one. You should be able to cover and uncover the structures easily, in case the weather turns or to provide air circulation through the crop.

Although not native to the region, many varieties of cannabis thrive in the tropics. Sativa cultivars tend to grow better because of their tall stature and more open bud structure. Indicas can be harder to grow because they tend to grow short and stout and have denser buds, making it harder for air to flow through them. Indicas tend to mold quicker because of this.

Even indoor growers can learn from the conditions in the tropics. The light and climate of the region are good examples of what to achieve in an indoor environment. If you’re new to growing, thinking about a tropical climate can help guide how you set up your operation. Just make sure you select strains that will thrive rather than suffer in a hot, humid climate (more on that below).


This is where specific genetics will help too, as certain strains fair better in humid climates (more below).

Indoor growers mimic this by having separate light spaces for vegging and flowering: Plants receive 18 hours of light and 6 hours of dark during the vegetative stage, and 12 hours of light and 12 hours of dark during the flowering phase. This reduction in light tells the plant to start flowering and produce buds.

Growing weed in the tropics

The best genes equal the best marijuana. Marijuana with good genetics not only smells and tastes fantastic but is also extremely potent.

You can use training tools such as screens and ties to ensure the plants grow in a specific shape. You need to prune your plants if you’re concerned about height control; an essential element of low-key growing!

However, all marijuana growing areas must be enclosed, locked, and they can’t be viewed from the outside. In other words, it is tricky to grow cannabis outside and meet all state laws.

Picking the Right Marijuana Strains for Your Climate

Having the ability to choose the right marijuana strain, the ideal location, and the best possible soil is one thing. Possessing the patience to see the entire project through is quite another.

Outdoor cannabis plants love basking in the sun. Therefore, find a plot that offers at least five hours of sunshine a day. Once again, residents of certain towns and cities will find it easier than most. For example, those who live in San Diego will experience 14 hours of sunlight during the Summer Solstice (June 21).

It is impossible to provide a ‘precise’ time to harvest. Most experts believe that you should harvest an indica strain eight weeks after flowering. Sativas usually require harvesting ten weeks after flowering. Strains that come from auto-flowering seeds should take ten weeks to grow from seedling to bud. These are just simple guides, however.


Some people use a container garden instead of planting straight into the soil. If you opt for this, bear in mind that they dry out much faster than soil. Therefore, you may have to water your plants daily. Additional watering is also necessary for warm or windy conditions. To avoid overwatering, wait for the top inch of the soil to be dry before adding more. Invest in a soil moisture meter to make things easier.

We are offering this guide with the assumption that it is legal to grow marijuana plants in your state. First and foremost, it is imperative that you have the right climate for optimum growth.

Growing weed in the tropics

Characteristics of tropical regions

While most sativas will grow very well in tropical climates, the best tropical weed strains are:

The other biggest issue tropical weed strains are likely to face is moisture. While tropical climates can be hot and sunny, they also typically experience at least one rainy season a year, and in some cases, two. This can do major damage to plants when they’re grown outdoors, as it can quickly lead to rot and mould, which is dangerous to the plant and anyone that smokes it.