France is one of the best places to grow cannabis in Europe because it enjoys pleasant weather with lots of rain and sunshine, and the growing season is also adequately long.
It has various climates, terrains, and landscapes that offer some challenges but terrific rewards.
In this article, learn all about growing cannabis in France based on your location, climate, and season.
Growing cannabis in France is a terrific choice because it offers some amazing results. And all of that is thanks to the various benefits that come with the country’s rich climate. Here are some of the biggest benefits of growing in France:
However, not all is bright and sunny in France when it comes to growing cannabis. There are some downsides, such as the following:
While suitable for cannabis, the French climate is still unlike most regions. So, some strains tend to grow better in this country compared to others. Additionally, some regions also experience drastic weather during some seasons and even shorter growing seasons.
For example, in the Massif Central region or up north, the growing season tends to be short. In such regions, it is recommended to grow photoperiod indica strains or autoflowering plants. On the other hand, sativa strains take too long to flower, which can lead to smaller yields. Choose strains with shorter flowering cycles even in the Atlantic regions of France.
In other regions, you can grow various strains — the options are endless — just remember to study your local climate during the growing season and pick a strain that suits it the best. Reputable seed banks offer all the necessary information on the strain’s product page, so refer to those.
To get you started, some of the best strains for cannabis are Royal Cheese, Sour Diesel, Royal Moby, Early Skunk, Purple Queen, Super Silver Haze, Blue Monster Auto, and Snow Bud. A variety of seedbanks offer these strains, so it's not too tough to purchase them.
You can even participate in your local growers’ community to know what others around you are growing and follow their queue. Or, better yet, talk to growers here in our Growdiaries to get more information.
France has three distinct climatic conditions based on the regions, which are as follows:
This region consists of the western parts of France, including Paris, Bordeaux, and Toulouse. It experiences a steady temperature range with cool summers and colder winters.
This region consists of central and eastern parts of the country, including Lyon and Strasbourg, and it has a comparatively shorter growing season. The summers here are warm and winters are snowy, and the region gets plenty of rainfall during the months.
Perhaps the best region in France to grow cannabis is the Mediterranean — the south of France. Here, the summers are hot and winters are cool, which is generally ideal for most strains. The only downside here is limited rainfall, which can easily be tackled with a consistent watering routine.
Before getting into the growing guide, first, you need to understand starting the seeds. France has a long growing season, but it is still a great idea to begin your plant’s growth early to get a head start on the season.
If you are starting with seeds, you should start germinating them in the second half of April so they are ready to be transplanted in May when the weather is ideal for young cannabis plants.
You can even start a few weeks in advance, in March, if you are on the Mediterranean coast or Southern Atlantic regions since the climate is a lot calmer.
You don't need to factor in a lot of other things when germinating your seeds. You can start with a basic CFL light on an 18 to 20-hour light cycle or place your seedlings on your windowsill. That should be enough to grow sturdy seedlings in the coming three weeks.
With important factors out of the way, here is a short calendar you can follow to grow cannabis in France.
Since France has various climatic conditions and terrains, this calendar focuses on four locations in France — north (Paris), south (Marseille), east (Lyon), and West (Nantes). Here is the calendar.
In March, the Spring season begins its first approach and you need to start preparing for the season. Most of the work needs to be done indoors, like germinating the seeds, so it won’t take too much effort or time.
Germinating the Seeds
The first thing you need to do is start germinating your seeds indoors. By the time the weather opens up and gets warm, your seedlings would have matured and become ready for transplanting.
As mentioned earlier, minimal effort is required to germinate the seeds. Choose the right strain based on your location and climate and use damp paper towels to start the seeds. You can also choose other germination methods as per your preferences.
Prepare Your Growing Space
Next, you need to prepare your growing space so that your garden is ready to host your cannabis plants when the growing season arrives.
Take out any preexisting weeds and take some measures to prevent new ones from growing. You can even mulch the bed to prepare the soil. Another recommended tactic is to use compost topdressing that will be ready to leech nutrients to your plant in the following weeks.
Spring is here and the daylight hours are longer. The weather will be longer, but in most of France, the risk of frost is still prominent.
So, you need to keep the plants indoors. If you don’t have space for an indoor plant, you can even move the plant outdoors but use a greenhouse or polytunnel to keep it warm and cozy.
The southern regions are an exception, though. The frost is no longer a worry, so you can directly transplant your young plants into the container and let them grow outdoors without a greenhouse or polytunnel.
Prepare Your Plant Against Pests and Weeds
During the coming months, pests can be a major nuisance for cannabis plants and they can be difficult to deal with. They multiply quickly and can significantly damage the plant in a few days.
So, prepare tactics to keep the pests away by sowing companion plants, like peppermint, which will act as a distraction for the pests. You also don’t want your plant to be discovered by someone, so companion plants will also act as a cover for your cannabis.
In addition, need to prevent weeds from growing in the garden by mulching the ground heavily. If you still see any weed growing, you can simply take it off by hand before it becomes a problem for your cannabis.
It is the late spring and the weather is warm with no risk of frost in most of the country. So, by the second week of May, you can safely move your plants outdoors if you didn’t move them in April.
Remember to transplant mature seedlings to the soil mixed with manure and compost. The rich supply of nutrients and microbes will feed your plant for the rest of the season.
North vs South: Greenhouse or Open Air
However, in the central parts of the country, a final cold spell may still be imminent. So, you should consider using a greenhouse or a polytunnel for your young plant to keep them warm.
On the other hand, in the south, heat can become an enemy, especially if you use a greenhouse. Grow your plant openly or ensure your greenhouse is ventilated and the humidity levels are maintained as per your strain’s requirements.
Rainfall in the East and West of France
In the eastern and western parts of the country, rainfall will be heavy. Your plant will be hydrated but if the rainfall is too heavy, the roots can drown. So, you can use a tarp to protect your plants from heavy rainfall.
In other regions, ensure you water regularly to prevent dehydration. The best time to water your plant is during the early morning and evening.
Nutrition for Your Young Plants
Your plant is young but it requires adequate nutrition so it can grow well into the next stage. Therefore, you will have to start feeding it properly every ten days or so, depending on the strain.
You don’t need to invest heavily in nutrition at this point. Regular foliar sprays or root drenches made specifically for young cannabis plants work best. And your best option is to use organic seaweed fertilizer.
Further Protecting the Plant
The risk of weeds is still there, so keep weeds out of your garden. If the previous mulch is wearing off, you can add more mulch to keep weeds at bay.
And as the weather gets warmer, you can sow companion plants like lavender to protect your plant from pests and peeping eyes.
If you live in the countryside, large mammals can also be a problem for your delicate plants. So, consider using a fence or netting to prevent animals from damaging your plants.
Summer Solstice occurs on the 20th of June, so the temperature will keep rising during this month. The weather will be warmer with fewer rain spells.
Monitoring the Soil
During this month, your soil may become dry due to less rainfall. So, you need to monitor it constantly to ensure it stays moist enough. Your older mulch may have also broken down by this point, so you can add another layer of mulch to keep your soil moist and protected. Use wood chips or straws to trap moisture.
Watering Your Plants
You can also invest in a drip irrigation system if you are growing multiple plants. This will keep your plants well-hydrated while reducing the burden on you.
If you are living in the north or south of France, your plants will likely need to be watered at least once a day during sunset. The eastern and western parts will have high precipitation, so you don't need to be too strict with the watering routine.
Keeping the Plants Well-fed
You need to start feeding your plants with rich nutrients as they are well into the vegetative stage. So, choose a fertilizer that suits your preferences and the plant’s genetics and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for feeding it.
You should also consider adding compost or worm casting to your soil. These contain slow-release nutrients, which will start leaching into the soil slowly so that your plant can feed on them in the following weeks.
Training the Plants
By the mid of this month, your plants will be sturdy enough to handle training. So, you can use low-stress training (LST) or topping to train your plant. Training will open up the canopy to allow more light within and keep mold at bay.
In some regions around Marseille and Paris, the winds can be strong. Use stakes to anchor taller plants so they don’t bend over and snap.
July is the hottest month in the country, so you need to take care of the soil and the watering routine.
Watering Cycle and Soil Health
The soil will get drained of water quickly, so you need to water your plants more frequently. Ideally, you should water your plant in the early morning and evening around sunset.
Also, if you are using drip irrigation, keep an eye on its efficiency. It can be prone to blockages or leaks during this time, which is something you want to avoid at all costs to keep your plant well-hydrated.
Monitor Your Plant’s Health
During this month, your plant will experience explosive growth and you need to ensure there are no deficiencies. The best way to check your plant is to look at the fan leaves — they should be dark green and straight. Any curling or discoloration could be a potential deficiency.
You may also need to train any new branches if you are using LST so the canopy is even for optimal light fall and aeration.
Pests usually become a problem during this month, so also keep an eye out for pests. While companion plants deter many pests, some can still get through and damage your cannabis. If you notice any bugs, you can introduce beneficial insects like ladybugs that will hunt them out.
In severe cases, you can also use safe pesticides like neem oil or diatomaceous earth to kill pests. We recommend participating in local growers’ forums to know about the common pests in your region and the best ways to deal with them.
Sex of the Plant
At this point, you can check your plant’s sex if you have used regular non-feminized seeds. If the nodes (where the branch meets the stem) have small, smooth sacs and no hair, it is a female preflower. Your plant is a female.
If you notice any males in your garden, remove them immediately to prevent them from pollinating the female plants and compromising your yield.
August will also be hot, but the daylight hours will be slightly shorter in some regions of the country. Your plant will take this as a sign of approaching winter and trigger flowering. So, if you have been training your plant, halt immediately.
Updating the Nutrition Cycle
Once your cannabis has entered the flowering phase, you need to revamp your nutrition cycle. Unlike before, now your plant needs more potassium and phosphorus and less nitrogen to grow big nugs.
It is also recommended to use worm casting, bone meal, or kelp meal that is rich in potassium and phosphorus so your plant gets enough nutrients to grow resinous buds.
Other Factors to Consider
During the early flowering stage, your plant will also stretch and may grow twice in size. You may need to defoliate the plant so the lower buds can bask in adequate light. Added aeration due to defoliation will also help prevent mold.
Since the humidity will be high, around 70% to 80% RH, you also need to constantly check for mold and take precautions to prevent it.
In September, the days will be shorter and the temperatures will fall. The autumn season is here. And this is the part that you’ve been waiting for — you can finally see the flowers on your plant.
Keep Your Plant Discreet and Protected
But excitement can get you in trouble, so take measures to conceal your plant’s smell as it will be heavily aromatic during this time. But don’t worry, thanks to the companion plants, the smell will be mostly concealed.
In regions like Bordeaux and Biarritz, you may experience heavy rainfall during this time. It is recommended that you move your plants to a greenhouse or polytunnel to protect the plant from excess water and mold.
Luckily, in the mountains up north, the first frost is here. This is the perfect time to harvest your autoflowering strains. But if you are growing photoperiod plants, you should also move them to a greenhouse to keep them warm during their last lap.
In other regions, birds are more active during this time and they may damage your flowers. So, use a net over your plant to keep the birds away.
It is the peak of autumn and the rain will pour steadily in regions around Paris, but areas around Lyon and Marseille may experience heavy downpours. If your local climate is predicted to experience heavy rainfall, it is a good idea to cover your plant with a greenhouse or a tarp.
In the central and eastern parts of the country, frost is a major risk factor during the end of the month. Again, moving your plant indoors is advisable.
Harvesting the Faster Flowering Plants
If your plant strain has a short flowering period, it should be ready to harvest by the second week of October. So, two weeks before the harvest, you can flush your plant; however, it's optional and you can skip it if you're using only organic nutrients.
On the other hand, for longer-flowering strains, continue feeding as usual and keep an eye out for mold and other common problems.
The end of the growing cycle is here — the temperature will begin to drop, and many parts of the country like Lyon and Paris may experience the first frost.
If your plants are not ready for harvest yet, you can keep them in the greenhouse and use a heater to keep them warm, or you can wrap the containers in bubble wrap for insulation. But if heavy frost is expected, it is best to harvest early than compromise your yield to extreme cold.
In other regions of the country, you can harvest once you notice the buds are mature. Remember to not feed heavy nutrients two weeks prior, though, to keep your buds’ flavor smooth.
Follow this with the usual drying and curing methods.
Remember, this is only a general guideline for you to understand your plant’s growth as per the average weather in France. To dial it in further, you need to research more. The best way to learn about your local climate and cannabis growth is to talk to other growers and learn from them.
Now, let's discuss the elephant in the room — legality. Let’s not ignore the elephant in the country — cultivating cannabis is illegal. Yet, over 1.2 million people use cannabis regularly.
To be safe, grow CBD strains containing less than 0.2% THC (which are legal). And remember, do not sell your plants or tell others about your garden as it may invite unwanted attention.
Growing cannabis in France is easy but you need to pay attention to the strain you are choosing, your local weather, and keep unwanted attention out of your garden. As long as you follow the right steps and keep your garden safe and discreet, you can enjoy plentiful buds.
And remember to read and research as much as you can about your local weather and the best strains and growing techniques for the same. The more you dial in your cannabis cultivation, the better your plants will grow and reward you with bushy nugs.