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How to Grow Cannabis in Dry Climates?

Added 12 February 2022

Growing cannabis in most regions of the world is relatively easy, but things get challenging in arid, dry areas. 

Cannabis needs humid, slightly cool conditions with adequate light and darkness cycles and water. Unfortunately, the same conditions are not available in dry climates, making cultivation difficult. 

Many growers hesitate to grow cannabis at home for this very reason. If the climate isn’t compatible in the first place, how on earth can you think of growing?

Well, it’s not impossible. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

As long as you are ready to tackle the challenges that come with growing cannabis in dry climates, you can grow terrific cannabis plants. If you are not, you would most likely end up with wilted cannabis plants.

In fact, some of our favorite strains have flourished in dry climates for hundreds of years, like regional landrace strains from Afghanistan and equatorial Africa. 

How do you prepare for dry climate cultivation? By supporting your plant in dealing with the heat and the sun and offering enough shade, humidity, and water to flourish. Quite simple, huh?

In this article, we will show you how to grow cannabis in dry climates.

Characteristics of Dry Climates 

Dry climate

Regions with dry climates have low humidity and high heat, and they experience less than a foot of rainfall every year. So, areas like Egypt, Mexico, Chile, and other deserts are considered dry climates.

There is a severe lack of water for a plant that gulps gallons of water!

However, the solution is not to simply water the plant regularly. Due to the extreme conditions, your cannabis plant may still suffer growth problems even if you water regularly because the heat turns the upper layers of soil dry, burning the roots and subsequently destroying the plant. 

In other words, the plant feels like it’s on a hot pan!

Evaporation is another aspect that hampers your plant’s growth. Water evaporates faster than it precipitates in dry climates, leaving the soil dry and cracked. 

Another reason why cannabis plants may not flourish in dry climates is the light cycle. In dry conditions, especially deserts, the days are long, and the nights only last for a few hours. While bright sunlight is good for growth, too much light can be detrimental to the plants. 

You will agree to this, especially if you’ve burned your plants with powerful lights in the grow room. Some cannabis strains experience light burns if the light cycle exceeds 18 hours during the vegetative stage and 12 hours during the bloom stage. The plant ends up with burnt tips and even bleached-white buds in many cases. 

These are the factors that affect the plant’s growth in dry conditions. Fixing them may sound complicated, but it can flourish quite well if you take the proper steps to prepare your plant.

Solutions to Grow Cannabis in Dry Conditions


Growing cannabis in dry conditions has its unique challenges, but you can still grow your plant if you have the right techniques at hand. You can even grow top-notch cannabis buds better than regular cannabis buds, as long as you know what you're doing. 

The key to growing cannabis in such extreme conditions is to prepare the plant and combat problems one by one. 

Here are a few ways to prepare your plant for such dry conditions.

Choose Sativa Strains


Sativa cannabis strains tend to do well in dry conditions as they originate from tropical regions with high heat. They have the genetic buildup to deal with such conditions. Plus, the cooler nights that dry areas experience turn these Sativa strains purple — something many smokers like in their buds!

Another reason Sativa strains fare well in dry conditions is that they adjust well to natural light over time.

If you choose auto-flowering plants, you can expect even better results. Autoflowers, as you probably already know, begin to flower automatically after a specific time, without you having to switch the light cycle from 18/6 to 12/12.

This is the first step in ensuring your plant is prepared for dry conditions.

Contend with the Elements

Dry arid land

Once you have chosen the right strain, the next step is to tackle the elemental or environmental issues that may hamper the plant’s growth.

Here, heat and lack of moisture are the primary conditions that you must tackle first.

The primary reasons for too much heat and lack of moisture are long light cycles and hot soil. So, you must plant the cannabis seedling in partial shade to keep the plant from experiencing light or heat burn. 

Doing so also expands the darkness cycle as the shade would keep the plant out of light for longer, ensuring the plant grows properly.

Ensure a Proper Watering Routine

Dry earth

Lack of water is another major problem that you must tackle. Remember, cannabis is a thirsty plant, so it requires a lot of water during the day. Thus, ensure the plant is watered often and well. 

Watering the plant often keeps the soil cool enough, protecting the roots from scorching and encouraging profound root growth. Deep soil is cooler than surface soil, so deep root growth is essential for healthy plant growth as it reduces the risk of root burns.

It would help if you also watered adequately. The cannabis plant consumes around a gallon of water every day for every pound of flower. So, assuming you harvest a pound of flowers during the harvest, your plant would consume up to 150 gallons of water during the five months of its growth cycle.

In such regions, the soil gets too hot, causing the water to evaporate faster than usual. To tackle this problem, we recommend watering the plant early in the day to give your plant enough time to consume the water before it evaporates.

Similarly, you can also mulch the soil to keep it from overheating. Use straw or bark to mulch the soil, shade the ground, and keep the root ball cool.

Lastly, it would be best to improve water retention in the soil. For this, you can use water holders like coco coir, peat moss, or water crystal polymers that naturally retain water and keep the soil from drying out.

Once you combine all of these techniques, you will be able to keep the soil cool and moist enough to keep your plant hydrated during the day.

Dry Climate Harvesting

Drying cannabis

The struggle of growing cannabis in dry conditions does not stop at just growing the plant. You must use the right harvesting technique, so your effort does not go to waste.

When you harvest your cannabis, you need to dry it for at least seven days before you can cure it for consumption. But you must use the right drying method.

Typically, growers can use either wet trimming or dry trimming to cure cannabis. However, in dry conditions, you must use only dry trimming. Dry trimming is a method of cutting and hanging entire branches up to dry instead of drying naked buds (wet trimming) in the arid air. 

Wet trimming often dries the buds too quickly, leaving them brittle and less potent. On the other hand, dry trimming lets the buds stay moist for longer, encouraging a more gradual drying cycle. This gradual drying better prepares the buds for curing.

You also need to ensure the right humidity for drying cannabis, i.e., around 40% to 50% RH.

Ideal Strains for Dry Climates

Cannabis plant

As mentioned earlier, the best and first step to tackling dry conditions is choosing the right strain. To help you choose the right one for your next cultivation, here is a list of some of the best cannabis strains for dry climates.

Jack Herer

Jack Herer is a popular Sativa strain known for being a fast flowering plant. Plus, it can grow up to half a kilo of buds per plant under sunny, arid conditions. 

NYC Diesel

This is a dense plant, especially for a Sativa strain. This strain has large leaves that shade the colas from the sun's intense rays, making it ideal for dry conditions.

Afghan Kush

One of the most popular strains for smokers, Afghan Kush is also ideal for dry conditions. It thrives in sunny conditions — thanks to its origins — and is quite resistant to pests and diseases. 

Sour Diesel

While not a pure Sativa, Sour Diesel is a modern, hybrid strain with adequate heat resistance. However, the strain has quite a long flowering phase of over four months, which may be difficult for some growers to sustain. 

Other Strains like Thai, Durban Poison, and Acapulco Gold

Various niche strains from dry regions, like South Africa, Jamaica, Mexico, and Thailand, can grow in dry conditions. These strains have adapted to extreme conditions for over a thousand years.

Summary: Growing Cannabis in Dry Climates

Cannabis is a tricky plant to grow in dry climates. This is why growers prefer to grow cannabis in grows tents or hydroponic systems. But if you want to grow cannabis outdoors in arid conditions, follow these guidelines.

Remember to choose the right strain first. We recommend talking to other growers in our forum to figure out what’s best. 

Then, prepare your plant to handle such conditions. Choose the right water retention products to the soil, choose a proper location, and formulate an adequate watering schedule. And eventually, dry trim the cannabis plant to cure the buds. 

That’s all it takes to grow cannabis in dry conditions.




I live in a Dry climate if you want to see what can be grown check out some
of my outdoor Ladies