How to Grow Cannabis on Your Balcony: A Complete Guide

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Added 11 April 2023

Give someone a joint, and they get high for a day. Teach them how to grow cannabis, and they will thank you forever. 

But growing cannabis isn’t always easy. 

Some of the common reasons why growing cannabis may not be easy for many include:

  • Lack of healthy soil near the house, especially in an urban environment
  • Lack of space for a hydroponic setup
  • Tight budget for an indoor setup 

Other times, some growers want to grow a cannabis plant without much effort. If you belong to any of these groups, you might wonder — can you even grow cannabis?

Yes, you can. One of the easiest ways to grow cannabis is to use your balcony or terrace. It has all the right conditions of an outdoor garden and some security of an indoor environment. However, it has various benefits and a couple of cons. Learn how to grow cannabis on your balcony in this short guide.

What are the Advantages of Growing Cannabis on Your Balcony?

What are the Advantages of Growing Cannabis on Your Balcony?

Not everyone can invest in an expensive indoor setup, and finding fertile soil near your home could be difficult, especially if you live in an urban environment. These are two reasons why it is wise to grow cannabis on your balcony, but there are a few more reasons, such as the following.

1. The Plants are Easier to Care For

If you are growing cannabis on a balcony, by default, you will try to keep your plant as small as possible. And even if you don’t, your plant will likely stay small in stature thanks to limited light. 

While small plants may mean less yield, they come with one benefit for new growers — they are much easier to tend to. In addition, when your plant faces problems like deficiencies or pest infestations, you can easily correct these problems. 

This is because you only have to focus on a small canopy instead of a large one. So, if you are a new grower, consider growing your first plant on your balcony. It's also a good option for those who don't have access to a backyard or other outdoor space.

Also, growing on a balcony is convenient because it doesn't require an extensive setup that’s important for indoor growing. However, you'll still need to provide your plants with adequate water and nutrients and monitor their growth closely. Make sure you use fertile soil mixes and regularly fertilize your plants with a high-quality cannabis fertilizer.

2. It is Discreet

If indoor growth is not possible, but you still want to grow cannabis without announcing your adventures to your neighbors, you can grow cannabis on your balcony. Since the plant will be small, and with a few more precautions, you can keep your plant hidden from your neighbors quite well. Sure, it isn’t as secure as an indoor plant, but it does the job in a jiffy.

3. The Buds are Easier to Cure

One of the most significant downsides of balcony cannabis is smaller buds, but on the flip side, it brings one more benefit for new growers. Since the buds are smaller, they are relatively easy to dry and cure. 

Smaller buds that dried and cured well are potent and flavorful, unlike larger buds that have not dried well. The latter is more likely to be harsh to smoke or lack flavors if you don’t dry them well.

4. It is a Cheap Way to Grow Cannabis

Growing cannabis indoors, even if you choose some of the simplest hydroponic setups, still costs money. But if you want to grow cannabis without splurging your savings, you should consider growing cannabis on your balcony. 

In this case, you get to enjoy significant control of your plant’s growth while taking advantage of the natural sunlight and air. At the same time, you only have to invest in essential equipment like a suitable pot and some other garden peripherals. None of these are going to cost you over a hundred dollars. 

What are the Disadvantages of Growing Cannabis on Your Balcony?

What are the Disadvantages of Growing Cannabis on Your Balcony?

The other side of this coin is that growing cannabis on your balcony also has a few drawbacks. We have discussed them in the previous sections, but here’s more on the disadvantages of growing cannabis on your balcony.

1. Outdoor Weather can be Uncertain

One of the biggest drawbacks of growing cannabis on your balcony is relying on the weather for healthy growth. And sometimes, outdoor weather isn’t the most ideal. If the air is too hot or cold, or if there's an extended period of overcast, high winds, and heavy rain, your plant may suffer or experience stress due to such conditions.

Plus, you can’t always grow cannabis year-round on your balcony due to the weather. Generally, you can grow one to two successive crops, sometimes even three, if weather permits. 

In addition, cannabis plants need plenty of light to grow properly. Therefore, choosing a spot that receives direct sunlight for several hours a day is important to encourage the plants to produce more buds and increase their potency. Keep in mind that the sun's angle changes throughout the year, so you may need to adjust your plant placement accordingly.

Finally, just like plants growing outdoors, your plants on the balcony will also be more susceptible to pests and diseases, which can impact the quality of your harvest. Therefore, you'll need to keep a close eye on your plants and be proactive about preventing and treating any issues that arise. Fortunately, the plants are easily accessible, so you can tackle pest problems. 

Additionally, cannabis plants have a strong odor that can attract pests and unwanted attention, so you may need to take steps to mask the smell. 

2. Less Yield

Another significant drawback of growing cannabis on your balcony is that the plant will be small, leading to lower yields. This isn’t much of a concern for new or hobby growers, but if you expect to produce an entire winter’s worth of cannabis, you’ll have to grow multiple plants. 

3. Visibility

Wait, what? We just said that growing cannabis on your balcony is discreet, right? Yes. However, it will be discreet only if your balcony isn’t visible to others. If you live in a location where houses are built very close to each other, growing cannabis on your balcony could be a problem due to visibility and the aroma of the plants. 

Plus, cultivation might not be legal in your area, which is why many people choose indoor gardening. So, check the laws and hide your plant by growing other companion plants beside it. 

How to Grow Cannabis on Your Balcony?

How to Grow Cannabis on Your Balcony?

You’ve considered the pros and cons, and you’ve made up your mind — you want to grow cannabis on your balcony. But how do you do that? It’s relatively easy. Follow the steps below, and you will grow a healthy balcony plant.

But before we move ahead, you must be sure whether you can grow cannabis on your balcony. Here’s how you can do that:

  • Choosing a location on your balcony is essential to consider when growing cannabis. Ideally, your cannabis plant should receive at least a few hours of direct sunlight, particularly in the afternoon when the sun is strongest. You need to place your pot in a manner that exposes the plant to the most sunlight. 
  • Ideally, if you live in the northern hemisphere, you should place your cannabis plant facing southward on your balcony. For growers down under, place the plants facing northwards. This is important because plants produce energy with photosynthesis, and if you expect your plant to grow bushy buds, it will need plenty of sunlight. However, proceed cautiously, as direct sunlight can sometimes bleach or stress cannabis plants if exposed for too long. So, if you live in a Mediterranean climate or the direct sunlight is too strong, you must place your plant under indirect sunlight if it exhibits any signs of light stress.
  • First, evaluate the available space and measure the size of your balcony to determine how much space you have available for growing cannabis. Then, if you want, you can use a raised bed or vertical garden to maximize your space
  • Next, think about privacy. Is your balcony very discreet and hidden from view? Growing cannabis on an open balcony may attract unwanted attention from neighbors or passersby. To prevent this, you can use a privacy screen or other methods to shield your plants from view.
  • The next factor is the wind direction. Strong winds can damage your plants and even break branches, so choosing a location that's sheltered from the wind is important. For example, if your balcony is exposed to strong winds, use a windbreak or shade cloth to protect your plants.

We will discuss some of these points further in the article, but if the conditions are ideal, you can start planning your balcony project. Follow these steps.

1. Choose the Right Container 

It isn’t easy to set up a hydroponic system on your balcony, and since there is no soil, you must use a pot or a raised bed to hold your cannabis plant. The size of the pot plays a massive role in how your cannabis plant will grow.

Remember, a smaller container will only grow a small plant.

So, aim to get smaller containers for your cannabis plant. Doing so will keep your outdoor plant small, ensuring it stays hidden from others and can benefit from natural resources without experiencing deficiencies. However, if your balcony is discreet or you stay where growing cannabis is legal, you can get big containers. Then, you can take care of the plant like you would with plants growing outdoors. 

If you are worried about the yield, you can grow multiple smaller plants. This method is called the Sea of Green (SOG), where you grow multiple small cannabis plants instead of a big one — the yield will surprise you.

You have multiple options regarding containers or pots in terms of the material used. Of course, you can always choose basic plastic containers, but nothing beats fabric pots. The latter offers excellent breathability to the roots, which leads to a healthier plant. 

Ideally, you should stick to the following container sizes for a healthy cannabis plant:

  • Half a liter for seedlings and smaller plants under 15 cm
  • 2 to 3 liters for plants under 25 cm
  • 5 liters for plants under 60 cm
  • 11 liters or more for bigger cannabis plants 

Depending on how tall you want your cannabis plant to grow, you can adjust the container size accordingly. 

2. Choose the Right Genetics

The next step is to choose the right genetics. Some strains, especially Sativa-dominant ones, tend to grow tall, whereas others grow stubby and small. So, for most growers, avoiding Sativa Landraces for balcony growth is recommended. 

Instead, it’s best to choose Indica-dominant strains since they grow small and are easier to manage. Some of the best strains are Bubble Kush, OG Kush, BubbleGum XL, and Pineapple Kush. More on this later. 

3. Grow Autoflowers 

As mentioned earlier, when you grow cannabis on your balcony, you don’t really have the luxury of time. Instead, you have to rely on the seasons. That, along with the small stature of your plant, means it is ideal to choose autoflowering cannabis. 

Autoflowering cannabis plants don’t rely on the light cycle to grow and have a much shorter life cycle. So, within a few weeks, they can go from a seedling to a flowering plants. But make sure you choose an autoflowering strain that tends to grow small if that’s what you want. This is because many autoflowers now grow very big and are also quick to grow and easy to manage. 

4. Germinate the Seeds

Choose a strain suitable for outdoor growing and well-suited to your climate. We will discuss the stage-by-stage growth of cannabis later in the article, but before anything, you must germinate the seeds properly to ensure they grow into healthy cannabis plants. The most common way to germinate seeds is indoors with the help of a couple of paper towels. Most growers first soak the seeds in water for 24 hours and then place the seeds between two paper towels. Within a few days, the seeds will sprout. 

5. Train Your Plants

Depending on your preferences, you may need to train your plant to keep its size small or hide it from onlookers. In addition, training is a terrific way to push your plant to yield more. 

For most growers, pruning works wonders. Pruning is a training method where you strategically cut off some unnecessary sections of your plant to facilitate airflow and light exposure. 

Another training method that works well is Topping. Here, you cut off the apex node of your cannabis plant, encouraging the plant to grow more than one node at the top. The result? Your plant will grow wider instead of taller while having more bud sites. 

Other training methods you can use are Fimming, Screen of Green, Mainlining, and LST.

The best time to start training your cannabis plant is when it is in its vegetative stage. Also, make sure your plant is healthy and does not exhibit any signs of stress before training it. Training is stressful, so you don’t want to push your cannabis plant beyond its limit.

6. Keep Your Plant’s Smell Discreet

Cannabis is an aromatic plant, but unlike many other plants, its smell is easy to recognize, and not everyone appreciates it as much as us. So, you must keep your plant’s smell hidden, especially if you are growing in a country where cannabis is not yet decriminalized. 

If you were growing cannabis indoors, this could’ve been done with carbon filters or scrubbers. But that’s not possible on a balcony. So instead, what you can do is grow plants that outdo your plant’s smell. 

Grow companion plants like stargazer lilies, freesia, roses, honeysuckle, or gardenias in your garden. These highly aromatic plants will help keep your cannabis plant’s smell hidden from uninvited noses. 

7. Protect Your Plants 

You must also protect your plant against various environmental factors, like the wind or pests. 

For instance, a strong wind can easily topple your plant or even snap the stem. And heavy rainfall can saturate the soil and drown the roots. So, always have a plan in mind to protect your plant if the weather turns worse. 

Cannabis plants are also susceptible to pests, so you must prevent them as much as possible. And while you can use organic solutions like neem oil, the most practical solution for this is companion planting. 

Grow companion plants like basil, marigolds, petunias, or garlic. These plants act as natural pest repellent against most pests that tend to attack cannabis. 

What Does the Growth Look Like of a Balcony Cannabis Plant?

What Does the Growth Look Like of a Balcony Cannabis Plant?

The above-listed tips are effective, but what helps you further is an understanding of how your plant will grow on your balcony. So, here’s a stage-by-stage breakdown of your plant’s life cycle when grown on a balcony. 

1. Seedling Stage

The first stage of your plant is the seedling stage, which begins with germination. This is when your plant will grow the first cotyledon leaf pair. When your plant is in this stage, it is fragile, so you need to take meticulous care of it. 

Ideally, you should keep your cannabis seedling indoors for the first few weeks and give them at least 18 hours of light until it is strong enough to be placed outdoors on your balcony. 

2. Vegetative Stage

Once your plant starts growing more leaves, branches, and roots, it has grown into the vegetative stage. Generally, autoflowering strains are in this stage for around five weeks before they start blooming. 

If you’re growing a photoperiod plant, it will likely be in this stage until the end of summer. Then, once the days start getting shorter, the plant will begin transitioning into the flowering stage. 

During this time, you must take care of the plant and ensure it gets all the right conditions and nutrients for healthy growth. This is also the time you can make any adjustments to it by training or pruning it. 

For the most part, if you are growing an autoflowering strain, you won’t have to do much. The plant will already be small and grow on its own. In that case, look for signs of stress, deficiencies, or pests. 

And keep an eye on the weather forecast. Protect your plant if the weather turns bad by either covering the plant with a tarp or moving it indoors until the weather stabilizes. 

3. Flowering Stage

After five weeks or so, your autoflowering cannabis will start blooming. This is the flowering stage. For photoperiod plants, this stage will automatically kick in by the end of summer. 

The cannabis plant stretches during the first couple of weeks of this stage. So, be prepared to feed your plant the right nutrients. You may also have to control your plant’s growth if you think it is growing too tall if you want to keep your plant discreet. 

During this stage, your plant will need nutrients in a different ratio, so use fertilizers rich in phosphorus and potassium. These two macronutrients are essential for bud development. Make sure you go through our various nutrient guides to know more about the ratios you must use to sustain your cannabis plant. 

You also need to ensure all sides of your plant get adequate sunlight during this time, so consider rotating your plant often. Also, once the buds start forming, keep the plant protected from moisture to prevent buds from developing mold. 

As the plant nears maturity, it will develop trichomes — tiny crystals on the buds that contain cannabinoids. Harvest your plant when most trichomes are milky white, and some are amber. Another sign of a mature plant is when 80-90% of the pistils have turned yellow or amber. 

4. Curing and Drying Stage

Once you have harvested the buds, it is time to dry and cure them. This is a meticulous process, and you shouldn’t overlook any aspect of it — this can make or break your cannabis buds. However, if you do it right, this will help bring out the flavor and effect of your buds. 

Your goal is to gradually dry the buds first to preserve the terpenoid and cannabinoid levels. Refrain from drying the buds too fast, as it can hamper the phytochemicals. At the same time, don’t go too slow, as it can lead to mold development in the buds. 

Drying your buds on your balcony may not always be the best option, especially if the weather is damp. So it is better to dry them indoors.

Next, you need to cure them. For this, you need to place dried buds in an airtight container for a few weeks to bring out the flavor of the buds. Remember to burp the container once a day to keep the air fresh within. 

What are the Best Cannabis Strains to Grow on the Balcony?

What are the Best Cannabis Strains to Grow on the Balcony?

As mentioned earlier, if you want to grow cannabis on your balcony, your best bet is to choose autoflowering strains. These strains are small — 40 to 60 cm — and are way easier to manage compared to photoperiod plants. In addition, with minimal care, an autoflowering strain can grow bushy buds with terrific cannabinoid and terpenoid profiles. 

Some of the best strains to grow outdoors include Royal Dwarf, Purplematic CBD, Auto Banana Blaze, Royal Bluematic, Bubblelicious Auto, Afghani Kush, Sticky Beast Automatic, Original Auto Russian, Amnesia Haze, Auto Duck, Green Crack, Quick One, Easy Bud, etc. 

These are just some examples of autoflowering strains that can be easily grown on a balcony but don’t forget to expand your search. Try out various strains and see which one suits your balcony the best. 

Remember always to purchase seeds from reputable seed banks. Such seed banks have various certifications and processes that ensure high quality and lab-test their strains. Thanks to this, you can be sure what to expect from your cannabis plant even before germinating its seed. 

Summary: How to Grow Cannabis on Your Balcony: A Complete Guide

Growing cannabis on your balcony is easy — it requires an autoflowering strain that suits your local weather, basic nutrients, a small container or pot (ideally fabric), and a good sense of direction. 

Once you have everything, it’s as simple as germinating the seeds indoors. Once the seedling has grown big enough, you must transplant it into a container and place it on your balcony — southward in the northern hemisphere and northward in the southern hemisphere. 

After that, it’s all about tending to your plant, training, or pruning it if required to keep it short and protect it from the elements. Do these, and within a few months, you will have a healthy cannabis plant sprouting with many delicious buds. 

Once the buds are ready, simply harvest them, trim them, and dry and cure them over the next few weeks. Soon enough, your buds will be ready to be rolled into a joint! 


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