Growing cannabis in harsh climate conditions

Although cannabis performs well in many latitudes, a rigorous selection of the genetics that we're going to grow is sometimes necessary in some places in order to harvest our plants successfully, especially outdoors. In this article we will focus on two classic, adverse climate conditions: cold and humid areas - like Northern Europe - and hot and dry climates, where the different cannabis seeds won’t develop in the same way.

Cannabis strains for humid and cold climate

While high humidity promotes a lush and healthy growth, things are different during the flowering stage, when flowers can be infected by mildew and other pathogenic agents due to the effect of cold temperatures and rains. However, it isn’t impossible to grow in these regions, and many growers from places like the Netherlands, UK, Germany, Canada or even Alaska successfully harvest their outdoor cannabis crops every year, mainly thanks to an accurate selection of the genetics grown - always looking for the most resistant strains - and of course the use of greenhouses, greenhouse heaters, etc.

Before presenting you a brief list of this type of genetics, especially suited for outdoor growing in these areas for being particularly resistant to moulds, we are going to explain a few desirable traits that might ensure the best possible results.

Cold temperatures do not allow buds to get fat
Cold temperatures do not allow buds to get fat

  • Damages caused by excessive moisture are normally favoured by a lack of air and stagnant moisture. Thus, you should avoid plants with compact structure and dense flowers. A more Sativa structure will allow plants to better withstand these conditions; rain is frequent in these latitudes even from the end of summer. Better air circulation within the buds and the plants avoids problems with moulds, so looking for strains with airy buds is recommended if you live in a humid, rainy area.
  • The best environmental conditions are over when frost and rains arrive, so early, fast flowering genetics are the best choice for these climates. In this sense, automatic cannabis strains are also an excellent choice since you can easily know harvest time and set the correct period for bloom (summer).
  • Tropical strains can’t withstand cold temperatures. Thus, genetics known for being resistant to cold should be your first choice.

Next we detail some strains known for their adaptability and resistance to cold temperatures and high humidity:

  • Feminized seeds: Easy Sativa, Belladonna from Paradise Seeds, Snow Bud High Altitude, Biddy Early from Serious Seeds, AMS, PCK, Shaman, Passion, Frisian Dew, Green Poison.
  • Regular seeds: Early Queen from Mr. Nice  Biddy Early , 2 Pounder , Pakistan Chitral Kush from Cannabiogen, Bangi Haze from Ace Seeds, Shaman, Passion, Nepal Jam.
  • Automatic strains : Dark Devil from Sweet Seeds, Moby Dick Auto from Dinafem , Hobbit Auto and Afrodite from Kannabia, Auto New York City from Pyramid Seeds, Tundra #2 from Dutch Passion, etc.

This list is not too exhaustive, but it contains a nice number of strains which are characterized by their adaptability to humid climate conditions and early flowering, which are the main traits to look for to get a successful outdoor harvest.

Cannabis plants adapt to the environment
Cannabis plants adapt to the environment

And remember:

  • It’s always recommended to enhance their resistance to moulds by applying different antifungal products and organic plant stimulators.
  • You should also avoid particularly humid areas like ponds, rivers...
  • Growing in greenhouses represents a good alternative, offering a slightly wider choice of strains (especially in terms of flowering time).

Cannabis strains for hot, dry climate

Sativa marijuana strain with aerated buds
Sativa cannabis strain with airy buds

Cannabis in its natural condition also grows in dry areas, but in this case we normally speak about landrace varieties, that is to say, pure genetics which have adapted to this type of climate over generations and that naturally resist heat and drought. However, not all cannabis strains are adapted to these conditions and sometimes they perform better if grown indoors or in less sunny latitudes. Thus, a correct choice if you live in hot, dry areas is also crucial for a successful harvest.

These are the main traits that should be taken into account for this type of climate:

  • Indica strains usually have large, broad leaves, a trait which leads to higher evaporation of the moisture contained in the plant through the leaves than Sativa marijuana plants.
  • Indica varieties generally produce dense and compact buds, which are more sensitive to heat and could develop moulds if relative humidity rises.

The following list contains suitable genetics for dry climates:

  • Feminized Seeds: African Free from Eva Seeds, Karamelo from Kannabia Destroyer from Cannabiogen, Early Maroc from Philosopher Seeds, Maroc, Caprichose Thai from Elite Seeds.
  • Regular seeds: Mango Zamal, Krystalica from Mandala, Pakistan Chitral Kush or Sandstorm from Cannabiogen,Spice, Kalichakra, Congo or Old Timer Haze from Ace Seeds...

Here you have some tips for growing cannabis in hot climates:

  • Add polymers to the growing medium in order to improve its water retention capacity, also put some straw or any type of mulching on the surface of the soil to limit water evaporation.
  • To protect the root system, grow directly in the ground or in large, white plant pots (you can also wrap the pots with some isolating material to control the temperature of the root system). Smart Pots, thanks to their improved aeration of the substrate, will prevent root problems.

Cananbis plants perfectly adapted to the hot climate of Senegal
Cananbis plants perfectly adapted to the hot climate of Senegal

  • In “Guerrilla” crops you can put the plants in a partially shaded area. Bloom won't be as abundant as if they were placed in full sun, but the need of water and nutrients are highly decreased! You can also put a layer of plastic with some holes in it on the grow spot and cover it with a layer of 5cm of soil to reduce evaporation.
  • Use shading mesh to protect the flowers and limit the exposure to sun, which helps to control temperatures.
  • A soil rich in micro elements and microbial life enhances the defenses of plants and their resistance to stress. Use Green House Feeding Enhancer, Bactohemp or Bio Supermix to protect the roots from stress and pathogens.
  • Products like Vitalink Chill help the plants to withstand hot temperatures.

We hope this article will help you to successfully harvest your plants wherever you're growing!

Happy harvest!


The articles published by Alchimiaweb, S.L. are reserved for adult clients only. In France, the age of majority is set at 18 years old. Consult your country's legislation and obey it. Alchimiaweb, SL is a Spanish company governed by Spanish law and can not, in any case, be held responsible for any misuse or non-compliance with the laws and regulations specific to each country, in relation to the articles published on its Blog. We remind you that the cultivation of cannabis seeds on French territory is strongly prohibited by law. We do not encourage our customers to break the law in any way and are not responsible for their use.

Comments in “Growing cannabis in harsh climate conditions” (11)

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billos buds 2020-10-04
Outdoor in ground, I figure I'm a week or so to harvest and it's raining on my girls! Trichomes are mostly cloudy but no amber yet ... A Nutterbutter and a Platinum Punch. I have been giving them a good shake when rain stops which seems to be effective at allowing them to dry out. Should I be covering them with a tarp? I did cover them last week with a bedsheet to protect them from the early frost and they appear to have suffered no damage. The bedsheet was touching some of the buds when I removed it. What else can I do versus frost and rain? The good news is the forecast is for dry, sunny and mid 60s to 70s next 10days so I should make harvest if we get dried out from todays rain.

Tim Alchimia 2020-10-05
Hi and thanks for your comment. It's definitely a complicated time of year, and many growers are having the same problems you're having. If you're due for dry weather over the next 10 days then there shouldn't be any worries about having to protect the plants from rain, and you'll just have to worry about frosts. Keep them covered with the bedsheet if you expect frost overnight, there shouldn't be any real issue with the sheet touching the buds as the fabric is breathable to a certain extent. Plastic sheeting to protect the plants from rain would, however, cause problems with condensation and consequently mould. I hope that helps, it sounds to me that you'll make it to harvest without any problems. Best wishes and happy cropping!

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Mimi 2020-09-21
Hi! I’m growing outdoors in Maine. Girls are in final weeks of flowering and were doing exceptionally well until yesterday. We had a light frost 35 degrees, the night before and in the morning, several were wilted. As the sun came out and warmed them up, they recovered. This morning, same thing. They are all over 12’, so I can’t move them. Weather is supposed to be warmer, but I’m thinking that I should harvest this week before another frost kills them. I wanted them to grow through the end of the month, but I’m not sure that’s possible if the weather continues to be cold at night. Your thoughts? Many thanks!

Tim Alchimia 2020-09-21
Hello and thanks for your comment. I would attempt to protect the plants that are more sensitive to the low temperatures with some horticultural fleece over the plants during the night, which ought to be enough to keep temperatures at a survivable level while being lightweight enough that you can simply drape it over the plants without having to rely on any kind of structure to support it, then remove it in the morning once the sun's out t warm things up again. It lets light pass through fine, and it's also breathable to a certain extent so it shouldn't encourage mould on the plants either. With a bit of luck, doing this ought to protect the plants until you decide to harvest them. I hope that helps. Best wishes and happy growing!

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fujikujaku 2020-09-09
which auto plants are the best to row in india?

Tim Alchimia 2020-09-10
Hi, thanks for your question. It's a hard one to answer without knowing a bit more about the climate where you'll be growing. India is a big country with quite different climate zones. The answer would also depend on what kind of flavours or effects you're looking for. Realistically, almost any kind of auto plant would do fine, but some may flourish more than others, depending on the weather and growing conditions. As a general rule, Indica-dominant hybrids will deal with hot, dry and arid conditions well while Sativa-dominant hybrids will be more suited for humid areas. I hope that helps, and if you can provide some more information the I'm sure we could help you even further. All the best and happy growing!

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G$ Is an Alchimia client 2020-06-20
Im growing outdoors in Guam at 13 degrees in the Tropic of Cancer. Our photo period doesn't change much and is usually 12/12 year round. We do get a rainy season that is hit or miss on the island yearly but for the most part its hot and humid year round. This is my first grow and the plants seem to be soaking up the sun and water nicely. Im just afraid they'll always be in the veg stage year round. Whats your advice on auto flowering seeds? Will auto flower seeds bud with my light cycle regardless? What strains and info can you recommend in my situation/location? thanks.

Tim Alchimia 2020-06-22
Hi G, thanks for your comment and question. Guam sounds and looks like a great place to be growing outdoors and yes, I bet the plants are absolutely loving the sun! If your outdoor photoperiod is roughly 12/12 all year round, then you're going to have exactly the opposite of the problem you're worried about because, depending on the genetics, the plants will start to flower just as soon as they reach sexual maturity, which is normally anything from 6 to 8 weeks after germination. This can be easily dealt with by either using some kind of supplementary illumination to keep the plants in veg until they're big enough to flower and give a good yield or by growing genetics that are adapted to your conditions and photoperiod. If you choose to go with additional lighting then you won't need powerful lamps, just a low-energy bulb or fluorescent strip will be enough, depending on how many plants you have and how big they are. I've even used solar-powered LED strips in off-grid situations and they've worked great. All they need is around half an hour or so of illumination at some point during the night to interrupt the darkness and keep the plants from flowering. If you don't want to mess around with lights then I'd advise you to choose landrace varieties or hybrids from regions on a similar latitude and conditions to Guam, and luckily there are plenty of choices, for example, Thailand and Vietnam, Central American countries like Mexico, Guatemala and Panama, Congo, Malawi, and more! Sativa varieties like these will also deal much better with the humidity in Guam, which could quite easily rot the flowers of plants with Afghani or Skunk genetics. I can highly recommend ACE Seeds for quality pure landrace Sativas and exciting landrace hybrids, and seed banks like Cannabiogen, Seeds Of Africa and Underground Seeds Collective work with some interesting landrace genetics too. As for autos, there's really no use for them in parts of the world where the photoperiod is permanently set to 12/12 so in your case, I wouldn't bother with them at all, you'll get better results and a far wider choice of flavours and effects from photo-sensitive plants. I hope that helps. Best of luck for the season and happy growing!

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ben 2019-10-30
Hello, I went to check my deer hunting place and found they change the crop from cotton to 5000 acer of marijuana. Could not believe my eyes! Never knew it did so well in our hot az. weather. Inspired me to grow a garden. What strain do you think they use?I would bet they use a few different ones. What particular seed would you use in the az. climate? And planting temp for early spring. I am guessing start indoors early Feb. ? Thank you Ben

Tim Alchimia 2019-10-31
Hi Ben, thanks for your comment. Wow, that must have been quite a surprise! If it's 5,000 acres then the chances are that what you were looking at was good ol' hemp! From what I can see there are a number of large hemp operations in Arizona since they've been allowed to grow legally this year after the passing of the Federal Farm Bill in 2018. The plants they'll be growing will have come from registered hemp seed, approved by the state and tested to have less than 0.3% THC content (although these levels will depend on many factors). I've been reading about the Arizona marijuana growers who have great concerns that the large scale hemp operations will end up pollinating their sinsemilla crops, making them worthless, so in some areas "buffer zones" have been set up to separate hemp fields from any THC-rich farms, but with the pollen being capable of travelling huge distances by air, it's hard to say whether that will be enough to protect the marijuana producers. However, if you're thinking of planting something that's not hemp there are plenty of options for your climate. Have a look at our article on Growing cannabis in harsh conditions, it has a section dedicated to plants for hot, dry climates. I'd also add that most anything with predominantly Afghan genetics will do well, I mean just think of how hot and dry the conditions can be in the high mountains of the Hindu Kush! Just be careful not to plant too near these big hemp fields unless you want a seeded crop! As for planting times, well that depends on a couple of factors, firstly the date of the last frost, although as you say you can start plants indoors earlier, however that's only good if you want to end up with huge, monster plants, which might not be the best approach in a hot climate. Personally I'd plant outdoors once the risk of frost has passed, and rather than aiming for a few large plants, I'd go for a greater number of smaller plants, which will stand a better chance of surviving any severe drought that could seriously affect larger plants. Again, check out photos of outdoor plants in places like Morocco, Pakistan and Afghanistan, you'll see that due to the limiting factor of irrigation capacity they're quite small when compared to the Californian giant plants that we often see. All the best and happy growing!

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Arnaud Is an Alchimia client 2019-10-02
So, would u recommend any product in your shop that I could buy ? the non chemical ones please ?

Tim Alchimia 2019-10-03
Hello again Arnaud, thanks for the question. Yes, I'd recommend trying Fungone by Aptus, a natural fungicide that's safe to use up till the last week before harvest. It's basically a super-charged and much more effective version of hydrogen peroxide. Another product that claims to be safe during flowering is Flower Fytosave, a natural phytovaccine against PM. I haven't had a chance to try it for myself yet, and it appears that it may have a more preventive effect, although it ought to stop an existing infection from spreading. As I mentioned previously, it's very difficult to get rid of powdery mildew once a plant is infected, so as well as treating this year's plants, also start thinking about next year, planning ahead to prevent it becoming a problem again. One of the most important factors is the genetic resistance of a plant to PM, and unfortunately, Skunk-based varieties like Critical are quite prone to mildew infection. Have a look at our post on mould-resistant varieties for some ideas. I hope that helps, all the best and happy harvesting!

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Arnaud Is an Alchimia client 2019-09-30
Greetings alchimia, Im growing outdoors, critical 2.0, and following your blog, Im at the 7th week of flowering (out of 9 cause critical 2.0 is indica based) and I started to witness oidium on some of the buds, Ive cut what I could to avoid the oidium spreading on my plant and salvaging what I could. I wanted to know if i could still salvage the rest, and what would be the consequences on the rest of the buds and on the plant itself, I know cutting some buds even parts of the branches of the plant can induce some stress especially at this stage but what do i risk exactly ? Im sad about it but there is not much I can do , the oidium isnt that spread out althu I had to cut about 15g worth of buds (and the best and biggest ones :( )

Tim Alchimia 2019-10-01
Hi Arnaud, thanks for your comment and question. I'm very sorry to hear you're experiencing powdery mildew, it can be very disheartening after all the hard work of the growing season, I know from personal experience! You can read more in our blog post about powdery mildew, including a few treatments and techniques for avoiding it in the first place, but you can definitely act to help salvage the rest of the plant. In some cases, I've sprayed my plants with a hydrogen peroxide solution (1 cup of 3% H2O2 in 1 gal water) which helps to slow the infection and to kill spores, without leaving any residue at all, meaning it can be sprayed right up till harvest day. Another recipe for spraying which I've used with success over the last few years is Aloe Vera & Epsom Salts (1 cup fresh aloe juice & 15ml Epsom Salts per gallon of water) which can be used right up till the last week before harvest. It's very, very difficult to eradicate PM from a plant once it's established, and unfortunately, the most effective treatments are chemical and toxic, so completely unsuitable for application on cannabis plants in flower. For this reason, it's vital to take preventive measures, keeping the plants in optimum health, taking care with the environment surrounding the plants and implementing a regular IPM (Integrated Pest Management) regime in veg. It's too late for this year, but for next season, I heard recently from a trusted gardener that BioBizz Leaf Coat was very successful in preventing outbreaks of PM in a grow room that had previously caused some problems in this respect. I'm definitely going to give it a try on a few plants next year, the mildew seems to be getting worse with each season. I hope that helps, all the best and happy harvesting!

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Shawn 2019-08-10
I grow outdoors and I’m having problems with some kind of mold but it has been wet and high humidity is there anything I can do to prevent the problems

Tim Alchimia 2019-08-12
Hi Shawn, thanks for your comment. If you could tell us more about the kind of mould problem you're having maybe we can help a bit more. However, there are certain preventative measures we can take to prevent fungal attacks in general. Firstly we have a wide range of organic and chemical fungicides, although I would only recommend using organic products at this stage of the season, as the flowers will be starting to develop. We can use Potassium Silicate or Horsetail to provide more silicon to the plants' cells, which physically strengthens and reinforces them against mould. A good IPM (Integrated Pest Management) program will help to keep fungus at bay, eg. regular spraying with neem oil & aloe throughout vegetative growth. We can also improve the plant's air circulation to reduce the chance of mould problems, by pruning away the lower branches and leaves that won't get as much light, which directs the energy to the top parts of the plant and allows better air movement around the plant. I hope that helps, if you provide us with a bit more information we can probably give some better advice. All the best and happy growing!

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GM 2019-06-23
Great Blogs brother, Looking for HIGH CBD / LOW THC Hemp feminized strains good for humid conditions (Florida). Any suggestions

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willem kooistra 2018-01-03
wat van soort wiet zaden kun je het beste gebruiken hier in nederland .is voor buiten kweek en het liefst met zo hoog mogelijke thc .en een kleiner gehalte cbd . en waar niet zo gauw top rot in komt . kunt in mij daar raad in geven wat voor zaden daar in aanmerking voor komen . kom uit het noorden in drachten dus genoeg regen gehad dit jaar. met heel veel top rot in mijn planten

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Fredy John Smith 2017-12-20
A very good and comprehensive list depicting the right species of marijuana that can fit into the adverse environment. Thanks for the info.

Dani Alchimia 2017-12-21
Hi Fredy, Glad you found it useful! Thanks for your comment! Best!

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