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Growing Cannabis in a Drought

May 26, 2020
Watering Problems

Growing Cannabis in Drought Conditions

Cannabis grows in hot and dry climates, but farmers must understand the challenges associated with cultivating this plant under those conditions. Take specific steps to increase the odds of success when growing marijuana in those areas prone to drought.

Extremely hardy and versatile, cannabis grows almost anywhere farmers plant it. Historians believe cannabis originated in Siberia and Mongolia. However, by 2000 BCE, cannabis grew abundantly in the Middle East and India, showing it thrives even under extreme weather conditions.

Does Cannabis Grow in Extreme Climates?

Yes, it does and with great success. Hot and dry environments provide the perfect conditions for cultivating marijuana outdoors. The heat protects the roots from mold, while the plants thrive in the sunlight, ensuring maximum bud production. However, farmers must follow certain steps to reap the benefits of the environment.

In addition, farmers must recognize the strain selected plays a role in the crop’s success. Certain strains require more work on the part of the grower to survive and thrive. Experienced growers look for drought resistant strains such as Northern Lights and White Widow to ensure a successful crop.

Strain Selection

The choice of cannabis strain plays the largest role in the success or failure of a crop in hot and dry climates. Sativas love warm and human environments thanks to their airy bud structure. They originated in areas with extreme heat and handle drought conditions easily. Nevertheless, excessive heat often results in arid soil that can damage the sensitive roots of the plant. Put appropriate watering measures into place for an abundant harvest.

When choosing hot-weather strains, look for those seeds with Sativa-dominant genetics. The strains need a successful track record in hot, dry climates, and the plants need a short flowering phase. Growers often opt for autoflowering seeds such as Auto Sour Diesel and Auto Deveil XXL when cultivating marijuana under these conditions. Some exceptional Sativa strains that do well in hot, dry climates are Blue Dream and Jack Herer.


Novices frequently assume cannabis must grow outdoors. However, individuals across the globe successfully grow marijuana indoors every day. Indica-dominant seeds and autoflowering strains thrive in these conditions.

Growers discover numerous benefits to growing indoors anywhere, especially those who live in hot and dry climates. For instance, growers obtain more control over the environment when using an indoor grow room, and privacy increases when farmers select this option. Invest in the right equipment and choose high quality weed seeds carefully to boost the odds of success.

Climate control remains crucial when cultivating cannabis indoors, and many growers invest in a grow tent designed specifically for this purpose.  Ensure decent airflow in the space and select strains designed for indoor cultivation.

However, some people find they must grow marijuana outdoors. Inadequate space, unsuitable interior conditions, and other reasons prevent them from benefiting from indoor grow rooms. Fortunately, cannabis plants love hot days and warm nights, such as those found in the Mediterranean.

Choose a location where artificial shade may be provided for the plants, and create shade with netting and bamboo, if needed. The soil must remain well-watered and protected, and many growers place straw bedding around the plants for protection. However, numerous other factors impact cannabis plants when grown outdoors.

Grow Medium and Supplements

Cannabis requires the best soil and nutrients for optimal growth and development. A bumper crop depends on the soil mix, and growers find using a mix of nutritious, highly absorbent amendments provides the best result. This soil mix absorbs and stores water, releasing it to the plants as needed. Incorporate the two amendments mentioned below into the grow site for great results.

Coco Coir

Created from coconut husk fibers, coco coir provides the perfect substrate for cannabis plants. The loose structure helps plants fight the stress brought on by the heat. Most farmers mix the coco coir with soil, but this remains the choice of the grower. However, coco coir provides no nutritional value, so growers must incorporate supplements for the plants.

Coco coir holds up to nine times its weight in water. This substrate costs significantly more than peat but is less acidic. Growers often combine coco coir with peat moss, oyster shell flour, and topsoil when growing cannabis outdoors.


Polymers, plastics that absorb large quantities of water, ensure plants remain hydrated when they are combined with the grower’s preferred substrate. They established a huge reservoir of water and nutrients the plants may pull from. During a drought, the roots tap into these reservoirs for the water and nutrition they require.

Choose food-safe polymers, also known as polyacrylamides, for photoperiod cannabis strains such as Agent Orange or Super Silver Haze. Polyacrylates hold more than polyacrylamides, but growers must understand these polymers break down into nitrogen and ammonia salts after approximately four months. Fortunately, most autos reach the harvest stage within 12 weeks. As a result, the plants benefit from the use of the polymers, and growers won’t worry the flavor of development is affected.

Polymers often turn unproductive grow sites into thriving gardens. Allot one pound of polymers per each 16-cubic-foot grow hole, as each pound absorbs and holds 40 gallons of water. Experts recommend soaking the polymers in a mix of organic fertilizer and water before placing them in the soil. Use of the polymers increases yields as much as three times, according to those who have used this substrate.

Nutritional Supplements

Plants suffer from heat stress in drought conditions. Growers must ensure the plants are strong and robust when hot and dry conditions persist. Nutritional supplements help with this goal. Protect plant roots from water stress with the help of humic acid supplements. Add kelp extract for those plants at risk of heat stress. This extract boosts growth and yield while augmenting the effects of humic acid supplements. Growers also use silica supplements when cell walls and stems need strengthening.


Plants need water in drought conditions. Polymers provide access to water during this time, and growers should water plants early in the day. This ensures plants take up the water before it dries up. Avoid watering the leaves. Water droplets function like magnifying glasses and boost the intensity of the sun. This burns the plant, which must be avoided at all costs.

Consider the use of wetting agents. These agents break down the water’s surface tension so it won’t bead up on the soil’s surface. Water that is beading up rolls off the surface and doesn’t reach the plant roots. Wetting agents allow the soil to absorb more water, reducing evaporation loss and waste. Additionally, growers spend less time caring for plants when these agents are used.


Mulch minimizes water evaporation and the loss of soil moisture. It protects the surface of the soil from the elements while keeping the topsoil moist. Irrigation requirements decrease, which is of great importance during a drought, and the mulch adds nutrients to the soil. Mulch decomposes over time and releases nutrients during this process.

When growers water their plants, organic material washes into the soil from above. The thick layer of mulch absorbs this moisture and stores it for the plants to benefit from later. Runoff from irrigation water decreases thanks to the riffles and low areas found in the rough surface of the mulch. When this water soaks into the soil, less is needed to keep the plants moist.

Mulch also draws earthworms to the growing area. The worms then feed on organic material contained in the mulch and turn it into worm castings which make their way into the soil. In addition, as worms move through the soil, they crumble and till the ground, leaving behind soil that is aerated and highly nutritious. The plants benefit greatly as a result. Finally, tunnels created by the worms allow water to move deeper into the growing medium.

Growers use a wide range of materials when mulching their grow area. Hay, wheat straw, and pine straw work well for this purpose, or a grower might choose finished compost or newspapers. Plastic should be avoided whenever possible because it prevents the soil from breathing or taking in rainwater. However, cocoa bean hulls or rice hulls work well as mulch and therefore shouldn’t be overlooked when choosing a mulching material.


Limited space often requires the use of containers for cannabis cultivation. Heat stress affects these plants as well, so growers must keep roots well-watered and fresh. Several measures make this task easier.

Dig a hole in the ground and place the pot in this hole. Doing so protects the soil from the sun. Never use black pots because they store heat from the sun and choose containers sized for transport. Moving plants into the shade when needed becomes easier when smaller containers are selected. However, make certain roots have space for buffering in these containers, and place one pot inside another larger one for increased water retention.

Consider investing in fabric or air pots. These pots ensure roots receive oxygen from all sides. Take care when using these pots because the soil dries out quickly, leading to the need for additional watering.

Final Thoughts

i49 seed growers must possess a great deal of patience and plan carefully when cultivating cannabis in hot and dry conditions. Learn from those who have tackled this task before. By following their advice, novices find they get a good head start on their crop while boosting the chances of success. It can be done, so don’t give up. A bumper crop makes your hard work worth every minute. Regardless of which strain you choose to grow, be sure to purchase your cannabis seeds from a reliable seed supplier such as I49 to ensure the most successful crop possible.

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