With so many recent changes in the laws, one has to stop and really think when it comes to growing marijuana. Is it better to grow indoors or outdoors? The pros and cons of both options must be thoroughly considered on a large scale.

Outdoor Growing

Growing outdoors is the most naturally intended manner for growing any plant product. However, when considering the outdoor grow there are a few key factors that must be considered:

  • A safe place for planting that will not be discovered by thieves, law enforcement, vandals, animals, or at risk for bug infestation.
  • Ensure that the crop is planted to allow for a minimum of eight hours of natural, pure sunlight.
  • Be aware that only one grow can be done yearly unless near the equator or using an auto flowering strain variety.
  • Crops must be planted at specific times of the year. They have a longer growing period, and need a warm climate for the longest timeframe possible.
  • Threats from mother nature must be considered, such as tornadoes, floods, and fires. A single storm or catastrophe could easily wipe out an entire crop.
  • Have a water supply near the crop, as well as a way to reach it every few weeks for tending.
  • Consider: what options are there for securing the location? Are you able to stealthy remove the crop and harvest properly?

Outdoor Growing: The Pros

  • A more organically grown product
  • A more natural smell and taste to product
  • Leaves a smaller carbon footprint
  • Much lower startup costs
  • Often produce larger yields
  • Plants have room to spread and grow
  • Free natural light source
  • Free natural ventilation
  • Plants are known to grow fuller

Outdoor Growing: The Cons

  • Growing location is government regulated
  • Not allowed in all cities
  • Dry season requires more effort in watering
  • Deer like to eat and destroy if not tended

Which popular strains are pro-outdoor rated?

Seed experts recommend the following strains to be grown in an outdoor environment:

  • Auto-Flowering Strains
    • Sensi Skunk
  • Feminized Strains
    • Early Skunk
  • Regular Seed Strains
    • Ruderalis Indica
    • Mexican Sativa
    • Guerrilla’s Gusto
    • Early Skunk
    • Hollands Hope
    • Ruderalis Skunk
    • Outdoor Mix
    • Early Girl
    • Early Pearl
    • Durban
    • Jamaican Pearl

Indoor Growing

Maintaining an indoor grow is a more convenient way for urban locals or those residing in cities. Although its not completely natural for the plant, it is more natural to the grower. When you grow indoors there’s no worry of thieves discovering your plants, or animals, pests, natural disasters, climate changes, or fires.

There are many steps, purchases, research and required knowledge for an indoor grow. One must be able to answer all of the following questions:

  • What type of light source is needed?
  • Which method of growing: Hydro or soil?
  • What is the necessary temperature?
  • How will you control the smell?
  • What sort of ventilation system is required?

Indoor Growing: The Pros

  • A more aesthetically pleasing product
  • Crop grows much faster
  • Many grows can be done yearly
  • Controlled environment
  • No climate issues or changes

Indoor: The Cons

  • Not a natural environment – full of metals
  • Maintaining proper ventilation is difficult
  • Blocking or hiding the smell
  • Higher household energy costs
  • Pumped with fertilizers
  • One 600-watt bulb is like running a refrigerator
  • Much higher startup cost
  • No way to hide your knowledge of the crop
  • Setup of strict waste removal regulations 

Which popular strains pro-indoor rated?  

According to seed experts, the following two categories are the best for indoor grows. Each of the categories also has a specific strain list that has been assigned.

Auto-Flowering Strains

  • Skunk #1
  • Northern Lights
  • White Widow
  • Snow Ryder
  • Super Skunk
  • White Diesel Haze
  • White Haze

Feminized Strains

  • White Skunk
  • Purple Bud
  • Sensi Skunk
  • Master Kush
  • Super Skunk
  • Feminized Mix
  • X Haze
  • White Diesel
  • Shiva Skunk
  • Pure Power Plant
  • Skunk Kush
  • Female Mix
  • Silver Haze #9
  • Big Bud
  • White Ice
  • Northern Lights
  • White Widow
  • Purple Haze
  • Jack Flash #5
  • White Gold
  • Northern Lights #5 X Haze

To achieve the most well defined pros vs cons, let’s take an even closer look at the conditions. To do this we will look at a more specific sand detail orientated state by state breakdown.

The best way to do the state by state comparison is to look for answers to very specific questions. The following are questions that many of us have been thinking about since the legalizations began to take place.

What are the various outdoor growing conditions and environments?

  • Mediterranean: Warm and sunny area that has long summers.
  • Continental: Mild Winter with a Cool Summer that has low humidity.
  • Northern: Cold and wet with a Cold Summer and Colder winter.

Which produces the highest potency of product, indoor or outdoor?

  • When it comes to product potency Colorado tested identical strains to find that the ratings are coming out to be the same. This is also the case with the terpene profiles.

Which states are legal for outdoor growing? 

  • Colorado: for medical and recreational
  • Washington: medical only
  • Michigan: for medical and recreational
  • Oregon: medical and recreational city based

Which states are legal for indoor growing?

  • Massachusetts: medical only
  • Montana: medical only
  • Nevada: medical with location restrictions
  • New Mexico: medical only
  • Oregon: medical and recreational city based
  • Rhode Island: medical only
  • Vermont: medical only
  • Washington: medical only
  • Maine: medical only
  • Hawaii: medical only
  • Colorado: for medical and recreational
  • California: medical only
  • Arizona: medical only
  • Alaska: medical only

Considering costs, which are more effective: indoor or outdoor?

  • California currently shows the greatest indoor-specific Con. Certain counties are currently drawing 20-25% more electric usage with costs running as high as $4500 monthly bills per household.
  • Colorado is currently showing the greatest indoor-specific Pro. Many growers have begun utilizing the greenhouse building structure. Those structures are showing an average cost savings of 33%.

What method is showing the highest yield factor?

  • Oregon is currently showing the greatest pro in regards to yield with indoor growing. A rookie can yield on average one-half pound every 60 days, year round. An experienced grower can easily yield two pounds in the same 60 days.

What role does climate play?

  • The northern states, such as Oregon, are finding that indoor grows are more effective due to the climate, specifically the rainfall. The rain creates issues with plant molding, causing the product to be less potent, harsher in flavor.
  • A huge outdoor con came into play for northern states in reference to the harshness of the product. While it did still have the natural earthy smell from being grown outdoors, it becomes better suited for baking and edibles than for smoking.
  • Washington also has more pros for indoor growing, as the indoor crops maintained a higher quality and were free of infestations that were plaguing their outdoor crops.


As one might expect, the outcome of the great debate on indoor vs outdoor growing has yet to be truly decided. It remains up to the grower of the crop as to the best location of the plant. Personal preference, smell, taste, time, room, and overall conditions are all aspects to consider when it comes to making a decision on growing location.