Perhaps you do not have the largest balcony or terrace? Do not worry. Even if you only have a small balcony or terrace with plenty of sunlight, you’ll be harvesting your own buds in no time.
Here are some tips to help you turn that small space into a leafy garden where your plants can grow strong and healthy, without creating too much suspicion among neighbours, who do not tend to have the best intentions.
It is important to know that in general, sativa plants grow bigger in size than indica plants. If you have a smaller space and want to keep your plants small, an indica would be the way to go.
Indica’s also do better with less light. So this might be something to keep in mind if your balcony is not facing south.
Another good option would be to grow autoflowering strains. thanks to their ruderalis genetics, autoflowering strains tend to grow slightly smaller than regular cannabis strains, but also don’t require strict light/dark periods in order to flourish and flower like regular strains.
Because these strains flower based on their age, they’re not as sensitive to changes or interruptions to their light cycle, which makes them ideal for a balcony with less light and even colder climates.
Get Started a Little Earlier
Depending on the direction your balcony faces (and the space you have available), it could take slightly longer to get the job done than in a more typical outdoor grow space. As a result, it’s generally advisable to get started on your balcony cannabis grow slightly earlier than normal.
You don’t need to be too specific – simply make sure you get started towards the mid-reaches of spring and you’ll be onto a winner. Make the most of the warmer and brighter months of the year, to ensure your plants are as strong, healthy and generous as they can be come autumn.
Of course, this isn’t necessarily as important where autoflowering strains are concerned. Some smaller specimens can be taken from seed to harvest in less than three months, which can be great for balcony growing.
The quality of the soil you use will make or break your entire cultivation project. One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a home grower is to simply use the cheapest soil you can lay your hands on and hope for the best. It’s not as if premium quality soil is particularly expensive – especially in the kinds of quantities you’ll be needing.
Set yourself up with a high-quality organic soil from a reputable garden centre, ensuring it is well-aerated and provides good drainage. You’ll need to provide additional nutrients at various stages as your plants grow, but you also need to ensure that the soil has a good nutrient content to start with.
Choose the right pots
First up, you’ll want to think carefully about the types of pots you use, along with how many you intend to place on your balcony. Material quality doesn’t matter a great deal, just as long as there’s good drainage and enough space for your plants to grow.
The size of any given pot will have a direct impact on the resulting size of the cannabis plant. If you’re looking to grow smaller plants to keep things under wraps, choosing smaller pots will help keep your plants relatively compact. By contrast, choose larger pots and your plants could grow much bigger.
Assess how much space you have available and what you intend to achieve, before selecting the most appropriate pots for your balcony.
Pick The Right Spot
Once you’ve picked your strains and have the right size container, it’s time to think about where your baby is going to grow. Remember, unless you plan to grow autoflowering strains, cannabis plants need plenty of light during the day, followed by complete darkness during the night.
Ideally, you’ll want your plant to receive at least 5–6 hours of direct sunlight during the day, preferably during the morning or late afternoon (depending on where you live, the midday sun may be too harsh even for your hardy cannabis plant).
You’ll also want to make sure you position your plants somewhere well-protected from strong winds or rains. The good thing about growing in containers is that they’re usually easy to move around.
South (or slightly southeast) facing balconies/terraces tend to be ideal for most plants as they usually get direct sunlight in the morning, followed by indirect light during midday/late afternoon. Obviously, you can’t change the direction of your balcony/terrace, so just work with what you’ve got and remember to keep a close eye on your plant to ensure she’s getting enough sun.
Keep your plants under control
Last but not least, it’s important not to let your plants grow well and truly out of control. The more cramped and congested things become, the higher the likelihood of your plants succumbing to any number of problems.
When your plants have been in the vegetative phase for approximately four weeks, the time comes to start pruning and training them. Most balcony or terrace growers prune in a way that encourages cannabis plants to grow outwards, rather than upwards.
Prune it when necessary in order to encourage it to grow outwards. That it how it works, a good apical pruning will allow the plant to grow outwards, and reduce its height. This is very important if you do not want your plant to grow higher than the terrace wall. When the plant has seven or eight pairs of real big leaves, cut the apex or the upper shoot, just above the fifth pair of leaves, as this will help new primary branches to emerge. These branches can then be directed with SCROG style meshing, in order to create a series of flat plants that produce a lot of nice buds, and have very discreet secondary tails.
Aspects to consider when growing cannabis on terraces
If the sun shines directly on our potted plants, roots can reach 40°C, which is not advisable. To avoid this we can use white pots and protect them from the sun by using other plants or any other thing as shading protection which can help reducing the contact with direct sun and therefore lowering the temperature of the soil/roots.
It is advisable to grow other plants (flowering or leafy plants) on our terrace in addition to marijuana, as they will help creating a suitable microclimate and enhance biological richness in the environment, as well as helping us to camouflage our secret garden.
Some great companion plants to grow amidst your cannabis plants include:
If our terrace is very sunny and gets very hot during the day, it is highly desirable to wet the terrace floor and walls in the mornings and evenings, as well as refreshing the leaves of our plants long before the flowering stage begins, especially in June and July, which is the peak of the red spider pest.
If the terrace is very exposed to the wind, we must use ropes, stakes and stones to tie the plants and prevent them from falling or breaking.
It is important to carry out all treatments as well as watering and transplanting early or late in the day to avoid strong heat, as it could damage the plants.