Between the tropical lines (either side if the equator) conditions (and daily light hours) may vary little throughout the year. That means special considerations need to be made when growing photoperiod feminised cannabis seeds to prevent immediate bloom. But autoflower seeds should thrive all year round. Our tropics cannabis grow guide explains all you need to know.
How to grow cannabis in tropical climates
Growing cannabis in tropical climates
The Tropic of Cancer and Capricorn are 23 degrees north and south of the equator. That’s around 1500 miles north and south of the equator. At distances this close to the equator, the temperatures remain permanently warm and the sun is powerful enough to drive lush tropical growth all year round.
There are around 12 hours of daily light (give or take an hour) all year round. Many tropical regions receive plenty of water, making them great climates in which to grow cannabis. Your two main options are to grow autoflowering cannabis seeds or photoperiod feminised seeds.
If local weather is prone to torrential rain, and many tropical regions are, then you may want to consider growing with a tarpaulin shelter to protect your plants from the worst of the prevailing wind/rain. That’s good advice whether growing feminised seeds or autoflower seeds.
Another useful tip is to consider growing your outdoor cannabis plants in containers. This allows you the option to move your plants in the event of an extreme storm. However, this will also require the grower to attend regularly to feed/water and may restrict final yields.
If growing in containers, large, aerated containers (e.g. felt sacks or air pots) are particularly recommended, 25 litres or more will allow sizeable harvests. In order to maximise root health and prevent the root zone from overheating, it can help to keep the containers in the shade, out of direct sunlight.
Growing feminised seeds in tropical climates
With around 12 hours of daily light pretty much year-round, the main challenge facing cannabis growers in tropical regions is preventing their plants going straight into bloom. The two main approaches are:
1) Indoor veg: Germinate your cannabis seeds indoors (e.g. in a small tent) and keep the seedlings there for a month or two until you are ready to put them outdoors – where they will start bloom quickly.
2) Outdoor veg with supplemental outdoor lighting: Allow your seedlings to grow with sunlight during normal daylight hours and then add an outdoor light (e.g. halogen security/yard light)/greenhouse light) which can be left on for a further ~6 hours to extend the total daily light-hours. This prevents the plants going into bloom until you remove the artificial light.
Best feminised cannabis seeds for tropical climates
Feminised seeds are a great fit for growing in tropical climates. The natural year-round outdoor 12/12 cannabis light cycle is ideally suited to the bloom requirements of feminised strains. All you need to do is find a good grow location and give the seeds a few weeks of veg growth using supplemental lighting to deliver around 18 hours of daily light. Once the seedlings are ready, simply place them outdoors where bloom will be initiated by the outdoor light cycle.
Desfrán, multi cannabis cup winning jungle sativa genetics
Perhaps the purest sativa in the Dutch Passion collections of sativa cannabis seeds, Desfrán can show significant stretch and in optimum conditions with unrestricted root space she can reach 3-4m tall and almost as wide with true XXL yields. If mold is a potential issue for indica strains then, Desfrán is one of our top recommendations.
Mazar, the ultra-tough legendary Afghani Kush
Many tough indica strains, including the iconic Afghani Mazar have the resilience to cope well with life in the tropics. With a uniquely rich, pungent and penetrating aroma Mazar ticks all the right boxes for the quality conscious outdoor grower. Mind-numbing potency, heavy yields and easy growth are hallmarks of this reliable strain.
Skywalker Haze, heat resistant strain with stunning potency
Haze genetics are well suited & adapted to the demands of tropical life. Skywalker Haze is the fastest Haze line encountered by the Dutch Passion geneticists taking around 9 weeks in bloom. The powerful Haze genetics have a legendary reputation for strength and a blissfully enjoyable effect.
Banana Blaze, old school Kush with a sweet banana taste
How to grow feminised seeds in tropical climates
Sativa, or sativa dominant cannabis seeds are often preferred by tropical growers. The slightly more open, airy bud structure lends itself well to the often warm/humid conditions that will be encountered. But that’s not to say you won’t get good results with indica leaning outdoor varieties too.
Many will germinate their feminised seeds indoors and keep them there for a few weeks until they are ready to introduce them to the tropical outdoors. Small cannabis seedlings are relatively easy to care for and need little attention/maintenance. Our top-10 germination & seedling mistakes blog is worth reading if you have limited experience and wish to avoid the most common pitfalls. Once outdoors with a natural 12/12 cannabis light cycle, bloom will soon begin.
Others will grow their seedlings in a greenhouse equipped with a light to maintain long daylight hours and keep their cannabis plants in veg growth. Once the supplemental greenhouse light is removed the plants will bloom under the natural 12/12 daylight.
Those growing in a yard/terrace will use the same principle as greenhouse growers, with an outdoor light to prevent plants flowering until the grower is ready. Bloom is normally a further 9 weeks or so, dependent on the strain.
During bloom, both feminised and autoflower strains will stretch and produce pungent buds. The detailed Dutch Passion cannabis bloom stage guide explains all you need to know about this phase of the cannabis life cycle.
Growing autoflower seeds in tropical climates
With their rapid life cycle (typically around 12-13 weeks from autoflower seed to harvest outdoors), autoflowers are fast, convenient and usually a metre (3 ft) or below when ripe.
This makes them easy to hide whether growing on your own property or out in the jungle. Growers in the tropics will be able to manage 3 or perhaps even 4 successive autoflower crops each year.
However, with only ~12 hours of daily light (vs 16+ at non tropical latitudes in summer) autoflower yields may not be quite maximised. But that doesn’t deter many in the tropics from enjoying the other benefits of the best autoflower genetics. Those keen on further reading may found our detailed explanation on growing autoflower vs feminised seeds outdoors useful.
Best autoflower cannabis seeds for tropical climates
Many well-bred autoflower strains will deliver good results when grown outdoor in the tropics, both indica and sativa varieties. The following suggestions are proven to give great results. Outdoors autos may take a couple of weeks longer than they might indoors (around 12 weeks or so) but are still ready in around half the time of feminised photoperiod strains. For many tropical cannabis growers, autoflower seeds are an ideal option to grow alongside (or even instead of) feminised seeds.
Auto Power Plant, proven African cannabis cup wining genetics
Auto Power Plant uses South African cannabis genetics that cope well with tropical growth conditions. The fully proven, consistent and reliable sativa autoflower genetics are loved for the compact and powerful buds.
Auto Skywalker Haze, for the highest THC levels you can get
For those that demand uncompromising 25%+ THC levels Auto Skywalker Haze is your number-1 choice. Dutch Passion have never seen as many independently confirmed 25%+ THC measurements in any autoflower strain, even from other breeders. She is as easy to grow as the rest of Dutch Passion’s autoflower seeds with heavy yields and a true knockout high. Be warned, seasoned cannabis smokers only!
Auto Mazar, one of the toughest, most dependable auto strains you can grow in the tropics
Auto Mazar is regularly a top-3 best-selling autoflower, some refuse to grow anything else! She grows with great resilience across a wide range of grow conditions and copes well with adverse conditions. The chunky, dense buds sparkle with sticky resin and produce a terrific old-school aroma with a 1980’s Dutch coffeeshop stench that is all-pervading. The indica effects are hard hitting with an intensely enjoyable/satisfying effect and yields which are way above average.
How to grow autoflower seeds in tropical climates
In general tropical growers germinate their autoflowering cannabis seeds and start them indoors or in a greenhouse/terrace with supplemental lighting to ensure the autos get a strong start. Many grow them with around 20 hours of daily light for the first few weeks and put them outside when they are too large to accommodate under artificial lights.
Those that are fortunate enough to be able to use supplemental greenhouse lighting throughout the grow can grow their autos with 20 hours of daily light from seed to harvest (12 hours of daily light + 8 hours of supplemental lighting), though in reality few tropical growers have this luxury. Most will grow their autos under the natural 12/12 light cycle and simple wait for the plants to mature.
Cannabis growing in tropical climates troubleshooting
Threats of mold/bud rot are ever-present dangers for tropical cannabis growers. If mold is a repeat issue then leaning more towards sativa and sativa-dominant cannabis seeds may be preferred.
Additionally, some overhead protection from the prevailing wind/rain can be used to great advantage by the tropical cannabis grower when storms are forecast. A wind shelter can also protect your plants from dehydrating if strong, dry & hot winds are forecast.
Plants rooted directly into the earth in tropical climates may not need regular watering if the soil is moist from regular rainfall. But if drought conditions arise, many will add supplemental water to their plants. Often this is applied at the start and end of the day.
Use of poly tunnels is popular with some tropical cannabis growers. Not only do the poly tunnels protect your plants from the worst of the often-stormy tropical climates, they also reduce the visibility of your prized plants to others.
Some tropical growers will fortify their soil with amendments and soil improvers if local soil is of poor quality. Despite the challenges of growing cannabis in tropical climates you can expect great results with the most suitable marijuana seeds.
If you haven’t grown cannabis yet in the tropics then you will be pleasantly surprised at how straightforward and easy it is with the best cannabis seeds. Apart from the seeds and the possible cost of a supplemental grow light to keep your plants in vegetative growth there are no significant costs.
Many growers feel that outdoor grown cannabis, especially when grown in optimised outdoor conditions delivers unbeatable taste and aroma. THC and quality levels will be great, growing cannabis under the sun remains the most cost-effective way to be self sufficient in your medical/recreational cannabis requirements.
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