Growing in a hot and dry climate might seem like a grower’s dream. After all, it makes for the perfect conditions to grow marijuana plants free of mould and rot, and that can be grown all year long. These things are true, however growing in arid and dry climates presents its own challenges and if growers aren’t ready to deal with them, they could end up with shriveled plants that have been destroyed by drought.
Characteristics of arid and dry climates
There is one main characteristic of arid climates – they are extremely dry. Places like Egypt, Chile, most parts of Mexico, and of course, deserts around the globe are all considered to have arid and dry climates. Many of these regions get less than one foot of rain every single year, meaning that the ground is very dry. On its own, this can make it very unsuitable for growing marijuana, as cannabis plants are known to love water and need watering regularly.
Even when plants are watered often in these climates, they still sometimes don’t fare very well. This is because hot soil and cannabis often don’t mix. In some instances, the hot upper layers of soil can actually burn the roots of the marijuana plant. This will destroy them and ultimately, destroy the entire plant.
Evaporation also plays a key part when growing cannabis, or any other plants, in arid and dry climates. This is because evaporation happens at a much faster rate than precipitation, leaving the soil hard, dry and cracked. This doesn’t mean that marijuana cannot be grown in it at all, but that it will need to be watered more regularly.
Arid and dry climates often have very long light cycles during the day and only a few hours of complete darkness at night. At times, this dark cycle can be as short as five hours. This can be detrimental to some cannabis species, as typically they will need at least 18 hours of darkness during the vegetative stage and 12 hours during the flowering stage.
Solutions to dry and arid climates for cannabis plants
While growing marijuana in a dry and arid climate does present its own unique challenges, it can still be done. The key is to start with the right hot climate plants for the area and to then combat problems such as drought with other solutions.
Sativas will do best in hot climates as they typically originate from tropical areas so they have the genetics built in to deal with the heat. The cooler nights that tend to fall in dry climates may also turn the leaves of a sativa plant purple, something that many cannabis connoisseurs are often after – and that could impress those you’re smoking with!
Once you have the right hot climate plants, you then have to contend with the elements; namely the heat and the lack of moisture. One of the best ways to do this is to plant the plants somewhere where they will have partial shade. This can help keep the leaves and other parts of the plants from burning, but it can also provide a bit more darkness when the natural light cycles do not.
Typically, especially when dealing with sativas, the plants will adjust to the natural light and will fare well even when the darker periods are at their shortest. Growers that want to ensure there won’t be a problem may want to choose auto-flowering strains as they will begin to flower after reaching a certain age, instead of relying on the light to prompt them to do so.
A lack of water can easily be solved when growing marijuana plants as well. Of course, making sure the plants are watered well and watered often is one solution. It will keep the soil cool enough that it won’t scorch the roots but rather, will encourage deep root growth. As the roots continue to grow further down in the soil, that deeper soil will be cooler; the roots will no longer be at risk of being burned.
Placing water-holders in the soil can also help keep marijuana plants hydrated. These are made from starch and polymers and when they come into contact with water they absorb it and become much larger than their original size. As the soil begins to dry out, these water-holders will start to release the water they’ve been holding, keeping the plant hydrated even when you’re having trouble doing so.
Best hot climate plants
Of course, even with the a regular watering schedule and keeping the plants as shaded from the hot sun as possible, nothing gives growers a better chance than selecting the best hot climate plants to choose from. Some of those strains include:
- Jack Herer. Not just a sativa, but one that has a fast flowering time, and can produce up to 500 grams per plants when given lots of sunny – something arid and dry climates have an abundance of!
- NYC Diesel. A very dense plant, especially for a sativa, this plant can actually protect itself from the strong rays of the sun by protecting colas with large leaves that may provide some shade.
- THC Bomb. This plant is very hearty and can withstand pretty tough conditions, such as a reduction in water. THC Bomb can also require a huge amount of nutrients and fertilizer when grown indoors, which means it’s perfect for taking outside.
- Headband OG. Another fast-finishing plant, Headband OG can produce large yields and has a high THC content that will keep any smoker happy.
- Afghan. This plant is especially resistant to pests and disease, making it ideal for outdoor growth. In hot and dry conditions, it will be able to make great use of the sunny outdoor conditions, both at night and during the day.
While most growers would think that a hot and dry climate is ideal for growing cannabis, these areas can present their own unique challenges. It’s important that growers arm themselves with the solutions they’ll need in order to get the big and beautiful plants they’re after, without worrying about them drying out before harvest time.