Deciding on the best location for your grow operation can be challenging. Before considering growing in a greenhouse or growing indoors, there are various factors you’ll need to know about first.
Indoor & greenhouse growing has many similar advantages. The primary distinctions between greenhouse & indoor cannabis cultivation are climate control and costs. While greenhouses may be more cost-effective, indoor grow operations can give you more control over temperature, lighting, humidity, etc.
Let’s dive in below to see a few critical distinctions between cannabis greenhouse growing vs indoor growing.
Is A Greenhouse Considered Indoor Growing?
Greenhouse growing can be considered as a way to recreate the outdoor environment but with more control over the elements.
Generally, with a greenhouse, plants are protected with a transparent soft shell made of plastic or glass.
Since plants naturally grow outdoors, it’s only fitting to recreate their habitat as much as possible.
The outside environment can also be very stressful due to changing weather conditions depending on the geographical location you’re in, high winds, rains, snow, and human interaction influencing the outcome.
That’s why greenhouse structures are often considered a hybrid of both indoor and outdoor growing with more modern systems allowing for the opening and closing of roofs and panels to accommodate the climate and the needs of the grow.
There is a cost advantage to a greenhouse when compared to indoor growing as sunlight is used as the main source of light for the plant’s photoperiod instead of high-intensity light systems, which can minimize the need for expensive buildings, rent, and hydro.
A greenhouse can be considered its own form of growing and can be the best of both worlds when compared to traditional outdoor and indoor operations.
When deciding whether a greenhouse is right for you, consider what your budget is as well as how much do you want to input yourself with large lighting and watering systems vs. letting nature do its thing by providing consistent sunlight.
Both have their advantages and disadvantages, but with the right combination of preparation and understanding of the needs of the cannabis plant, a mix of indoor and outdoor growing utilizing a greenhouse may be a surefire way to your next successful harvest!
Is A Greenhouse Better Than Indoor?
The answer to this question ultimately comes down to preference.
If you are someone who desires complete control over the growing environment and doesn’t mind spending a little extra money, then an indoor situation may be what is best for you.
On the other hand, a greenhouse is a great way to save money and allow for a full terpene profile by harnessing the power of the sun’s light and heat energy.
For some, a greenhouse is an excellent addition to one’s property and could be considered an exciting talking point for those interested in horticulture, while others, including neighbours, may consider it an eyesore.
This is generally up to individual municipalities, especially when the infamous skunk smell is involved, which would have to be contained by an indoor setup for commercial operations by law.
But if you are a hobbyist just growing your own personal supply, then it should not be as much of a concern.
By talking to your friends and neighbours beforehand, you can reduce the likelihood of an incident with larger projects.
Greenhouse Vs Indoor Quality
Quality will depend on several aspects throughout your growth, not just light exposure and the structure the grow is enclosed.
The light intensity can be amplified indoors using certain lighting types and techniques that may provide a stronger photoperiod to plants that cause them to grow faster.
A higher indoor lighting intensity potential can also increase resin production and the ability to extend the photoperiod from 12 hours of light and 12 hours of dark to longer vegetation periods such as 18 hours of light and 6 hours of dark -- or 24 hours of light constantly.
This choice is often up to the individual grower and depends on your goals.
When it comes to how cannabis plants originally grew from the beginnings of time, there is something to be said about letting the sun take care of business.
While indoor grows require a sterile environment, there’s a potential risk that a small introduction of a pest (or contamination) can cause large problems that can only be remedied by more equipment and/or chemicals.
Whereas a greenhouse still needs to maintain its cleanliness, there may be less separation from what is considered contamination from the outside environment, as it’s already incorporated into the grow operation.
Greenhouse Vs Indoor Potency
When it comes to potency, the amount of love and care you give to your plants will determine the end result.
Therefore, either a greenhouse or indoor grow operation is sufficient to provide you with the results you desire.
What you pay for upfront with lighting systems in an indoor grow can be very beneficial for increasing flower and resin production.
It can be argued that the results of both greenhouse and indoor potency should be similar in the end with no negative events and a smooth operation overall.
The potency is often determined by a specific strain.
With a greenhouse, you shouldn’t lose potency just because the lights are not a certain distance away from the plants, as with an indoor setup.
Another potential advantage of greenhouse growing is the less risk of overheating which can happen if indoor lights are too bright and too close to the canopy of the plants.
Greenhouse Yield Vs Indoor Yield
As the same with potency, the yield is generally determined by the specific cannabis strain genetics.
By choosing the right strain for your goals and ensuring the grow cycle goes as well as possible, you will typically get to enjoy a remarkable end result.
With a greenhouse, there is a limitation on how much light the plants can receive, depending on your setup.
If you can mimic, in a greenhouse, the amount of light the plants can receive during their vegetation and flowering periods, as you would with an indoor setup, there should be no loss on yield.
The benefit of running an 18 - 24 hour vegetation cycle indoors is a possible higher output through forcing the plants to mature at a slightly faster rate than would be accomplishable outdoors or in a greenhouse.
Hybrid Indoor / Outdoor Growing
Now, here comes the future!
As most producers and environmentalists know, indoor cannabis growing can be very energy-intensive and not exactly what some might call a ‘sustainable’ agricultural practice.
With technology developing rapidly, several hybrid solutions are already available and will only get better with time.
Hybrid indoor and outdoor greenhouses can have numerous moving parts, panels, doors, and windows to facilitate the function of a combined indoor and outdoor growing environment.
A hybrid system may offer the best of both worlds by allowing the grower to choose how the environment should be manipulated and for how long.
In essence, you are in even more control than you would be with an indoor or outdoor setup, each on its own, but these setups will also be more costly than a traditional greenhouse with no moving parts.
Best Strains To Grow In A Greenhouse
Some of the best strains to grow in a greenhouse include Blue Dream, Gorilla Glue, White Widow, Super Silver Haze, and Northern Lights - to name a few.
Growing certain strains in a greenhouse can make creating the perfect environment a bit easy for seed genetics that may require an advanced grower’s touch.
Best Strains To Grow Indoor
The best strains to grow indoors include Critical, Green Gelato, and Amnesia Haze.
These have been recommended by seed banks as excellent choices for growing indoors that will produce the results you are looking for.
No matter what you decide between a greenhouse or an indoor grow, make sure to take into account all the inputs necessary throughout the entire lifecycle.
With a little bit of pre-planning, you can better ensure healthy plant development and what makes for the best environment for your specific seed genetics so that they can stay happy and grow big and strong!
About the author: Joe Powers
After an incident in the military, in 2011, Joe Powers began investigating cannabis by talking with industry leaders. In 2016, Joe launched Hemp Writer with its first publication in clarifying disinformation on specific updates to certain federal CBD laws.
Upon calling out a leading cannabis law firm spreading dis-info, Hemp Writer established itself as an authority in clarifying updated information emerging from the cannabis industry. Joe continues charging forwards with increasing momentum to continue fulfilling his vision of SHARING ACCURATE CANNABIS INFORMATION.