If you have to choose between growing marijuana indoors or outdoors, you should always pick outdoors. The natural sunlight makes the end result more robust plus there are far fewer problems you have to contend with. There are no worries about light leaking in or times where your grow room has to remain pitch black, making your room unusable. Direct sunlight tends to reach all parts of the marijuana plant, which makes it more developed all around. If you have the option of growing in a greenhouse, this provides the best of both worlds. You get the natural sunlight your marijuana plants will thrive off of, plus you get the protection from animals (such as deer, rodents and chipmunks) that your plants require. Outdoors without protection, your marijuana plants will be exposed to bugs, wind and rain storms and other forces beyond your control. This is the only benefit that indoor growing can provide that outdoor cannot. However, the best flavor will come along with the marijuana plants that were blessed by the sun.
To avoid some of the outdoor pitfalls for people who do not have a greenhouse, try putting up a fence that is stable. The more often you can visit your site safely, the better, but don't ever go longer than two weeks between checkups on your crop. If the weather is going to require more watering, then you will need to visit even more often than that. If you do not have a greenhouse, then you are surely going to want to plant your marijuana plants in soil over hydroponics, as the water is likely going to simply evaporate faster than you will be able to keep up with it. When you decide on what location you want to use, make sure it has the proper lighting. You will want to know how long the plants will be exposed to direct sunlight and find a place that offers morning light if possible. The more morning sun your plants are exposed to, the bigger the plants will grow. If you are growing marijuana in your backyard, make sure to include the privacy factor into your decision so nosy neighbors do not cause you any trouble. If you can give your marijuana plants a full 8-12 hours of direct sunlight each day then you will have more chances at a successful harvest. This becomes difficult the farther north you go where the amount of sun your plants receive will change depending on the season, but you can still plan out a good location that will maximize the plants' exposure. Use your terrain to your benefit: southern sides of hills typically get more sun and eastern and western exposures often have good morning and afternoon exposure options.
Most growers agree, as do most books on the subject, that morning sun is preferable when it comes to the best end results of marijuana crops, so try and keep this in mind when choosing a location. If you are able to find or make a greenhouse, you can also try and disguise it as something else (ie. a toolshed or something similar). This can be done with different materials (such as opaque plastic, glass, PVC or Filon) or with different techniques (such as painting it to look like a metal shed). If you can make the structure look distressed, like it has been around a long time, then it is less likely to catch anyone's attention. You want a structure that the sun easily reaches, while people do not. Using clear greenhouse sheets that you whitewash will allow more sun to reach the plants than a fiberglass or PVC alternative. You can easily give the whitewashed effect with a light coating of paint or an epoxy resin that you tint white or light grey. This will give your plants a good environment to grow with the protection from view they require. Epoxy will help the materials last longer than paint, and often times gives you more options than paint would. Make sure you do not use more than necessary because that will not allow as much sun to contact the plants. If you are unsure of the quality of the topsoil where your greenhouse is located, dig a hole so that you can fill it with the right kind of soil for this job. Most people do not know the quality of their own backyard's soil, so it's better to not take chances.
These slight differences can spell the difference between a crop that averages 5' (1.5 m) tall and one that averages 10' (3 m) tall. Growing out of a pot will pale in comparison to using the natural ground because there is no concern for root binding when the ground is used. Marijuana plants that get to grow out of the ground typically grow much taller, but they also grow wider so make sure you plan for this type of expansion. After all, they're stuck once they're planted! Another option is digging a hole and putting a potted plant down into it, which will reduce the overall height of the plant. This works especially well if you notice the plant is outgrowing the height of your fence. Most growers like the ability to move the plant if some type of emergency occurs, such as someone has to come and inspect your property for some reason. If you have marijuana plants outside then you should definitely figure out a way to cover them. It will help them stay hidden, especially if you are trying to train your plants to remain below a fence line.
If you are growing your marijuana plants out in the wild, water should be equally as important as soil quality. You need a healthy source of water nearby or you will have to bring a lot of water in to your site to keep your plants hydrated. If you have higher terrain then you can also try and re-route some water close to where your crop is so as not to attract any attention. A similar option would be to take a 5 gallon (20 L) can, put tiny holes around it and bury it near your crop site. Bury a hose that leads into the can so that it cannot be seen and use that to keep the can full when your plants need water. This is totally dependent on how close your sites are to your home, however.
Want to read more about marijuana? Go to our marijuana grow guide.