Guerilla Growing: How to Grow Cannabis outdoor

Step into the secret world of guerrilla growing, a thrilling adventure for those who dream of growing weed under the radar. Our guide sheds light on finding that hidden gem of a location, nurturing the soil to perfection, and keeping your green treasures safe, all while keeping costs down and your privacy intact. Learn to grow your own – stealthily and successfully!

We’d all love to have our very own greenhouse but, sadly, for most of us, that’s just not really an option. Even if you have the space, there may be security or privacy restrictions that could make growing on your own land untenable. Don’t worry, there’s always a solution.

Guerrilla growing, also known as outdoor stealth growing, is the practice of growing cannabis in a secret, often remote, location. Historically, this has been one of the most common ways that people have grown as the plant’s legal status has made cultivation in the open rather complicated. Guerilla growing can be a great option for growers who want to avoid the risks and costs of growing indoors or in a traditional outdoor garden.

In recent years, the legalization of weed in countries around the world has made it easier and safer for people to grow their own crops. However, it can still be a risky endeavor due to nosy neighbors and social stigmas. As a result, guerrilla growing has remained a popular method for those who want to grow cannabis without attracting unwanted attention.

Guerilla growing requires more than just throwing some seeds in the ground to see what pops up, though. Here, we’ve organized everything you need to know about how to choose a location, prepare the soil, and care for your plants, all while ensuring secrecy, maintaining plant health, and harvesting the best buds you can get.

Benefits of a guerrilla grow

Guerilla growing isn’t exactly the easiest way to do it. The remote nature and lack of infrastructure can make tending to your plants regularly difficult. But, for those who are willing to walk the extra mile, some benefits are truly worth the effort.

Reduced costs

One of the biggest reasons people opt for a guerrilla grow is the reduced costs. With an indoor grow room, the up-front and ongoing costs of renting the space, setting it up, purchasing all of the equipment, and paying for utilities add up quickly. By contrast, guerrilla growing requires almost no investment beyond the seeds and some basic gardening equipment. 

This makes it an ideal option for those who want to grow their own weed without breaking the bank. If you’re worried about investing in a grow setup without feeling confident in your ability, a guerilla grow is the perfect starting point.

Increased privacy

If you want to grow outdoors, security and privacy are absolute essentials. Even a nice suburban neighborhood can be home to some pesky kids trying to make a quick score and getting the cops involved in your weed grow is certainly a bad idea. By choosing to grow in a remote location, far from prying eyes, you can increase the odds that you’ll actually get to harvest your plants at the end of the season.

Choosing a location for guerrilla growing

This is easily the most important part of the process. Your guerilla grow site needs to be the perfect combination of remote and accessible—you’ll be carrying a fair bit in and out—while also having access to a water source, ample light, and enough coverage to prevent it from being spotted. 

Finding that perfect Goldilocks zone can be a real challenge, and you might have to just make do with what you’ve got. But there are a few things worth keeping in mind when choosing your site.

How hidden do you need to be?

As mentioned, you need your site to be remote enough that someone isn’t going to just come across it. Ideally, you can find a spot with no trails within a few kilometers of your garden—further if possible. Remember, the smell from flowering cannabis plants is incredibly powerful and can be smelled from quite a ways away. Curious hikers might just catch a whiff and want to check it out.

Keep it accessible

On the other hand, however, you don’t want to be carrying all of your equipment up and over a mountain every time you head out. Try to make sure that the walk to your guerilla grow site is at least one that you’re going to be willing to carry everything along it.

Hiding in plain sight

Finding a place that remote can be difficult, particularly for those living in larger cities. If there’s simply nowhere that fits those criteria, you’ll have to do the best with what you can. Public parks might be tempting, but they are heavily trafficked. Try to get to some forest on the outskirts of the city, if you poke around, you’ll find something. Wherever you go, make sure that there are no street or night lights as this can slow your plants’ flower production.

Other considerations

Privacy is key, but there are a few other things that you’ll need to keep in mind for a successful guerilla grow.

  • Water: It sounds obvious, but if there’s no access to fresh water at a site, it’s not a good location. Cannabis plants require a tremendous amount of water. You might need several liters a day in some locations. Water is heavy and the less time and energy you spend getting it, the more you can spend tending to your plants.
  • Sunlight: The more light your plants get, the bigger they’ll grow. It really is just that simple. While some canopy cover is good to help hide your grow from aerial observers, too much will stunt your plants. 

If you’re in the northern hemisphere, you want as much clear sky to the south as possible. Giving your plants access to early morning sunlight and some shade from the afternoon heat is the best scenario.

Preparing for a guerrilla grow

Great, you’ve found the perfect spot, what next? Outdoor growing doesn’t require nearly as much equipment as an indoor hydro setup, but you need more than just a few seeds and great space.

Necessary equipment for guerrilla growing

At the end of the day, the only things that you absolutely need for a guerilla grow are a watering system, a shovel, and pest control. But, as always, there’s a little more to it than that.

Watering system

This could be as simple as a watering can if you were able to find a location with water nearby and you have the ability to get out there at least every other day. If, however, your water access or time is limited, you’ll likely need to install some form of irrigation.

Submersible water pumps are a popular choice as they can be placed in a stream or pond removed from the site and used to pump water in. This method can be especially useful for locations without a reliable water source nearby, but it does require constant monitoring, particularly if weather or wildlife are factors.

Drip irrigation systems can also be of use to guerrilla growers. These systems use small hoses to deliver water directly to the base of each plant, reducing the risk of overwatering or underwatering. These typically require more work to set up and maintain, but provide the most reliable results.

Preparing the soil

Just because your site checks every box, doesn’t mean that it’s ready to grow weed. These plants require fairly specific nutrient levels that are rarely ideal in a random patch of dirt. If you want to know more about preparing the soil for your garden, check out our in-depth guide on outdoor soil growing.

Controlling pests

Growing outdoors, you’re going to get pests living on your plants, particularly during guerilla growing. Organic options like neem oil or practices like companion planting are great ways to protect your plants. Check out our guide on identifying and preventing pests on weed for more details.

Optional equipment for guerilla growing

Just because you don’t need it, doesn’t mean you don’t want it. There are several things that will help you out at every step of the way.

  • Trellising or supports
  • pH tester
  • Fertilizer
  • Mulch
  • Pruning shears
  • Insect netting or mesh
  • Portable fencing for added security
  • Binoculars or other equipment for monitoring the site
  • Gloves and other protective clothing
  • Sunscreen and insect repellent
  • Portable chair

Best strains for guerrilla growing

Which strain is best for you will depend on a number of factors such as your exact climate, desired effects, and just how secluded you’re trying to be. Generally, though, you’ll want a strain that is hearty, tall, and fast-flowering.

1. Lemon Haze

With a flowering time of about 60 days, Lemon Haze isn’t the fastest-flowering plant out there, but that’s not always a bad thing. This strain uses that time to reach a towering height of up to 2 meters and outdoor growers can expect to harvest up to 500g per plant.

This strain is ideal for beginners and thrives in a sunny, Mediterranean environment. This plant a sativa-dominant hybrid, so it tends to grow tall and lanky making it ideal for those with limited horizontal area.

2. Top 44

On the other end of things, Top 44 is an almost pure indica with a flowering time of only 45 days. Outdoors, this plant tends to stay quite a bit shooter, reaching heights of only about 1 meter. However, its thick bushy branches tend to grow outwards and these plants can produce up to 575g per plant.

If you’re looking for a strain that won’t outgrow the surrounding plants, and you’ve got the space to work in, Top 44 is a great choice for guerilla growing.

3. NYC Diesel

If you’ve got the space and the time, NYC Diesel is an amazing choice for any outdoor grower. With a maximum height of up to 2.35 meters and a yield of up to 650g per plant, this is one of the big daddies of growing. This is a tall, lanky plant that doesn’t tend to require a lot from a grower—except patience. NYC Diesel has a flowering time of up to 70 days, making it one of the slowest plants out there.

Autoflower or photoperiod?

At WeedSeedShop, all of our strains are available in either photoperiod (regular or feminized) or autoflower varieties. Ultimately, the choice is up to you, but each one has its own things to consider.

  • Photoperiod: These seeds will start flowering when the season tells them to. They tend to take longer to complete but will also grow larger and usually produce significantly more weed in the end.
  • Autoflower: Autoflowering seeds will start flowering after a predetermined amount of time. This does make them easier and faster to grow, but with smaller plants and lower yields, they might not be ideal for a guerrilla grow.

Guerrilla growing tips and tricks

Guerrilla growing is a rewarding and thrilling experience, but one with its own unique challenges. Easily the biggest challenge is maintaining secrecy and ensuring the safety of your grow site. Here’s a quick summary of everything you need to know.

1. Choose a remote location

Look for a secluded area that is off the beaten path and away from hiking trails or other public areas. This will help keep your grow site hidden and reduce the risk of discovery.

2. Use camouflage

Disguise your plants with natural vegetation or other camouflage to make them less noticeable. This can include using natural materials to create a canopy or using netting to cover the plants.

3. Be aware of your surroundings

Regularly monitor the area around your grow site to ensure no one is approaching or observing the plants. Use binoculars or other equipment to observe the area from a distance and watch for any signs of activity before approaching.

4. Choose the right strain

Select a strain that is well-suited to the local climate and growing conditions. This can help ensure that the plants thrive and produce a high-quality yield.

5. Proper nutrition

Cannabis plants require a balance of nutrients to grow and produce healthy buds. Use organic fertilizers or compost to provide the necessary nutrients and monitor the plants for any signs of nutrient deficiencies.

6. Pest control

Organic pest control methods such as companion planting, using insect-repelling herbs, or spraying natural insecticides can help keep pests and other predators at bay.

7. Timing

Finally, timing is crucial when it comes to guerrilla growing. Choosing the right time of year to plant can make all the difference in the success of your grow. In general, it is best to plant in the spring, after the risk of frost has passed and when the days are getting longer. This will allow the plants to take advantage of the growing season and produce a higher yield.

8. Dealing with wildlife

Animals love plants. Even an indoor grower will need to contend with pests. If you’re growing outside, the size of those pests can become a real issue. Animals like rabbits, deer, and even bears might express some interest in your garden and if left unchecked, one curious buck might be enough to completely destroy your entire summer.

Exactly what kinds of precautions to take will depend on what animals are present in your area, but there are a few things that anyone should consider when getting set up.

  • Fences: A sturdy fence can keep out larger animals such as deer, bears, and raccoons. Just remember that the bigger the fence, the more obvious it will be to passers-by.
  • Repellents: Spraying repellents such as capsaicin, garlic, or predator urine can help keep animals from eating your plants.
  • Netting: Netting can protect your plants from birds, squirrels, and other small animals.
  • Motion-activated sprinklers: Motion-activated sprinklers can startle and deter animals that come too close to your plants. However, this can be a difficult and expensive process.
  • Scare tactics: Using scare tactics like scarecrows, reflective tape, or noise-making devices can help keep animals away.
  • Check on your plants: Regularly visiting your grow site can help you detect any damage caused by wildlife and take measures to prevent further damage.
  • Use natural deterrents: Spraying a mixture of water and vinegar or placing soap bars around your grow site can also help keep animals at bay.

Caring for your guerilla grow

Now that you’re all set up, how do you actually care for your grow? In principle, there’s no difference between growing in your own yard and growing in a remote location. That said, it’s absolutely vital to get out to your grow site as often as you realistically can. BUT, you also don’t want to be trekking out there every single day. This will both draw unwanted attention and you run the risk of accidentally blazing a trail for others to follow.

Many growers will actually set up a small camp at the site for the first few days so that they can keep an eye on everything and make sure it’s all working and secure. The riskiest part is the first couple of weeks until the plants have had a chance to properly set down some roots and grow a few extra leaves. This is a great idea if you have the time and resources.

Typically, though, you really do need to be out there at least once a week—unless you’ve managed to set up some very sophisticated monitoring devices. But even if everything looks fine on camera, there’s simply no replacement for eyes on the scene.

At your grow site, you should try to keep everything you’ll need on hand to prevent having to drag everything out there every time. This is especially important if you managed to find an incredibly remote location. Things like nutrients, watering cans, and tools can all be kept outdoors, as long as they’re in some form of protected case or box.

There’s a lot that needs to be monitored. But it will all be worth it, because after a couple of months… it’s time to harvest!

Harvesting a guerilla grow

Harvesting your guerilla grow is no different than harvesting any other cannabis plant. The biggest difference, though, is getting all of your new weed out of the forest and to a safe location.

Fresh weed smells. A lot. Anyone walking near you or your site WILL smell it. If privacy is your top concern (which, if you’re guerilla growing, it almost certainly is), then consider making a night hike with a few friends. Get out there early and start chopping things down, pack it all up, and move it out under the cover of darkness.

Some growers might opt to leave their harvest at the grow site to dry. This is always an option, but leaving your site set up even a day longer than necessary is a risk that’s best avoided.

Finally, remember to always clean up everything that you took out there! At the end of your harvest, there shouldn’t be any sign that you were ever even there.

There you have it, everything you need to know to get started with your own guerilla grow. Have you ever run a guerilla grow? What issues did you face and how did you deal with them? Let us know in the comments.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  • Author_profiles-WSS-Ken

    Kenny Hall

    Raised in the Colorado Rockies, I moved to Prague in 2017 and have never looked back. In my poorer college days, I learned all I needed to start growing my own and have kept up with the hobby on and off for nearly 20 years. When I'm not writing or tending to my garden, you'll find me in the park with a beer, a bowl, and a big bag of buds basking under a beautiful blue sky.
    More about this author
Scroll to Top