While growing indoors was an option, instead, I wanted to take advantage of my sunny southern California weather by growing on my apartment balcony. Not only could I use an underutilized space (my balcony was just collecting dust), but also save money on electricity. However, as I started my grow journey I learned the importance of maximizing sunlight while growing on a balcony.
Keep in mind that my recommendations are based on a few things:
- Growing an autoflowering strain of cannabis (which means periods of light / dark are not as important to determining when a plant flowers)
- Having a balcony which has sides or roof covered (so amount of sun varies depending on where you are positioned)
Elevate and Spread Out Your Cannabis Plants
To combat my apartment’s sunlight barrier needed to elevate my plants so they could have better access to sunlight. I used an extra collapsible aluminum camping table I had available. This worked perfectly as it raised the height of the plants and offered more sunshine had I just placed the plants on the floor of the balcony.
You may need to move your table around as the sunlight can vary by location on your balcony.
As you plants grow you may be able to get away with one table. However, I noticed as the plants grew in size that if I tried to squeeze everything on to one table that not all the sunlight was evenly distributed and the plants in the back didn’t get as much sunlight.
To fix this I added another folding table and put it next to the other table. This way all the plants could be in one row and have better access to sunlight.
Rotate Your Cannabis Plants
Another thing I did to get evenly distributed sunlight to the plants was to rotate the positions of the plants each day. My balcony faces 30 degrees NE so the sun hits it at a weird angle. This means one corner gets more sunlight then the other corner. Rotating the plants distributed light more equally to all the plants.
In addition to rotating the physical locations of the plants on the balcony, I roasted the physical direction each plant faced. I noticed if I left the plants facing the same direction that the leaves and trunk would lean to one side; namely, the side that had the most sunlight.
The end result is you’ll have plants that curve in one direction and given enough time could cause the plant to collapse. To prevent this I rotated each plant 180 degrees. If you notice curving to one side or another it’s a good idea to rotate the direction the plant faces.
Build or Use a Sun Reflector
If you look at most indoor grow tents you’ll see that inside the tent is reflective material. This is used to reflect the artificial grow light back onto the plants (and maximizing growth). Using the same concept the idea is to use some kind of reflective wall that can bounce any unused sunlight back onto the plant. This should give each plant better sunlight distribution (in addition to rotating them).
You can learn more about reflecting light back in a garden by watching this video:
There are numerous ways to build one of these reflectors. The cheapest method I found was to use the following materials:
Building it is pretty simple. Just cover the side that will face the sun with tinfoil.
Once built, just set up the light reflector right behind the plants and let mother’s nature run its course.
Depending on your balcony or your growing space you may not need to do all of these steps to get the best sunlight possible. However, if you are looking to maximize the growth and yield of your marijuana plants then I highly recommend you look at implementing some of these tactics.