In Part Four of our beginner’s grow guide, we are going to cover the Flowering stage of growth. During this stage, your cannabis plants will produce the luscious flowers that you will later trim, dry, cure and enjoy. This stage lasts only a few weeks but the way you handle it can make or break your harvest.
The Flowering Stage
When your plants are ready to finish up vegetative growth and move into flowering, all you need to do is adjust the lighting schedule to 12 hours on, 12 hours off. The most essential tip for new marijuana growers is that timing is everything. If you try to force your plants into flowering too soon, they may not be strong enough to hold the weight of their own flowers. Their root systems may not be large enough to deliver enough nutrients for creating large buds, either. If you wait too long, you may end up with plants that are too tall and spindly, which can cause them to waste nutrients or even end up getting burned by your grow lights.
There is no cookie cutter answer for new growers who ask when to start flowering. It depends on a few different variables, including the strain, the size of your grow room or tent, and the conditions of your grow op that can affect plant growth. Generally, you want to rely on the height of your plants in relation to your grow lights, instead of an arbitrary time schedule. Measure your plants’ height from the top of the grow medium to the top of the canopy.
Some of the factors that can influence plants height include how close they are to the grow light, their strain, and whether you have the right temperature, humidity and nutrient levels during vegetative growth. Indica strains tend to be short and bushy compared to Sativa, which are best grown outdoors. Sativa strains also continue to gain height throughout the flowering stage, while Indicas tend to slow their growth down and focus just on creating flowers.
If you have a tall ceiling in your grow room or you are able to adjust the height of your grow lights as the plants mature, you can have a longer vegetative stage. Just make sure that you research your strains ahead of time and leave enough vertical space for any growth that will happen during flowering. This is especially important if you use High Pressure Sodium lighting, since this type of light runs very hot and can actually burn your plants or even start a fire in your grow room if they get too tall.
There are a few techniques that you can use to slow down overzealous vertical growth and encourage more buds. First of all you can “top” your plants, or pinch off the upper tops of your tallest plants, giving them more room for flowering tops. You can also train plants using screens or mesh, or you can rotate either your lighting or your plants to ensure even coverage and even growth over the entire canopy.
Once flowering is done, it is time to harvest your cannabis. Timing is just as important in harvest as it is in growing, and it takes some knowledge to know when the time is right. Later this week, we will cover when and how to harvest, as well as how to dry and cure your buds.
Read Growing Cannabis for Beginners Part 1 here.
Read Growing Cannabis for Beginners Part 2 here.
Read Growing Cannabis for Beginners Part 3 here.