The flowering stage of growing cannabis is the part that everyone looks forward to, it is the point at which those long awaited buds start to bloom. Read our guide on how to take care of your plant week by week during the flowering stage to get the most out of your yields.
A guide to the cannabis flowering stage
Unless you purchased seeds that are specified to be female, there is always the possibility of the cannabis plant being male. It is especially important that you isolate male plants from their female counterparts. If the male plant manages to pollinate the female buds, they will grow seeds. Seeds will destroy your yield and reduce the overall mass of smokable bud. Male plants grow sacs of pollen that are easy to recognize. Always monitor your new plants to catch them before this occurs.
The first few weeks
The first few weeks of the flowering stage are the most important if you are growing cannabis. It is from week 1 to 3 that your cannabis plant will experience the highest amount of growth in the stems and bud sites as the plant prepares to flower. If you take proper care during these crucial few weeks, your yields can see an increase of up to 40%.
The plants will grow taller trying to grab as much light as possible. In this period, the plant still carries its vegetative characteristics to a certain extent. It will show large amounts of growth cantered around buds, stems, and leaves. Therefore, if your plant does not get adequate resources to support its growth, it can result in stunting. This is where the plant does reach up to its maximum potential. Thereby it causes lower yields and lower quality produce.
How to take care of the plant
Make sure to spread your plants out if you have the space as they are trying to grow. However, not everyone has extra space to spare in their grow box which is why it is important to make use of every inch available. As your plants start to grow up towards the light, one can carry out a technique known as stress training to compensate for it. Low stress training ensures that all your plants have an even canopy. This technique can increase your yield by almost 40%.
Low stress training
This is a technique used by all successful growers. Low stress training causes plants to become bushier, preventing them from growing tall. However, the period in which low stress training can be carried out is quite limited (Weeks 1-4). Therefore, you need to make the maximum use out of the given period.
The cannabis plant will begin to stretch out and grow upwards towards the source of light. Therefore, to increase yields we have to guide the plants accordingly. Newer stems are quite flexible and do not snap under stress. Once they grow up and out, growers can bend them down to the side by using a string and a weight. This will create a bush-like lateral progression. By doing this regularly to all branches, one can achieve a consistent even canopy.
Week 3 – 4
This is when your cannabis plant will start to develop its first buds. The vegetative phase is completely over, and your plant will slow down its growth. Most of its energy will be spent on renewing leaves and creating bud sites. During this period, it is essential that your plant gets enough light and plenty of water/nutrients. Your cannabis plant will become very sensitive about its environment, therefore try to keep all parameters stable. Avoid nutrient burns and over-watering at all costs.
Week 5 – 6
By this time, your plant has finished developing its bud sites and primary buds. From now its focus will be to fatten its buds. There will be white pistils visible which signify maturation. As the buds begin to fatten the concept of growing marijuana takes a 180-degree turn; it is time to make sure that your buds stay up. By now all your stems have turned woody, which makes them a prime target for snapping under stress. We recommend you tie the stems to a support using a string to ensure that they do not bend over. Right now, your plant has minimized the production of leaves. Therefore, it is important that you maintain the remaining foliage to prevent any complications. If you are experienced in growing, we recommend you carry out strategic defoliation to expose as many bud sites as you can. Do not overly trim down the leaves, remember the plant needs a lot of energy to fatten up those big buds.
Week 7 – 8
By now the plant will show zero vegetative processes. There will be no more growth in the stems, leaves or roots; all its energy and nutrients will be directed towards the buds that are beginning to ripen. The pistils that were previously white will darken over the next few weeks. You might even see some leaves at the bottom beginning to turn yellow; this is completely normal. Most of these changes are due to excessive growth of buds and the plant funnelling all its resources into them.
This period of growing marijuana requires a lot of dedication and care. Plants are extremely sensitive during their flowering periods and cannabis is not any different. pH changes in soil, complications in the root system can all mean a lot of trouble. Therefore, try to avoid them as much as possible. If all goes well, you might see some impressive growth over the next few weeks; your buds will increase significantly in size.
Post week 8
Now it is time to make sure that your plant makes it through to harvest. It has completed almost 90% of its course. Growing cannabis usually takes more than 9 weeks. There are only a very few strains in the world that flowers before that, most of which are fast finishing autoflowering variants. Therefore, do not pick them too early. Your buds are still fattening and maturing; let them sit for a while to grow out.
Once your plants are close to harvest you might see rapid yellowing of leaves. This is normal and you should not adjust anything to counter it. This is the only point during cannabis growing that complete yellowing is acceptable. Many growers do a complete harvest flush for a week to remove any synthetics constituents from the buds; This does not increase yields but increases the quality of the bud.
Once you decide that your buds have matured enough, it is time to harvest. Make sure you flush the plants for a week to remove any nutrients from the buds. Harvesting is the most enjoyable period when it comes to growing marijuana.
Once the harvest is complete, it is time to dry and cure them.
Tips for growing cannabis
In this section we will give you some helpful tips that will allow you to increase yields and get those big buds when growing marijuana.
Invest in good grow lights
Light is what makes the plant grow. If you want big yields you need big yields. Not just any lights, ones that provide a sufficient number of lumens. Grow lights are expensive, but they work the best. If you are serious about getting big yields, you need to spend some cash here.
Red light helps flowering
Red light entices the plant during the flowering stage. If you can afford it, go with some LED grow lights that are listed as “HIGH RED” or 3000k.
Make sure there is no mold
Mold will destroy your harvest. Make sure there is no mold. If you discover any, immediately take action to remove it. Mold spreads fast, if you eliminate it before it spreads there will no be lasting damage to your plants. Certain strains such as Cheese Feminised have a high resistance to mold, growing a strain like this will reduce the risk of mold growing in the first place.
Maintain proper soil pH
Soil pH is similar to your work environment. Can you work in a place that is toxic to you? Plants function similarly. Get a pH meter designed for soil sampling and keep a record of its values. The best range for growing cannabis is between 5.5 to 6.3.
P and K
Potassium and phosphorous. These are the two most important nutrients that are necessary for a successful flowering phase. Plants crave them, therefore if you want some big buds at the end, make sure you feed them some fertilizers and supplements that are rich in P and K.
Do not do high stress training
This is a very risky procedure. If you fail to carry out low stress training and your plants grow up to be Christmas trees, you already messed up. In order to make the best out of the situation; try to add more lights and spread the plant out. The chances of branches snapping during high stress training is extremely high, so unless you are very experience I would avoid.
Growing Cannabis is an art. It takes the average grower 4 seasons before they can achieve complete success. Therefore, always persevere through the problems and setbacks. With time you too can harvest those delicious smelling sticky buds that crunch in your hands. We also recommend you try your hand with autoflowering strains. These strains do not need any light cycles. If you are a beginner grower the reduced responsibilities and quicker harvests might be a spark of motivation.