Flowers N’ Buds
How’s it going Dudes (and dudettes), today’s post is about flowering you’re sticky icky. Flowering is an important stage of cannabis cultivation, you are finally growing the part of the plant that you’ll be consuming; the buds. The flowers of the female cannabis plant are the buds or nugs and are the reason we all cultivate these little ladies. Flowers are what we roll into spliffs and pack our bowels with. During the flowering stage the plants produce trichomes on and around the bud sites. These tricomes are packed with the resinous material that gets us high such as; THC, CBD’s, various other cannabinoids, and various terpenes that give the buds their taste and aroma. Different strains and types have different needs that need to be met in order for the girls to start flowering and produce good quality bud. With time you’ll master good flowering techniques and make them your own by familiarizing yourself with what your favorite varieties needs are. There is no one set method when it comes to cultivating good quality bud, but there is a basic outline for what most pot plants typically need, and I’ll cover that outline with you so you can have an overview of the needs of cannabis during this all important stage of growth. It’s important to keep in mind that flower formation is a crucial part in the lifecycle of your cannabis. Your plants are living organisms and, biologically speaking, all living things have a desire to continue the existence of its own species. Cannabis plants are dioecious meaning some plants are male and some are female, and unless the plant is a hermaphrodite; it’s strictly one or the other. The male plants will grow pollen sack during the flowering period (pollen is the sperm or junk of the plant world.) Female cannabis plants create hairy pistils that are connected to an ovum, these ovums swell to form the bud. When male pollen is released, naturally it would drift until being caught in the tubule pistil of the female, the pollen collected will travel down the tubes to be created in to a seed and an endosperm. However what we are going after is sinsemilla, which is bud that is unfertilized. Unless you’re breeding your plants you don’t want seeds in your flowers as it will lower the quality and flavor of your bud. Your Mission: should you choose to accept it, is to help your ladies produce the best dank possible! Let’s get growing.
Shorter Day Periods/ More Night time:
Many plants grow fruit to protect and nourish the seeds they produce. The buds are the fruit of the cannabis plant and like many other plants in nature; they produce and ripen their fruit closer to the fall season, which is synonymous with harvest. Why is this? Because most of these seed producing plants are photosensitive. They slow their vegetative growth and focus their energy on becoming sexually active to continue their lineage. They can tell when they days get shorter and take this as a cue to get things moving before the weather turns sour i.e. winter. During Spring, the sun is in the sky for about 18 hours, and down for 6 hours and that time set is ideal for cannabis veg growth. Plants will also say in veg during a photo period of 16 hours of day light and 8 hours of night. Once the photo period hits that of late summer (14 hours of daylight and 10 hours of darkness) flowering typically begins, however this isn’t the case for all types. Some strains won’t show sex until a photo period of 12 and 12 is achieved, a natural indicator of fall. You can mimic these photo periods by utilizing a grow light and an outlet timer. Remember to keep your photoperiods consistent unless you are changing the photo period, too much inconsistency can force your sinsemilla to become light stressed and produce pollen sacks. Setting your lights to a setting of 14-10 or 12-12 will induce flowering and stop vegetative growth. These methods will need to be employed if you are growing your average Indica, Sativa or Hybrid. Auto flowers won’t be so finicky and can be flowered even with 24 hours of consistent light.
Feeding Your Flowers Properly:
(N)Nitrogen is mainly utilized by your plants during vegetative growth. During bud production your flowers will require less (N) nitrogen and need more (P) phosphorus and (K) Potassium. Make sure that if you are using added nutrients or fertilizer to use one that has lower N and higher amounts of P and K. A good liquid fertilizer that I use during flowering is BioThrive Bloom by General Organics. Feel free to experiment with bud boosters in between weekly feedings. They help supply more P and K to your plants which they heavily require during bud production. I like to use two Bud boosters in between feedings and waterings, I use both BUDCHARGE by Supreme Growers and BioBud by General Organics. Many growers have even claimed that they can get their plants to show their sex before changing their photoperiods, just by changing the plants diet to something with lower N and higher amounts of P and K. However I find that to be more of a strain thing than something that applies to all ganja across the board.
Giving Your Buds Flavor:
During the last week and half or so of the flowering stage you should be preparing for harvest. Stop using liquid fertilizer and nute additives. Start giving your plants regular PH balanced water, this way your buds wont taste to earthy and their natural flavors will come through more. Many growers will take this chance to sweeten the taste of their buds, and will add little molasses to the water they give their plants. This will improve bud flavor slightly and bring out deeper colors. Give it a try to see if this is something you see benefit from.
One last piece of advice is to manipulate humidity at the right stages. Having higher humidity (between 60% and 40%) in your grow area for the majority of the flowering faze will help increase the size of your buds. I typically like my humidity between 50% and 40% to avoid mold from forming in my buds. If you drop your humidity drastically either by turning off your humidifier or by using and dehumidifier in the last 2 or 3 weeks will benefit your bud quality. Lowering the humidity in the last few weeks will force your plants to produce more resin filled trichomes to help protect the flowers from the damaging effects buds are faced with lower humidity ranges. Remember to keep your humidity from getting too high to avoid mold from getting into your buds. Some types of molds are very poisonous and at the very least can ruin perfectly good weed.
By the end of a successful flowering period your buds should be ready for harvest. The success you have during this stage of cannabis growth will directly impact the quality of your end product. You’ll notice that you have reached the end of the flowering phase when they crystals of your trichomes appear to be light milky white and are no longer clear. If you have a bud scope than you’ll also be able to notice the mushroom shape that the trichomes will turn into. These are indicators that your buds are done and are ready to be harvest. Good luck and keep growing!