How to handle your flowering cannabis plants – For both amateur and professional marijuana growers, the flowering stage of your cannabis plant is the most awaited and most important part of its life cycle. It is also the most sensitive time in the plant’s life, as it needs specialized care during this period in order to maximize the yield.
When your plants transition into the flowering stage, growth will slow to a near halt beginning with the development of the buds. Once you start to see buds on your plants, the way you handle them must be changed.
In the growth stage (also known as the vegetative stage), the plants will grow like crazy. As such, they need lots of nutrients, light, and water. In the flowering stage (which lasts about eight weeks), their needs will change, and you will need to adjust the levels accordingly.
It is important to remember that the flowering stage has four separate phases: transition, initial buds, bud growth, and finally, bud maturity. It is during that last stage that the plant can be harvested.
How do I transition the plant from the growth stage to the flowering stage?
During the growth stage, a cannabis plant should be receiving 18 hours of light and 6 hours of darkness per day. As your plants enter the flowering stage, gradually reduce the light exposure to 12 hours. This is where indoor growing has its benefits, as growers can control the amount of light their plants receive.
The wonderful thing about this is that this process can be automated using apps and switch timers.
Your plants will continue to grow rapidly during this time, and you will need space
Most plants will take 1–3 weeks from their first bud into the flowering stage before their growth slows down. Some plants have even been known to double or even tripple their size during this time, depending on their variety. This is commonly known as the flowering stretch.
If you have limited space, you can try to bend your plants using low-stress training so they grow without colliding with your ceiling.
Observe for the sex of your plants
One important fact to remember is that only female plants can grow buds and flowers. As such, it is important to buy feminized seeds. If this is not possible, it is still possible to use your male plants as hash.
Make sure to observe for pollen sacs on your plants. If you do notice them on your plants, remove and separate those plants immediately, as they can pollinate the female plants and cause seedy buds, which are generally considered to be of lower quality.
The first genuine buds will appear at around the third or fourth week
The initial buds will appear as hairy pistils. Further along the flowering stage, more genuine buds will appear. This will signal the slowdown in your plant’s growth and suddenly shift their nutrient demands.
At this point, check to see whether the leaves are turning yellow. Yellow leaves often signify a problem, such as a disease or a lack of light.
Flowers signify the harvest.
When white pistils appear on the plants and the buds get larger, it is time to harvest. Carefully examine the pistils and trichomes. Using a jewelers loupe/magnifying glasses check the color, shape and constancy. At this stage your trichomes should be cloudy/milky and a few of them turning amber. Congratulate yourself, as you have finally successfully grown a bountiful batch of cannabis plants!
All of these strategies in handling cannabis plants during the flowering stage can be boiled down to one simple concept: tender, loving care. TLC can go far for your little producers of THC and CBD. Observe your plants well during all the stages of their life cycles, and be gentle with their needs. In doing so, you are sure to raise your yields and maximize your results.
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