So you’ve germinated seeds in quality soil. You transferred your ganja babies into larger pots, and have provided ample lighting for their vegetative growth. Your plants have grown tall and strong have produced full, lush leaves.
Now your organically-grown cannabis plants are ready to ease into the flowering or budding cycle. If you’re after highly medicinal, super-delicious buds, then follow these simple instructions for increased bloom and a better harvest.
Transplant into the final pot
Just like you moved your seedlings into bigger pots, you want to make sure you have big enough pots to finish you plants in. Most beginner growers (and experienced farmers, too) finish a grow with single plants in 3 to 5-gallon pots. It’s all about finding the sweet spot.
If your plants are in something smaller, it’s time to transplant again. As always, use caution not to disturb the root ball, and never, ever pull on the stem to remove a plant from a pot. Doing either runs the risk of damaging the root system.
If your plant did its vegetative cycle in a Smart Pot, you’ll find it super simple to open the side and peel the pot away from the root ball.
With smaller pots, your plants may wind up with restricted, pot-bound roots. Too-big of a pot is better than too-tight during the budding phase. Remember, the bigger the root ball, the bigger and better-yielding the plant.
Selecting a product such as the Smart Pot is a great way to boost yield and increase overall health. These cuspated pots offer ample aeration and keep the root system cooler than typical plastic containers.
When the roots grow out through the bottom of the pot, instead of becoming root bound they are air pruned and will branch roots out and create denser root mass.
Lighting during flowering
While in veg, the more light the better. However, to stimulate the bud cycle, photoperiodic cannabis plants need alternating periods of light and dark. Go for 12 hours of light and 12 hours of as close to pitch black as you can get.
Photoperiodic plants exposed to even a small amount of light during the flower cycle can delay or even stop the budding process.
If you’re farming indoors, it doesn’t matter when the “day” and “night” periods occur, as long as your cannabis plants receive the proper 12-12 balance. If electricity is cheaper during nighttime hours, set your light timers to shine in non-peak utility hours.
Depending on the strain, ganja plants may double or even triple their height during the bud phase. This makes it essential to keep your grow lights at a proper distance from the canopy. If you hang your lights too close to the canopy, you run the risk of over-warming your container garden or burning your leaves.
Cool your grow space down
When your plants were vegetating, they liked things on the hot side with an average temperature of around 70-85°F. During the flowering phase, lower the temp to around 65-70°F but never higher than 80°F.
Powerful grow lights will help your plants grow strong, but they kick a lot of heat. This makes it essential to monitor the temperature in your grow space carefully.
If you find your space is over-heating, add fans to the room or tent to maintain the relative chill that encourages the bud cycle. Environmental controls will help you keep a stable ideal grow environment for your plants.
A few words on nutrients
When you grow in a well-buffered organic growing mix, you generally don’t have to futz with the pH of the soil. You may wish to feed now and then, however. As a rule, the bud phase is the time to cut back on the nitrogen (N) and ramp up the phosphorus (P).
Plants respond well to high levels of nitrogen during the vegetative growth phase. However, as your cannabis plants begin flowering, nitrogen levels must be lowered and potassium and phosphorous should increase.
[Read more about Indoor Plant Nutrition and Fertilizers]
During flowering, potassium and phosphorous are responsible for producing big, flavorful, and potent flower buds. Because this plant species is so responsive to nutrients, many newcomers make mistakes with fertilization -usually by overdoing it – and wind up with a disappointing harvest.