Now that marijuana legalization is becoming more widespread, it’s never been a better time to start a growing operation. However, while growing and cultivating cannabis can be a profitable enterprise, you need to know what you’re doing before getting started. One of the most crucial stages is when the plant begins flowering. Since the buds are what everyone wants, you have to care for your plants to ensure a bountiful harvest.
So, let’s break down the core elements of this flowering stage and what you can do to facilitate better growth.
What is the Flowering Stage?
As the name suggests, this is when the cannabis plant stops growing and starts producing flowers. Both sexes can produce flowers, but males only make seeds while females make buds. If you’re trying to harvest pure cannabis for consumption, you need to remove all males from your crop. Otherwise, they can pollinate the females, leading to seeds within the buds. In this case, the buds contain much less THC and CBD, and they’re not suitable for selling to dispensaries or customers.
What are the Different Stages of a Cannabis Plant’s Growth Cycle?
There are six distinct phases of a cannabis plant’s growth cycle. Understanding and recognizing these stages allows you to harvest more potent plants, leading to better profits. Here’s a quick overview of the different phases:
Seeds need water to sprout and sunlight to grow. Fortunately, because cannabis is a relatively hardy plant, you can germinate the seeds in a few different ways. For example, you can place the seeds in water, a damp paper towel, or directly into the earth. Each method has its pros and cons, so you might want to experiment a bit. Once a seedling sprouts, it’s on to the next phase.
As the seedling grows, it will start developing leaves. During this phase, you can keep the seedlings close together in fertilized soil. Once they reach the next stage, you should move each plant into individual pots or containers. Both the germination and seedling phases are pretty short, lasting a few days at most.
Here is where your cannabis will undergo the most significant growth spurts. Some plants can reach up to 10 feet high, so make sure you have enough space to house them all. During this stage, the plant will develop a thick stem and various leaves and branches. Depending on the type of cannabis you’re growing (i.e., Indica vs. Sativa), the growing phase should last seven to nine weeks. Indica plants grow thick, bushy leaves, while Sativa strains are thinner and longer.
Technically, this isn’t an official stage of the plant’s life. However, it’s when you need to sex your plants so that you can remove all the males. Even if you’re trying to breed cannabis strains, it’s imperative to control every facet of the pollination process. As a rule, males have taller, thicker stalks and fewer leaves. There are a few other signs we’ll discuss later on.
You must remove all the males before the flowering stage because that’s when fertilization happens. One male can pollinate an entire crop of females, so you have to be as thorough as possible. This is one reason each plant should have its own growing container. Otherwise, it can be hard to differentiate one plant from the next.
As we mentioned, this phase is when the plant develops buds. If you’ve removed all the males, you should notice thick, sticky buds on your female plants. This stage doesn’t last too long, but keep in mind that the top half of the plant will develop faster than the bottom. This discrepancy is because the top half gets more sunlight, so the plant can devote more energy to bud production. To ensure a better harvest, we recommend cutting off the top half and letting the bottom grow for another week or two before harvesting.
If you wait too long to harvest your cannabis, the THC concentration changes, leading to less than desirable results. So, you need to harvest your plants within a specific window to ensure the best crop. As a grower, you’ll learn the best time to cultivate your buds through trial and error.
Signs That Your Cannabis is Entering the Flowering Phase
We’ve already mentioned that males have fewer leaves and thicker stalks than females. Here are some other signs to watch out for when your plants enter the pre-flowering phase.
Females grow white, wispy pistils along with their leaves. These elements are what will turn into buds. If you don’t remove the males, the pistils will get pollinated, resulting in new seed batches.
Males produce these sacs at the base of their branches. The bags are what contain the pollen, so you have to be careful not to disturb them too much when removing the males. Otherwise, you might pollinate some females by accident.
No More Growth
During the growing phase, you’ll notice your plants getting taller and leafier. But, once they enter the flowering stage, all their energy goes toward making the flowers. So, they’ll stop growing altogether.
Tips for Helping Your Cannabis Grow and Flower
If you’re new to growing cannabis, you need to learn some of the best practices for getting the most buds from your plant. Here are some ways to ensure a bountiful harvest:
Prop it Up
As cannabis plants grow, they’ll get top-heavy because of the leaves and buds. When this happens, they’ll droop and potentially break. To avoid this problem, you should use wooden or metal rods to keep the plants straight. Remember that you can reuse these rods for multiple crops, so they’re a good investment.
Use the Right Fertilizers
If you’re growing indoors, you need the right soil. There are multiple types of fertilizers for cannabis plants, and each one is designed for a specific stage. So, be sure to have a schedule of when to use the right fertilizer. Otherwise, you could hurt the plant, leading to a smaller harvest.
Lower Your Humidity Levels
As the plants develop flowers, too much humidity can lead to mold growth. During the seedling and growth phases, your plants need lots of moisture to thrive. Once they enter the flowering stage, you have to reduce your levels accordingly. The specific levels depend on the strains you’re growing.
Use the Right Lighting Schedule
If you’re growing autoflowering seeds, you don’t have to worry about using the proper 12/12 lighting schedule, as the plants will automatically flower. Other seeds require this schedule to ensure appropriate development.
Get Your Cannabis Seeds From Us!
The best cannabis starts with the best seeds. We offer feminized, autoflowering, and regular cannabis seeds for your convenience. Contact us today to place an order!