Marijuana Flowering Stage
The Flowering Stage of Marijuana
Cannabis Buds - Important: Nutrients & Patience in flowering
The flowering stage of marijuana growth is probably the most satisfying, as your hard work and devoted time begins to show a pay-off. It's also a very telling time for the sex of your plants.
Once your plants have reached 20" inches or so and look strong and green (well nourished), it is then time to change your lights to 12 hours ON and 12 hours OFF.
This makes your plant think that Fall has come, and that it is time to begin flowering (budding).
This is a separate room in my garden. You do not want ANY light when it is in it's OFF cycle (none). Schedule your gardening time for when the lights are ON.
You can garden in the night cycle, but you need to get green light bulbs - it's enough for you to see, but does not harm the plants at all.
You may notice, I DO cut off some large fan leaves as the plant grows (just a few), which allows more light to get to the lower buds on the plant. Depends on your light set-up.
Remember what time your "dawn" was? This is where I want you to keep that the same. In other words, if you were running 18 hours ON and your dawn was at 4:00 a.m., then we still want your dawn at 4:00 a.m. So set your timers to 12 ON and 12 OFF starting at 4:00 a.m. (my time example).
This adds no additional stress to your plants, and has their "sun" coming up at the same time as in the vegetative stage. Anything that does NOT promote stress is very good.
Sexing a Marijuana Plant
Unless you are planning on breeding (not cloning, but breeding), then you will be destroying your MALE plants as soon as you can define their sex.
Here is an excellent photo of the female marijuana plant. You will distinctly see two pistils at the branch "joints", you will generally see this difference within 10 days after moving into this flowering stage light period.
We want female marijuana plants (sensimilla) only - High in THC, low (to no) seeds.
Lights: We have changed our lights to 12 hours ON and 12 hours OFF. This now makes the plant think "Fall" has come, and moves it into this final flowering stage of growth. Keep high intensity lamps about 2 feet (or more) from the plants. Fluorescents can actually be touching the plants. Put a thermostat near your budding tops to see if they are too hot - that would mean the lights are too close.
Temperature & Humidity: We still attempt to maintain 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit when the lights are on. Too HOT is NOT good in this phase.
Watering: Same applies, water when plants are dry (reference germinating for more watering frequency information). Crusty top dirt dry.
Air Circulation: Keep the air circulating with fresh air. Do not 'blow' the fans directly on the plants for extended periods - blow the air 'around' the cannabis plants. They require the fresh air exchange.
Nutrients: Stop with Nitrogen nutrients at this time. The plants need more Phosphorous and other nutrients during this stage.
PH level affects all the stages of marijuana growth - on a scale of 1-14 - seven (7) is neutral. The ideal PH range for cannabis is 6.5 - extremes above or below this level will slow growth and be a give-away that something is not right.
You want Phosphorous, Potassium, Magnesium and some Sulfur (there are other micro-nutrients usually found in good blooming feeds).
Once a plant 'shows' slow growth or visible symptoms of any kind, it has already experienced nutritional stress. Allow some time (once diagnosed & corrected) for the plant to recuperate to a vigorous growth stage.
This is an entire science and I do not have enough space here to cover it all - but I want you to know the important stuff.
Length of Flowering Stage: This will vary for every type of marijuana plant. Generally, cannabis seeds come with an indication of the flowering stage length.
However, that is not necessary in knowing the best time to harvest your cannabis plants.
You should have (or buy) a small 30X magnifier or better (my recommendation) - Or, you can also view the buds with an 8X magnifier, but you DO want a good magnifier to help you distinguish the absolute best time to harvest your marijuana plants.
You have noticed the "snow" like effect all around your buds - these are the trichomes that actually contain the THC we are seeking. When magnified, these tell you exactly when she is ready for harvest.