Phase: Flowering phase - generative phase
Now that the plant is mature
A cannabis plant starts flowering when he or she is mature. The plant is already mature after about three to four weeks after germination. It is well-rooted, the leaves now have five fingers and daily growth can be observed. In every life there is a coming and going.
Other cannabis seeds, regular and feminized, are photoperiod or photosensitive plants. They are affected by the number of light hours, the length of the days. When growing outdoors, this is very noticeable.
In August the days become shorter and shorter and the plant receives less light. By shortening the days the plant knows that the end of the season and also the year is coming. This is when a cannabis plant starts to flower. Male cannabis usually shows signs of flowering a little earlier than female cannabis. The males start producing pollen in order to fertilize the female. So that she will have produced her seeds in time for the winter and a new generation for the following year. In nature, it's all about reproduction. Large male plants can even produce clouds of pollen. To collect the pollen, the female plant produces a resinous substance. The pollen swirls through the air and attaches itself to the resin. And of course you guessed it, that sticky resin is what we cannabis lovers love about it!
So you also see that good outdoor seeds bring plants that react quickly to the decrease in light time. So these will start flowering early. That in combination with a short flowering phase makes it a good outdoor variety.
When growing indoors it is a different story, but it comes down to the same thing. The difference is that indoors everything is in your hands and you can switch from summer to fall at any time you like, with sun and rain all days as required. Many growers grow on a light schedule of 18/6. That means eighteen hours of light and six hours of darkness. After four to five weeks, they then switch to 12/12. Twelve hours of light, twelve hours of dark for the flowering phase.
The course of the flowering phase, in weeks
During the night when it is dark, the plant produces bloom hormones. A little bloom hormone in six hours does nothing for the plant. But does the darkness last ten hours or longer, the hormones take over and the plant transitions into the flowering phase.
If you switch to a 12/12 schedule the plant will not go into bloom right away. She will enter the transition phase first. This takes about three weeks, depending on the variety. Sativa strains sometimes take even longer and generally require a longer flowering time than Indica strains. This is because the plant is now mature and ready to reproduce.
In this period the plant will still grow considerably in size, this is called the stretching phase. Take this into account when growing indoors so that the plant does not become too big for your indoor space or grow tent.
After the first week of the 12/12 schedule you will see that in the places where the plant is going to make buds, these parts will turn a little lighter. The bloom hormones are doing their work and in these places extra phosphorus and potassium is needed to be able to form flower buds. The discoloration is a sign to the plant that it will be taking more of these substances from its nutrition. In outdoor cultivation this is also a sign that flowering has now begun.
In the second week the gender of the plant can be determined. In the axils, this is where a side branch attaches to the stem, two white hairs, pistils, now emerge. These hairs are a sign that it is a female plant. On a male plant, one or two balls, seed balls, grow here. By paying close attention to this in every round of cultivation you can also prevent a hermaphrodite from being among them. A hermaphrodite is a plant with both female and male gender characteristics. To fool nature a little, a female cannabis plant is treated with silver water. This causes her to become hermaphroditic and start producing male pollen with only female chromosomes. If this pollen pollinates her or other female flowers, it produces seeds with only female characteristics. But you don't fool nature just like that! The chance is less than one in a hundred but it can happen that a hermaphrodite sneaks in and throws a spanner, in this case seed, in the works.
This period is also ideal for applying LST in order to get a nice distribution of the buds and a nice even foliage. In the third week the stretching phase ends and the plant will no longer increase in size. It is now also easy to see how the upper small leaves start to stand upright and form calyxes. Or small flowering hairs can already be seen.
First bud formation
In the fourth week of the 12/12 schedule, the first buds with beautiful white flowering hairs are already clearly visible. If the flower hairs are already large at this stage you can usually assume that the plant is enjoying itself and will produce potent buds. The buds are still small now, as thick as a little finger. In the fourth week you continue with LST to direct the buds. At the same time you trim away the lower branches and shoots that get little light. This allows the plant to concentrate on the buds above.
When growing outdoors, pruning, thinning or thieving also helps to get better ventilation through the plant. This is to prevent top rot and other fungi as much as possible. The plant is now working hard on its flower formation and therefore has a greater need for phosphorus and potassium. Because we keep the conditions as optimal as possible, the plant does its best, but it also needs a lot. A top performance requires a good diet. To prevent her from taking the nutrients out of her own system and turning yellow we give her some extra bloom nutrition or a booster.
In the fifth week the buds will continue to increase in size. The aroma of the plant is now very evident. Keep this in mind and do this earlier than your neighbors. A single plant can already spread the characteristic smell widely. So always grow indoors with a carbon filter.
In week six the plant will start to form increasingly thicker buds with more resin. Some of the white flowering hairs are already discoloring and slowly turning brown. In the axils grow small balls, calyxes. Calyxes are the seed sacs that also form the bud. But because the plant is not fertilized, they will not contain a seed. However, they do contain the highest concentration of cannabinoids in the plant. Because the buds have already grown considerably the humidity must not rise too high. This reduces the chance of top rot. The advice is to keep the humidity around 30-40%. You can do this by increasing the speed of the suction.
Ripening of the buds
In week seven the buds will swell more and more. The trichomes, resin glands, will increase in number and cover the buds with a glistening layer. Her aroma production is now very high. The average cannabis strain is now moving into the final stages of flowering. Autumn is now in full swing in the plant and some large bracts will slowly turn yellow. This is perfectly normal as this is what plants do in autumn. So do not give any extra nutrition! What the plant needs in terms of extra nutrients it is now getting from its leaves and that is why they are turning yellow. More and more flower hairs will have turned brown. All signs that the harvest is not far off. The majority of Indica varieties are ready to harvest after eight weeks.
The last weeks
In the last week only water to flush most of the nutrition out of the soil, so the plant will use most of its own reserves. Something that will benefit the taste of the cannabis later on. If you are growing with organic products then this is less of an issue and flushing is not necessary, because you are only giving water anyway. Keep monitoring the air humidity, especially when rinsing. Keep the humidity between 30 and 40%.
The harvest is near
The question is always: when can I harvest? The best way to determine this is to cut a small sugar leaf from the top half of the plant and look at the trichomes on it under a microscope. The trichomes are shaped like a mushroom, a stalk with a globule on top. In the beginning these globules are translucent, transparent. Even though the top looks ready for harvest, just wait a little longer. The cannabinoids that provide a good high are present, but other cannabinoids are yet to be formed.
The terpenes that provide the smell and taste of the cannabis are now present to the highest degree. This makes it the best time to harvest when extracts are being made. Because of this you will see more and more concentrate coming out with a very light color.
When the globules on the trichomes are milky white in color the potency and potency of the plant is at its highest and thus the ideal time to harvest. If you were to wait any longer you might find that the little balls on the trichomes will turn brown. The recreational potency of the plant decreases but the medicinal potency increases. So it depends a bit on your application of the cannabis.
Do you just want to consume your cannabis in a rollingpaper or vaporizer and don't feel like fiddling with a microscope? Then you can also do the following. Check with yourself when you think it's harvest time and you would use the scissors. Are the flowering hairs on the main buds 2/3 brown? Then you are in the right place! Now wait another five days to a week. This will be your perfect harvest time. By allowing the plant to dry out in the last days before harvest and leaving it in complete darkness for two to three days, many growers say the stress will cause it to produce extra trichomes.
In the flowering phase outdoors, the slow decrease in light hours and the larger size of the plant will cause the underlying phases to take longer, so the entire flowering phase will stretch out longer. She will also have to brave the elements of the weather. Wind, rain and a lack of sun is not uncommon in our Dutch autumn. Ensure good ventilation, in and around the plant, by pruning it from the inside and putting it in a place where it is well ventilated.
After each rainfall shake all branches back and forth, this also removes a lot of stagnant moisture. If top rot is lurking anywhere, it's outside. So check for it daily. Top-rot is a fungus and it is poisonous. Don't smoke it.
If you have a spot of top-rot, remove the entire top. Cut the mold completely out of the top to the last spots, discard it and clean the scissors well. Lay the rest of the top to dry and make sure that no mold remains and comes back. If the top rot spreads rapidly throughout the plant, there is nothing to do but to harvest the plant early in this way.
Let's not assume this and that with all our tips and advice it may be a successful harvest.
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