Bloom! Shake the Room

Soft Secrets
09 Mar 2023

In this, the 8th video in the Soft Secrets "Perfect Grow" series, our resident Pro-Grower Drew Anger will talk us through everything to do with the Flowering Cycle. Now your plants have come through the Veg stage, and all the structural growth is done, it's about maximising your yields.

The first thing that you need to do is flip your plants, tent, and light cycle over into the Flowering stage. So, let's start with the basics. What is Flowering? And why do we need it? Well, up to now, whilst the plant has been in Veg, it has just been putting on weight, growing leaves and branches and increasing in size. Once we hit Flowering, the plant stops focusing its energy on expanding the scope of the plant. Instead, it pushes it all into making the giant stickiest buds possible.

The biological reason for Flowering, however, is for the plant to reproduce. The big sticky flowers catch pollen from male plants, fertilising the Flower and ultimately creating seeds. We do not want pollination, though, as seeds in your weed are a no-no for smoking and can ruin your entire crop. That is why if you are growing for bud, then. You must keep male plants away from your female plants at all costs.

Some plants are "auto-flowering" varieties. This means that they will flower after a set time, regardless of any change in the light cycle. However, if it's not an "auto," it will be a "photoperiod" seed. A photoperiod plant requires a change in the light cycle to trigger Flowering. In Veg, your plant will have been on an 18/6 light schedule. When you flip to Flower, this needs to change to a 12/12 light schedule to replicate the amount of sunlight that the plant would naturally receive in the wild. The plant gets this sign as a cue to start producing flowers for pollination because winter is coming.

Once you switch your light cycle to 12/12, you will not notice much difference straight away. Still, after a week to 10 days, you will see little white hairs called pistils forming in the areas where the buds will eventually be. Pistils are one way that you can confirm whether your plant is male or female. However, suppose you are using feminised seeds as we are here. In that case, you will not have to worry about this as they will be genetically guaranteed to develop into female plants. 

Slowly you will begin to witness many more white hairs shoot out, and then the formation of your bud colas begins. From this point onward, you are looking at 6-8 weeks till these babies are ready to harvest. The first 2-3 weeks of Flower is a transitional phase known as "the stretch" this is where you will see the last of the structural growth of your plant, which may be considerable, hence the name. At this time, they can double or even triple in size. Once the stretch has peaked, your plants should not get any more significant height. The only thing that they should be growing now is their buds.

This is an excellent time to go through and clean up the plants, do a bit of lollipopping and get rid of any excess foliage and vegetation we do not need. As in Veg, this involves taking off the deficient leaves and branches that are not producing bud or are so shaded from the light that they will drain the plant's resources. The small amount of "popcorn" bud is not worth the hassle for many. 

Removing these low producers also redirects the plant's energy highway, supercharging the branches where your main colas work on the big boy bud. Generally, on a Grow of this size, each plant will only remain with 10 to 15 branches, each with 3 to 4 nodes on the top of each plant. This results in bigger buds overall and less trimming and work during Harvest. 

This is also a great time to do some defoliation. Defoliation is strategically removing some fan leaves to allow the light to penetrate deeper into the canopy and onto bud sites that massive fan leaves would otherwise shade.

From this point onward, your plants will need minimum maintenance by removing any problem leaves. Regarding feeding, you should give your plants 2-3 litres every other day (or when required). It would help if you were sticking to your chosen feeding schedule as closely as possible. Your pH should still be 6.0-6.5, and your lights should run at about 80% power. Over the next few weeks, you should be turning them up to the maximum 100% brightness. 

Relative humidity at this point should stand at about 50%. Still, as your buds get more extensive and denser, we will want this down to about 40% to reduce any chance of mould or bud rot. Follow all this, and your plants will be in an excellent position to enter their last four Flower weeks. Tune into the following video, where we will talk about all the possible threats and problems you may face and how to deal with them, as well as what we need to do in the last few weeks of Flower. 

So, if you haven't already, don't forget to hit that subscribe button and follow to watch the next instalment of "Perfect Grow" in association with Royal Queen Seeds and Soft Secrets and learn how to grow cannabis in just ten easy stages. Here are the links if you want to catch up on the previous episodes.

Youtube link: https://youtu.be/MwRTGiWhoZs

What to Do When Cannabis Enters Flowering Stage?
Soft Secrets