Your Guide To Cannabis Flowering

This stage is when flowers start forming, the buds can underdevelop if we didn't take good care in the stage before.
04 June 2020
11 min read
Your Guide To Cannabis Flowering

Contents:

The flowering stage consists of the pre-flowering and flowering phases, this is when you start to see pistils starting to appear on the bud sites all over your plant and will develop into beautiful looking and smelling flowers that contain what all cannabis consumers love: terpenes and cannabinoids.

This stage is the most important one for us growers, this is when we’ll see the beautiful buds develop and we’ll need to take even more care than in the previous stage.

Unlike in the vegetative stage, when our plant is flowering it is even more difficult to deal with pests and any other types of deficiencies as this can directly affect our buds, so here's our article about the last of the growing stages of weed.

1. The Pre-Flowering Stage

After your plant has received its first days of a 12/12 light cycle either indoor or outdoor, it will enter the pre-flowering stage. Have in mind automatic cannabis doesn’t depend on a light cycle to start flowering and will flower in an 18/6 light cycle.

This means that there isn't the best time to start flowering cannabis in general, if you're growing autos you cannot control it because autos will start flowering automatically but if you're growing photos, the best time would be when they have reached the desired size.

 

Female cannabis plant in the pre-flowering stage.
 

As your plant develops further, from the pre-flowering stage to the end of the flowering stage it will slowly start absorbing less nitrogen and will start to need more of the other macronutrients, like phosphorus and potassium.

This doesn’t mean you should stop giving it all other nutrients but means you will have to increase the amount of phosphorus and potassium you give her every week to allow her to develop properly.

In this stage, you will see your plant showing signs of its sex. If it’s a female it will start growing pistils, a small number of trichomes and slowly start to smell like a cannabis plant should. If you’re growing regular seeds, your plant could be a male and it will start to grow pollen sacs.

 

First signs of a female vs a male cannabis plant.
 

You will also see her growing a lot, it sometimes can even double its size in a couple of weeks, this is referred to as the “flowering stretch". This happens because your plant wants to develop as much as it can before starting developing what would be her reproductive parts (buds), to guarantee the survival of the species.

The “flowering stretch” solely depends on genetics, sometimes they grow a lot, sometimes not.

2. The Flowering Stage

Around 2 weeks into the pre-flowering stage, your plant is ready to start the final phase, which is the flowering stage. In the flowering stage, you’ll see your plant start to truly develop the buds.

You will slowly see the buds swell, the trichome production going up, and most importantly, the smell starting to become strong.

 

Female cannabis plant in the first weeks of flowering.
 

As you see the increase in bud production, you will have to supply your plant with an increased amount of nutrients. Usually, at this stage, your plant can handle a full dose of nutrients or even more but remember to always follow the manufacturer's guidelines because overfeeding can shock your plants.

If you weren’t using anything to mask the smell, this is when you want to invest in an air filter or something similar. In this stage, the smell will be pungent and can attract unwanted attention to your grow room.

 

Carbon filter in an indoor cannabis grow room.
 

This is also when you have to be the most careful with the environment you’re growing in. If you where to get a mold infection or anything else that can harm your plant, this is the worst time to have it happen.

Because the bugs can get stuck on the buds or get inside the buds, you will have a really hard time getting rid of them. For example, ants can get stuck on trichomes and you will have to pick one by one, making it a really hard and laborious task.

 

The three different colors of trichomes.
 

When you see the trichomes starting to turn amber, it is a sign that your flowers are at its peak potency and this is when you should harvest your plant.

When the buds are quite dense and there’s no more visible growth from one day to another, you should start looking at the color of the trichomes and start flushing with plain water. Flushing will allow your plant to clean itself from the remaining minerals in it and will result in a flower with a better aroma and flavor, you should flush for at least two weeks before harvesting.

Make sure your plants are bug-free and leave them in complete darkness for 48hs. In the meantime, prepare the dry room for the number of plants you will harvest in the following days. After removing them from darkness, they’re ready to be trimmed and harvested.

If you’re keeping a good environment, there’s no much to do. Always keep an eye for bugs and signs of deficiencies but it should be fairly simple by now.

Remember you cannot perform any more training as you’re nearing harvesting time!

 

Male cannabis pollen sacs completely mature and spreading pollen.
 

If you are growing regular cannabis seeds, that means there's a 50% chance of getting male plants, if you happen to get male plants, instead of the buds starting to swell, you will see the pollen sacs growing and ultimately opening up, looking like typical small flowers.

3. In Conclusion

The flowering stage is the final and most important of the marijuana growing stages. This is when we’ll see our precious buds developing, we’ll be able to see the buds taking form and feel that delicious smell we’ve been waiting to smell for so long.

Remember than everything that happens in this stage will have a direct impact on the buds itself, unlike in the vegetative stage. You have to be extra careful because the strong smell not only attracts bugs but also noisy neighbors.

Other than basic care, it will be fairly simple to look after it. Enjoy taking care of your plants, keep them healthy and you will enjoy even more when the time to smoke your flowers arrives.

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