When the lights are switched on 12/12 hours light/ darkness or when the days get shorter and sometimes this happens automatically. But there will come a time when a cannabis plant starts flowering. What actually happens during this flowering period? It's time to take a closer look at that.
What is the flowering stage?
The flowering phase or generative phase is one of the phases that a cannabis plant goes through. It is the phase where she will start making flowers. And since this is what this is all about, this is not an insignificant phase. Whether you grow indoors or outdoors, with photosensitive or autoflowers, the flowering phase is the same everywhere. Sometimes faster, sometimes slower. When a photo-sensitive plant gets more than 16 hours of light a day, the plant will grow. With a light duration of 14 hours and less, the plant will flower. For fast and good flowering without the risk of stress on the plant, 12 hours of light is sufficient. When it is dark, the plant produces flowering hormones. So, when the days get shorter or the light in your grow room goes at 12 o'clock, so many flowering hormones are produced that it causes the plant to flower. This is happening gradually. When switching to a 12/12 light schedule, it will take about 2 weeks for the first flowering hairs to appear and with an outdoor grow this will be even more gradual. This can sometimes cause confusion about the duration of the flowering time. Usually with an indoor grow the first week of flowering is counted from the moment the lamp goes to 12/12. With autoflowers or with an outdoor grow, you can say that you are in the 3rd week of the flowering phase when the first buds start to form.
Weeks 1 through 3 are called the transition phase or stretching phase. Conditions tell the plant that winter is coming, and it should start blooming. As a result, she will increase considerably in height during this period to get the most out of herself. Something you should consider when growing indoors. If you look closely at the plant, you will see that there are slight discolorations in the leaves where the buds will form. This means that she extracts nutrients from the leaves in those places to produce buds. Now it's time to switch to flowering fertilizer and not do this in week 1 because of the cutting phase. This phase is also ideal for applying Low Stress Training (LST). By pulling the branches in a certain direction, you can give them the most light or put them at the best distance from the lamp.
By removing the twigs and shoots from the bottom and inside, all the energy can focus on the main buds of the plant.
First bud formation
From week 4, the first buds are already clearly visible. You can also apply LST this week by moving the buds further into the correct position and the lower leaves and shoots can be removed further away. Often some leaves on the underside of the plant wither. She works hard to produce flowers and needs extra nutrients to do this. She takes this from her own stored stock in the leaves and because of this they wither. Therefore, it is advisable to give additional phosphorus and potassium in the 4th week of flowering. The well-known P-K and booster nutrition. At this stage of flowering, the plant also begins to produce trichomes. Small resin glands on the trunk, on the leaves but especially on the buds. These trichomes contain most of the plant's cannabinoids and terpenes. The cannabinoids are the active substances, and the terpenes determine the smell and taste of the cannabis. Once the plant starts producing buds, it will also start to smell. Keep this in mind and avoid inconvenience.
Swelling of the buds
In weeks 5 and 6 the buds will continue to swell, and the plant will no longer increase in height. What does increase is the resin production of the plant, her aroma is now clearly present. The trichomes cover the buds with a shimmering layer. Flowering hairs will already turn brown here and there. With plants with many large leaves, you can remove some to get good ventilation in the plant. This is to prevent mould and other fungi. Therefore, keep the humidity low in a grow tent. The advice is to keep the humidity around 30 – 40%. You can do this, among other things, by increasing the speed of the extraction.
The final stage of flowering
In week 7 the buds will swell even more. If you look closely, real bumps will grow on the buds. Sometimes they resemble pigtails, the so-called foxtails. Since the plant is not fertilized, it will do its utmost to produce the largest possible flowers. With as many resin glands as possible to be able to collect even a little bit of pollen. But unfortunately. The average cannabis strain is now entering the final phase of flowering. Autumn is now in full swing, and the leaves are slowly turning yellow. Very normal because that's what plants do in the fall. So do not give extra food! What the plant now needs in terms of extra nutrients, it now gets from its leaves, which is why they turn yellow or even purple. More and more flower hairs will now be discoloured brown. This is a sign that the harvest will not last long. It is advisable to only water one week before the harvest, so no more food. This is to flush out the remnants of mineral nutrients, also called flushing. Also try to keep the humidity around 30 – 40%. Also read, end of flowering phase.
Time for the harvest
The right time to harvest depends on what the cannabis is being used for. If you were to look at the trichomes with a microscope, you would see a stalk with a ball on it, like a mushroom. The globule changes colour from transparent to milky, later it turns brown. To consume a nice smoke, it is best to harvest when the trichomes are milky. The transparent trichomes are ideal for making beautiful light-coloured extracts. When the trichomes turn brown, more and more cannabinoids than the psychoactive THC are used. This cannabis will give a smaller high, but a greater medicinal value. But if you just want to consume a nice smoke, it is best to harvest your plant when about 75% of the flowering hairs have turned brown. Also read, harvesting!