The blooming stage begins when the light cycle offers your cannabis plants prolonged periods of unbroken darkness. Instead, your plants will cease growing and focus on developing buds (flowers). Outdoors, this process usually happens when the days become shorter around the end of summer. Flowering begins when you adjust your lights to 10-12 hours of darkness while growing indoors. The blooming phase for most cannabis strains lasts around 7-9 weeks, while certain Sativa take even longer for their buds to develop. This article will go through the various phases of cannabis flowering to help you harvest high-grade buds.
The flowering period is the final stage of the indoor cannabis plant’s life cycle. It might be the most important stage. But what are the symptoms of cannabis flowering? When the first pistil emerges from the female pre-flowers, the cannabis plant begins to blossom. At the same time, the plant shows that its nutritional requirements have altered and will need more phosphorus and potassium than nitrogen. Pre-flowers will begin to form between each node and become more visible after three to four days as the size of the initial pistil develops.
After the vegetative phase has concluded, the blooming period begins. This normally takes 3-4 weeks, but it might vary depending on the strain, so keep that in mind first. While you switch to a 12/12 light cycle when growing cannabis indoors from photoperiod seeds, the blooming stage begins (when the plants receive light for 12 hours and are in total darkness for 12 hours). When you use autoflowering seeds, the genetics of the plant dictate when this phase begins. Cannabis blooming stages last around 7-9 weeks after they start. They can be divided into the following stages.
When flowering begins, your plants’ growth does not abruptly shift. Cannabis does not just cease growing and immediately start blooming.
Many cannabis strains may see a significant growth stretch during the early weeks of flowering. This is crucial to understand when correctly feeding your plants and giving them enough space to flourish.
Your cannabis crops will be in the transition phase throughout the first few weeks of flowering. Your plant will likely grow quickly since it believes winter is not far away and will soon have to bear a large weight of bud. During this period, certain strains might nearly double in height. Because of your plant’s rapid expansion, this early flowering period is known as the stretch phase. While your plant grows in size and height, it will produce several new leaves, especially at the top of the major colas. Your cannabis plant is busy creating “green stuff,” like leaves and stems, to get more robust.
Important information to know at this early stage of blossoming
The first white pistils on your female cannabis plants may appear in week 2 of flowering. These tiny, wispy white hairs will appear where the huge fan leaves meet the main stem. These delicate hairs will eventually develop into buds. If your cannabis plant is male, it will not produce these “hairs” but will have little pollen sacs. If you cultivate conventional, non-feminized plants and don’t know their gender, now is the time to “sex” them so you can separate the males from the females. The males will not produce buds and will pollinate your females, leading them to produce seeds.
To correctly feed your cannabis plants once they begin to flower and to initiate the first indicators of developing buds, you should check your nutrient manufacturer’s timeline. It is usually around this time at week two when you will need to boost flowering nutrients to aid your plants in reaching their maximum harvest potential.
In weeks 3-4, your cannabis plant’s extreme stretching will begin to slow down. At these phases, bud development appears to be accelerating.
Your plants have yet to stop growing completely and will be roughly 50% larger than they were three weeks ago. Although the stretch continues, it will progressively slow down and reach a standstill. You may now see the first symptoms of actual buds emerging at the areas on the plant where you previously observed some hairs. There will still be a lack of resin glands and trichomes on your plants, which means the fragrance will be moderate. This flowering stage is essential since your plant is beginning to use more energy to develop blooms. Ensure that the nutrients you offer are suitable, and check the labels for prescribed doses.
As your plants get more selective, watch out for possible cannabis deficiencies, such as discolored, yellowing leaves or complete leaf loss. At the same time, inspect your plants for symptoms of probable overfeeding (“nutrient burn”), which may appear around this time. Nutrient burn commonly manifests itself in the discoloration of the leaf tips. If this occurs, you must reduce feeding to avoid overfeeding your cannabis plants.
By week 4 of the blooming period, your cannabis plants will have stopped developing and will focus all their energy on developing buds. White hairs will continue to protrude from the buds, but the buds themselves will become larger and fatter with each passing day. Your plants will now create more trichomes as more and larger buds form, making the odor much more obvious at this stage. Since your cannabis crop will have stopped growing, you will no longer need to worry about training it. You may now consider holding them up where you previously bent down branches if they need structural support.
In these flowing phases, the “stretching phase” is coming to an end. Because your plant will not produce many new leaves, you must be cautious with the remaining leaves. Additionally, proper strategic defoliation (for expert growers) is recommended to assist in revealing the bud site. However, it’s also critical to keep your plant’s leaves healthy to absorb enough light to maximum production.
In week 5 of flowering, you may see the buds on your plant increasing denser throughout. You may also notice extra buds sprouting in unexpected areas, such as along the main cola. Your cannabis plants will become fatter by the day as buds proliferate. This is a solid indicator that you are in full bloom. Also, your cannabis plant will have a strong odor at this time. If you cultivate inside or in a zone where growing is not permitted, ensure you have a robust ventilation system.
Some of your cannabis plants’ originally white pistil hairs might now be brownish or amber. Simultaneously, when inspecting your plant’s trichomes, you may see that some of them have become opaque. The trichomes will become milky white, and the hairs will darken to signal that your plants are close to harvest.
When week six of the cannabis blooming stages arrives, three things happen:
These are all indications that your blooms are nearing maturity.
During these flowering stages, your plant will not grow any new leaves or stems. The cannabis plant will devote all of its energy to the development of buds. If everything goes as planned, your buds should be back on track. Their size will considerably rise in the next few weeks.
Week seven is all about being patient. At week 7 of the cannabis flowering cycle, your cannabis plant should still be green and healthy, except for a few yellow leaves at the bottom.
Nothing new happens, but the buds grow in size, the pistils become darker, and the trichomes become whiter.
Although not all cannabis strains take the same time to bloom, many cultivars will be ready to harvest within the next three weeks. However, there aren’t many strains that will be ready before week 8.
Flushing your cannabis plant should be done two weeks before harvest, depending on the flowering time of your strain. In these last weeks, you “flush” the plant by discontinuing fertilizer and providing just plain, pH-balanced water. This will remove (flush out) salts and minerals from the soil, resulting in a high-quality, more pure-tasting bud. Otherwise, your smoke will be harsh and have an unpleasant chemical flavor.
To determine when it’s time to harvest your plant, use a jeweler’s loupe or a tiny microscope to inspect the trichomes regularly. You can see if the trichomes change color from clear to milky white. If you observe a lot of clear and translucent trichomes, that suggests it’s still too early to harvest. However, when the most trichomes have an amber color and an impenetrable clarity, it indicates that the cannabinoids of the buds have reached their peak and the plant is ready for harvest.
Ed Rushford’s impact on cannabis growing is undeniable. Though he tends to focus primarily on 2 areas, plant training techniques and dealing with disease, pests, and other problems, he has offered many insights into how cannabis plants live and grow. That’s not to say that Ed is unfamiliar with the complete life cycle of cannabis, from seed to harvest, but he uses his widespread knowledge to hone in on the minutia and niche areas of growing cannabis. Ed’s goal is to spread knowledge and allow for everyone to become better growers. About this Author