Flowering Stage: Taking Buds to the Next Level

By Karen Lloyd
Published: October 6, 2022 | Last updated: October 6, 2022 06:44:08
Key Takeaways

Those massive buds on cannabis magazine covers don’t come without some key elements in the flowering phase. Check out what you need to do to grow those huge colas and maximize your yields.

Caption: Cuban Linx grown by Cannara - Source: Kyle LeGrow for Tribal

If you like big buds, we probably know why.

Sophisticated growers take great pride in the big fat sticky buds their cannabis plants produce following months of hard work.

While trichomes coat the cannabis plant’s sugar leaves, there is far more THC concentrated in the buds. So the bigger they are, the better.

If you invested time in the plant’s vegetative stage to top and/or train it to grow laterally, there’s an excellent chance you’ll end up with more buds than you’ll know what to do with. But who’s complaining?

Here are several more ways to step up the size and quality of your cannabis buds in the flowering phase for a substantial harvest:


Plan a Paradise Climate for Flowering Plants

It’s necessary to sustain the ideal temperature and humidity levels for flowering cannabis plants to reach their full potential. In bloom, cannabis can tolerate a little more than 80°F (27°C). Temperatures any higher or lower will detract the plants’ energy from bud production. Too much humidity can lead to fungal diseases. As plants flower, reduce the humidity by five percent a week in your indoor garden until you get from 60 to 40 percent. This ensures your plants receive enough, but not too much, moisture during this intense stage of plant growth. Too much moisture will likely result in mold.

Flowering Plants Dig Phosphorus and Potassium

Phosphorus is the crucial nutrient for early flowering cannabis plants and extra-large buds come harvest. It’s the key ingredient that activates key growth-regulating hormones essential for flowering.

Weekly doses of bone meal just before budding begins can help ensure that your plants have the phosphorus they need to grow giant buds. A top layer of worm castings will also boost phosphorus levels.


flowering cannabis plantCuban Linx grown by Cannara - Source: Kyle LeGrow for Tribal
Additionally, growers can increase mycelium in their soil with a DIY compost tea. Mycelium is the vegetative part of a fungus that turns organic matter into food and ensures your plants consume a higher rate of phosphorus among other nutrients during the flowering stage.

The pH level of the soil also affects how cannabis plants absorb nutrients. Seasoned growers recommend keeping the pH at 6.0, and 5.5 if growing hydroponically.

Towards the end of the flowering stage, cut down on the amount of phosphorus in your feeding schedule and increase the potassium. Potassium is essential for plant health during this critical period. Besides store-bought nutrients, growers can include homemade dried and powdered banana peels into their feeding mix. Signs of a potassium deficiency include curled leaves with brown edges.


Lights plus CO2 Equals Action

A practical way to boost bud size in the flowering stage is to increase light. Most growers agree that moving to a high-pressure sodium (HPS) light source in the red spectrum is for flowering cannabis. Compact fluorescent and LED bulbs are both decent for flowering cannabis, but HPS fixtures are far superior, producing the most light in a spectrum that cannabis plants need during their flowering stage. Because they produce so much heat, it’s important to place HPS lights anywhere between five and eight feet from your plants.

With all grow lights, it’s important to have some sort of cooling or exhaust system to prevent heat stress and bring fresh CO2 to your plants. Without the right amount of CO2 in the air, plants cannot make enough energy and will eventually die. For the heaviest cannabis buds and highest yields, growers should increase both the CO2 level and the light intensity together. Pushing the CO2 level from its typical 350-400 ppm to 1,500 ppm will make the maximum amount available to your crop during this crucial stage.


Prune your Plants for Power

By removing fan leaves, you improve airflow and increase the amount of light distributed to buds on lower nodes. A plant with buds near the bottom will seek to develop during the flowering stage, but since they’ll never receive enough light, they’ll never grow to a considerable size. Pruning away dead plant life and small shoots between the trunk and branches will generate huge buds. When growing a new strain, it's best to pluck only a few leaves at a time, wait for recovery and then pluck some more.

The flowering stage is when your cannabis plants bloom and develop all the big, beautiful buds they can possibly produce. With a little time, extra care, and by following the advice above, getting these results will be easier than ever.


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Written by Karen Lloyd | Freelance Writer, Digital Marketing Expert

Profile Picture of Karen Lloyd

Karen Lloyd is a freelance writer, digital marketing expert and hippy at heart in the city with a small studio, spacious deck and enormous passion for all things cannabis, urban gardening and food equity in Toronto.

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