What started out for me as a not-so-serious first-time grow experiment with a clone that turned out to be a seedling quickly made me more enthusiastic about growing marijuana than I’d ever been about anything—other than women.
If you’ve read the previous articles in this series you know that I started out totally unprepared. I lacked knowledge, I lacked equipment, I lacked fertilizers. I didn’t have a clue what hydroponics was. I grew in Fox Farm soil.
Still, my Chocolope x Hawaiian Snow marijuana plant grew an inch or more per day after its root system was fully established, so by the time seven weeks of growing had rolled around, the marijuana that was 36 inches tall.
I had forced it to show sex by putting it in a dark room for a couple of days, and was relieved to find out it was female. Then I gave it 18 hours per day of light until the plant got too tall, and I knew it was time to put it into 12 hour bloom phase.
In later years, I’ve discovered that knowing when to put a plant into bloom phase is a crucial factor in yield and potency.
If you put a marijuana plant into bloom phase too soon, it lacks the hormonal maturity and root structure needed to give you your best bud development.
Clones are of course more hormonally mature than a seedling of the same age. You could have a clone and as soon as its roots are strong, you could put it into flower and get a short plant that’s mostly buds.
With seedlings, you have to wait longer. It’s best to wait until the plant has shown primordial marijuana flowers during 18 hour light. This happens about 4-8 weeks after sprouting, for most strains, and it depends on the strain and the health of your marijuana plants.
In some situations, grow room height determines when you put your marijuana plants into bloom phase. You only have so much distance between the floor and your lights. When you go to 12-hour bloom phase lighting, your marijuana plant will still gain significant height.
If you let your plant get too tall in grow phase, and it adds a lot of inches after bloom phase starts, you may run out of head room and have to bend your plants or make other adjustments to prevent your plants from getting too close to your lights.
For example, my 34-inch tall grow phase plant added another nine inches in height after I flipped it into bloom phase. Most of that height gain was solid bud.
The trick is to balance the early growth with the bud growth. I don’t want a tall plant that buds out so only half of the plant is floral growth.
Instead, I want buds from the bottom up all the way to the top of the plant, so that almost all the structure of the plant was producing buds that had a lot of THC.
Like I said at the beginning, the more I learned about marijuana growing, the more I realized I didn’t know.
I use marijuana for relaxation and I love growing…but as a beginner, growing marijuana was making me less relaxed because I needed this plant to provide me a lot of buds, and I didn’t know enough about growing to be sure I was going to get the big harvest I wanted.