Are you wanting to grow cannabis in Oklahoma? Are you looking for a basic understanding of the process, just a little knowledge, and then you can take it from there? Well, good! Because anyone can grow good marijuana in Oklahoma! All you need is a medical patient card, or a commercial license, and the ability to try, fail, try again, read, learn and keep practicing and you will grow some fire!
We have written this blog series on growing cannabis indoors to cover the foundational knowledge any grower must have. Master the fundamentals and you will eventually become a master.
We have previously covered the basics of cannabis planting and propagation; the origin of your cannabis and whether to source seed or clone when seeking a beginning. We then discussed the first of the two cannabis photoperiods: the vegetative cycle.
In this article, we will discuss the flowering period of cannabis.
What is the difference between the Vegetative period and the Flowering period?
To recap from what we’ve already covered, cannabis is a photoperiod plant, which means that it has different “periods” of growth and life. The first of the two is the vegetative period. Outdoors, this period occurs during the summer months, when there is more light than darkness. Indoors, this period is artificially created by keeping the lights on all time time or in any ratio where the amount of light exceeds 15 hours of light per 24 hour period.
During the vegetative period, the plants will grow and grow, taller and taller, but will never bloom or blossom, which means no flower or bud during the vegetative cycle. No fruit, just growth.
However, because there is no maturity, just growth, the grower has a lot of freedom to train the plants during veg. This is because the plants remain skinny and pliable, like vines. Cannabis can be topped and still recover, in fact improve, during veg, as well as be trained, high stress or low stress, by stretch branches or tying them down or any other method of restraint. The branches won’t break because they are not yet stiff.
Then there is the flowering period.
Outdoors, the flowering period is triggered by the changing of the season, from summer to autumn. During this time of the year, the sun will begin to set a little earlier each every. Contemporaneously with the early sunset, the sunrise will begin a little later each morning. Eventually, there will be less and less light during a 24-hour period and an increasing amount of darkness.
Indoors, this period is artificially created at any time by simply switching the light cycle to 12 hours on, 12 hours off, or any combination where the amount of light does not exceed the amount of darkness.
This increase in darkness instructs the plants to begin flowering, to begin producing fruit, which cause a bunch of changes in the plant’s behavior and characteristics.
When should you “flip” your plants into flower?
Unlike the outdoor environment, where nature picks and chooses the veg and flower cycles, indoor growers have control over these photoperiods.
When you are growing indoors, you get to choose when you create the flowering period. Most growers take into account a variety of factors when deciding the length of their veg cycle and when to switch to the flower cycle.
These factors include:
- How big do you want the plant to grow during the course of its life?
- What are your location-based restrictions, such as ceiling height?
- How often do you want to harvest?
- How much yield do you want from each plant?
- Differences of preference in growing techniques
- Different strains may prefer longer or shorter veg cycles
These are just some of the things to consider when growing indoors. Here is how the grow team at Smokey Okies Cannabis analyzes these decisions.
- Our plants sit on 24″ tables, and we have 12 feet of ceiling height but the lights hang down a couple feet, so we have a height limitation.
- We have a cloning schedule of so many clones per week, and so many plants moving out of veg and into a flower room, to make space for the incoming clones. This sets up a time schedule/restriction.
- We desire to harvest every week
- We prefer to have plants that are short and wide
- We prefer not to have plants that are too tall
- We are concerned about yield
- We do prefer plants that have been topped at least once, and sometimes twice, during veg, and this depends on the strain
Given these desires and preferences, we have arrived at an optimal veg time of about 5 weeks for most strains, and 6-7 for a few others.
So after we clone a new plant off a mom, we need about 10 days to get that plant rooted, then it is transplanted into a pot.
Once potted, we start counting down the weeks until we flip.
The Post-Veg Stretch causes plants to double or triple in height during the first weeks of flower.
Here is something you must know if you are a newbie: when you switch your light cycle to 12/12, your immature plants will go through a crazy growth spurt in the first 2-3 weeks.
They will literally double, or triple, in height. They will grow like crazy, both in length as well as in bush. You must get in there during the second week and defoliate like crazy. It is preferable to defoliate right before you flip, so that your plants start the flower period in a trimmed up state. Then, you will see how quickly they bush up!
During the first couple weeks of flower, the plants go through what is referred to as the “post-vegetative stretch.” This is where the plants shoot up in height. It is best to be prepared for this event, by placing trellis netting above your plants on the very first day you flip them into flower.
You should then check on them each week, and once per week, tuck the vines under the trellis. What you are trying to do is get the plant to grow horizontally, as opposed to vertically. This is will increase your yields. This is also by indoor growers measure their yield in terms of square footage, or square meters, of canopy.
As the plant stretches up, you can take that vine and pull it back down, under, and through one of the squares of the trellis. But you only have about three weeks to do this before the branches lose their flexibility and become stiff and thick.
So you must pay attention during the early weeks of flower, because your plants will bush up and stretch out, and if you don’t control this, you can ruin your crop.
Ruin the crop?! Are you serious?!
How is it possible that you can “ruin” the crop? Well, if you have ceiling height limitations, then you plants can grow into the lights, at worst scorching the buds, and at a minimum, bleaching and changing the coloring of the tips. This can ruin you plants, as well as create unnecessary heat stress when using High Pressure Sodium (HPS) lights.
This can also ruin your yield potential. Your flowers need light in order to reach full maturity and density. If you plants are wild and bushy, because you fell behind on defoliation, then your buds that are lost in the bush can be deprived of light and fail to reach full potential. This can result in small, fluffy buds, that lack density and weight.
Taking care of business in the first couple weeks of flower.
Coasting through the second half of flower
The beautiful thing about cannabis cultivation is that if you’ve done your work in veg, during the flip, and in the first weeks of flower, then you should be able to coast through the remainder of flower.
Around week 5 is where you will begin to see white pistols form on the calixes of the buds. They look like wild hairs.
These “hairs” or pistols will remain long and white for a few weeks, but will then begin to recede and darken.
The pistols will eventually turn dark, usually orange in color, as the plant matures and is ready to be harvested.
As long as you have already dialed in your nutrient feed and irrigation, which you should have by this point, then you should be able to coast through the remainder of flower, and just watch the buds bloom! This is the part where the plants just manifest their beauty!
In our next article, we will discuss Harvesting, Drying and Curing your Flower for the best results. Until then, fire one up and go be with your plants!
About Smokey Okies Cannabis
We are a family owned and operated cannabis cultivator in Oklahoma. We supply premium medical cannabis to dispensaries around the state. For commercial inquiries, send an email to email@example.com.