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So, your plants are as big and bushy as you want and it’s time to flower. You’ve had the fan running, and they have been firmed up and ready. What next? First, let’s talk about what is going on.
In the first article, we spoke about sexing the plants; this is the time where this occurs. When the plant grew outside in antiquity, the days shorten as the season’s progress towards winter.
When the sunlight dips below the 12-14 hours a day, the plants enter puberty, as it were, and begin to grow pollen sacks for the males and pistils for the females to receive that pollen.
The central female flower at the stalk is called a “cola,” and is where the highest concentration of cannabinoids resides. Thus, the technique explained in the previous article of “topping” or “training” the plant, to give multiple main colas on one plant.
These flowers, in their final form, are the engorged pistils. By denying them pollen, they grow larger and more abundant flowers, hoping to find or attract any pollen out there, until harvest.
So, imagine a tomato plant that never gets pollinated, and that yellow flower gets bigger and bigger until finally it’s ripe and you eat THAT. That is the flowering process we’re doing here.
You’ve had a light cycle of 20 hours on, 4 hours off for some time. We are now going to induce these plants to start flowing by changing the schedule to 12 hours on and 12 hours apart.
Do this by adding 8 hours to the next dark cycle, i.e., when it’s going to be the next 4-hour nighttime it becomes 12, and then minus eight from the daily schedule. I heard from people that they do a full 24-hour dark period to fire them up. Anecdotal, and haven’t tried.
The point is to convince the plants that it’s getting towards winter and it’s time to lay the next generation of seed. Except of course no seeds here! Unless…
Precision Pollination: If you are up for it, this is where, if you have any, or can get access to any pollen, you could do some precision pollination. As stated prior, this should be done with extreme caution.
Mix a small amount of pollen (milligrams or less) with a teaspoon or less of distilled water, making a solution that, with a Q-tip, you can carefully dab flowers on the lower branches of a plant to get some seeds from that generation.
But again, I would have one breeder couple sequestered elsewhere, and you’ll have all the seeds you could ever want.
Now we want to help boost the blooming stage of growth. To do this, add a high phosphorus liquid or powdered fertilizer when watering. The new nutrients enhance to flower power of these plants and boost cannabinoid production.
Follow all instructions provided by the manufacturers so as not to burn the plants by adding too much fertilizer. It is natural for some leaves also, especially older ones, to yellow and should but pruned.
But if it is widespread, it could be a sign of a lack, or overabundance of a nutrient or adverse temperature.