When it comes to your cannabis plants, bigger is definitely better. You want big plants and big buds. When it comes to buds, though, size isn’t everything. You also need to consider how dense those buds are – after all, you’ll be the one consuming (or processing) your crop in terms of volume, not size.
If your ginormous buds turn out light and airy, you won’t end up with as much cannabis as you could have grown. Fortunately, this is something you can control. If you want to grow denser buds, you should:
Keep the heat down
If you’re growing indoors, this should be easy. Cannabis plants thrive in temperatures between 20 and 26°C during their flowering stage, and develop best in that range of temperatures. If the temperature goes above 30°C, buds tend to grow lighter and airier. They may also get heat burn or foxtailing.
If you are growing outdoors, you will have less control over the temperature, so you may want to consider your choice in strain based on your climate: Sativa strains handle heat better, while Indica strains do better in the cold.
Pay attention to genetics
Speaking of selecting a strain, it’s worth mentioning that genetics do play a role in determining how dense your plant’s buds will grow. Indica-leaning strains tend to have denser buds. Of course, Sativa strains can also have high yields, though their buds are likely to grow longer rather than denser.
If your goal is volume and nothing else, Indica-dominant strains may be your best bet, although of course your consumption experience may be better if you make your decision based on effect.
Reduce humidity as you approach harvest
At the end of the flowering stage, in the last 2-3 weeks before harvest, keep the relative humidity between 45-55%. The plants’ natural response will be to amp up bud production and should benefit your harvest by increasing bud density and resin production as well as improving the smell and taste. It may even increase your plant’s potency!
Fine-tune your lighting
If your buds aren’t growing as big or dense as you think they should, you may need stronger lights. Plants will grow under weak lights in the vegetative stage, but that alone isn’t proof that your lighting setup is sufficient for the flowering stage.
It’s also possible that your lights are too close or too far away. Tables like this one can help you figure out exactly where to place your lights. Doing the extra research can make a big difference. HPS lights are strong enough for your plants’ needs, and the spectrum of light that they give out is ideal for producing large, dense buds. Newer high-quality LEDs have been catching up to the traditional HPS lights very quickly over the last few years.
Plants don’t just drink through their roots – they also “breathe” oxygen. If you constantly saturate the soil completely with water, all of the pockets of air will be filled and your plants won’t get the oxygen they need. If your plants’ leaves are getting droopy, you’re probably over-watering.
Let your plants breathe
Big buds need room to grow, as well as access to airflow. You can do this in several ways. You can prune away unneeded leaves, which will give your buds more space and prevent the leaves from soaking up nutrients and energy that would have gone to growing bigger buds.
You can also train your plant, carefully bending stems way from each other and tying them so that the plant will grow in the directions you want it to. Done correctly, plant training can dramatically improve the overall yield.
Now you have all the knowledge you need to grow huge, dense buds on your next cannabis crop. All the plants need now is your care, attention, and time!
This guide will answer many questions about growing cannabis, like the following...
Identify and Correct Problems