Although marijuana is a weed, you don’t just plant the seeds and leave them to nature to take its course on them. And yes, you may get lucky and harvest buds, but why leave your plants to luck?
The cannabis plant care and maintenance determines the quality of buds you harvest. That minor negligence of harvesting the bud s one day later can significantly affect the potency of the buds.
Cannabis plant care and maintenance are essential for growing healthy and robust cannabis plants. Whether you’re a seasoned cultivator or just starting, understanding the basics of plant care is critical to achieving optimal growth and yield. Here are some essential tips to help you care for your cannabis plants:
Cannabis plants require consistent watering to maintain healthy growth. Overwatering can lead to root rot and other problems, while underwatering can stunt growth and reduce yield. Here are some watering tips for cannabis plant care and maintenance:
- Check the soil: Before watering your plants, check the soil to see if it’s dry. Insert your finger into the soil up to the second knuckle; if it feels dry, it’s time to water.
- Use the right amount of water: When watering your plants, use enough water to saturate the soil thoroughly. A general rule of thumb is to water until you see runoff from the drainage holes.
- Watering frequency: How often you water your plants depends on various factors, including the size of the container, the stage of growth, and the environment. As a general rule of thumb, water your plants once every 2-3 days during the vegetative stage and every 1-2 days during the flowering stage.
- Consider the temperature: The temperature and humidity of your growing environment can affect how much water your plants need. For example, plants require more frequent watering in hotter and drier conditions, while cooler and humid conditions may require less regular watering.
- Avoid overwatering: Overwatering can lead to root rot and other problems. To avoid overwatering, ensure that your pots have adequate drainage, and don’t water your plants until the soil has dried out.
- pH level: The pH level of your water can also affect the health of your plants. Cannabis plants prefer a pH level between 6.0 and 7.0. If your water has a high or low pH level, you can adjust it using pH up or down solutions.
Cannabis plants require a balance of nutrients to grow and produce high-quality buds. The three primary nutrients that cannabis plants need are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. You can provide these nutrients through a quality organic or synthetic fertilizer and adjust the nutrient levels throughout the growth cycle.
Here are some general feeding guidelines for cannabis plant care and maintenance:
- Choose the proper nutrients: There are many different nutrient brands and formulations available on the market, and it’s essential to choose one specifically designed for cannabis plants. Look for nutrients that balance macro and micronutrients, secondary nutrients, and trace elements.
- Start with suitable soil: Good soil is critical to healthy cannabis plants. Look for soil rich in organic matter with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. Make sure it is also well-draining, as cannabis plants do not like to sit in water.
- Follow a feeding schedule: Cannabis plants have different nutrient requirements at various stages of growth, so it’s essential to follow a feeding schedule that takes this into account. Most nutrient brands will provide a feeding schedule that you can follow.
- Mix nutrients correctly: When mixing nutrients, always follow the instructions on the label carefully. Mixing too much or too little can cause nutrient burn or deficiencies.
- Use the right amount of nutrients: The number of nutrients your cannabis plants need will depend on their growth stage and size. Always start with a lower dose and gradually increase it as needed.
- Water plants correctly: Water plants correctly, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. When watering, make sure to saturate the soil to ensure the roots absorb the nutrients.
- Monitor plant health: Monitor your plants for signs of nutrient burn or deficiencies. If you notice any problems, adjust your feeding schedule accordingly.
Cannabis plants require a certain amount of light to grow and flower. If you’re growing indoors, ensure that your plants receive at least 18 hours of light each day during the vegetative stage and 12 hours during the flowering stage. If you’re growing outdoors, ensure that your plants receive ample sunlight throughout the day.
Here are some cannabis plant care and maintenance tips on how to provide light to your plants:
- Determine the appropriate light spectrum for your cannabis plants. Different stages of growth require different light spectrums. For example, seedlings need more blue light, while mature plants need more red light. A full-spectrum LED grow light is an excellent option as it provides all the necessary light spectrums.
- Provide enough light intensity. Cannabis plants require a high amount of light to grow and produce buds. Generally, you must provide a 400-600 watt light intensity per square meter for optimum growth. You can use a light meter to measure the light intensity.
- Ensure proper light duration. Cannabis plants need 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness for flowering. They require 18-24 hours of light daily during the vegetative stage. Use a timer to ensure the plants get the proper light duration.
- Place the lights at the proper distance. Too close, and the plants will suffer from heat stress; too far, and they won’t get enough light. Generally, you should place the lights 12-18 inches away from the canopy of the plants.
- Monitor and adjust the light as needed. Monitor the plant’s growth and adjust the light intensity, spectrum, and duration accordingly. Regularly check the light bulbs and replace them if they are old or damaged.
4. Temperature and Humidity
Temperature and humidity are essential factors in the growth and development of cannabis plants. Therefore, maintaining the ideal temperature and humidity levels can promote healthy growth, prevent diseases, and increase yields.
Monitor temperature and humidity levels regularly using a hygrometer or thermometer and adjust accordingly. Ensure proper lighting, nutrients, and watering of your cannabis plants to ensure optimal growth and health.
- Temperature: Cannabis plants prefer temperatures between 68°F and 77°F during the day and between 60°F and 70°F at night. Temperatures above 85°F or below 55°F can stress the plants and affect their growth. Use air conditioning or heating systems, ventilation, or shade cloth to regulate temperature.
- Humidity: Cannabis plants require humidity levels between 40% and 60% during the vegetative stage and between 40% and 50% during the flowering stage. High humidity levels can lead to mold and mildew growth, while low humidity can cause dehydration and stress. To adjust humidity, use a humidifier, dehumidifier, air circulation, or water trays.
5. Pruning and Training
Pruning and training your cannabis plants can help increase yield and promote even growth. But remember, it is essential to research and understand the specific needs of the cannabis strain you are growing before pruning and training.
Here are the cannabis plant care and maintenance steps for pruning and training cannabis plants:
- Pruning: Remove dead or yellowing leaves and stems regularly to keep the plant healthy. Use clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears to make clean cuts.
- Topping: Cut off the top of the main stem to encourage the growth of side branches. It will increase the number of buds produced and make the plant bushier.
- LST (Low-Stress Training): Use wire or string to gently bend and tie down branches to create a more even canopy and increase light penetration. This can be done throughout the plant’s growth cycle.
- SCROG (Screen of Green): Install a screen or netting above the plants to create a horizontal growth plane. As the plants grow, weave the branches through the screen to create a dense canopy and maximize light exposure.
- Super-cropping: Gently squeeze the stem between your fingers until it folds over. This will create a small knuckle and increase nutrient flow to the top of the plant’s early stages of growth.
6. Pest and Disease Control
Cannabis plants are susceptible to pests and disease, and monitoring your plants regularly for any signs of infestation or illness is essential. Some common pests include spider mites, aphids, and whiteflies, while common diseases include powdery mildew and bud rot.
Several options are available to control pests and diseases, including cultural, biological, and chemical methods. Cultural control involves using practices such as crop rotation, planting resistant varieties, and maintaining healthy soil conditions to reduce the chances of pest and disease outbreaks. Biological control involves using natural predators, parasites, or pathogens to control pests and diseases. Finally, chemical control involves using pesticides to kill or repel pests and disease-causing organisms.
It is important to note that while chemical control is effective, it can also negatively impact the environment, including non-target organisms and the development of resistance to pests and diseases. Therefore, using pesticides judiciously and following recommended application rates and safety precautions is crucial.
7. Harvesting and drying cannabis
Harvesting cannabis is cutting the plant down and removing the buds from the stalks. The best time to harvest cannabis is when the trichomes, small hair-like structures on the buds, have turned from clear to cloudy or amber in color.
Once harvested, the buds must be appropriately dried to prevent mold growth and ensure a smooth smoking experience. The drying process involves hanging the buds upside down in a cool, dry place with good air circulation. Depending on the humidity and temperature of the environment, it can take 3-14 days for the buds to dry completely.
During drying, it’s important to monitor the buds and remove any mold or discolored areas. After drying, the buds can be stored in airtight containers in a cool, dark place until ready to use.
Parting Remarks on cannabis plant care and maintenance
Cannabis plant care and maintenance requires a combination of practices that promote healthy growth and development. It starts with selecting the right strain and providing optimal growing conditions such as light, temperature, humidity, and nutrients. Proper watering and pruning also play a vital role in maintaining healthy cannabis plants.
Additionally, cannabis plant care and maintenance involves protecting plants from pests and diseases by implementing preventative measures such as regular inspection, monitoring, and using appropriate control methods when necessary. Maintaining proper ventilation and air circulation is also essential to prevent excess moisture buildup, which can lead to mold and mildew.
Finally, harvesting and drying cannabis plants correctly are essential to maintain their potency and quality. In addition, proper curing and storage ensure that the buds remain fresh and flavorful.