Sunday September 23, 2018View our Editorial Policy
Perhaps one of the most rewarding ways to save money on marijuana is to cultivate it yourself, and in an increasing number of states across the US, you can grow it legally for either recreational or medical purposes! Though cultivation laws vary by state, most establish a maximum plant count, usually around six flowering plants at a time.
However, cultivation restrictions do not limit yield on individual plants; you can legally grow a cannabis plant that produces a pound or more of dried product under the right conditions. One method might be to transplant female plants directly in the ground as soon as the danger of frost is past in your region (as long as they’re hardened, or acclimated to the sun, before you do). Just remember to keep outdoor cannabis secured in a greenhouse or enclosed structure to remain legal.
To increase the yield of cannabis grown indoors, however, a little more effort is required. If you want to get the most out of your indoor grow, you should improve the efficiency of your environment, stimulate new branch growth, and see that your plants have the space and nutrition they need to thrive. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Tip #1: Lighting Matters
The sun is the best source for strong UV light but that isn’t an option for indoor growers who must choose and monitor lighting carefully. Though some lights (like HIDs) have strong penetration, they can be costly to purchase and maintain. They may also burn plants if the room isn’t properly ventilated or if they get too close to the light source.
Check out this article for more tips on choosing the best grow light for your needs.
Conversely, some cooler lights (LEDs or tube lights, for example) have decent penetration but only for a few inches from the light source. In these cases, multiple lights may be required throughout the grow enclosure and even then, may still produce “fluffy” buds as the light struggles to penetrate deep into the cola. A combination of HID and LED lights is common practice amongst professional growers for improved intensity and reduced electrical usage and may be a good option for you, as well.
Of course, intensity doesn’t matter if branches don’t have access to the light in the first place. All buds need direct access to light if they are to grow thick and dense which means that any branch that is to produce colas (the dense buds that everyone wants) needs ample light to thrive. This requires physical manipulation of the plants by holding branches to the sides so that others deep within the plant can receive the light they need, as well.
This form of low-stress training is often done by suspending a net above the plant(s) to help guide branch growth. As branches grow through the netting, a canopy of beautiful buds will start to grow just above the net’s surface to create a ScrOG or “Screen of Green”.
Tip #2: Your Plants Want to Thrive
Much like the guy who refused to leave his parents’ house, if your plants are left to do their own thing, they may get comfortable doing very little. To encourage your plants to work hard and produce bountiful buds, you may have to “cut off” their resources to get them to work harder.
One way to do this is to “top” your plants by cutting the main stem above established nodes. This will stop the plant from focusing growth on a single branch and instead produce two or more colas from the nodes as a survival mechanism. This also increases light penetration in the center of the plant which we’ve already discussed is super important to plant growth.
A less traumatic (but just as effective) way to achieve the same result is a method known as “Super Cropping.” In this case, you simply bend the main cola to the side thus slowing the transportation of water and nutrients to the area. Similar to topping, this method stimulates the growth of new colas from nodes near the base of the plant while improving light penetration to the whole plant.
Tip #3: Healthy Plants are Happy Plants
The health of a plant’s root system is perhaps the most important aspect when it comes to increasing cannabis plant yield. The roots stabilize the plant and serve as the primary location for water and nutrient absorption. If a plant is to produce ample vegetation, the roots need room to grow, too. General rule is to have at least two gallons of soil per 12 inches of plant.
Lastly, to improve indoor cannabis yield, be sure to use the right nutrients for the various stages of growth. Vegetative plants, for example, require higher levels of nitrogen and potassium with moderate levels of phosphorus (“grow” nutrients) whereas flowering plants need low levels of nitrogen, and high levels of potassium and phosphorus (“bloom” nutrients).
Your plants are your babies. If you want them to grow into productive plants, it’s important to meet their every need along the way, even if it means a little “tough love” on your part. But with a little extra effort – and a lot of practice – you can grow your indoor cannabis plants into bountiful beauties in only a few short months.
Do you have any tips to improve indoor cannabis yield? Share them with our readers below.