To get the perfect buds, you need the perfect environment. The good news is, even if you make mistakes and don’t provide ideal environment, you will still be harvesting buds. Cannabis is very resilient.
There are countless articles on the internet outlining the best ways to grow marijuana at home including the best grow lights, the best soil, the best watering practices and so on. But despite the heavy focus on ways to protect cannabis plants from pests and stress, marijuana plants are pretty darn hard to kill.
Some of the most common reasons strains have difficulty navigating stress include size (which makes them more prone to burning in indoor grows) and an inability to fight off mold and pests, which can be exacerbated by excessive watering.
In cannabis cultivation, as in life, there are two types of stress—good and bad.
Good stress causes the cannabis plant to work harder to achieve a desirable goal – larger buds.
Bad stress is counterproductive to growth and could ultimately kill the plant. When growing cannabis, it is important to maximize the use of good stress and minimize the introduction of bad stress.
For example, though the ideal temperature to grow marijuana is between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, they can bounce back from excessive temperatures by watering them generously, protecting them from prolonged heat (with fans for indoor grows or a tarp for outdoor grows), and feeding them a little seaweed extract to increase nutrient absorption that gets blocked when a water source runs dry.
Cold temperatures provide another source of stress to cannabis plants. When cannabis plants freeze, the water inside of the plant walls freezes which causes damage to the cells therein. Though a slight frost is concerning, if the plant can thaw out slowly, the damage will be minimal and a light pruning of dead leaves and stems can bring it back. If the plant experiences a hard freeze, though, the damage may be too excessive to recover from. Protecting your plants with a cloth or makeshift greenhouse pre-frost can help protect the plants from damage or shock.
While it may seem like a bad idea to allow cannabis plants to get cold given their ideal growing climate, it can actually be beneficial to allow the room to cool down to between 50 and 60℉ at night during the last two weeks of the flower cycle. A sequence of warm days (lights on) and cool nights (lights off) towards the end of growth mimics the natural growth cycle of cannabis plants.
In fact, many cannabis genetics naturally flower in the colder months. Running colder temperatures boosts the plants’ metabolic system, resulting in more resin production and a larger range of aesthetically appealing flower colors. Purple pistils are a result of cool nights at the end of a flower cycle combined with the plants’ genetic predisposition for producing purple colors.
Cannabis also produces seeds as a survival mechanism; when the plant becomes stressed, she may turn hermaphroditic (female plants that produce seeds) as a means of preservation. If she is in a stressful environment not conducive to her own survival, producing seeds helps ensure that her offspring will carry on her legacy. She may also produce more trichomes or accessory colors to protect her from the sun or harsh UV-B rays and will grow more colas when pruned or manipulated using the SCROG training method.
When flowering, cannabis plants are very susceptible to stress from interruptions in the light cycle. Even a red indicator light on a camera can cause plants to become hermaphroditic. As such, it is crucial to maintain complete darkness during the entire lights off cycle, look for cameras and other emergency lights that have green indicator lights instead of red and then securely cover the light with a piece of electrical tape.
If work must be completed during the lights off cycle, only use a low power green LED for a light source. When no work is being completed in the flower room, the space should be completely dark and tested regularly to verify that no new light leaks have developed.
When it comes to stress, most of us agree that it’s best to keep it at a minimum. However, sometimes a little stress is beneficial because it improves resilience and increases output. Though stressed plants should always be monitored and carefully nurtured, the fact is, cannabis is very resilient and may thrive in high stress environments.