Make Your Buds Sparkle With More Trichomes
Table of Contents
What Are Trichomes?
When growers say they want to make cannabis buds “sparkle” with trichomes, what are they talking about? The answer is: that ‘frosty’ quality that makes bud look like it might be too potent. As cannabis plants mature in the flowering stage, their buds become covered with what looks almost like a dusting of glitter or frost, which can improve their overall appearance.
When you look really closely at cannabis buds, you can see what looks like thousands of tiny translucent mushrooms. In nature, these glandular stalked trichomes are believed to be used by the plant to repel insects, protect the buds from UV damage and produce essential oils that have various effects.
The “glitter” that grows on buds is called trichomes and they contain THC and other cannabinoids. They give cannabis its unique mental and body effects.
Trichomes that are long and thin without a “head” are actually cystolithic hairs and do not contain significant levels of cannabinoids.
Many other types of plants besides cannabis produce trichomes, including many aromatic herbs like mint and rosemary. These plants produce essential oils in their trichomes which are used to deter insects and protect the plants from other stressors, just like cannabis plants!
Several different types of flowers, as well as many aromatic herbs like mint and rosemary use trichomes to produce essential oils that attract/repel certain bugs and otherwise protect the plant. In this picture, the flowers and leaves of meadow sage (salvia) are covered in trichomes.
As a cannabis grower, you can actually look at the trichomes on your buds and get a good idea of when they have reached peak potency. The color and shape of the trichomes allow you to harvest your cannabis at the exact right time to achieve the effects you’re looking for.
With marijuana plants, the trichomes tell you when to harvest!
The color and shape of trichomes on cannabis buds give you information about when to harvest, because harvesting at different times actually changes the effects and potency of buds.
In order to achieve the effects you’re looking for, it will serve you well to understand how trichomes look like at different stages of development, so you can harvest buds at the best possible moment!
About Using Pure Trichomes…
Unlike buds, pure trichomes don’t need to “cure” before they can be smoked. Curing mainly affects the green plant matter in buds, and has much less of an effect on trichomes. So hash that collects on scissors/fingers (or kief collected via a screen) can be used right away even if the plant was just harvested.
However, cured plant matter actually contributes to the effects of buds. That means the effects from pure trichomes will be different from regular cannabis buds. Although different, most growers agree they’re both good 🙂
Kief or hash (basically words for pure trichomes) can be smoked right away because trichomes don’t contain green matter. This kief was collected from extra cannabis leaves after harvest using the dry ice hash method (click for a close-up!)
Learn the 4 Stages of Trichome Development
(When To Harvest Cannabis)
- Not Ready to Harvest – Trichomes are clear and thin. At this point buds have very little potency.
- Beginning of Harvest Window (Focus on Mental Effects)– Mushroom “heads” start to get fat and trichomes start to turn milky white. As more trichomes turn white, the levels of THC and psychoactive effects tend to increase, giving a more “soaring” effect.
- End of Harvest Window (Focus on Body Effects)– After most of the trichomes have turned white they will start turning amber/yellow which is a sign that the THC is starting to convert to different cannabinoids. As trichomes turn amber the mental effects of buds are slightly reduced, but buds get more of a “couchlock” effect, with lots of body relaxation.
- Buds Have Passed Peak (Makes You Sleepy) – After most of the trichomes have turned amber, the trichomes will start to wither and die. Buds harvested at this point tend to have smaller mental effects, and tend to make you feel sleepy.
1.) Not Ready to Harvest
All the trichomes are clear and thin before the buds are ready to harvest. If you harvest at this point it can cause “speedy” effects or give you a headache. Chances are your buds won’t be as potent as they could have been because THC levels will be lower. Additionally, your yields will definitely be much lower because cannabis buds put on a lot of bulk during the last 2-3 weeks.
At this point the pistils/hairs on the buds are still mostly white and sticking out
The trichomes are still almost completely clear, which means they are still not very potent
The “heads” of the trichomes are still small, another sign the plant is not ready to harvest
As the trichome heads fill with “good stuff” they will start looking more fat and heavy and will eventually fall over.
2.) Beginning of Harvest Window
Some of the clear trichomes are starting to turn milky white, and the “heads” of the mushrooms are getting fatter as the trichomes fill with cannabinoids and other good stuff.
At the beginning of the harvest window, at least 40-50% of the pistils on the buds have darkened and curled inwards.
If you look up close, about half the trichomes have turned cloudy white. At the very beginning of the harvest window, the buds haven’t reached peak potency yet, but the overall yields and potency will continue to improve all through Stage 2.
When most of the trichomes have turned from clear to milky or cloudy white, it means the trichomes have reached peak levels of THC and will produce the greatest psychoactive effects.
Harvest when nearly all trichomes are white for the greatest mental effects
Sometimes the trichomes of certain plants will never turn amber (for example some Sativa and Haze strains). As long as most of the trichomes have turned from clear and thin to fat and white you know it’s a good time to harvest even if you don’t see any amber.
3.) End of Harvest Window
As white trichomes start to turn amber/yellow, it’s a sign that the mental and psychoactive effects of THC will be lessened, but buds tend to produce more of a body-high or “relaxation” effect.
By the end of the harvest window nearly all the pistils will have darkened and curled in
When the trichomes are mostly cloudy with some amber, you’ll achieve a good mix of mental and body effects
The end of the harvest window is around when 20-30% of the trichomes have turned amber. This bud is getting close to the end of the harvest window, but at this point, it will still produce excellent mental and body effects!
4.) Buds Have Passed Peak
If trichomes keep turning amber without being harvested, the buds begin to start losing potency. Buds that are harvested with more than 20% amber trichomes may make you feel sleepy.
How to See Trichomes on Buds
Here’s a quick primer on how to get a good look at the trichomes on your buds.
1.) Jeweler’s loupe or small magnifier
Although these do make trichomes appear bigger, the main problem with loupes/magnifiers is that they don’t magnify things quite big enough for some people. At least with my eyes, I have trouble seeing trichomes well enough to determine the color under a loupe. That being said, lots of growers use these without a problem!
Also, you can’t beat the price 🙂 This loupe on Amazon costs less than $10!
2.) Take a Picture & Zoom In
If you take a clear picture of your buds with a phone or camera and zoom in, you can often see the trichomes clear enough to identify their color.
Tips for taking good pictures of trichomes
- Hold the phone or camera steady. It’s best if you can actually rest it on something so it doesn’t move at all. Even a little motion will make trichomes much less clear in pictures.
- Take the picture in bright natural light. Don’t take pictures under unnatural colored lights like LED or HPS grow lights because it makes it really difficult to see the trichome color. Dim light will also make trichomes almost impossible to see.
- Try Using the Flash – Try taking pictures with and without a flash, as it can make a big difference depending on the environment
- Take a few different pictures from different angles, and from both close and far. Sometimes if you put a camera or phone in too close everything gets blurry, so you may have to move the camera further back than you’d originally think in order to get a clear shot
- Optical Zoom – If your camera has an optical zoom (the lens can actually move as it focuses, like with most cameras but not phones) it can help to zoom in before taking the pic. Keep in mind that digital zoom (like what phones have) doesn’t help much.
Example, this picture was taken by a Samsung Galaxy 4 camera phone (2013 version) with the flash on. Many newer phones take even better pics!
If you zoom in really close, you can actually get a much closer view of the trichomes
In this case, nearly all the trichomes are white and fat, which means this plant is in the harvest window. However, sometimes even with a camera, it can be difficult to really see the trichomes.
3.) Camera phone attachment
Some phones have products that let you attach a small lens to your phone in front of the camera to magnify the image and take closer pictures. You can make these yourself by taking the lens out of a laser pointer and DIY attaching it to your phone, but the professional ones often are easier to use, and they cost less than $15.
4.) Digital microscope
A digital microscope is probably the easiest way to see the trichomes. They zoom in very close and allow you to take a video so you can really look at the trichomes after the fact.
When you see really nice pictures or videos of trichomes, it’s often because the media was taken with a digital microscope. These go in much closer than most magnifiers or cameras.
Here’s an example of a digital microscope in action – these buds are ready to harvest.
We took the above videos using the Carson zOrb hooked up to a laptop. So far this seems to be the most accurate and dependable way to look at trichomes we’ve found
How to Increase Number of Trichomes on Buds
Trichomes are what make buds potent, so most growers are interested in making sure their cannabis plants produce as many trichomes as possible.
Here are the main strategies growers use to increase the number of trichomes so buds look like they’re covered in “glitter.”
1.) The Right Kind of Light
Light needs to be very bright in the flowering stage
Cannabis plants grown under weak light tend to grow fewer trichomes and produce far less bud. The most trichome-encrusted bud is usually produced under very strong and bright grow lights like HPS grow lights.
Very strong grow lights like HPS bulbs make cannabis produce more trichomes than if the buds were under weaker lights in the flowering stage
UV-B/Sun/Metal Halide exposure
Some growers (including some famous ones like Ed Rosenthal) believe that exposing cannabis buds to UV-B light for the last 2-3 weeks before harvest can increase trichome production and overall potency. Although not yet proven, this may be partly because trichomes are theorized to help protect the plant from UV-B rays.
UV-B is the name for a “color” of light in the lower blue/violet spectrum that humans can’t see. It is produced by the sun and causes damage to plants and humans.
In fact, nearly all organisms on earth have defenses to protect themselves from UV-B rays. Humans get sun-burned if exposed to too much UV-B and can even get cancer in extreme cases, so our skin protects us by becoming darker in response to sunlight. Instead of a tan, plants produce trichomes that can help protect against UV-B rays (though trichomes also have many other uses such as producing cannabinoids and terpenes/essential oils/smells).
Metal halide grow lights produce UV-B light just like the sun! Although MH lights are generally only used in the vegetative stage like for these plants below, it may be helpful to expose buds to UV-B light for the last 2 weeks before harvest to increase trichome production.
The most common source of UV-B light for growers (besides the sun of course) are Metal Halide grow lights. UVB light is also produced by incandescent bulbs but they aren’t really bright enough to be used for this purpose.
Just remember that glass blocks UV-B rays, so if you’re using a metal halide bulb in an enclosed hood, it’s important to remove the glass (and find another way to cool the light) so UV-B rays actually reach your plant’s buds. Another option for UV-B light is reptile lamps, though not a lot of growers have those hanging around the house, and they’re not as powerful as a Metal Halide lamp 🙂
Possibly LED grow lights
Although most LED grow lights don’t produce any UV-B light, some growers believe the unique light spectrum of many LEDs actually stress plants in a way that causes it to produce more trichomes as a defense response. In the wild, trichomes can protect the buds from many dangers, including bugs. That may be why the plant produces more trichomes in response to certain types of stress.
This trichome-encrusted bud was grown under LED grow lights (click for a close-up)
2.) Environment: Alter Temperature & Humidity Near Harvest (Advanced)
The main thing to remember when it comes to altering your grow environment for the last 2-3 weeks before harvest is this:
- Humidity below 30% – Drop the humidity of the grow space below 30% RH for last 2-3 weeks before harvest to increase trichome production
- Temperature between 70-80°F – Make sure your temperature stays under 80°F (26°C) to ensure potency is not being baked right off your buds.
There are a couple of ways to lower the humidity while maintaining the right temperature:
- Dehumidifier – brings humidity down while giving off heat and increasing temperature; the more powerful the better
- Air Conditioner – brings humidity down while cooling the air
In extreme cases, I’ve heard of growers using both an AC and a dehumidifier at the same time to maintain that perfect temperature while dropping the humidity very low.
3.) Stress Plants in a “Good” Way
Since cannabis plants can produce trichomes as a response to certain types of stress, some growers try to stress cannabis in a “good” way to trigger that natural reaction.
The only proven way to stress plants in a good way is to lower the humidity and control the environment/lighting as stated above, but there are other unproven techniques that may or may not work. Since they are so popular, I think it’s important to mention them at least.
Some techniques like supercropping (bending stems without breaking the skin) may increase trichome production when done correctly
Stressing your plants can have negative consequences, like bud discoloration, re-vegging or hermies so it’s important to watch your plants closely. However, it’s usually safe as long as you save any major stress for the last week or two before harvest (so you’re not accidentally damaging your plant when it still has a long time to go). It’s also a good idea to ever avoid stressing plants that are already unhealthy or damaged.
Some strategies to stress plants to increase trichome production:
- Supercropping – Bending/snapping plants in a way that stresses them without “breaking the skin” (if done right this can increase yields, too)
- Other Physical Stress – I’ve heard of growers cutting leaves and putting nails though stems the last day or two before harvest. The later option makes me sad 🙁
- Give 24-48 hours of darkness just before harvest – Be careful because if you don’t have a lot of green healthy leaves, this may discolor your buds.
- Water plants with ice water just before harvest – I’ve heard of some growers giving plants icy water just before harvest to try to shock their roots. Again, this is an unproven method…
It’s not proven that these methods increase trichome production (though supercropping can certainly increase yields) but they are common strategies without much downside if they don’t work. If anyone has done a side-by-side comparison for any of these techniques, let us know!
4.) Trichome-Increasing Supplements
Some supplements claim to actually increase either the number of trichomes on your buds, or the potency of your buds. Although there are lots of “snake oil” products out there in the supplement world, some supplements have proven themselves time and again.
Rhizoflora Terpinator is one of the most popular supplements to help increase trichome production and is used by both hobbyist and commercial growers to increase both the number of trichomes and terpene (smell) production. There are probably other great supplements that do this, too, but this particular one has been tried and tested by many real cannabis growers.
5.) Choose a Strain That Naturally Grows Lots of Trichomes
If your strain doesn’t have the genetics to produce a lot of trichomes, there’s not a whole lot you can do to change that. Although the tips in this article will help you maximize the genes your plant already has, it can’t make up for mediocre/poor genetics.
With that being said, there are some strains that don’t show much glitter even though they are very potent (for example some Sativas and Hazes, Sour Diesel) so if you think glitter is important you have to pick the right strain. Here are some strains known for their glitter:
Not only does this strain make beautiful, sparkly buds, it also gets exceptional yields. Check out a grow journal from one of our readers featuring Critical Hog.
Tahoe OG by Cali Connection
This strain is often featured on the top shelf of dispensaries (at least here in Southern California) because the buds are particularly potent and pretty. These buds are so covered in frost they look almost white!
At this point, you’ve been armed with all the information you need to grow your own encrusted, trichome covered buds!
Make Your Buds Sparkle With More Trichomes Table of Contents What Are Trichomes? When growers say they want to make cannabis buds “sparkle” with trichomes, what are they talking
7 Tips to Improve Cannabis Bud Quality
by Nebula Haze & Sirius Fourside
Table of Contents
- Start with Top-Shelf Genetics – get the effects and appearance you want! Your grow skill makes a huge difference, but a plant can’t overcome its genes! If you want buds that are potent, dense, sparkly or purple/pink, you need the right genetics.
- Give Your Cannabis Lots of Light! – this increases yields, density and potency
- Nutrients & Supplements – learn about smell enhancers, bloom boosters and bulk builders!
- Better Taste, Better Smell – learn other techniques to increase terpene content so buds taste and smell better
- Manipulate Temperature & Humidity in the flowering stage to increase resin production (“glitter” and stickiness), bring out colors like pink or purple & prevent smells from burning away
- Great Air Flow Around Every Cola – you can gain surprising increases in the size and density of your buds by making sure that every cola gets lots of direct light and good air flow from the beginning to the end of the flowering stage. Cannabis is wind-pollinated in the wild and so more energy is put into buds that have been exposed to a breeze from when they first started forming.
- Master the Basics of Growing – especially harvesting, trimming and drying/curing! Although a lot of growers don’t pay as much attention to what happens to plants after harvest as during the grow itself, these 3 post-harvest factors determine almost 50% of your final bud appearance. Properly drying/curing also intensifies smell and increases bud potency!
Have you ever had weed that knocks your socks off? The kind of cannabis buds that people brag/warn their friends about?
I’m talking about the really really good stuff!
The truth is, you can successfully grow cannabis with very little effort, make a ton of mistakes, and still harvest buds that will do the job.
But have you ever wondered how people grow truly top-shelf buds? The kind of bud that beats the marijuana you get in a dispensary?
If so, you’re in luck, because today I’m going to teach you 7 tips to consistently growing top-tier quality cannabis buds with effects that will stick in your memory for years to come. Plus, I’ll teach you how to make your cannabis look pretty!
1.) Start with Top-Shelf Genetics
It’s really tough to get truly top-shelf buds if you start with mid-grade seeds, clones, or the dreaded bagseed; you’re giving yourself a much higher chance of disappointment because no growing method can overcome genetics!
These buds were both grown in the exact same setup at the same time, but have different genetics. Look how differently the buds turned out! Choosing the right strain lets you choose the looks and effects you want!
When I first started growing, I would grow any seeds I could find. These would usually grow pretty well but the resulting weed never ended up being as good as the buds I found them in. And sometimes the buds would be airy and not-that-potent.
After a few attempts at growing bagseed, I tried buying marijuana clones from the local dispensary with crazy strain names like “Super Grand Daddy Purple” and “Grapefruit Bubblegum Kush,” but my yields and results still left a lot to be desired. It’s not that there’s any inherent problem with clones – clones are awesome! – but I got a feeling these plants weren’t really the strains the dispensary claimed them to be. I didn’t have any grower friends at the time and I thought bag seed and local clones were my best choices.
Until I discovered online seed banks.
Ever since I started buying seeds from a reputable cannabis seed bank and getting my chosen strains shipped to me, I have been able to consistently produce high-quality buds!
Getting your genetics from a reputable breeder is key to producing gorgeous and potent buds!
If you want to grow buds that are pink or purple, you must choose the right genetics!
Just switching to better seed stock caused a dramatic increase in my yields without any other changes. But even more importantly, the quality of my harvests drastically improved. Not to mention the freedom of being able to choose which strain you want to grow instead of hoping to find a good seed in your buds!
Clones are still a great way to start a grow with good genetics, but you have to make sure you always get clones from a trustworthy source!
If you want to take your quality to the next level, don’t start with just any clones or seeds. Search for the right, true quality genetics and don’t be afraid to research to make sure you’re getting exactly what you want! Good seeds cost more than bagseed, but the money you pay for quality is worth it, especially when you consider what you’re getting in return!
2.) Give Your Cannabis Lots of Light!
If you want great bud, you have to provide plenty of light!
When you start a grow with good genetics – from good seeds or clones – your plant has the potential for a high level of quality (yields, potency, resilience). However, it’s nearly impossible to get your buds to reach that potential if you use lights that are underpowered.
Powerful grow lights like HPS, LECs or LEDs produce the biggest and most dense buds
For example, there’s no amount of plant training or growing skill that can make up for the amount of light produced by an incandescent bulb; the bulb simply doesn’t have what it takes to do the job.
Similarly, growers can have the same problem when they try to grow a larger plant with a few small CFLs or T5s. Although CFLs and T5s make great growing lights and produce a high-quality product, it’s important to pick the right tool for the job. These two types of lights are better at stealth, discretion, and smaller grows than producing lots of super potent bud.
Strong, bright light is what powers the growth of buds in the flowering stage – light is like “food” for your plants!
When it comes to indoor cannabis gardening, more light is better…to an extent. If you give your flowering cannabis plants all the light they can handle without giving them too much, it increases your potency, density and yields.
Strong, bright light is a crucial part of reaching a strain’s full potential!
Strong light is incredibly important for the highest bud density, potency and yields!
3.) Nutrients & Supplements to Increase Bud Quality
First, before adding any special supplements, you need to make sure you’re giving your plant the correct base nutrients in the flowering stage.
Base Nutrients in the Flowering Stage
- Low Nitrogen (N) – Give your plant relatively low levels of Nitrogen, especially in the second half of the flowering stage when the plant has stopped growing vegetatively and buds are fattening up. The plant needs a lot of Nitrogen for vegetative growth but doesn’t need nearly as much for making buds. In fact, too much nitrogen in the ripening stage can discourage bud production and hurt your yields.
- Plenty of Phosphorus (P) – Phosphorus is incredibly important to flower production and giving plants plenty of Phosphorus in the flowering stage will help increase the total number of flowers
- Potassium (K) – Potassium is often overlooked compared to Phosphorus (which is often considered a bud booster) but Potassium may actually be even more important! Providing a good source of Potassium increases the size and density of each individual flower.
In general, when it comes to feeding nutrients in the second half of the flowering stage, less is more! Keeping nutrient levels low can also improve the taste of your final buds because high nutrient levels are associated with a chemical taste to the buds.
Giving cannabis the right ratios of nutrients during the flowering stage will greatly increase the quality of your bud!
Supplements in the Flowering Stage
Supplements in the flowering stage come in many different flavors, and they have different goals or purposes
- Sugar or carbohydrates – improve taste/smell and increase bulk. Some of these, like the Botanicare Sweet Carbo Line, not only include sugar, but also certain terpenes and esters that are stored unchanged in plant buds, giving your buds unique subtle flavors like grape, citrus, berry, and “raw” (which is just a generally sweet smell).
- “Bloom Enhancers” – These offer a variety of non-nutrient ingredients that may help the plant grow better or more efficiently in some way by improving processes or providing the plant with amino acids and humic acids, so the plant doesn’t have to make everything itself.
- PK Boosters & “Shooting Powders” – With this type of supplement, the main ingredients are just Phosphorus and Potassium because they are important for flowering. These also sometimes contain some amount of sulfur. In general, use these sparingly as they’re usually very potent! And don’t forget that every quality base Bloom nutrient should already contain plenty of P and K.
Often, bloom supplements will include a mix of some or even all of these types of ingredients! It can definitely get a little confusing so I’ll try to break it down a little 🙂
Sugar or Carbohydrates
A cheap alternative to expensive sugar-based bloom boosting supplements is blackstrap molasses. Giving this to your plants for the last few weeks before harvest can help them get bigger and smell/taste better. It’s not specially made for plants; it’s the regular stuff you’ll find in your kitchen or at the grocery store. Blackstrap molasses adds sugars, amino acids and trace minerals. Unfortunately for hydro growers, anything organic like molasses is not suitable for a hydroponic reservoir! But molasses works great for soil and coco growers 🙂
For last 2-3 weeks before harvest, give 1/2 tsp of Blackstrap Molasses per gallon when watering (for soil or coco coir)
For those who prefer something in a bottle, I’m really intrigued by Botanicare’s Sweet Carbo line. According to Botanicare:
The natural esters in Sweet are easily absorbed by the plant, but are not broken down further once deposited within the plant tissue. This means that as new flowers develop they will contain small amounts of these natural esters which contribute to the overall flavor and aroma of the finished product.
They offer flavors such as grape, citrus, berry, and “raw” (which is just a generally sweet smell). These should be used throughout the flowering stage to help build smell/flavor in the buds as they mature. However, since these contain a small but significant amount of magnesium, they should not be used while flushing during last 2-3 weeks before harvest. At this point, the smells have already been deposited into the buds. Another cool thing about these supplements is they contain amino acids and some other enhancers, so it’s kind of like getting a lot of different products at once.
Other growers who’ve tried the “raw” version have said they can definitely notice an increase in the amount of “sweet” smell in their buds and it’s made me curious/jealous. I plan to use Sweet Grape as my primary supplement for the flowering stage in a future grow; I’ll report back whether buds actually smell like grape, sweet or plain ol’ cannabis 🙂
The jury is still out and which is the most effective supplement, but many growers are happy with bloom promoting supplements that include sources of…
- amino acids
- humic acids
- trace minerals
I personally don’t use this type of supplement so I can’t recommend a particular one, but some of the most popular cannabis supplements based on this type of formula include…
- Floralicious Plus (by General Hydroponics)
- Liquid Karma (by Botanicare)
- Diamond Black (by General Organics)
Note: These are only for soil or coco coir! (Since these supplements contain a lot of organic materials like guano and fishmeal, they are not suitable to hydroponic reservoirs)
PK Boosters & “Shooting Powders”
The supplements listed above use ingredients that add only tiny amounts of base nutrients (NPK). This means that they have less of a chance of overwhelming your plant with too high levels of nutrients (which can be easy to do if you’re adding a lot of supplements!).
However, this last set of nutrients directly adds P and K. If you’re using a regular Bloom nutrient already, this can make it really easy to go overboard with P and K. Whenever using this type of nutrient, a tiny amount goes a really long way! Whenever possible, try to choose a supplement by the same company as your base nutrients – this will help prevent negative interactions between the nutrients and the supplements. In general…
- Phosphorus (P) increases number of flowers
- Potassium (K) increases weight/density of flowers
These sometimes also come with a small amount of Sulfur (S), and possibly other ingredients like amino acids, trace minerals and/or sugar like the supplements above.
Suitable for Hydro, Soil or Coco – Supplements to Increase Yields/Density with extra P & K
- Liquid Koolbloom (by General Hydroponics)
- Hydroplex (by Botanicare)
- Beastie Bloomz (by Fox Farms)
4.) Better Taste, Better Smell – Increase Terpene Content
The smell and scent of cannabis buds are produced by plant chemicals known as “terpenes” (also “terpenoids”, which are a class of terpenes).
Terpenes contribute to the flavors of many household spices (like cinnamon, rosemary, cloves and ginger) and help create the scent of most flowers.
The unique combination of terpenes and terpenoids produced in cannabis flowers (buds) cause most of their taste and smell as well.
There are a variety of ways to increase the terpene content of your buds so you produce cannabis that tastes and smells great, and there are also a couple of common mistakes you should know about that can actually ruin the taste and smell of your buds.
5.) Maintain Proper Temperature and Humidity
Maintain daytime temperatures around 65-80°F (18-26°C) in the flowering stage unless you’re using CO2 which does best at around 80-90°F (26°-32°C). However, even if you’re using CO2, most growers recommend you back off and bring the temps down to 65-80°F for the last two weeks before harvest.
Night temperatures should be kept around 68-75°F (20°-24°C) for most strains. Too-cool temps increase the chances of bud rot, which thrives in the 60°F (15°C) range, and freezing temperatures can actually damage or even kill your plants.
However, if you’re growing a strain that turns color, keep in mind that some of these strains will only show their color when night temperatures are at least a few degrees cooler than during the day in the flowering stage.
Some strains need slightly cooler night temperatures before their buds will turn colors. For example the buds of this Auto Frisian Dew turned bright purple after it started getting below 70°F (21°C) temperatures at night.
Humidity stumps a lot of new growers and causes several unexpected problems.
Maintaining higher humidity during the vegetative stage will reduce salt levels within the plant while encouraging healthy and lush growth.
During the vegetative stage, if humidity drops below 40%, especially anywhere below 25%, it can cause problems that look like nutrient deficiencies or light/heat stress!
But in these cases, just adding a little moisture to the air does wonders, even if you don’t change anything else.
During the flowering stage, your cannabis plants actually prefers less humidity!
Decreasing moisture in the air (lowering the humidity) during the flowering stage helps prevent mold and actually may increase trichome production in your buds! For best results, keep humidity 40%-50% during the flowering stage.
Lower humidity levels in the flowering stage helps promote trichome production, which increases the amount of “glitter” you see on buds
“But I’ve never worried about humidity and my plants are fine…”
The truth is, you can successfully grow your marijuana plants in high or low humidity, even if growth isn’t perfect. This is the primary reason why many growers – especially new ones – forget about humidity altogether.
New growers also tend to hastily spend money on CO2, supplements or expensive nutrients when controlling the humidity in their setup could make a much bigger difference in their final product.
So if you’ve realized that your humidity is far higher or lower than what’s recommended, you may be able to make a simple, relatively cheap change to dramatically improve the vibrancy of your plants.
For growers in really dry or humid areas, it can make a big difference to buy a humidifier/dehumidifier and make sure they’re always providing the optimum humidity levels.
And there’s one more insider trick you need to know about humidity: So you know you need to keep humidity in 40-50%RH range for the flowering stage, but there is one extra trick… Use a dehumidifier to drop the humidity down as low as you possibly can for the last 2-3 weeks of flowering (I’ve gotten the humidity as low as 25%).
This extreme dryness will encourage the buds to seal and protect themselves with additional resin (in other words, a sparkling outer layer of THC-heavy trichomes).
As an added bonus, this trick also gets your buds prepped for a successful, mold-free drying process because your buds have already given up some of their moisture.
6.) Make Sure Grow Room has Strong Air Flow & Good Ventilation
This is yet another factor having to do with air quality (we already listed temperature and humidity).
Over time, any grower (especially indoor growers) will see that great air quality is a big contributor to star-quality buds. Air flow and ventilation are essential if you want to create perfect air quality.
For 1-3 plants smaller to mid-sized plants, you’ll probably be fine with an oscillating fan or two. With a big grow and hot lights, you’ll need a better exhaust system to ensure proper airflow, but it can be easy to set up!
7.) Master the Basics – Especially Drying & Curing
You probably know that in order to get the best results, your plants need to make it through the majority of their lifecycle without major problems.
But although your growing methods are incredibly important, one of the most important things to focus on is when you harvest, as well as the process of drying/curing your buds after harvest.
In fact, the things you do during and after harvest, including drying/curing, makes up almost 50% of your final bud appearance!
Drying/curing the right way will make buds smell better, look better, be more dense, and buds will actually feel more potent!
If you haven’t really been paying attention during the drying/curing part of your grow, you should focus here for the greatest gains in quality!
Drying buds slowly and then curing them in glass mason jars for 2-4+ weeks helps “tighten up” buds so they are more dense. Curing also intensifies smell and increases potency!
What else to pay attention to during the grow?
A lot of mistakes that won’t kill your plant (like nutrient burn, nutrient deficiencies, and heat stress) can often still damage the overall appearance of your buds, especially big problems that happen after the beginning of the flowering stage while buds are in the process of forming.
More importantly, too many problems during the flowering stage can reduce the maximum potency your plant can achieve!
So in order to get the best yields along with beautiful buds that sparkle in the light, you need to gain a complete understanding of the basics of growing. It’s also important to provide your plants with a good growing environment.
But if you were to focus on just ONE thing to improve with your grow, the factor that makes the biggest difference to your quality (besides the strain) is the drying and curing process.
To Sum it Up:
Learn everything you can, start with good genetics and create the perfect growing environment to produce the best buds!
Ever wondered how to grow your own "top-shelf" buds like the ones you get from a dispensary? Learn 7 insider tips to producing your own frosty, medical-quality buds!