Growing Marijuana Outdoors – The Flowering Stage
The marijuana flowering stage
When growing marijuana outdoors, knowing when to expect and how to handle the flowering stage is crucial. Here’s a general overview of what to do and how to get the best harvest from growing marijuana outdoors.
The flowering trigger: darkness*
Marijuana plants start flowering when night time (hours of darkness) reaches a certain length. The actual time differs from marijuana plant to marijuana plant but an estimate is that twelve hours of darkness (and therefore twelve hours of light) triggers the marijuana flowering stage.
So, when going outdoors to check on your marijuana plants at night, be very careful after dark. Small amounts of light, even just from a dim flash light, can interrupt the hormones that induce bud growth. This could result in the marijuana plants regressing to vegetative growth. If you need to inspect yoru plants in the dark then don’t use flash lights. Or preferably go there in the day time!
If you’ve already disposed of the males previously, or if you’re growing feminized marijuana seeds, then it’s mainly a waiting game for the sex of the plants to develop.
However, if the males are still present then keep looking out for them. (see also Early Sexing of Marijuana Plants).
Once you can figure out the sex, the male should be taken out to prevent them from fertilizing the female marijuana plants (unless you want seeds of course).
At the point in the marijuana flowering stage when the male plants starts to show, then the female marijuana should start to show too. At this point feeding should be cut back and fertilizer used at a quarter of it usual strength.
Since plants require plenty of phosphorus whilst in the marijuana flowering stage, it’s important to use a fertilizer that is greater in phosphorus levels at this time.
* An exception to darkness triggering flowering is a special breed of marijuana termed ‘auto-flowering’.
These cannabis strains start flowering shortly after germination, regardless of light or darkness, and continue to flower throughout their life cycle.
Autoflowering marijuana matures far more quickly than regular marijuana so growing autoflower strains is ideal if you’re growing outdoors in a cooler climate and a shorter growing season.
For more information on auto-flowering cannabis see: