Understanding Photoperiod Manipulation in Cannabis Cultivation | Colorado Pot Guide


Cannabis, like quite a few plants, matures as the seasons alter. When light cycles shorten and light waves lengthen, cannabis plants are prompted to create flowers or seeds in preparation for the subsequent generation of plants. This occurs naturally outdoors as the summer time months come to an finish and the days get shorter when the earth starts to turn away from the sun, distinct light waves penetrate the atmosphere. When it comes to expanding cannabis indoors, cultivators need to meticulously manipulate their plant’s photoperiod (the quantity of light versus dark hours) to attain the similar outcomes.


How Plants React to the Altering of the Season


Photoperiodic plants, or plants that respond to light cycles, detect alterations in lighting duration and high-quality via photoreceptor cells, most generally these that choose up red and far-red lights. These photoreceptors play an essential element in the plant’s capacity to create and degrade specific proteins that signal them to mature into flowering plants. This, in addition to the plant’s all-natural circadian rhythm, assists guarantee that the plant either flowers or produces seeds primarily based on the altering of the seasons.

Cannabis plants respond strongly to light cycles each outdoors and indoors. photo credit

All phototropic plants can be placed in 1 of two categories: extended-day plants like peas and spinach (which flower when the days are extended), and brief-day plants like rice and cotton which call for shorter days to flower. Most cannabis plants are brief-day plants which implies they will need 12 hours of darkness to commence flowering (auto-flowering plants are the exception. We’ll go over this in much more detail later). In the northern hemisphere, brief-day plants flower naturally involving the months of September to November although the southern hemisphere experiences brief-day flowering involving the months of February to April.


Interestingly, research show that it is the quantity of darkness the plant receives (rather than the quantity of daylight) that determines when it will mature into a flowering plant. This is why even the slightest interruption through dark hours could cease flowering or, much more typically, pressure a flowering female into creating seeds.


But indoor growers do not have the luxury of permitting Mother Nature to take the reins. Rather of permitting the plants to develop and mature on their personal primarily based on the altering seasons, indoor cannabis growers need to manipulate their light cycle on their personal, generally with the aid of timers and specific indoor develop lights.


Manipulating the Light Cycle for a Cannabis Develop


Lots of cannabis develop lights are made to mimic the form of light they would naturally obtain outside through the numerous occasions of the season which can include things like varying wavelengths of light for the distinct phases of the develop. Nonetheless, for the plants to create flowers, the light cycle need to be meticulously timed, as properly. Whilst seedlings fare properly beneath continual light, vegetative plants need to be kept beneath a light cycle consisting of no significantly less than 18 hours of light. Whilst some growers will leave their vegetative plants beneath continual light, it is believed that the healthiest and most bountiful plants obtain at least a couple of hours of darkness inside a 24 hour period.


Signaling a cannabis plant to flower calls for the light cycle to alter to 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness – no much more, no significantly less.


Although this occurs naturally as the earth starts to tilt away from the sun, indoor growers need to time it themselves. The easiest way to do this is with very simple timers that plug in involving the light supply and the energy supply. These timers can be set to turn on and off at the similar time every day to aid cut down the possibility of grower error.

Please note that cannabis plants are extremely sensitive to light and need to never ever be interrupted with light through dark hours. We recommend programming lights to turn on through frequent daylight hours (when you are most most likely to be tending to them) and off through the hours that you will not will need to access them. If you ever do will need to view your plants through dark hours, use green lights only.


Make certain to never ever interrupt your cannabis plants with light through dark hours. photo credit

The all-natural transition of light to dark is extremely subtle, brightening or dimming gradually as the sun rises or sets, which may possibly add unnecessary trauma to the plants. To remedy the situation, some develop light makers have produced specific lights that fade in and out considerably like the sun. This not only assists cut down trauma but also assists boost cannabinoid and terpene production although assisting reduce back on electrical bills. Although the “smart light” technologies is young, it may possibly prove to be the subsequent very best factor in cannabis photoperiod manipulation.


Auto-Flowering Cannabis


Auto-flowering cannabis plants are distinctive in that they do not rely on a light cycle to signal when to flower. Rather, they flower on their personal time, generally about two to 3 weeks just after germination (typical auto-flower seeds can be harvested in significantly less than 13 weeks). Due to their brief develop cycle, auto-flowering cannabis plants are a excellent way to reap several harvests in a single season, albeit a smaller sized harvest every time.

Auto-flowering seeds are the solution of genetic manipulation, especially the crossing of a ruderalis cannabis plant with numerous indicas and sativas for flavor, potency and output. Whereas ruderalis cannabis alone produces a rather scraggly, unattractive plant with low THC levels, when combined with the genetics of other cannabis strain sorts, it creates a dwarf version of its indica and/or sativa parents that flowers in half the time. This tends to make auto-flowering cannabis plants specially appealing for individuals expanding in modest indoor spaces or patio gardens that hope to harvest twice every develop season.

Expanding cannabis indoors is an intricate course of action – absolutely much more involved than popping seeds into soil on a windowsill. In addition to the seeds or clones to get you began, you will need the suitable develop lights, develop medium, develop space, and of course, the suitable light schedule to see that your cannabis plants flower on time, just about every time.

Do you have any photoperiod manipulation guidelines for our indoor growers? Share them under!

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons (license)


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