|Marijuana Growing Help Chapter 21|
The goal of the closet cultivator is to grow plants which yield a large crop of sinsemilla, the unfertilized female flowers of the plant. Usually male and female flowers grow on separate plants. By removing the male plants from the garden, the females remain unpollinated. Pollinated plants put much of their energy into producing seeds, rather than bud growth.
Unpollinated plants grow clusters of flowers over a period of 4 to 8 weeks. Within a few weeks the growth takes the shape of a bud. As the buds ripen, the clusters of flowers grow thicker and the resin glands found on the small leaves and branches begin to swell as they fill up with THC. When it is ripe, the bush fluoresces with 10,000 points of light.
When to Flower
Indoors, growers force marijuana to flower at any time. Even seedlings will indicate sex and produce flowers given the right conditions.
Males usually indicate first. Using a photographer’s loupe or a magnifying glass, the immature male flowers can be differentiated from the females. They look like small pawnbrokers balls hanging from a stem, or a small cluster of grapes. The mature flowers have 5 very small white or yellow petals and a lot of pollen.
The immature female flowers are oval, pointed up and have avery thin hair-like strand extending from each flower. These strands are called pistils and when they pick up pollen which is floating in the air, the flower is pollinated.
As soon as any male plants indicate sex, before the flowers open, growers remove them from the garden. This prevents the females from being fertilized.
|Vegetative growth has stopped and several pistils have grown.|
|The tops of each branch are beginning to erupt with the simple female flowers.|
|Masses of pistils stretch from the branches seeking pollen. It is apparent that the plant is putting all its energy into flower production. The resin glands are beginning to fill up and are beginning to fill with resin.|
|The flowers are very dense and new growth is making the bud tight and heavy. The buds diameter is increasing daily. There are resin glands covering the entire flower area. They have filled enough to glow under a bright light.|
|The entire area is covered with glands. There is just a little new growth. The pistils are beginning to dry up and change color from white to orange, red, or purple shades. The resin glands are swelling.|
|Virtually all of the pistils have dried. The glands are swollen with THC and have an iridescence under a bright light.|
|Each flower has swollen with a seed. The pistils seem to be withdrawing into the seed pods. The pods are covered with glands swollen with THC. The bracts are beginning to open, revealing mature seeds.|
Here are the stages of flower growth.
The number of days from onset of flowering to maturity varies depending on variety and the length of the dark period. The shorter the dark period, the faster the flowers mature. However, when the flowers are brought to maturity faster, they are smaller than when they are given more time to mature. For instance, a bud under a regimen of 12 hours of darkness may take 6 weeks to mature. The same bud, kept under a 14 hour darkness regimen may take only five weeks to mature but may weigh 15% less than the longer maturing bud.
Some growers start the flowering cycle at 10-12 hours of darkness. After 4 weeks they turn up the dark part of the cycle to 14-16 hours of darkness and the buds quickly mature.
Sometimes parts of the bud are mature but new growth is continuing. Most growers pick when the rate of this growth slows. However, the mature parts of the bud can be removed using a small pair of scissors. Some varieties respond to pruning by continuing to produce new growth.
A few varieties including Thai and other South East Asian plants are natural hermaphrodites which produce flowers intermittently under a 12 hour regimen. They have adapted to the latitude in Thailand which is close to the Equator and does not have much seasonal variation of daylight hours. Colombian varieties have also adapted to low latitude conditions by prolonging flowering a bit, until it catches up with a chronological schedule.
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