Do your plants speak English? Are they responsive when you ask them to stop growing and start producing buds, flowers and fruit? Or do they seem indifferent, even if you’ve switched light cycles, stretching and elongating like surly teenagers before finally obeying your command?
Indoors, timing and managing the transition between vegetative and generative development is crucial. The last thing you want to end up with are tall, leggy plants—gangly specimens that are difficult and inefficient to illuminate evenly and intensely. You want plants with low, wide forms with multiple flowering sites at the same level! So how do we achieve this goal? We asked our chief grower, Guy Green, to disclose some real professional plant steering techniques to help you take control over your garden during transition and flower.
8 Tips for Successfully Steering Your Plants through TRANSITION and FLOWERING
Following on from last week’s vegetative plant steering tips, here are five things you can do to help your plants produce the bountiful blooms you desire! As already mentioned, the key point here is to aim for shorter, compact plants with wide canopies – this really is the most reliable way to harness as much precious incident energy from your grow lights as possible.
While changing your base nutrients from Pure Essentials Black Label VEG A & B to
Pure Essentials Black Label BUD A & B will certainly meet your plant’s shift in nutrient requirements, there are other tips and tricks available to help your plants focus on producing as many buds, flowers and fruits as possible…
1. Keep Temperature Differentials SMALL During Transition
Depending on the species of plant you grow, you may choose a 12/12 (shorter day) lighting regimen as one cue to induce flowering. However, many growers will tell you that their plants take time to adjust. The ‘lag time’ between giving your plants the environmental cue to start flowering and the visible switch into generative development is called the ‘transition’. Often growers report their plants ‘stretching’ during this time which, in turn, forces them to begrudgingly raise their grow lights. The ultimate consequence of this is that the mid to lower regions of the plant receive exponentially less light intensity and you end up with much, much less overall yield. Bummer huh?
Use a thermostatically controlled block heater to maintain warmer nighttime temperatures. Ideally your nighttime temperature should be as close to your daytime temperature as possible—the mid 70s are ideal. Low temperature differentials like this can work wonders to help your plants avoid the ‘stretch’. Switching to a premium flowering base nutrient formula is also important…
“Pure Essentials Black Label BUD A & B is a premium,
Dutch-style two-part hydroponic nutrient that drives
incredible results in the budding, flowering and fruiting
stages with the purest, raw mineral elements available.”
Beginners, be careful with this one. As well as switching to Pure Essentials Black Label BUD A & B, try raising the strength of the nutrient solution by 10 or 20 percent, or just below your plant’s nutrient strength tolerance level if they are known. Increasing the concentration of mineral salts around the root zone makes it more difficult for your plants to uptake water and this, in turn, can help push plants into flowering mode faster. IMPORTANT: You must have good environmental control to implement this mild-stress technique. Do not consider this if you sometimes suffer from low relative humidity (below 50%) or do not have good temperature control or you will get wilting / burnt plants.
3. Less Frequent Irrigations, Higher Volumes
You don’t have to alter the total volume of water given during a day, just the timing of the irrigations. This is a great trick to apply with drip irrigation systems. Don’t be afraid to allow your growing media to dry slightly more than usual between irrigations—obviously you don’t want wilting, unhappy plants but allowing the growing media to dry to a point where the roots are getting a little “concerned” is not a bad thing at all. It basically gives the plant a kick up the butt and shouts “FLOWER NOW &14C@!” Do not irrigate too close to lights out time. A dryer root zone during the nighttime is also ideal for steering your plants towards generative (buds, flowers and fruit) development.
Try the following tips further into flowering … perhaps weeks 5, 6, 7 and 8
4. Cooler Nutrient Solution
This is one for the pro growers who enjoy control over the temperature of their nutrient solution via nutrient heaters and chillers. Try slightly cooling the solution down to 65°F (18°C) — yes, this is a little chilly but the roots will still be more than able to uptake water and nutrients effectively. This mild root zone stress will not harm your plants but it will certainly help to push them into producing more flowers and fruit.
5. Increase Temperature Differentials with Cooler Nights
Drop nighttime temperatures to around 65°F (18°C) or a difference of around 15°F (8°C) between your daytime and nighttime temperatures. Rapidly dropping air temperature after your lights go out causes the plants to also cool down, but the leaves cool much faster than the fruit. This helps sugars to be translocated from larger leaves to the fruits to advance ripening. Cooler daytime temperatures during the latter stages of maturity can also help to create an end product of superior aroma and taste.
6. Step Up CO2
Growers enjoying sealed environments will already know this one. Elevated CO2 levels in your indoor garden (up to 1500 ppm) markedly increases photosynthetic rates. More carbon dioxide helps to turbocharge bud, flower and fruit development and temperatures can run a little higher too—around 82°F is ideal. Dosing CO2 soon after your grow lights switch on will have a more generative effect as this is when peak growth occurs. Be sure to disperse your CO2 evenly across your garden using oscillating fans.
Ultraviolet light (UVA and UVB) actually causes your plants a little stress too—as a result many species produce more essential oils (nature’s sunscreen). High pressure sodium (HPS) grow lights unfortunately do not emit any UV. Metal halides emit just a little. Light Emitting Plasma (LEP) grow lights emit more UV but are still pretty expensive.
Pure Essentials Black Label Bud Enhance is our premium flower booster with an extremely extensive and complex array of supplementary phosphorus and potassium.
We’ve also added hormones and catalytic agents for faster flowering triggers. Growers consistently report more flowering sites, extra girth and weight as your plants keep piling on the pounds right through to the late flowering stage.Seriously, try Pure Essentials Black Label Bud Enhance, experiment with some of these tips too, keep your plants squat and low with some topping out and pruning, and see the difference it all makes!
Right then, you’d better get back to work.
Until next week my fruit-fondling friends!
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