As a proud marijuana grower, you know the main goal is to grow the most massive and healthiest buds possible. It is incredibly disappointing to spend several months caring for your plants only to achieve a mediocre harvest.
It is crucial to realize that some cannabis strains provide higher yields than others. For the record, high yield strains include:
Genetic considerations aside, there are a variety of tactics you can use to increase the size of your cannabis buds. These tactics may be different depending on whether you grow your plants indoors or outdoors.
Why Should I Care About My Cannabis Bud Size?
The buds on the marijuana plant are what contain THC, the psychoactive compound in weed. They also include a host of other important cannabinoids, which may have potential medicinal benefits.
In simple terms, the bud is what pops out during the flowering phase. Experienced growers know that this is a big moment because it indicates that harvest time is just around the corner.
While the plant’s sugar leaves are coated in THC-rich trichomes, there is a far more concentrated amount in the buds. This is why experienced growers take pride in the resinous buds their plants produce after several hard months of work.
It is incorrect to assume that male marijuana plants do not produce usable buds. Male buds look very different and are capable of producing potent weed, albeit nowhere near as strong as female plants.
The main issue is that males pollinate females when grown in proximity. When this happens, your females begin producing seeds and less THC. Most growers only use males to produce seeds and ensure they are kept well away from the females.
For the record, female buds appear approximately two weeks later than males. In this guide, we show you how pruning, feeding, lighting, and training are vital to growing large buds.
Pruning Your Cannabis Buds
For the uninitiated, a plant’s node is where a branch or leaf grows off the stalk. The node is also where you’ll find your cannabis buds. The bigger the plant, the more nodes spring up. As a result, there are more places where buds can grow. However, don’t make the mistake of assuming that an increase in nodes automatically means more abundant and bigger buds.
Too many nodes can become a big problem. A plant with a lot of nodes with buds near the bottom will attempt to develop during the flowering stage. However, as they don’t receive enough light, there is no way they can grow to a considerable size. Therefore, pruning away the plant life that isn’t getting enough light is the key to success.
Pruning, i.e., removing the small shoots between the trunk and branches, helps the marijuana plant develop huge buds.
Which would you prefer; a lot of small and light buds or a few large and heavy ones?
We recommend pruning during the vegetative stage to ensure the plant has time to recover and grow large leaves. Wait a minimum of 72 hours after pruning before forcing your plants into the flowering stage.
As a bonus, remove dying leaves when the plant reaches the flowering stage. You will spot such leaves due to their yellow hue. These leaves do nothing other than take up resources and energy better spent elsewhere. Don’t throw these sugar leaves away, however. They have a high enough THC content to make cannabutter as long as you dry and cure them properly.
The same is true for the large fan leaves at the bottom of the marijuana plant. By defoliating the fan leaves, you can improve airflow and increase the amount of light that the lower nodes receive. Naturally, removing the fan leaves will mean that more energy is distributed to other parts of the plant, including the cannabis buds. So, if you want to increase the size of the marijuana plant’s buds, then defoliation is one of the simplest methods, to begin with.
How to Feed Your Marijuana Plants for Bigger Buds
You must ensure your marijuana plants receive enough nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) at varying stages of the growth cycle. Typically, your plants need more nitrogen during the vegetative stage, and more phosphorus and potassium during flowering.
However, if you want the female plants in your grow room to flourish, it is essential that you also provide them with a well-balanced mix of micronutrients. Ensure the feeds include sufficient levels of iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper, boron, manganese, and sulfur.
Experienced marijuana plant growers recognize the importance of nitrogen in the vegetative stage of the plant’s life. However, there are different schools of thought regarding how much nitrogen you should feed your cannabis plants. Some say that it is essential to provide higher levels of nitrogen than phosphorus and potassium during the vegetative stage. Others say that it is best to provide a feed that contains an equal level of each of these macronutrients, i.e., a N:P:K ratio of 20:20:20.
Whatever school of thought you adhere to, it is vital that the cannabis plants receive enough nitrogen in the vegetative stage to grow bigger and stronger.
How to Make Bigger Buds During Flowering
If you want to grow bigger buds during flowering, you have to increase the amount of phosphorus and potassium you feed your marijuana plants. During the vegetative stage, the key macronutrient to boost the plant’s growth is nitrogen. However, when cannabis plants move into the flowering stage, it is essential to decrease the amount of nitrogen you feed them. Failing to do some can lead to problems like nitrogen toxicity. Some telltale signs of nitrogen toxicity are dark green leaves with yellow tips that curl downwards, weak stems, and slow plant growth.
At the beginning of the flowering stage, it is vital that cannabis plants receive more phosphorus than potassium.
Buds thrive on phosphorus at the beginning of the flowering stage, so try a mix of 30% P, 10% K, and 10% N; i.e., NPK 10-30-10.
When you increase the amount of phosphorus at the beginning of the flowering stage, it helps the buds fully develop and become denser. If you’re using soil as a growing medium, add a layer of worm castings or bat guano to boost the phosphorus levels. You can also add a compost tea mixture to the soil during flowering. This process increases mycelium in the soil, which ensures your plant absorbs a higher percentage of nutrients.
Towards the end of the flowering stage, decrease the amount of phosphorus and increase the potassium level during feeding. Potassium is an important macronutrient in the late flowering stage because it is vital for healthy plant metabolism and the formation of a female plant’s flowers. A potassium deficiency can slow a cannabis plant’s growth, which will naturally affect bud development. Signs that marijuana plants have a potassium deficiency include leaves that are curled with brown tips and edges.
Growing Bigger Buds – The Essentials
The Importance of Soil pH
When growing in soil, it is absolutely vital that the soil’s pH is at the right level. The pH level of the soil affects how cannabis plants absorb nutrients. So, regardless of whether you are providing your marijuana plants with the perfect amount of nutrients, having the soil’s pH at the wrong level can lead to nutrient deficiencies. For instance, marijuana plants don’t absorb magnesium well when the pH level is too low. If growing in soil, experienced cannabis growers recommend keeping the pH at around 6.0. Reduce the pH level to 5.5 if growing hydroponically.
Also known as CO2, carbon dioxide is crucial to the flowering and overall growth of your cannabis plant. When it comes to plants, more CO2 is better. For the record, there is usually 350-400 ppm of carbon dioxide in the air. Your plants combine that CO2 with light energy to create the sugars it needs. If you add more CO2 to the grow room (by adding some CO2 canisters, for example) but fail to simultaneously increase the light intensity, you will not grow bigger cannabis buds. To grow massive cannabis buds and achieve high yields, it is vital that you increase both the CO2 level and the light intensity together. Some growers say that doing so can double their yields from a single harvest.
Remember, if you add more CO2 to a grow room, be careful because high levels are hazardous for humans.
Temperature & Humidity
The grow room temperature and humidity must also be at the correct levels for your cannabis plants to reach their full potential, and to prevent problems like bud rot.
For seedlings, the ideal temperature range is 68-77 degrees Fahrenheit with 70% humidity when the lights are on. When the lights are off, turn down the temperature to between 59 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, make sure the maximum difference between day and night temperature is 18 degrees. When plants reach flowering, they can tolerate up to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, cut humidity by 5% a week until it reaches 40%.
The Right Lighting for Your Cannabis Plants
It is difficult to overstate the importance of light when growing cannabis. Marijuana plants (and other green plants) need light for photosynthesis, i.e., the process by which they convert light energy into chemical energy.
The light intensity that your plants are exposed to will dictate whether or not you benefit from big buds. Premium quality cannabis strains in dispensaries have been exposed to an optimum amount of light. This is true whether they were grown indoors or outdoors.
If your goal is to grow bigger marijuana plants that produce high yields, then choosing the correct type of grow lights for your indoor grow room is essential. Many indoor growers recommend HPS grow lights, but you could also use fluorescents; however, they are a more expensive option.
As a general rule, during the vegetative stage, for every 13 square feet of growing area, provide 400 Watts of light. During the flowering stage, increase the wattage to 600 Watts to cover the same area.
When plants don’t receive enough light, they fail to produce large buds. They may become tall and thin because they ‘reach’ to desperately find the light source. Poor lighting during the vegetative stage means your plants will grow uneven colas. From that point onward, it will become challenging to distribute the light evenly and effectively.
As a result, it is imperative that your lighting is at the right height from the get-go. Otherwise, your marijuana plants could suffer from heat stress. If you are growing your weed indoors, you can move your lights a bit closer to the plants. This is safe as long as the temperature the plants are exposed to doesn’t exceed 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
When growing outdoors, please ensure that there is ample space between the pots. This is necessary to make sure that all of the plants receive a relatively equal amount of sunlight.
Training Your Cannabis Plants
If you leave your marijuana plants alone, they usually develop a large stalk with several smaller stems growing around it. The big stalk will produce an impressive cola. However, the plant’s height dictates where the lights must be placed when growing indoors. As a consequence, the lower branches receive far less light, which negatively impacts growth.
Fortunately, there are low-stress training (LST) methods available to train your cannabis plants without cutting. Through LST techniques, you can manipulate your plants to grow wider and flatter instead of them becoming tall and skinny. One of the best LST tactics is to tie down the top branches. This helps the surrounding branches to grow and develop.
When you train your marijuana plants, you ensure the central stalk’s growth hormones are redistributed to the other branches. This ensures even growth for the whole plant. Ultimately, you benefit from an even group of branches that grow a large cola apiece. This is due to them all being a similar distance from the light.
How to Make Buds Swell up
As you can see, growing bigger buds involves creating the ideal grow room conditions for your marijuana plants to flourish and thrive. If you want big buds and high yields, then every variable must be set to the optimal level. For example, when growing in soil or hydroponically, the pH must be at the correct level for the cannabis plants to absorb the nutrients. You must also provide your marijuana plants with the right nutrients at the right time, i.e., lots of nitrogen in the vegetative stage, more phosphorus at the beginning of the flowering stage, and higher potassium levels at the end.
You also need to make sure that the grow room temperature and humidity are at the optimal levels from seedling to harvest. To grow buds that are massive and produce high yields, you also have to increase the light intensity and C02 levels accordingly during the flowering stage.
Harvest at the Right Time
One of the most important aspects of growing bigger buds is harvesting at the right time. Harvesting too early can undo all of your good work; therefore, it is essential to be patient. Cannabis buds can increase in size by as much as 25% in the final two or three weeks of the flowering stage. Use a microscope to examine the marijuana plant’s trichomes to know if the cannabis buds are ready for harvesting. If the trichomes are still clear and transparent, then it is too early to harvest. If they have started to turn milky white or cloudy, then the THC they contain is potent, and the buds are ready for harvesting.
Final Thoughts on Growing Bigger Cannabis Buds
If you are serious about growing marijuana, then cultivating it so it has large buds should be your top priority. Remember, large and healthy buds are filled with THC and other cannabinoid goodness. Therefore, if you want the most potent marijuana, large buds are a must. However, don’t assume that you can follow a simple guide and learn how to grow bigger buds quickly and easily.
No matter what anyone tells you, gardening – especially growing marijuana with big buds – is a difficult skill to learn. It takes time and patience to master. It is unlikely that you will produce monster buds at the first attempt. So, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to do so.
We recommend keeping a detailed journal of your cannabis’ growing cycle that outlines what you are doing each day. When you achieve a bountiful harvest, referring to your journal will help you identify what you did correctly. Then you can use this knowledge again and again to grow bigger buds and to achieve consistently impressive yields.