Home Grow chronicles Dianna’s personal journey as a medical cannabis patient who registered and was approved by the Canadian government to grow cannabis in her home. Dianna’s experience is one grower’s point of view. Her ideas are neither the best nor the only proven methods for growing medicinal grade cannabis.
While in the flowering stage, a female cannabis plant does way more than just attract male pollen. Turns out the ladies were multitasking in that dark closet of indoor cultivator/Boveda blogger Dianna Donnelly.
The morning I turned the lights back on after my green goddesses’ first night in the dark, I was joyful. Like babies greeting their mama in the morning, the girls seemed to exude gratitude. (And gave off a whole lotta green humid scent!)
To recap: to transition my girls from the veg state into the flowering stage, I cut their light time in half—from 24 to 12 hours. I wondered what my girls did that first dark night. Did they feel abandoned? Did they stress? Neither! They basically learned a whole new set of functions like it was their job! My girls are overachievers, I just knew it! 🙂
WHEN THE LIGHTS GO OUT, CANNABIS PLANTS GET TO WORK
During daylight or lights-on phase of indoor growing, a cannabis plant’s main job is to create fuel via photosynthesis.
At night or during the lights-out phase of indoor growing, the cannabis plants use that stored up fuel to accomplish amazing things to thrive, including growing leaves and flowers. It wasn’t long after the lights went out that my brilliant little girls got to work.
After transitioning to a 12-hour lights-on, lights-off schedule, my cannabis plants began to sprout new leaves—predominantly at the top of the main apical branches.
HOW CANNABIS PLANTS USE FUEL TO FLOWER
A cannabis plant moves water through its system through transpiration. (Similar to how we circulate blood throughout our bodies.) Transpiration is essential to the plant’s survival.
Here’s how transpiration works:
- Cannabis plants draw moisture, and thus nutrients, from the soil into the roots.
- The moisture travels up via vessels called the xylem (blood vessels) into the cannabis plant’s branches and leaves.
- Moisture is exuded through small pores in the leaf called stomata.
During the lights-on phase, transpiration is like a one-way vertical highway. The moisture/nutrients hightail it to their final destination—the plant’s leaves.
During the dark, transpiration slows but doesn’t stop. The stomata close, which signals to the plant to stop exuding moisture. Instead the plant stores moisture and nutrients and diverts them throughout the plant. The cannabis plant uses that stored energy to build, repair and finally produce flower.
If roots are the brains of a cannabis plant, do the leaves themselves control transpiration? (Or is there some botanical teamwork at play here?)
There’s much debate among cannabis growers about why a leaf’s stomata open and close, including:
- Does stomata closure trigger transpiration to slow down. Or does the slow down of transpiration trigger the closure? (The old chicken-egg debate.)
- Does the lack of light/heat from the sun or grow lights trigger the closure?
- Do stomata open again when the plant’s hungry for CO2?
All parents experiment on their first born—even plant parents.
LIGHTING LESSONS FOR FUTURE HOME GROWS
Knowing what I know now about transpiration after dark, I should have experimented more with lighting from day one. Perhaps shorten the lighting time gradually to avoid stressing my cannabis babies from too much change, too fast. This would have nudged my cannabis plants to re-set their circadian rhythms sooner than the flowering stage.
Since stomata shut down in the dark, this 24-hour-long day-into-night light bath was counterproductive. Because night never came, my plants’ energy faucets never turned off. My ladies never had off-time to slowly redirect stored energy throughout their bodies.
This is a whole lotta unnatural! So for future cannabis crops, I’ll set my vegetation mode lights on timers. For 18 hours, my ladies can photosynthesize their hearts out in full light. Then it’s lights out for six hours to let the girls’ energy flow set the stage for a fine bouquet of high quality flower.
WHAT CANNABIS PLANTS LOOK LIKE IN THE EARLY FLOWER STAGE
As a grower who uses her eye to check the health of her crop, I inspect each angle of my beauties several times a day. Within days, my cannabis ladies were changing. Shooting up. Directing their growth energy to specific places. And sprouting hairs!
AFTER 10 DAYS
White hairs called pistils quickly morphed into clusters of tiny sugar leaf flower petals whose growth was almost visual to the naked eye. These pistils are considered the plant’s botanical reproductive organs that hope to capture the male plant’s pollen and grow seeds.
AFTER 20 DAYS
At the tops of each apically-dominant stem, my girls suddenly had faces!
AFTER 25 DAYS
Do my big, healthy leaves leave you dumb-founded and in awe of nature and cannabis?
HOW HOME GROWING IS HEALING FOR ME (WELL BEFORE HARVEST)
Every single morning fills me with joyous scents and visual changes that help turn my morning frown upside down. I use cannabinoids for depression and anxiety. But growing cannabinoid-bearing plants is also healing to me.
Horticultural therapy and home cultivation regulation go hand-in-hand toward better mental health as evidenced by yours truly.
– Dianna Donnelly
Dianna Donnelly is a cannabis educator, blogger, and freelance writer living in Kingston, Ontario. She counsels new patients on the safe and effective use of medicinal cannabis and believes that with enough time, cannabis, and coconut oil she can heal the world.
Dianna Donnelly’s posts are being provided for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by Boveda of any of the products, services or opinions of Dianna Donnelly. Boveda bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of this post or links to the posts. Contact Dianna Donnelly for answers to questions regarding her content.