Again?) Molasses diluted with water Sugar-water Egg whites diluted with water Vanilla Extract Kool-Aid powder My tears. The only one of these that actually has any tested effect is…molasses! And even molasses is only used in tiny amounts right before flowering. People love being able to do something productive for their plants while they’re growing and what’s better than giving them a treat like you’d give a pet? Frustratingly, the best thing you can do during those times is to check on your plants and be patient if they’re doing fine.
Adding any of the things listed above – except molasses – can cause your plant harm. However, there are plenty of steps a grower can take to improve the taste/smell, density, number of trichomes and yields of their home-grown cannabis buds. Bonus Myths: Here are a few other myths we’ve heard that aren’t as fun and/or popular, but we thought were worth pointing out: Planting two seeds in the same hole makes a new strain. This one isn’t insanely popular, but it made me laugh so hard I had to include it! I guess the logic is that you have a mommy seed and a daddy seed and they make a new mixed plant? It’s definitely a myth and it might be my new favorite! These days, it’s pretty much common knowledge amongst growers that defoliation is a great tool for increasing yields, lowering humidity, and halting the “flowering stretch”. However, when Nebula and I were first starting out, we got a lot of flack (and quite a few angry emails) about how defoliation doesn’t work.
Many people used the argument that “a cannabis plant’s leaves are like solar panels”, so you shouldn’t remove them. It’s helpful to remember that cannabis plants didn’t evolve to grow indoors, so we make adjustments to accommodate their natural behavior. For example, cannabis plants grow in a Christmas-tree shape in nature, so we top them to make them have a falt canopy when growing indoors. Similarly, defoliation helps to deal with the fact that a healthy cannabis plant simply grows more foliage than needed for an indoor environment such as a grow tent. “Buds are more potent when given an extended dark cycle right before harvest” (unconfirmed). Some growers will put their plants in the dark for 2-3 days right before harvest in order to increase the number of trichomes and overall potency of their buds. Sounds plausible, but so far there is not a lot of evidence that this is effective. I’m not saying it doesn’t work, just that it doesn’t seem to make a huge difference compared to other things that increase potency or the number of trichomes. The one downside to the technique is that some plants respond poorly, and leaves may start turning yellow quickly. But if the plant is already sickly, the yellowing can sometimes spread to the sugar leaves on the buds, and you may see a little bit of yellow on your buds even after trimming. The yellow spots on the top bud are the result of yellow sugar leaves that are still somewhat visible after the bud was trimmed. Luckily, this is mostly a cosmetic problem, and the buds will still be a good smoke! The bud below had green sugar leaves until harvest. “The drying and curing process does not have a huge effect on bud quality.” Not only is the dry/cure process important, but it may also account for up to 50% of your final bud quality by improving smell, taste, and potency. Buds that are improperly dried and cured may cause headaches, cause “speedy” effects, smell like hay or have no smell and have reduced potency. “You should use seeds from hermaphrodite plants.” While hermaphrodite plants can produce self-pollinated seeds, these seeds are likely to end up being hermies just like their parent, which means you’ll often end up with seeded buds once again. That being said, sometimes it’s your only choice, and with self-pollinated seeds you know that all the seeds will end up (mostly) female. Blowing cannabis smoke at plants helps them to grow faster. I would love to live in a world where this is the case, but in our world, it’s actually worse for them. Smoke is not good for your plants, but it won’t immediately kill them, either. Crushed up birth control pills will force a plant to be female. If you’ve never heard this, it probably sounds crazy! I’m not sure how this myth got started, but it’s just plain not true. Adding crushed up birth control pills to your plant’s water isn’t going to make your cannabis plant female.
You can grow huge plants indoors with barely any electricity. When it comes to growing cannabis, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Whenever you read outrageous claims like “this LED grow light only uses 45W of electricity but produces the same yields as a 600W HID grow light,” you should be cautious. Cannabis plants need a lot of light to produce big yields and so far, there are not a lot of ways to get around that fact. Whether you’re using LED grow lights, HPS or LEC grow lights (the three most efficient types of grow lights for cannabis), your yields are directly proportional to the amount of electricity you put in. How much yields should you expect from different types of grow light? Cannabis plants grow like a weed, so just stick seeds in dirt. Sure, you can stick some seeds in the ground and wait to see what happens. But if you care about getting sticky, potent bud, you need to care for your plants and ensure they produce to their best.
Think of a gardener – they can throw a bunch of seeds in their garden and see how things turn out, but serious gardeners don’t do that.