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Cannabis Clone Care

Cannabis plants are very sensitive in the early stages. Special care is needed to ensure that your cannabis clone grows into a beautiful and healthy flower. Our clones are guaranteed to be pest and disease free, but to ensure you are successful with the plants you choose, here are some tips on how to care for them. Please inspect your clones before leaving any retail location and if you see any issues, please report them immediately to the retail staff.

This document was created in collaboration with Berkeley Patient’s Group (BPG) who is one of our long-time dispensary retail partners. For more information on our retail partners, including BPG, please visit our Retail Page.

THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT CANNABIS CLONES

Cannabis clones go through two cycles in their lifetime: the vegetative cycle and the flowering cycle. During the vegetative cycle, a plant is doing the majority of its root and foliage growth and should be receiving roughly 18 hours of light and 6 hours of darkness each day. If clones are not kept in the vegetative grow state long enough this can cause something called pre-flowering. Cannabis plants are photosensitive, meaning they will flower if they receive too much darkness, which can also cause a plant to stress (hermaphrodite: produce seeds). It is important to keep a close eye on the plants in this early stage of life and to watch for signs of heat stress such as drooping or curling leaves. If they do show signs of stress give them a break and move them back to the shade. It is wise to continue to give supplemental lighting through the dark cycle of the day ensuring they do not receive more than 10 hours of darkness.

The flowering cycle is the point at which the plant is receiving roughly 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness. In an outdoor garden, the plant is naturally triggered to flip to its flowering cycle around the time of the Summer Solstice, which falls between June 20-22nd each year.

STORING CLONES TEMPORARILY

Ideally, clones should be planted as soon as they get to their home. We recommend preparing the space before picking up your plants. If you do need to store them temporarily before transplanting, the following is suggested:

  1. Water your clones with a diluted nutrient solution (400-600 parts per million or ppm) and place them under a low-intensity fluorescent fixture; T8 or T12 bulbs are ideal for this purpose, T5 bulbs are can cause plants to begin “stretching” before you are ready.
  2. Be sure to keep the cubes moist, but be careful not to allow standing water to accumulate in the tray. This will cause the rate of growth to slow, keeping them a manageable size and ensuring that some clones are not dwarfed by larger ones.
  3. As your clones begin to stretch, be sure to rearrange them to prevent some clones from being “shaded out,” and transplant them as soon as possible.

Photo credit to @m0m_jeens (Instagram)

PREPARING FOR TRANSPLANTING

The first step is to prepare the media you are planting the clone into. Some media may require soaking, conditioning, or some other form of preparation. Coco coir blocks, for example, need to be soaked and then broken up. Pre-mixed coco coir substrates are easy to work with and can be forgiving. Popular amendments include organic or synthetic fertilizer, oyster shell meal (for pH buffering), and various substances to improve soil structure.

Next, fill your pots with your chosen media. Since it is essential that you have a developed rootball before transplanting into a larger pot, planter box, or direct ground space, it is recommended to first transplant into a 1-gallon pot. After a couple weeks your rootball should be developed, allowing to transplant her into a large vessel.

Fill to 1 inch from the tip of pot and gently tamp soil by pressing it down with your hand. This helps ensure that air pockets do not develop; these can dry out your roots and will negatively affect plant health. After tamping, you should have 1 ½ to 2 inches of space between the lip of the pot and the media. This space is important so that you do not overflow the pot while watering.

Pro Tip: Some growers reduce “transplant shock” to their clones by soaking them in a vitamin and hormone solution such as Super Thrive. Super Thrive and similar products contain vitamins and hormones that are reported to minimize stress on growing plants. Prepare a batch by mixing one gallon of water with ¼ teaspoon of concentrate. Soak clones for 15 minutes before transplanting.

Photo credit to @plantgame_bobross (Instagram)

TRANSPLANTING INTO LARGER POT/GROW SPACE

First, dig a small hole in the media about the size of the 1-gallon pot. Place the clone in the hole. The top of the cube should be level with the media. If the rockwool cube is exposed too much, it will dry out easily. If the media level is above the cube, it may come into contact with the stem. This can cause fungal disease. The stem of the clone should be as vertical as possible. Sometimes this means that the rockwool cube will need to be planted crooked. We find that having a vertical stem leads to superior growing results.

Next, fill in media around the clone’s cube. Be sure that the bottom and sides of the cube are in good contact with the media. The rockwool cube should be planted so that just the very top of the cube is exposed. If the cube becomes exposed through watering, gently pack some soil back around it. After several weeks, the clone will be well-rooted, and this will not be an issue.

Finally, thoroughly water your clone. Thorough initial watering helps ensure there are no air pockets or dry spots in your media so that the cube comes into good contact with the water.

HARDENING OFF YOUR CLONES – EASING INTO DIRECT LIGHT

Most clones are kept under 24 hours of light in nurseries, whether you are buying from a dispensary or direct from Dark Heart they are likely used to 24 hours of light, but most often the clones are kept under fluorescent or LED lighting and are not yet used to strong or powerful light/heat given off from the sun. Most clones are stored under 24 hours of artificial light in nurseries and dispensaries. When a clone is moved from 24 hours of artificial light directly into intense sunlight, it can experience shock.

You need to introduce your clones to sunlight (after transplant) in a gradual, slow manner. Starting with partial shade and indirect sunlight will be beneficial for the first few days. The partial sun will get them invigorated to grow and the shade will ensure the heat is not so strong that they are overwhelmed and go into shock.

For a step by step on how to ease your clones into direct sunlight, read our Hardening Off blog post.

AFTER TRANSPLANTING

For the first week or two, be sure to check the moisture of the actual rockwool cube. In some cases, it is possible for the potting media to wick moisture away from the cube. In these cases, the potting media would be moist, but the cube may be too dry to support the plant. If this happens, pour about 1 cup of water onto the cube itself. Within two weeks the plant will develop a stronger root system, and this will not be an issue.

For more information about the growing process check out our Cultivation Resources page.

How to Save Marijuana Plants During a Heat Wave

Many outdoor growers are dealing with unusually high temperatures during their summer grows, and many of you have written in with pictures of outdoor cannabis plants that are wilting and drooping, with leaves that are twisting, curling, flipping up at the edges, or otherwise getting majorly stressed by the heat.

Heat stressed cannabis plants tend to droop and wilt. The leaves often start cupping, like a little taco or canoe. Sometimes just the edges of leaves tip up. The ends of leaves may curl up or down. Heat-stressed plants can stop growing until conditions improve.

Tips for Growing Cannabis Outdoors on Hot Summer Days

Luckily, there are some things you can do to protect your plant and help it get through a heatwave (or just a long, unusually hot summer). Today I will share some tips for keeping outdoor marijuana plants healthy even when it gets hot outside!

Heat Stressed Leaves Look Unhappy Around the Edges

1.) Never Let Plants Dry Out!

This is one of the most important preventative measures you can take! Make sure plants in high temperatures are always watered! Plants drink a lot in the heat and if they dry out they can die almost overnight. Having a good amount of water will help them be as healthy as possible.

Never let the growing medium completely dry out! It’s important to keep a close eye as the soil can dry out very quickly when it’s hot, especially if it’s also windy or dry!

2.) Don’t Let Plants Get Over-Watered

Conversely, it’s easy for plants to get over-watered in the heat because hot water contains less oxygen. “Over-watering” and droopiness are actually the symptoms of the roots getting enough water but not enough oxygen. Therefore, even though you don’t want the plant to dry out, you also don’t want to soak the soil every day or the plant roots won’t get oxygen. Making sure that your soil has plenty of drainage (for example incorporating 30% perlite into your potting mix) will help prevent symptoms of overwatering.

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A loose, airy potting mix will help get plenty of oxygen to plant roots even when it’s hot outside.

Only water when the topsoil is dry up to your first knuckle. Learn how to water plants perfectly every time!

Tan Fabric Smart Pots are light-colored to help reflect away heat, and the fabric container lets air in from the sides, helping provide oxygen and preventing the plant from getting overwatered. Just be aware that fabric pots dry out more quickly than standard hard-sided containers, so make sure to either size up or water a bit more often!

3.) Take Advantage of Evaporative Cooling

Water your cannabis plants in the early morning if possible. As the water evaporates during the day, the power of evaporative cooling helps the roots and the area directly around the plant stay slightly cooler.

To enhance this effect, some growers will take a shallow but wide tray, fill it with something like pebbles or gravel, then fill it with water up until the top. Next, place the plant container on top.

The gravel will hold the container up out of the water, preventing water from being sucked up by the roots through the bottom of the pot (which would cause overwatering), but as the sun evaporates the water puddle it causes the air directly around the plants to be a few degrees cooler.

A “Plant Humidity Tray” is basically a tray full of gravel and then filled with water. Place the plant on top of the tray, and as the water evaporates it cools the air directly around the plant by a few degrees.

Every degree helps when the temperature gets really high.

4.) Keep Roots Cool

Plants with cool roots are more resistant to heat. If growing in a container, keep roots cooler by putting some sort of barrier between the sun and the outside of your pot. For example, place the main container inside another, larger container. Another idea is to dig a hole in the ground and place the whole plant container inside. These strategies protect the sides of the pot from being baked in direct sunlight. Don’t let plants in containers sit directly on ceramic tiles or other materials that tend to heat up a lot under the sun. It can also help to have plants in a bigger container altogether because the extra soil also acts as a buffer for the roots.

Put your main pot inside a bigger container to protect roots from baking in direct sunlight.

Some growers also recommend adding a layer of light-colored mulch (like straw or dried grass clippings) on top of the soil. The light color helps reflect heat back. I personally caution against bark-based mulch for first-time growers, especially those using liquid nutrients (which are very sensitive to pH), because bark can affect pH as it decomposes.

5.) Offer Shade

When the plant is under direct sunlight and the heat gets out of control, try to move the plant indoors or offer shade if possible. Some growers will erect a mesh shade net over the top of their plants during the hottest days of summer if a shadier spot is unavailable.

It’s easy to move plants in containers, but even if plants are in the ground you can offer shade. Erect a frame around them so they’re getting full sunlight most of the time, but when it gets really hot you can throw a shade cloth over the top to give them partial shade without reducing airflow.

Planting cannabis in groups can help offer a little shade from the sides, compared to one plant by itself in an open field.

Whatever you do, make sure plant is not put in the dark during their day period! It should still be getting some amount of light, even if it’s just a sunny window or a single light bulb. If you mess up the plant’s circadian rhythms by keeping them in the dark during their normal day period, it can stress them out further.

6.) Breezy Spot If Possible

If the plant can be moved somewhere slightly breezy (the leaves or stems shouldn’t be waving around, but a gentle leaf rustling is good), that is better than sitting in stagnant air. Sometimes different parts of your yard or grow area are more suitable than others, so it can help to think about whether a slightly different placement may be better for your plant.

That being said, don’t leave cannabis plants totally exposed or put them somewhere they’ll get beat up by the wind!

This is on the side of a hill, which is relatively breezy while still getting a lot of sun. The surrounding plants help shield the plant from strong winds as well as offer some protection and shade. Plants that are grouped together often perform better than a single plant scorching in the sun by itself. It can help to move plants around and see if they perform better in some places than others.

7.) Seaweed Kelp Extract

There are numerous studies showing that seaweed kelp extract is beneficial for heat-stressed plants when used as a supplement. Seaweed kelp extract (available as a liquid or powder) has been shown to increase yields, growth rates, and heat resistance in plants experiencing environmental stress.

Kelp naturally contains lots of trace elements and minerals that have protective properties for plants. Studies have shown that supplementing with kelp can increase plant yields, growth rates, and heat/drought resistance for many species of plants.

Besides protecting against heat, kelp supplements may also enhance seed germination, increase uptake of plant nutrients, and give more overall resistance to frost and fungal diseases.

8.) Humic Acid Supplements

Humic acids are naturally found in the soil, but adding extra can be beneficial. Plant supplements for humic acid are usually derived from leonardite, a substance that is mined near the surface of lignite deposits (lignite is sedimentary rock that formed over millions of years from compressed peat). It is a waxy, brown substance.

Humic acids have protective abilities and can help cannabis plants deal with water stress and drought. Additionally, there is quite a bit of evidence (mostly with many different types of grass, but also with plants like soybeans and corn), that combining humic acid supplements with seaweed kelp extract actually increases the overall effectiveness of both supplements. They may have a synergistic relationship!

Not only do humic acid supplements help protect the plant against water stress, but they may also enhance the heat-resistance benefits of using sea kelp extract!

9.) Silica Supplements

Silica is not a “required” nutrient and your plant won’t suffer from Silica deficiencies. However, supplementing with extra silica offers additional support to plant cell walls. This can help the plant be more resistant to heat and other types of stress.

Botanicare Silica Blast or General Hydroponics ArmorSi are examples of silica supplements made for plants

Whenever possible, try to get a silica supplement from the same manufacturer that makes your base nutrients to help ensure everything works well together.

Silica supplements strengthen plant cell walls. This not only makes cannabis plants more resistant to heat, but it also helps prevent stems from breaking when buds get big and heavy!

10.) Grow in Coco Coir Instead of Soil

When growing outside, most cannabis growers are either going to be in soil or coco coir. They each have their own pluses and minuses, but coco has root-soothing properties that make plants more resistant to over/under watering as well as heat stress. It can be used by itself as a potting mix, or it can be mixed in with soil.

Although you probably don’t want to transplant your plants in the middle of a heatwave (so this is likely not helpful if your plant is already growing), this is something to consider for the future. If you live in an area that always gets really hot during the growing season, you might consider growing in a potting mix that contains some coco coir. The growing experience with coco is very similar to soil, except in coco you must provide nutrients in the water from day 1 (since the coco itself is an inert medium that doesn’t contain any nutrients like soil).

Easy Coco Coir Setup for Two Plants

  • Growing Medium:Mother Earth Coco <– 50l is about 13 gallons, so one bag would fill two solo cups to start seedlings, two 1-gallon pots for intermediate stage, then you can do final transplant to two 5-gallon pots to complete the grow.
  • Nutrients:Fox Farms Hydro Nutrient Trio + a PH Test Kit. Follow the included nutrient schedule at 1/2 strength. This trio is full of organic goodness and contains all the nutrients your plants need from seed to harvest.
  • Containers: Two Solo Cups, Two 1-Gallon and Two 5-Gallon Fabric Pots. Get tan fabric pots if possible (though they’re usually a little more expensive), since they don’t absorb as much heat as the black ones.
  • (Optional) Place fabric pots in hard-side containers that are a little bigger. This will protect the sides of the pot from direct sunlight, and will also help prevent the coco from dying as quickly.

Example of outdoor cannabis plants thriving in coco in tan smart pots!

Bonus: Heat-Resistant Strains

Unfortunately, this doesn’t help growers who already have plants growing outside, but it’s just something to keep in mind for future grows, or if you plan to do a second summer grow.
Each plant is different, and some strains can get really stressed by heat while other plants in the same environment are just fine!

  • Sativa, Haze, African and Hawaiian strains all tend to be more heat-resistant since they originate from hot climates.
  • In general, auto-flowering strains tend to be relatively sensitive to heat since they originated in Siberia, but some strains have been mixed with heat-resistant strains to make them more suitable for warm climates
  • Many Indica plants, which also come from cool climates, can be surprisingly sensitive to the heat.
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Example of Heat-Resistant Cannabis Strains

Blue Venom – A G13 Labs strain that is resistant to heat, mold, and other stressors. Produces beautiful bud quality. A cross between two legendary heat-resistant strains, Blue Dream and White Widow. Get the best of both in one!

Frisian Dew – A popular strain because about half of the plants grow buds that turn an incredible, vibrant purple (the other half of plants grow green buds but still beautiful and the effects are just as good). This strain tends to grow the highest percentage of purple buds if plants in the flowering stage are exposed to very sunny weather with many hours of direct sunlight each day, as well as if plants also get cool temperatures at night. This strain is very well suited to outdoor growing, even in northern climates, and is especially resistant to mold.

The plant in the middle with the dark purple buds is Frisian Dew

Durban Poison – This African strain can stand the heat. I like Durban Poison because it produces strong but somewhat unique effects. They tend to be a medium size plant through they can get out of control if you let it stay in the vegetative stage too long. Quick to finish flowering, which is perfect to make sure your harvest comes in before it gets cold and rainy.

Super Lemon Haze – Does best outdoors and plants can get huge with big yields. Can handle the heat, though is less resistant to cold. Citrus smell and captivating effects.

White Widow – Incorporates African and Sativa genetics which help this strain deal with heat. Note: This is a VERY potent version of White Widow. Don’t plan to do anything later. This strain has been developed in the US to capture the effects of the original but in a much higher-THC version.

What about autoflowering strains?

Most auto-flowering strains are ready to harvest 2-3 months from germination, regardless of the sun’s light schedules. This can be helpful for growers in parts of the world that get several months of good weather in summer yet turns rainy or humid early in the fall before most photoperiod plants are ready to harvest. If you know that you’ve got at least 3 months of good weather, you can put auto-flowering plants outside and know they’ll be ready to harvest before the weather gets bad.

However, most auto-flowering strains start to struggle when it gets really hot. Their Ruderalis hemp ancestors originated near the Arctic circle in northern Siberia, and were much better suited to cold than hot. However, here are two auto-flowering strains that still do well in the heat.

Light Deprivation (“Light Dep”) Technique

I’m always amazed at how mainstream cannabis cultivation has become in the USA! The other day I was in my local electronics store and I saw a classy-looking magazine for sale called Grow Magazine – The Quintessential Cannabis Horticulture Magazine (pictured to the right – here’s their website). I was ecstatic to see an upscale marijuana grow magazine in a big-box store and even more excited to learn they’d been around for a while!

The March/April issue of 2017 (labeled “The Sun Grown Issue”) was one of their stand-out issues and it was all about outdoor cannabis growing. I was pretty impressed by the amount of quality content! In fact, the issue was so good you can’t get it anymore! There was an interesting article on page 44 about cannabis light deprivation by commercial marijuana farmers Adam Jacques and Elton Prince. They share their experience operating an outdoor pot farm in Eugene, Oregon using the “Light Dep” technique, in order to produce a second outdoor harvest each year while also improving overall bud quality and sometimes even yields.

Since that issue of the magazine is now sold out online and we are right around the time when growers are putting their marijuana plants outdoors, I wanted to share the main points for outdoor growers who may have missed it!

I’ve included the most actionable information from the article, as well as many extra tips and tactics I’ve learned from other outdoor pot farmers over the years! If you’re intrigued, make sure you check out future issues of this awesome publication!

Light Deprivation (“Light Dep”) for 2+ Outdoor Harvests a Year

There are several benefits to “Light Dep” or the “Light Deprivation” technique for outdoor cannabis growers!

In essence, a blackout tent is used to artificially alter the plant’s light schedules (similar to how indoor growers put their lights on a timer), giving the grower the ability to force the plant to start making buds as soon as they are put outside!

  • 2+ Outdoors Harvests a Year (instead of just one in the fall)
    • Harvest #1 May – Late July (or your local Spring to Mid-Summer)
    • Harvest #2: Late July – Natural Harvest (or your local Mid-Summer to Autumn)
    • If it’s warm year-round at your location, you can also have additional harvests during the winter months

    There’s something so natural about an idyllic outdoor marijuana garden, but if plants get too big it can start getting difficult to care for them!

    Gorgeous pic by Wayne Elfering

    There’s also some evidence that small-to-midsize outdoor cannabis plants produce better quality bud on average than huge outdoor plants! This is an example of a mid-size plant.

    Huge outdoor plants produce a lot of bud and are amazing to see, but are generally harder to care for and the huge colas are more likely to suffer from problems like pests and mold

    How to Use the Light Deprivation Technique (for 2 Harvests/Year)

    The main idea is to get two harvests a year, by flowering the first set of plants in Spring-Midsummer, and flowering the next set of plants from Midsummer-Fall. This allows you to flower two sets of plants under the high quality sunlight of summer.

    You start your first set of young cannabis plants indoors early in the Spring, then put them outside and force them to start flowering immediately via the Light Dep technique. Start your second set of plants indoors as soon as the first ones go out, so they’ll be ready to go outside after the first harvest. Since they are put outside at midsummer, they will naturally start flowering immediately and be ready to harvest at their natural harvest time.

    1. Start young plants indoors in the Spring under cheap fluorescent lighting, and put outside in late Spring after any chance of frost is over. In the northern hemisphere this is likely between April and late May.
    2. Use the Light Dep technique and a Blackout Tent to ensure plants are getting 12 hours of uninterrupted darkness every day. (More on using a Blackout Tent for custom light schedules below). This ensures that all plants start flowering as soon as you put them outdoors.
    3. Immediately start your second batch of plants indoors under fluorescent lights while the first batch of plants is flowering in the sun
    4. Harvest your first batch around mid-summer, for example late July. The summer-harvested buds should be exploding with smell and potency.
    5. Put out second batch of plants in late July and wait until the natural harvest. Unless it gets cold early where you live, you likely no longer need to do anything with light deprivation to get your plants ready to harvest in time for the cold season. This is now more like a “normal” outdoor harvest.Note: If it normally gets cold or wet before October where you live, you might consider continuing the light deprivation regimen until August, just to help get plants flowering and ready to harvest before the cold, rainy season hits. There are also outdoor strains made for cold climates that are ready to harvest relatively early, like Frisian Dew or Holland’s Hope.

    How Long Until Plants Are Ready to Harvest?

    Each strain has different length flowering periods which are usually listed in the strain description when you’re buying your seeds, though these are just average timelines.

    If you’re ever unsure about what to expect with a strain, I highly recommend contacting the breeder for extra insider types! Breeders are often extremely helpful and responsive if you email them through their website

    Start pot plants indoors to get the most out of your outdoor grows!

    Put plants outside when they’re about a month old, after the danger of frost is over

    Choose one of the light schedules below and give longer dark periods daily either by moving plants or covering them at night. As a result, they’ll be ready to harvest a little over 2 months later.

    Put out a second set of plants right when you harvest this set, and you’ll be able to get one more full harvest for the year (this time without any light deprivation needed)!

    Examples of Light Schedules

    The most important thing is the dark period when trying to get your plant to start flowering and stay in the flowering stage. It’s okay if your plant gets less than 12 hours of light at a time (though you do want to maximize the amount of sunlight received by your plant to get the best yields), but you need to make sure that every night your plant is getting 12 hours of complete uninterrupted darkness.

    This means completely covering or uncovering your plants, but with small enough plants you could also move your plants daily to hide them from the light

    Give Extra Dark Hours in the Evening

    This schedule has you covering your plants in the evening around the time people get home from work, and uncovering them again right before you go to bed. Doing both parts in the evening minimizes the amount of time the plant spends under the tarp at night.

    This ensures your plant gets a full 12 hour night period, including extra dark hours in the evening.

    1. Cover plants 12 hours after sunrise. For example if sun rises at 6 am, cover plants around 6 pm.
    2. Uncover plants again after the light from the sun is gone, for example right before you go to bed. Instead of uncovering them late at night, you could also uncover the plant early in the morning, though they likely wouldn’t get as much fresh air at night.
    3. Repeat daily.

    Various types of frames can be constructed to help you cover your plants to increase their dark period, from simple to complex!

    Give Extra Dark Hours in the Morning

    I personally don’t really like this option because I’m not a morning person. You can either tarp the plant all night long or have to go out twice early in the morning. To minimize the time under the tarp you’d need to go out just before sunrise to cover the plant, and again a few hours later to uncover it again. For me, at least, it seems easier to give extra dark hours in the evening than the morning. But everyone has a different schedule and I’m sure this is much better for some people.

    1. Cover plants before the sun comes up. You can do this the night before but covering them just before dawn is best to ensure they get as much fresh air as possible in the night. That being said, it’s better to cover them all night than cover them too late in the morning; make sure plants don’t get even a little early morning light!
    2. Uncover plants later in the morning, about 12 hours before sun goes down. For example if sun goes down at 8 pm, uncover them around 8 am.
    3. Repeat daily.

    Example of plants growing under a frame which can be covered daily

    How to Blackout Cannabis Plants As Needed

    The more automated and easy you make things for yourself, the more likely you are to stick with the light deprivation regimen!

    DIY Ideas for Outdoor Blackout Tent

    • Anything that works as a DIY greenhouse can likely be converted into a blackout tent with some light-proof material.
    • Put plants on wheels or otherwise move them daily
    • Make a frame on wheels that you can wheel over your plants, and throw a tarp over the entrance during dark periods

    A frame can be built from typical construction supplies, which can be used as the “skeleton” of a greenhouse or blackout tent

    Anything that already works as a greenhouse can usually be converted into an outdoor blackout tent by covering it with something that is light proof. However, be aware (and with greenhouses in general) that plants need access to lots of fresh air (and CO2) in order to grow quickly and also to prevent mold. Make sure they can still breathe!

    Commercial Systems

    • There are several commercial greenhouse systems that can be blacked out on an automated basis. One example of a company that offers blackout greenhouses is NEXT G3N.

    Tips for Success at Light Deprivation

    • The more you automate things, the better your results tend to be (and the less work for you!). I’ve actually found this to be true with any type of growing! The more you make it enjoyable, the easier it is to take good care of your plants
    • When trying to initiate and keep plants in the flowering stage, the most important thing is to ensure the plant gets 12 hours of uninterrupted, total darkness every day. Although you want to maximize the amount of time under the sun, in the flowering stage, if you must choose, it’s better to give your plant fewer hours of sun than to shorten or interrupt the dark period.
    • When plants are uncovered at night, make sure there are no lights around! Even a nearby streetlight can be enough to interrupt a dark period!
    • Make sure plants can still “breathe” under your blackout tent, and try to minimize the amount of time under the tent if possible so plants get as much fresh air as possible.
    • Prepare the second set of plants indoors under some cheap fluorescent lighting so you can put them outdoors to start flowering as soon as you harvest the first set.
    • For the second harvest, you likely don’t need to do anything special with light deprivation. By mid-to-late summer your plants should automatically start flowering on their own as long as you’re preventing your plants from getting light during nighttime. The shock from going on an indoor light schedule of 18-24 hours of day to a much shorter outdoor day will help the plant start flowering immediately.

    How to Get Even More Outdoor Harvests/Year (Warm Climates Only)

    • From late Autumn to early Spring, any cannabis plant put outside will start flowering right away.
    • In order to keep an outdoor plant in the vegetative stage during the winter months, you need to interrupt its night period so it never gets more than 8 hours of darkness at a time (it could go more, but 8 hours is good just to be safe). A small light left on near the plants at night will do the trick. Only a few leaves need direct light to keep the plant in the vegetative stage. Even shining a bright flashlight on your plants for a few minutes during the middle of the night is enough to interrupt their dark period! The light needs to be brighter than moonlight, but it doesn’t take much!

    Easy Alternative to Light Deprivation: “Super” Auto-Flowering Strains

    The idea behind Light Deprivation is to get two harvests a year when growing outdoors. This can increase both bud quality and yields compared to having just one big harvest with monstrous plants.

    However, in order for the technique to work, growers need to cover and uncover their plants every day for the first several months of summer. This not only reduces the total number of sunlight hours the plant gets each day, if you don’t have an automated system it can be a big pain in the butt!

    There is a far easier alternative that takes away the need to cover and uncover the plants, while still achieving the same result of double outdoor harvests.

    How to Produce Three Outdoor Harvests a Year with “Super” Autos

    A “super” auto is not a technical term as much a general marketing term for an auto-flowering strain that is bred to get far larger and produce more bud than standard auto-flowering strains. This can make them difficult for indoor growing, but great for getting the impressive yields outdoors. While most autos will only get a few feet tall, “Super” autos tend to get 3-5+ feet by the time they’re ready to harvest. Small autos will also work, but the smaller plants don’t take as much advantage of the sun and yields will be lower per plant.

    Using auto-flowering plants instead of photoperiod plants let you play around with various outdoor harvest schedules without having to worry about light deprivation

    1.) Choose Auto-Flowering Strains for Outdoors

    Many “Super” autos are bred for outdoor cannabis growing. Honestly almost any auto-flowering strain will do the trick, but a lot of the ones bred for indoor hobbyist growers tend to stay short and small, which doesn’t take full advantage of the sun, and won’t get as high a yield as the larger Super Autos.
    2.) Start 3 Sets of Plants One Month Apart from Each Other

    • Start first batch of auto-flowering plants indoors about a month before you plan to move them outdoors (for example April or beginning of May)
    • Move first batch of plants outdoors around the end of May after the last chance of frost, when they are about a month old
    • Immediately start your second batch of auto-flowering plants and put outside when they’re a month old, around end of June.
    • Immediately start third batch of plants and put outside when they’re about a month old, around late July.

    Put auto-flowering marijuana plants outside when they’re about a month old

    3.) Harvest Once a Month for Three Months

    1. First Harvest – At this point in late July, your first batch of plants should be just about ready to harvest.
    2. Second Harvest – Second batch of plants should be ready by end of August
    3. Third Harvest – Third batch of plants should be ready by end of September.

    Examples of Suitable Auto-Flowering Strains for Three Outdoor Harvests a Year

      by Mephisto Genetics (anything by this breeder is great) by Greenhouse Seed Co. by Grass-o-Matic by Dutch Passion (this one takes a few weeks longer than the others, but worth it!) by Sensi Seeds
    • Any auto-flowering strain that really catches your eye!

    You’ve now learned the basics of the marijuana Light Deprivation technique for two outdoor harvests a year, as well as the Super Auto alternative to get 2-3 outdoor harvest per year without Light Dep! Now get out there and harvest some bud!

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