Growing marijuana is like having sex. Everyone can do it, but not everyone is great at it. Sure, anyone could grow and flower a batch of cannabis seeds. The question is: do you really want to invest your efforts for months and end up with a lousy, stingy marijuana yield? If you’ve been looking for ways to get bigger yields, buckle up. In this article, we’ll show 10 ways to maximize your yields and get the most out of your home grows.
1. Change your Pots
The first one is pure common sense. If you want a bigger yield, scale up your grow! This does not mean you should buy extra seeds. You just need to change your pots for bigger ones. For example, if you’re using 8-liter pots, you could change that to 20-liter pots.
What’s the secret behind this?
Well, your plants will definitely appreciate the extra space for their roots to stretch and absorb more nutrients, which will eventually lead to bigger yields.
When flowering comes, you’d better ensure all of your plants’ energy goes into developing those buds you’ve been rubbing your hands for.
This is the perfect time to remove all those dying and useless leaves from your plants. However, don’t get too carried away! Your plants need enough leaves to perform photosynthesis, so make sure you’re only pruning away those leaves that look too obscured or yellow.
The plants naturally take care of these old leaves themselves. However, it would be helpful to take this purging process into your own hands. That way, your leafy friends will invest all of their energy into bud growth.
Be mindful of defoliating only when flowering comes. Don’t ever attempt to defoliate your plants during the vegetative stage, or you will negatively affect the plants’ growth.
3. Better Light Distribution
When we start our cannabis home-growing journey, we have been told and read about a zillion times that we need to monitor and take care of lighting. And that’s fine. We go ahead and purchase LED lights or the many times hailed T5 BadBoy, and it works great. Still, our yields are not what we’re expecting.
Well, I will let you in on a little secret. Aside from increasing the light exposure from above, consider investing in some side lights. That way you will reach parts of the plants that are usually shadowed by the canopy. As a result, those buds that we expect to be rather small because of their low down position will reach a much bigger size, increasing your overall yield.
Cannabis plants can be capricious little girls. Nutrition is a key aspect to successfully going through each growth stage. Not only will they need specific amounts of nutrients in each phase, but they also need the right balance between those nutrients in your fertilizer.
For example, your plants need higher amounts of Nitrogen during the vegetative stage but lower amounts during flowering. On the same note, the flowering stage will require you to increase the phosphorus intake to support the production of sugars and amides, which will later enhance the bud quality.
Along with the nutrients, it’s crucial to meet the water demands of your plants. Remember that you need to feed them the right amounts of nutrients and water. Erring either on the side of excess or lack of nutrition will negatively affect the plants, damaging their overall growth and reducing your resulting yields.
Everyone like treats! Guess what? Your plants too. It was long ago that cannabis growers found out that adding sugars to the growing soil was really helpful to increase bud size and quality.
But wait, we’re not talking about that white, sweet crystal powder you use to sweeten your coffee. When talking biology, sugar is a complex term to encompass many other molecules that are used as a source of energy.
Marijuana plants produce their own sugars through photosynthesis. However, there’s nothing wrong with giving them an extra hand with that. Some people like to use honey or syrup. However, if you’re going to give your plants a treat, consider using molasses. On top of sugars, molasses is packed with some other nutrients and minerals that will help them with their overall development.
6. Hold your Horses
I feel you. Once your plants flower and the terpenes start permeating the whole place with their enticing aroma, it’s so hard to resist the urge to cut and dry those buds you’ve been nurturing for months.
We must say this tip here requires a certain expertise in cannabis cultivation. You will have a 2-3 weeks window to harvest your buds. Waiting for too long can have disastrous consequences as the THC and CBD may degrade and turn into CBN, which has a more narcotic effect, far from the joyful relaxation indicas produce.
However, if you wait long enough, your buds can increase their size by up to 25%. The idea is to find the right timing for your harvest and not get ahead of yourself.
7. Cannabis Trellising
Sometimes we don’t get to see the yields we expect because our plants are too weak to develop healthily and stably. This means their structure can’t hold its weight in order to advance in their developmental growth.
That said, when your plants are struggling to hold themselves up, it’s time to give them a hand. Here enters one of the oldest gardening techniques: trellising. Trellising is building wooden or metal structures to help and guide the plants’ growth.
You could build a metal mesh or simply support individual plants with a bamboo rod to keep them tall, separated, and sturdy. Check out this video where Zack shows how to set up and use a net for bigger yields.
8. Low-stress Training (LST)
Like almost every living organism, cannabis plants also have defensive mechanisms to protect themselves from predators or harsh climatic conditions threatening their species’ survival. When put under stress, cannabis plants react in various ways, from strengthening their stems to increasing the THC content. That’s why training your plants is another way of achieving massive yields.
Low-stress training (LST) is a versatile method that usually implies gently manipulating the plant’s stems and increasing light exposure to enhance bud growth. Among the LST techniques, we find the Tie-down method and the Sea of Green (SOG) method.
9. High-stress Training (HST)
On the other hand, high-stress training methods are more aggressive techniques that look to damage the plant in a way that forces it to perform a power-up to recover itself, resulting in more colas, bigger buds, bushier plants, and higher THC content.
Among the favorite HST techniques, we count topping and main-lining.
You should only perform training methods during the vegetative stage. The plants are still developing and can gather resources to repair and strengthen themselves. This is the longest growth stage, which gives them time to recover from whatever training you did.
With that in mind, notice that HST methods are only advisable for photoperiodic cannabis plants. Autoflowers don’t have a proper vegetative stage as they reach flowering based on their own maturity. They also reach flowering much faster than photoperiods, so these autos won’t have time to fix themselves and recover.
10. Climate Control
True enough, cannabis plants are resistant and adaptable to various climates. This means that not because your grow room temperature drops one degree, your plants will die.
But, we’re talking about achieving bigger yields. And for that case matter, having strict control over the climate in your grow room is a determining factor.
Unlike the training methods we discussed above, putting your plants under the stress of too low temperatures or too much humidity can definitely reflect damage to their overall development.
If you neglect ventilation, temperature, and humidity levels, you might still harvest some marijuana at the end of the day, that is if mold or any other disease doesn’t kill your plants. However, you’re probably gonna end up with small, low-quality buds with scarce taste and smell.
What’s the takeaway? The healthier and stronger your plants are, the bigger the yield you’ll get.
What’s the Best Way to Achieve Bigger Yields?
If I have learned something from my many years of home-growing cannabis, is that one size does not fit all. The above are simply some of the many actions we can take to force our plants to grow more colas, produce bigger buds, or increase their THC level.
In a nutshell, the better you treat your plants, the bigger the yield you’ll get.
With that in mind, my best advice would be: grow away, baby! Grow, experiment, make mistakes, and learn from them. Keep a growing journal and record the methods that worked and the ones that didn’t. Soon enough, you’ll be advising your friends on their cannabis journeys based on your own experience.