Growing high quality cannabis doesn’t need to be difficult. In fact, it can be quite easy once you get the hang of the basics. There are some things that can make or break the final outcome though, so I’m here to help make things easier. I have compiled a list of 7 tips for growing high quality cannabis, so that you can grow top quality buds every time.
If you enjoy cannabis that sends you to outer space while smelling and tasting amazing, you’re in the right place! Keep reading to learn how to grow top shelf cannabis, every time!
1. Growing High Quality Cannabis Starts With High Quality Seeds
Buying high quality seeds will produce high quality cannabis. You can’t expect to grow high quality cannabis from bagseed seeds. Reputable and established seedbanks will have high quality seeds. I have used True North Seedbank & i49 Seedbank (they have in house breeders) many times. There are many good seedbanks to get seeds from. You can always look up reviews of any that you’re unsure of. Usually the reviews will tell you all you need to know.
Some breeders that I recommend (available on True North Seedbank):
- Canuk Seeds
- DNA Genetics
- Dutch Passion
- Humboldt Seed Organization
- Mephisto Genetics
- Nirvana Seeds
- Sweet Seeds
Certain strains will have a more dense structure as well, so genetics are the foundation for growing top quality cannabis. This is the most important tip on the list because without top quality genetics, you won’t be able to grow high quality cannabis, even in the best conditions. You can also get high quality clones instead of seeds, but I typically use seeds. I believe every grower should learn how to germinate seeds and grow their plants from seeds; Just to learn the skill.
2. Give Your Plant Good Quality Light
You want to provide your plant with adequate light for it to grow to its potential. You need to give each plant at least 50-100 true watts to get high quality results. Powerful lights like LED/Light Emitting Diode, LEC/Light Emitting Ceramic, & HPS/High Pressure Sodium produce high quality results. Choosing a quality light can make a world of difference. So, be sure to do your research before you buy your light.
High Quality LED Grow Light Recommendations:
- Electric Sky 300 by The Green Sunshine Company ($$$)
- Optic4XL NextGen by Optic Grow Lights ($$)
- 3500K Fusion Board 480W by Grow Lights Canada ($)
Affordable LED Grow Light Brands:
- Mars Hydro (TS2000, TS1000, TS600)
- Vivosun (VS2000, VS1000)
- Wills (Wills 2000W Cree Cob, Wills 1000W Cree Cob)
- Spider Farmer (SF-4000, SF-2000)
- Bloom Plus (BP-4000W, BP-2500W, XP-2500)
3. An Ideal Environment is Key for High Quality Cannabis
You need to have a consistent grow environment to grow top shelf buds. Too many fluctuations and it can cause disaster for your grow. To avoid this, learn to tune in on your environment and keep it as consistent as possible. You can do this by following the ideal ranges for the vegetation and flowering stages and finding your sweet spot. The ranges are as follows:
Ideal pH Ranges:
- Soil – 6.0-7.0
- Soilless mediums/Coco Coir/Hydroponics – 5.5 – 6.5
You’ll want to keep your pH as steady as possible. For example, in soil, you can keep it at 6.5 and all nutrients will be able to properly uptake. If you have a slight variance, that’s okay but you want to stay within a few points. This will avoid pH fluctuation problems that present themselves as deficiencies.
Ideal Temperatue Ranges:
- Seedling/Vegetative Stage – 70°-85°F/20°-30°C
- Flowering Stage – 65°-80°F/18°-26°C
- Late Flower – Avoid going above 80°F/26°C as this can burn off terpenes
Ideally, you want to have about 5°-10° difference between the daytime temperature and nighttime/lights out. This is similar to outdoors in nature. You can run into issues during flower like mold if temperatures drop too low during lights out or with too much fluctuation.
Ideal Humidity Ranges:
- Seedling Stage – ~70% RH, you can slowly reduce this by about 5% per week until you reach 40%
- Vegetative Stage – 40-60% RH
- Flowering Stage – 40-50% RH
- Late Flower – <40% RH
You need to keep the humidity under 50% in flower to avoid problems like mold, bud rot and powdery mildew. If you need to, you can add a dehumidifier to your grow. Just keep it mind, it will likely increase the heat in your grow as well.
Air Circulation is Vital
You also want to make sure to provide proper air circulation in your grow area to ensure that all plants are receiving enough airflow. This is important because cannabis is wind pollinated, meaning it will bulk up to try to get pollinated if given proper air circulation. You should have a good exhaust system to pull the hot air away from your grow and provide good air circulation. This will help prevent heat stress in flower.
4. Nutrients & Supplements for Growing High Quality Cannabis
You want to give the plants exactly the right ratios of nutrients in flower to ensure it has exactly what it needs to grow optimally. I use Gaia Green Power Bloom which has an N-P-K ratio of 2-8-4, but anything with similar ratios will work. What nutrients you use is partially dependent on the medium you use. For example, you couldn’t use the Gaia Green dry amendments that I use if you’re growing in hydroponics.
There are also many different supplemental nutrients on the market to do a number of different things in the flowering stage. There are 3 main types: Sugar/Carbohydrate, PK Boosters/Shooting Powders, & Bloom Enhancers.
Sugar helps to improve the taste/smell and add bulk to the buds. Some of these types of products contain things like esters and terpenes that slightly alter the taste/smell of the buds. Botanicare’s Sweet Carbo Line includes Grape, Citrus, Berry & Raw. These products can be used during flower up until you begin flushing due to high levels of magnesium. You can also use unsulfured black strap molasses during the late flower to add sugars. Simply use about 1 tsp – 1 tbsp per gallon of water. Remember to pH the water after adding everything.
These supplements mainly contain Phosphorus and Potassium. These nutrients are important for flowering. Phosphorus increases the amount of flowers, where as Potassium increases weight and density of the buds. They can contain some sulfur and other ingredients too. I use banana peel tea as a PK booster with a great deal of success. If you’re already using Bloom nutrients, a little can go a long way. I use a banana peel compost tea for a PK booster.
These supplements contain various non-nutrient ingredients that can aid in growing more efficiently. They contain things like vitamins, trace minerals, amino acids & humic acids. They provide them so the plant doesn’t have to make it for itself. Therefore, increasing its efficiency. These type of supplements are only suitable for use in soil and coco coir because they contain organic materials, which would clog up the hydroponic system.
5. Increase Terpene Production for Better Tasting & Smelling Buds
If you want aromatic cannabis that has a wonderful taste as well. Then, you’ll need to increase terpene production to improve the taste/smell of the buds during flower. There are a few different ways to increase terpene production and/or improve taste/smell:
- Start with the Right Genetics for Terpy Buds
- Specialized Supplements (Sweet Raw)
- Light with Extra UV-B
- Growing in Living/Super Soil
- Low Humidity in Late Flower
- Flush Plants 1-2 Weeks Before Harvest
- Hang Whole Plant to Dry for Slow Dry
- Cure Your Buds a Minimum of 2 Weeks
6. Know When to Harvest for Top Shelf Buds
The best way for you to harvest for top quality is to view the trichomes. This will give the most accurate picture of how ready your plant is. You can use a jeweler’s loupe or a digital microscope. You want to aim for mostly cloudy trichomes and depending on the desired effect, anywhere from 5% – 30% amber trichomes.
- No amber, More Cerebral, “Heady” High
- 5-10% amber, Highest THC
- 20%+ amber, More Sedative Effects
7. Dry, Trim and Cure Like a Professional for Top Quality Cannabis
In my opinion, to get the best results when drying your plants, you should hang the entire plant upside down in a dark, well ventilated room. The ideal conditions for drying are 65°F/17°C-70°F/21°C and between 50-55%RH. The drying process should take between 6-10 days roughly. You’ll know it’s dry when small stems snap, rather than bend.
Trimming should be done after the drying process, in my opinion, because it helps with the slow drying process. Although, you can trim off the fan leaves prior to drying. All you need to do is trim away the sugar leaves. But, if you want really appealing cannabis, you’ll want to take a little extra time to trim it well.
You should cure your buds a minimum of 2 weeks before smoking it for the best results. The ideal curing conditions, inside the jar, are about 70°F/21C° and 58-65%RH. You cure your cannabis by filling mason jars about 75% full with your buds. Then, you open the jars twice a day for the first week and once a week for the second week. You can leave them open for a minute or two. This introduces fresh air into the jars as well as releases some of the humidity in the jar.