How to Get a High Yield from a Cannabis Plant
Cannabis cultivation is a simple yet strategic process involving proper planning and care. This is especially true for growers wanting improved yields, harvest quality, and flower potency.
Growing cannabis can be frustrating, especially when low-yielding plants are all to show for months of hard work and effort. It is an enjoyable hobby for many and for some a way to secure a personal supply or medicine for family.
After months of planning, resource usage, and financial investment, it is important growers use methods that increase flower production. Growing comes in two forms; outdoor and indoor.
In the great outdoors, plants are subjected to natural sunshine and atmospheric conditions, which they need to thrive, though growing indoors is more reliable as all environmental conditions are controllable. No matter the environment in which they are grown, there are ways to increase the number of flowers and the amount of cannabis a plant produces.
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To start, strain genetics is important for harvest yields, in terms of quality and yield potential too. Growers, when prioritizing quantity, should buy high yielding seeds that are known for producing weightier buds.
Despite the many techniques used to get more weight from plants, one question remains prominent among growers; how to get a high yield from a cannabis plant? If you are curious as to how the pros in the industry do it, then read this guide and learn boost-yielding tips used by experienced growers to maximize quality, yield, and returns.
Before we go on, we want to share that this guide is brought to you by StickySeeds.co.uk and we are thrilled to have you here as you will learn techniques used to maximize yields from cannabis plants. We are a cannabis-seed vendor spanning all genetic make-ups and serve thousands of 420 enthusiasts each month with fine-quality, top-shelf seeds that make any collection stand out from the rest.
That said and back to the topic, one of the best ways to get more from weed plants is for them to be grown indoors, for many reasons, let’s dive in to see the methods used by expert-grower professionals.
Benefits of Growing Weed Indoors
It is well known that cannabis plants grown outdoors can yield a lot more than inside. But this is only true providing the conditions are perfect. The grower would have to live in an ideal climate, but even with the correct climate you have to remember that normally only one crop can be grown outdoors per year (unless using autoflowering seeds). Outdoors the grower has zero control over the sun, unless they are Jesus Christ. Some seasons can easily rain and have many cloudy days which will massively effect the cannabis crop. With these points considered we are comfortable in saying that cannabis can prosper more inside.
The reason being, indoors, temps, and light can be set to conditions ideal for the nutrients and light they absorb, which results in bigger buds.
In a climate-controlled environment, plants can achieve full growth and flowering potential and will be more potent than outdoor-grown buds.
This is why going indoors is ideal for high-yield hopeful growers wanting the biggest buds and greatest returns.
Other than larger buds and weight, there are many more benefits of growing weed indoors, including:
The ability to control the growing environment is one of the main reasons growing weed inside makes sense.
With an indoor grow room, the temperature, humidity, and CO2 production enables the grower to create an optimal habitat.
As such, because they are in perfect-climate weather, plants can grow more quickly but can produce more stems and buds too, which means increased yields for the grower.
Protected from Pests and Bugs
As with any outdoor-grown crop, marijuana plants are subjected to pesticides and bugs that can cause harm to their leaves, health, and growth.
When weed is grown inside, it is safeguarded from the many potentially-hazardous elements Mother Nature imposes on her subjects.
There are many threats and bugs that attack cannabis plants, these include aphids, fungus gnats, thrips, green flies, black flies, mosaic virus, spider mites, caterpillars, inchworms, stem rot, whiteflies, white powdery mildew/mold, and even mammals, such as cats, deer, and possibly even bears too, depending on the growing location, of course.
Minimal risks do remain indoors which is why indoor growers should learn insect-prevention techniques.
The chance of pests affecting an indoor garden, compared to one outdoors, is much less. Going indoors not only protects the harvest but secures yields for the tireless, hard-working grower too.
Adding Extra CO2 for Maximum Growth and Yields
The growth and yield of a plant can be improved by as much as twenty percent simply by supplementing crops with more CO2. The reason being, plants rely on CO2 to convert light into energy during a process known as photosynthesis, and with more oxygen, can reach new levels of growth and produce larger buds.
This is a good technique for growers that have already optimized all other aspects of their grow space. Consider your love and need for food, this is comparable to a cannabis plant’s love for carbon dioxide.
Carbon dioxide regulation is unquestionably important in grow rooms as it is vital to the flowering and growth of cannabis plants, and any other plant too for that matter. Generally speaking, the more carbon dioxide plants absorb the better.
Increasing the CO2 a plant receives, literally speaking, is feeding its growth. As cannabis plants take in more oxygen, their growth accelerates but its production of flowers will too. Adding more CO2 nicely complements the increasing of light intensity as well, together, they improve the plant’s ability to absorb and use light, which of course, is needed for a high-yielding harvest.
CO2 alone does not raise yields but the more CO2 and light it receives, the faster it grows and flowers. This also prevents plants from getting too much light thanks to the CO2 raising its light capacity.
Ultimately, large luscious buds and yields require three things; nutrients, CO2, and adequate light, when these three are perfected, higher yields are certain to follow.
Indoor Grow Lights vs. Sunlight
Sunlight is indeed the best source of light though indoor grow lights outshine (no pun intended) the benefits of light provided in Mother Nature, one reason being that plants can receive more sunlight inside.
Depending on location, outdoor-grown crops may receive only a few hours of light per day but indoors can receive twenty or even twenty-four hours of sunlight daily.
Other benefits are associated with grow lights as well; one being specially-made LED lights that deliver just the right amount of light needed to reach full yield potential. Also too, unlike sunlight, artificial light can be adjusted by installing stronger lights or by placing plants closer to the light source.
Quite literally, growers assume command of Mother Nature’s role to produce beautifully-large, high-yield buds that would be nearly impossible to achieve outdoors in certain climates.
Seed to Harvest Time
Cannabis can only be planted during certain seasons meaning growers can harvest only one crop per year.
On the contrary, indoor growing allows the cultivator to harvest plants on their schedule and at any time of the year.
The fastest indoor growth cycle is around three months and is determined by the strain being grown. We have a great selection of fast flowering seeds right here on our website.
Outdoor harvests can take up to nine months, though this depends on the climate and seeds and on whether auto-flower seeds were used or not (more on these later).
This alone makes indoor growing essential for commercial operations wanting higher cannabis yields for profit. Adding to the fact indoor growth cycles are more consistent, it is the way to go for those wanting to maximize yield and harvest returns.
Pruning Plants Increases Yield
Pruning is the process of removing parts of the plant that inhibit growth and is a great way to increase yield.
One major issue growers face are leaves protruding above the canopy as this blocks light from reaching parts of the plant, which can stunt growth.
Trimming plants so that the canopy is even, and so that no parts are shaded, allows the plant to receive light to all parts of it, which allows it to grow stronger.
It is common practice to remove yellow leaves too as this signifies that the leaf is dying. When removed, more plant energy is diverted to bud production or to another part of the plant that is more vital than feeding a leaf that has already died.
Pruning allows the plant to maximize lighting impact but also improves airflow to the middle of the plant too, which helps to prevent mold. Pruning should be done if the plant becomes bushy and thick; this is done simply by locating and removing leaves that are dying, due to lack of light.
Pruning should not be done once plants begin to flower though tucking away light-blocking leaves helps.
In addition to pruning, plants can also be trained, read on to see how training cannabis boosts yields.
How to Train Cannabis Plants for Higher Yields
Plant training is the process of forcing branches to grow outwards in a sideways position. As a result, they eventually turn and grow upwards as they naturally gravitate towards its light source. Once this happens the plant has multiple heads instead of just one. This even canopy of multiple heads makes a huge difference to the yield.
Growers use both Low Stress Training and High Stress Training. Both of these are done when the plant is young in vegetative growth.
Stress should be applied to plants over time and not all at once. Low-Stress Training (LST) is the best approach as it involves moving and bending stems using minimal pressure.
Sometimes more effective, growers will use High-Stress Training (HST) instead as this not only helps the plant to produce bigger buds but can also increase the potency of the plant as it works harder to stay alive.
While HST can bring greater stronger buds and larger yields, it can be harmful to the plant if not done with care. Unlike LST, HST is when certain parts of the stem are intently broken. But when done properly, it will not only maximize the yield but the bud’s scent, flavour, and potency as well. It does this by stressing the plant out which makes it feel in danger. At this point it goes into overdrive and works much harder to stay alive. This increases terpene production.
Strategic Climate Control Improves Yields
Climate is fundamental to agriculture, and cannabis is no exception. While it is easy to grow cannabis in natural climates, maximizing yields in outdoor environments is not.
Indoors, growers have complete environmental control, including humidity and temperature. If the cannabis plants are given the ideal conditions they need, ultimately, they will reward the grower with larger yields.
During the vegging stage, cannabis plants develop their roots and shoot system to prepare for the high-intensity flower production.
Throughout this phase, temperatures should be between 75° and 85° Fahrenheit (24° to 29° Celsius) with a relative humidity (RH) of forty to sixty percent (though fifty and above is commonly suggested).
Plants are most prone to humidity when flowering so it is important RH levels are actively monitored to prevent mold. When flowering, grow room temperatures should remain between 75° to 80° Fahrenheit (24° to 29° C). If the grower is aiming to producing purple cannabis, the temperatures will be a little lower.
When first entering the flowering stage the relative humidity should be 40% to 50%. During its final few weeks in flower the humidity should be no more than 40%. Anything higher could cause bud rot which would quickly destroy an entire crop.
Depending on location, the temperature and humidity may sustain at these levels automatically, but if not, can be controlled using heating and cooling ventilation, and humidifiers and dehumidifiers too.
Cannabis and Humidity
As cannabis plants absorb water and nutrients they begin to transpire, mostly in higher temperatures, and as such tend to create a very humid environment that could welcome pests, powdery mildew, and black mold.
It is best to ward off such threats with fastidious climate control, keeping plants safe is as easy as using a 110-pint dehumidifier that will keep humidity levels between forty and fifty percent.
Ultimately, the goal is to create an environment that enables plants to defend themselves against nearly anything.
Growers must be vigilant when it comes to creating microclimate conditions. Plants should remain spaced out and not crammed together. In such an environment, overlapping leaves can lay on top of each other and light cannot reach the sides of the plant. Humidity levels between the leaves will sky rocket in these cramped conditions.
Using an oscillating fan is crucial to help keep the humidity and heat nice and level across the grow room.
Growers should keep in mind that cannabis plants attempt to cool themselves in warmer temperatures through a process known as transpiration, which adds even more moisture to the air. Once buds begin to form and resin production begins, humidity levels should be kept between forty to fifty degrees Fahrenheit.
Effective Lighting Maximizes Yields
Cannabis plants need light, lots of it, eighteen hours per day when vegging to be specific, though some growers give them round-the-clock light. However, eighteen hours of light and six hours of darkness is usually the best lighting regiment.
While flowering, the best lighting schedule is twelve hours on and twelve hours off.
Larger buds and yields are easier to achieve when delivering large amounts of evenly-distributed light across the canopy, as such, it is important that growers space-out light fixtures accordingly.
When it comes to lighting types, HPS and LED are best as both host full-spectrum lighting and are very efficient, growers should avoid light fixtures that have only red and blue diodes as these are less likely to produce the desired results and yields. If using a HPS, the grower needs a 'multi spectrum' bulb as pure HPS is only for the flowering phase. Some people like to use a MH (Metal Halide) bulb in veg and then swap to the HPS bulb in flower. A multi spectrum can be used for both phases.
How much lighting do cannabis plants need?
One surefire way to increasing bud growth and yields is by raising the intensity of lights. Light is what helps plants absorb carbon dioxide, and once it does, converts it into useful sugars.
When it comes to cannabis plants, the more light they receive the better their growth and yield are.
Plants not receiving adequate light will grow slower and may turn into thinly-tall plants in an attempt to reach closer to the light. These plants will not produce big buds or yields worth writing home about.
Indoor growers should move the lights closer to the plants but ensure temps never surpass 85° Fahrenheit. Each light should be a certain distance from the canopy to avoid light burn. Light burn is very bad and removes the colour pigments from cannabis making it looked like a bleached white colour.
Generally speaking, no light is better for indoor growing than HPS and LED. Since 2018 most people opt for LED over HPS.
Ideally, during the vegetation stage, cultivators will give each plant around 70 - 100 Watts of light per plant. During flower each plant should have at least 100 Watts of light. When all conditions are in check, plants can yield 1 gram per 1 watt of light using a HPS. Some new LEDS claim to give 2 grams per 1 watt of light.
A lesser-expensive option is fluorescent lighting, not as good as HPS fixtures but gets the job done.
For reference, here are yield projects based on various setups:
Nutrition and Maintenance is Essential to Large Yields
Excess nutrients can lead to nutrient burn and not enough can lead to discolouration and plant death.
Cannabis plants require proper amounts of nutrients and water, each is vital to plant health and yield.
Marijuana leaves are the guide to proper nutrition as they show growers, before anything else, if the plant is suffering or struggling to grow.
If leaves turn yellow, the plant is having issues with the nutrients. There are many different deficiencies that it could be, but if you are using a popular branded cannabis nutrient then the issue should not be a particular deficiency. It will more likely be a problem with the waters PH which is causing the plant to 'lock out' and stop taking up certain nutrients.
Plants should be watered regularly, if the top layer of soil feels dry to the touch, water should be added until approximately fifteen to twenty percent of the water begins running off from the bottom of the pot.
Over-watering can harm the plant and should only be added when the plant pot feels lighter.
Growers do not need to worry about nutrition for a while if using nutrient-rich soil, though as plants absorb nutrients from the soil over time, more will eventually need to be added. Many complete soils last for around four weeks before nutrients are needed.
Best Soil for Cannabis – Super Soil for High Yield Harvests
One good way to give plants the nutrients needed to produce large buds and yields is to use living soil, or super soil, as referred to by most growers.
Living soil contains active colonies of microorganisms that help plants grow their best.
Buds from plants grown in living soil have higher terpene profiles resulting in large, great-smelling buds beloved by growers and connoisseurs alike. It is costlier than traditional soil but a worthwhile expense for yield-focus growers and commercial operations.
The easiest way to ensure healthy harvests is to use nutrient solutions designed specifically for cannabis plants.
This way, growers have solutions for both vegging and flowering phases; plants require more nitrogen when vegging.
When plants start to flower, growers should switch to the flowering solution as it is very important that plants receive adequate nutrients during the different veg and flower stage.
Just remember, when it comes to nutrients and maintenance, and when prioritizing a high-yield harvest, the care plants receive during early-lifecycle phases is just as vital as the care it receives when flowering.
Hydroponic Growing Methods Increase Yield
Using soil is easy and hassle free. It is a great option for both new growers and experienced ones. However, when hydroponic growing methods are compared to soil, the winner is clear! Not only will hydroponics give a much greater yield, it can also finish one to two weeks faster. Both flowering and vegetative growth are greatly increased when a successful and healthy hydroponic method is used.
There are plenty of drawbacks to using hydroponic methods though, the method is very unforgiving and if the PH or nutrients are wrong, the plants will react very quickly, giving the grower minimal time to correct the issue. The plants will quickly lock out and stop taking up food and the recovery process is long. Another issue is that the plants fully rely on water and air pumps, these can easily break overnight. Once this happens the plants will either drown in the water or dry up and die (depending on which hydroponic method you are using).
Some popular hydroponic methods are Deep Water Culture (DWC) and Ebb and Flow.
Final Thoughts on Getting High Yields from Cannabis Plants
The factors contributing most to a flourishing yield are temperature, nutrients, and light, and if grown outdoors, the time of harvest as well. Buds are the prized reward showing once plants enter the flowering stage of their lifecycle.
If wanting higher-quality buds and larger yields, there are ways to make them bigger, weightier, and more potent too. Having a good read on all of the drop downs above should help you to learn the large-yield methods used by expert cultivators to amass impressive yields harvest after harvest.
As mentioned, many factors affect the yield of a cannabis plant, though the ones detailed above influence the number of buds a plant produces most. So long as cannabis plants are properly cared for, are using nutrient-rich soil, and receive adequate water, light, and carbon dioxide, the grower can rest assured knowing their work produced the largest yield possible.
Choosing the proper genetics and strain helps to produce large yields too, and many of these high yielding strains are available right here on the Sticky Seeds website, so if you want to add to your collection and need a top-shelf addition to showcase in your gatherings, it is easier now than ever before to do so.