Defoliation is an art form, if only in the sense that there are no definitive guidelines on how to do it. With time, however, you’ll automatically know what leaves to remove from your plants and how much cutting they can handle.
If this is your first time, we recommend defoliating only the bottom half of your plant. If there’s any doubt about removing a particular leaf, play it safe and leave it in place. Don’t remove more than 10–15% of a single plant’s foliage.
Quick tips to optimise defoliation
We recommend defoliating vegging plants just before you switch them to bloom:
Defoliation, on the other hand, only involves removing the leaves. That said, many cultivators use defoliation alongside pruning to optimise production, or they’ll use it alongside lollipopping, which we explained in more detail above.
To better understand the benefits of defoliation, it helps to first understand that cannabis plants have a finite amount of energy at their disposal to fuel growth. This is governed by several factors, mainly the amount of available soil, the nutrient content of that soil, humidity and temperature levels, and the amount of light.
Pruning is a separate HST technique that many growers confuse with defoliation. The former is much more aggressive and involves removing entire branches and nodes in addition to leaves. While it might seem counterintuitive, pruning is actually very effective. It helps your plant focus its energy exclusively on the nodes that receive the best light. After that’s done, ideally, it’ll produce the biggest, densest, and most potent flowers possible.
The embryonic plant protected by an outer shell, formed when pollen fertilizes the female plant. Marijuana seeds are ready to plant and grow once they successfully germinate, or once the root has broken through the seed. They can be found in multiple forms; regular, feminized, and auto-flowering. Home growers of cannabis often choose to grow feminized seeds to ensure that the adult plant will be a flowering female.
Seed providers sometimes vacuum-seal and freeze seeds for long-term storage, but commercially-available seeds in Dutch headshops are sold in small, plastic vials at room temperature and low humidity (6-12%).
If you seek the best place to buy marijuana seeds, a couple options exist. Seeds are sold in brick-and-mortar locations legally in many countries across Europe, and are often traded online. As cannabis legalization expands in North America, more retail locations are carrying seeds as well. Feminized seeds are the most popular through market demand, but providers likely have access to mixed male and female seeds of any variety found feminized. Carefully sifting through cannabis before using the grinder will assure finding bagseeds before they are ground up. Professionally sourced seeds assure quality genetics and viability, but bagseeds are a great, cheap source of cannabis genetics for the hobbyist grower.
Photo by: Illustration by Weedmaps
Generally speaking, cannabis is a hardy plant that will grow, or even thrive, in a diversity of environments. However, to assure germination, several steps can be taken. One “quick and dirty” method calls for a moist paper towel inserted into a plastic bag. Once the first root appears, the seedling must be carefully transferred to some soil before the root takes hold to the paper towel. More professionally, marijuana seeds can be germinated in a peat pellet. Plant the seed only just below the surface. Once the seedling has taken hold in the pellet, directly transfer it to a pot; the roots will grow right through the soft fabric that encases the peat, at which point the pellet can be directly placed into soil. Whichever method is used, keep the temperature between 70 -90 degrees Fahrenheit (21-32 degrees Celsius), ideally at 78 degrees Fahrenheit (about 26 degrees Celsius), making sure to keep seedlings covered to maintain humidity. Seedlings and young cuttings require photosynthetically active radiation that is more heavily weighted in the blue portion spectrum; a common fluorescent desk lamp will suffice until they are about 5 inches, or about 13 centimeters, tall.