Everyone wants to get as many beautiful and large buds as possible. A lot of growers also prefer the hardness of cannabis buds. Let’s see if we can affect it and how.
1. GENETICS OF THE CANNABIS VARIETY
Genetics is elementary. If the variety itself doesn’t support the production of big, hard buds, it’s not your fault that the buds are a little smaller or more airy. But don’t be fooled. A soft bud doesn’t necessarily mean a bad one.
There are plenty of varieties that don’t produce hard, dense cones, but they don’t suffer in terms of quality. A good example of such a variety is Megaton from Nukaseeds. But we are mainly interested in varieties with hard buds. Most of them are Indica, but there are also hybrids. Some of the best from Nuka Seeds are Paradox and Banshee. Once grown, you can look forward to large and really hard nugets.
2. POOR NUTRITION IN THE FLOWERING PHASE
In the vegetative stage, the cannabis plant tends to forgive some mistakes when it comes to nutrition. As long as the plant is nice and green and healthy, we can go to outer limits with nutrition (but don’t overdose). However, once you move into the flowering stage, the type and amount of nutrition will then directly affect the quality of the buds, their hardness and the overall yield.
When the buds are forming do not leave them without nutrition.
During the flowering phase all the colas start to form, so don’t underestimate this part. You really need plenty of nutrients.
If you grow in soil without repotting in the first pot, there is a risk that the plant will use up all the substances needed to form the buds before the flowering stage. In this case, make sure to add a nutrients rich in phosphorus, potassium and nitrogen.
WHEN YOUR PLANT ENTERS THE FLOWERING STAGE, DON’T USE TOO MUCH NITROGEN
The cannabis plant does need to be fed to get perfectly hard nugets, but too much nutrition can burn it. Lighter phosphorus or potassium burns do not bother the plants in flower too much. Some growers even overdose their plants with phosphorus on purpose. If you decide to exceed the recommended dosage in the flowering phase, add more PK and less N. Always increase the fertiliser dose very gently.
The problem arises when the nutrition contains large amounts of nitrogen. This can stop the growth of the buds or slow it down. You can tell when there is a lot of nitrogen by the sudden darkening of leaves. Notice that some strains has dark green color naturally.
Nitrogen toxicity can be stopped by limiting the dose. However, you must not cut it out completely.
3. LIGHT SELECTION
The quality of the light also affects the hardness of the buds, so make a good decision about which bulbs you choose. They are best suited for growing the hardest cones:
- HPS lights
- High quality LED light
If you have some fluorescent bulbs like CFLs or T5 fluorescents in your standard equipment, you probably won’t always get big, hard cones. You’ll only succeed if the plants are close enough to the light. The upper tiers will capture enough energy, however the lower tiers will be a bit smaller and not as hard. CFL and T5 are good choices for growing high quality, potent buds with SoG/Scrog methods. But if you want rock-like buds, they won’t be the best choice.
We mentioned that good LEDs will produce hard buds. The question is where is the line between good and bad lighting. The “bad” ones won’t be so bad for your cannabis plants, but they won’t produce the hard cones you want. Most of the time these are the lesser known brands.
Is the hardness of the buds crucial to you? Is it? Then HPS lights are exactly what you are looking for. This type of lighting may seem a bit outdated compared to LED technology, but the cones are rock hard under this light.
New and high quality LED lights can also make up for the hardness of the cones, but they might be a little more expensive for some. You can also use LEC(CMH) fluorescents. You can also grow very hard cones under them.
4. FAILS IN THE VEGETATIVE PHASE
During the vegetative phase you have complete control over the size and shape of the plant. This gives you an advantage before the flowering phase, as you can influence the future hardness of your buds.
You can always influence the size of the final crop. Use light stress techniques (LST) in the vegetative stage to build up additional budding spots. The harvest will then be fabulous.
But there’s a catch. If you have dozens of these flower spots, the nugets will not have the desired hardness. You want hard buds? You’d better have fewer flower spots so that as much energy as possible can flow into them.
If you have a smaller variety (60 cm) the number of buds should be 4-10.
Do not go into the blooming too early. Adult cannabis plants can encourage the formation of really hard buds. However, if you go into flowering too early, your plant may not be big enough to build these buds hard enough.
5. FAILS IN THE FLOWERING STAGE
The absence of hard buds in the late flowering stage is often the result of poor plant care or a bad genetic. There are a few factors that can affect the resulting hardness of the buds.
The first complication can be the foliage itself. Firstly, the leaves take their share of the total water, nutrition and light. Light is very important in the flowering phase, so there is no choice but to remove the excess fan leaves and prune the plant a little..
The health of the plant is essential. We have mentioned nutritional problems in the vegetative phase, but problems could occur later on. Check the plant regularly for signs of burn damage, feed deficit, diseases or pests. A healthy plant will produce the toughest nuggets.
Other complications also include possible temperature fluctuations, excessive humidity and poor airflow.
The temperature is clear. Keep the temperature between 18-26 degrees. The buds will bloom best under these conditions. Humidity is often overlooked by many. Each leaf of the plant gives off some moisture. As you move into the flowering stage, the percentage of moisture will increase as the plant grows. Try to keep the moisture percentage below 50%. This is the only way to achieve optimum results and hard buds without a mold. Cannabis plants love fresh air as we are, so give it to them, wherever they are..
6. HARVESTING YOUR CANNABIS
There is always a battle of opinions among people as to whether to trimm before or after drying. The buds appear harder when trimmed after drying.
Let the buds dry in a place without daylight at 70°F ( 20° Celsius) and humidity between 55-65%. Hang whole colas or put buds on drying mesh.
If you have any tips and tricks of your own for achieving maximum buds hardness, please share them with us.