Now that you know how to check for the signs of male and female plants, the next step is getting them to flower properly. Just remember that, once you start flowering, it might be difficult to stop the males from pollinating the females if you haven’t removed them. Even if you segregate the plants by their sex, the air still might carry some of the pollen to the female pistils. It’s really a tossup between whether you want hyper-potent buds for this year only or you want to keep growing your favorite strain without having to pay for new seeds.
(Most personal growers will want to stick with the latter option because paying for your own seeds every year can be costly). In any event, if you want to force flowering, all you have to do is put the plants on a 12-12 light regimen. That essentially means that you’ll need to leave the lights on for only about 12 hours per day and turn them off for the remaining 12 hours. But, the room should be kept as dark as possible during the 12-hour dark period. Turning off the lights won’t always do the trick especially if there are other light sources nearby. In fact, even shining a flashlight on the plants for a few minutes at a time during the dark period can keep them in vegetative growth. If you have windows in the grow room, do your best to block them out especially if the sun comes up before the 12-hour period is over. If your lights came equipped with a timer, then it’s a good idea to set that so you don’t have to worry about manually turning the lights on and off every 12 hours. You’ll notice that the female plants will start to grow larger as the flowering period wears on. They will produce more branches, buds, and flowers, and the plant will start to produce more THC overall. It will start to take on a sort of cone shape that resembles a Christmas tree, and you might even start to smell a distinctive fruity or smoky smell. Their pistils will change from the whitish color to a darker shade (generally brown, red, or orange) and, at that point, they should be ripe for the picking. Even if you want to pollinate your female plants, you might think of removing the male plants post-pollination so that the female plants have more room to flourish. The plants start to flower when the light period and dark period are equal at 12 hours because they are genetically programmed to do so. If you plant outdoors (more on that later), you’ll find that the plants will start to flower naturally when daylight starts to dwindle in the fall.