Growing outdoors can sometimes be tricky because it means you are relying on natural daylight cycles for your plants’ growing stages. But not always does the location or the climate allow for your plants to go through their entire flowering cycle. When this is the case, you may want to force-flower your plants to get an optimal harvest.
This is different in cool-temperate climate zones like in the UK or some Northern parts of Europe. There, autumn can be cold and damp, correlating to a full, natural flowering cycle lasting through mid-October. Rather than waiting for the natural flowering period to set in, a grower may force-flower their crops prematurely, say in July, to ensure that they can harvest early enough. Here too, local conditions can play a role in when it is best to force-flower. Last but not least, the time to force can also depend on the particular strains being used and their unique flowering durations.
Seasoned cultivars can plan their forced flowering in such a way that they can harvest every 2 or so weeks in what is called “perpetual harvests” all year long.
What also works is a light-proof garden shed. In this instance, you would move your plants into the shed at night. Obviously, this means that your plants would need to be in containers and that you, depending on the number of your plants, would have to lug them in and out of the shed on a daily basis. Likewise, if you grow in a greenhouse, all that you’d need there would be light proof curtains if you want to initiate flowering.
Some locations and climate zones allow you to essentially grow cannabis at any point throughout the year. Cultivars that happen to grow in these warm-temperate regions, like in parts of Southern Europe or the tropics, may start to force-flower at any time. There may be local conditions, however, that should be taken into account; but otherwise, there won’t be any restrictions on when to flower.
Likewise, any type of cover or enclosure for your plant needs to be 100% light proof. Sometimes, street lights alone can make flowering impossible. No light should reach your plants in the hours of darkness.
Urban cannabis growers that have only a small number of plants outdoors, like on their balcony or in their yard, could make a simple frame from wood and some light-proof material. They can then put this frame over their plants in the evening to ensure that plants get the required 12 hours of darkness for flowering. Folks who are not too keen on DIY can also look into toy tents, which they can re-purpose as a plant cover as long as the fabric used is light-proof.
As an example, let us take an outdoor grow in the UK. Flowering there will usually not start before September. To avoid the strong winds and rainy conditions in autumn, it can be a good idea to start flowering as early as mid-June or early July. Growers in these climate zones will normally start their plants indoors since these zones that have a cold and/or wet autumn will also have a spring that will be too cold for starting plants outdoors.
When you decide to go the route of force-flowering your outdoor crop, it is very important to stick to the schedule and not miss one single day. Cannabis that has started flowering is very sensitive to any type of changes in light exposure; some forgetfulness could easily make your plants revert back into the vegging phase, something which would seriously hurt your harvest. Seasoned growers who might depend on force-flowering because of their climate zone may want to consider some kind of automated system.
There are reasons why you would want to force your outdoors cannabis crops to flower. Learn how you can force flowering outdoors in our guide.
Knowing exactly when your plants are going to begin their flowering period is incredibly important – depending on how you prepare your growing area and how you prepare your plants for such a delicate phase, you’ll obtain better or worse results. However, keep in mind that many different factors are involved when growing cannabis successfully, so we’re going to give you a few tips on how to deal with your plants, answering the age-old question: when does cannabis flower outdoors?
The start of the flowering period in your plants is marked by daylight hours decreasing, which happens right after the summer solstice. The summer solstice marks the longest day of the year, and after that daylight hours begin to decrease until autumn begins. In the northern hemisphere, this usually occurs around 20-22 nd June, and in the southern hemisphere it’s around 20-23 rd December.
Autoflowering cannabis plants are another widely available option when it comes to growing cannabis; these strains do not need any sort of change in photoperiod in order to start flowering; they’ve developed their own automatic flowering system. They’ve adapted and survived in colder areas this way, allowing them to flower when they reach a certain size rather than depend on the light or dark to produce potent, hefty flowers. Nowadays you can get plants that flower after just 60 days.
Photoperiodism is the word used to describe a process that naturally occurs in certain types of plants – they use light in order to know when they have to grow and when they have to flower, furthering their species and eventual evolution.
In order to know exactly when your plants are going to flower outdoors, you’ll need to understand how it works and the concept of photoperiodism. You’ll also need to know when the light begins to change outdoors during the day and nighttime – flowering in cannabis plants is generally caused by an increase in the hours of darkness that your plants receive.
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When it comes to cannabis plants, the pre-flowering period is a sign that your plants are going to start flowering soon – they’ll begin to slowly show signs of flowering, growing thicker and thicker flowers as summer goes on. The first thing you’ll notice is the plants’ sex (male, female or hermaphrodite) which is why it’s called pre-flowering. You’ll soon start to notice your plant growing much taller than before, as it’s probably preparing to hold up massive flowers.
When does cannabis flower outdoors? The flowering period is the most anticipated moment of the year for many cannabis homegrowers, as it’s when your plants start growing their precious, sought-after flowers.
The start of the flowering period outdoors and how long your plants are going to flower for depends highly on the strain that you have chosen to grow. Some indicas are ready to harvest at the beginning of September, whereas other sativa strains are ready from December onwards. This is why you should always pay close attention to the strain that you’ve chosen to grow. You can also grow autoflowering plants, which we’ll discuss now.
When does cannabis flower outdoors? Find out more here; everything you need to know about photoperiodic cannabis plants and when they flower outdoors.