Let’s dive into the fascinating cultivation technique known as the 12/12 cycle. Learn about the dos and don’ts for indoor cultivation, and how to fix light leaks in your growing space. Understand why autoflowering marijuana plants don’t depend on light schedules, and discover some of the most popular auto strains.
What is the 12/12 Cycle?
Let’s discuss the infamous 12/12 cycle, which is key to the successful indoor growing of feminized strains. For those who might be new to this, the 12/12 cycle refers to a lighting schedule for your marijuana plants:12 hours of light and 12 hours of complete darkness each day.
Why does this matter? It’s all about signaling your weed plant to shift gears from growing big and leafy to producing those sought-after buds. In the beginning stages, known as the vegetative growth phase, your plants enjoy a lot of light, usually around 16-18 hours a day. This is like their growing-up phase where they gain size and strength.
But when it’s time for flowering, the 12/12 cycle comes into play. This change in light pattern is a signal to the plants that it’s time to start flowering, and making some buds.
Once you switch to this cycle, expect to see some action in about 1-3 weeks. This is the flowering period, where your plants will start to develop buds, and you’ll see signs like the appearance of white pistils, which indicate the flowering process is in full swing.
During this phase, paying attention to your plants’ needs is a must. Keep an eye out for any signs of nutrient burn or deficiencies, and stick to your nutrient schedule to keep them healthy. It’s important to give your plants just the right mix of ingredients to help them thrive.
Remember, every marijuana plant is unique, and the flowering time can vary. Generally, it’s around 6-10 weeks, but keep a close eye on your plants as they develop. When you start seeing the resin glands and trichomes developing, you know you’re on the right track.
The 12/12 cycle is your ticket to transitioning from a green, leafy vegetative plant to a bud-producing powerhouse.
When does Flowering Begin?
The flowering stage in cannabis cultivation is a peak moment, where the plant is making the transition from vegetative growth to bud production. This stage begins when the light cycle, or photoperiod, is altered to provide approximately 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness each day. This 12/12 light schedule is a signal for photoperiod cannabis plants that it’s time to start flowering.
For indoor cultivation, growers can precisely control the light schedule, making the shift to the flowering stage more predictable. By manually adjusting the grow lights to provide 12 hours of uninterrupted darkness, indoor growers can initiate the flowering stage at their discretion.
Outdoor cultivation, on the other hand, relies on the natural changes in daylight hours, which can vary based on geographical location and season. In outdoor settings, cannabis plants typically begin flowering as the days start to shorten post-summer solstice, which is why outdoor growers tend to use autoflowers as they are not reliant on a specific light schedule.
Indoor growers must make sure that their plants receive complete darkness during the dark periods to prevent any potential issues like the development of pollen sacs or stress on the female plants.
The success of the flowering stage depends on how well the light cycle is managed, whether in indoor or outdoor settings.
Cannabis Strain and Genetics
In cannabis cultivation, strain type and genetics play a huge role in determining the characteristics and growth patterns of the plants. Cannabis strains are classified into three primary categories: indica, sativa, and hybrids. Indicas are known for their shorter, bushier plant growth, often resulting in a more relaxing, body-focused effect. Sativas, on the other hand, tend to grow taller and leaner and are associated with more uplifting and cerebral effects. Hybrids are a blend of both.
Genetics influence everything from the plant’s size, shape, and color to its cannabinoid content and resistance to pests and diseases. The genetic makeup of a strain can also determine its adaptability to different growing environments, making some strains more suitable for indoor cultivation and others for outdoor cultivation.
Whether it’s during the vegetative stage or the flowering phase, genetics shape the plant’s life cycle and its overall yield and potency.
12/12 Cycle: Hours of Light vs. Hours of Darkness
Understanding everything about the 12/12 light cycle is important in cannabis cultivation when it comes to photoperiod plants.
As already mentioned, during the vegetative stage, cannabis plants typically thrive under long periods of light, generally 16-18 hours per day.
As we transition to the flowering stage, this is where the 12/12 cycle comes into play. This change mimics the natural decrease in daylight hours as the seasons change, and is important for photoperiod cannabis strains to be able to start to flower.
Now, let’s talk about autoflowering cannabis plants. These are the exceptions to the general rule of light schedules. Unlike photoperiod strains, autoflowering plants don’t rely on changes in the light cycle to begin flowering. They automatically transition from the vegetative stage to the flowering stage with age, regardless of the light schedule.
To summarize, while most cannabis plants require a specific light schedule to trigger each stage of their life cycle, autoflowering strains offer a simpler, more flexible approach to light exposure. Whether you’re an indoor or outdoor grower, understanding these lighting needs is a must for successful cannabis cultivation.
Some popular autoflowering cannabis strains are:
Grow Lights and Light Leaks
In indoor cannabis cultivation, maintaining a precise light cycle is another important aspect, and light leaks can disrupt the party. These unintentional mishaps in a grow room’s lighting environment can upset the natural photoperiod of cannabis plants, and that leads to irregular flowering cycles or can even cause female plants to develop male characteristics like pollen sacs.
Light leaks are often due to not building a structurally sound growing space. Common sources include cracks in walls, gaps around doors, and poorly sealed windows. Even the smallest amount of light penetrating the dark cycle can disturb the plant’s critical phase of flowering, and that delays the process.
To prevent these issues, indoor growers must prioritize light-proofing their cultivation areas. This can be achieved by using light-blocking curtains or applying reflective films to windows and doors. The grow room must be properly sealed or problems will most likely arise. This involves checking for and sealing any potential light entry points and making sure the grow lights are the only light source during the light-per-day phase.
When to Expect Buds After Switching to 12/12 Cycle
Switching to a 12/12 light cycle is yet another critical step in the cannabis plant life cycle, particularly for indoor plants. This change is important for growers looking forward to the flowering stage, where the anticipation for bud formation peaks. The transition from vegetative growth to flowering is not just a waiting game; it’s an active process influenced by the strain’s genetics, the indoor growing environment, and the meticulous care provided to the plants.
Week by Week: Growers can track the flowering phase week by week, observing the plant’s transformation from pre-flowers to full bloom. Each week brings its own set of challenges and milestones. Growers must understand these changes so they can effectively manage nutrient solutions, implement training techniques, and adjust humidity levels to suit each stage. Each week impacts trichome production, plant health, and the overall bloom phase. In addition, it’s important that growers provide the best care possible to their precious plants.
The First Couple Weeks After Flowering: The period following the initial flowering signs is critical, especially in the first couple of weeks. This stage starts from the pre-flowering stage to around Week 5 of the flowering cycle. Growers must maintain constant vigilance during this phase, addressing challenges such as nutrient deficiencies and the potential need for additional nutrients.
Growers must also understand how critical the post-harvest processes of cannabis cultivation, and wet and dry trimming techniques are.
Wet trimming involves removing excess leaves while the plant is still fresh, immediately after harvesting, which can aid in a more uniform dry and cure.
On the other hand, dry trimming is performed after the drying process, which allows for a more precise cut, but it can be more work. The drying process itself requires the right humidity levels and temperatures to make sure that the buds dry evenly without losing their potency or getting mold.
Once drying is complete, the curing phase begins, which is for enhancing the flavor, aroma, and overall quality of the cannabis buds. During curing, the buds are stored in airtight containers, usually for several weeks, to allow for the development of richer and smoother flavors. By following all of these steps, growers have now created the best cannabis experience for users.
Our Most Popular Cannabis Strains
Harlequin Medical Feminized SeedsFrom Just: $49
Timewreck Feminized SeedsFrom Just: $39
Tangie Feminized SeedsFrom Just: $39
Sour Kush Auto-Flowering Feminized SeedsFrom Just: $37
Matanuska Thunder Feminized SeedsFrom Just: $37
Face Off OG Feminized SeedsFrom Just: $39
Purple Trainwreck Feminized SeedsFrom Just: $39
Lava Cake Feminized SeedsFrom Just: $39
UK Cheese Auto-Flowering Feminized SeedsFrom Just: $36
Pink Kush Feminized SeedsFrom Just: $39
Midnight Auto-Flowering Feminized SeedsFrom Just: $29
OG Kush Feminized SeedsFrom Just: $47