by Nebula Haze
Looks aren’t everything… but sometimes you want something sparkly to show off. Potency isn’t the whole story. Looks and smells affect the cannabis experience. And it’s always nice to have envy-inducing buds.
How do you grow buds like this?
Choose Strain That Naturally Grows Lots of Trichomes
The most important factor when it comes to the sparkle of your buds is genetics. Some strains get covered in sugar, while others don’t produce many visible trichomes. This isn’t an indicator of quality. I’ve had glitter-covered buds that had very weak effects (there are even no-THC strains that produce a lot of trichomes) and strains with no visible trichomes that sent me soaring to the moon for hours. However, sparkly buds are super trendy right now, and there are many outstanding choices that give you a glittery appearance and captivating effects at the same time.
These plants were grown together in the same setup. Look at the difference in trichomes based purely on genetics
Tips for Finding Glittery Genetics
- Look at pictures of the strain online so you know what to expect (learn how to research strains)
- American genetics tend to have higher trichome production than European strains, though not always
- Care for plants properly to get the most out of the genetics (more info below)
Today I’ll share some strains that produce lots of trichomes as well as great effects.
Peyote Critical produces great yields, sparkle, and potency. Easy to grow and fast-to-finish flowering. The perfect beginner strain.
Night Terror (only available non-feminized) – This strain is a sparkle monster!
Pineapple Chunk – I’ve grown this strain many times and it always comes out outstanding in appearance, taste, smell, and potency.
American genetics tend to have high trichome production, though it can be hit or miss. In the US, lots of seeds available for purchase are random crosses (seed “drops) and not consistent strains. These buds are a Cookies cross by Ethos Genetics.
Amnesia Auto (autoflowering) by MSNL produced excellent yields, smelled like a dream, and had trichomes everywhere!
Cinderella Jack Auto (autoflowering) by Dutch Passion produce outstanding potency and trichome production
How to Increase Trichomes with Any Strain
- LEDs – Each model produces somewhat different plant growth and bud development. I’ve grown with a few blurple LEDs and several quantum board LEDs, but so far I’ve had the best trichomes production with the ES300 LED grow light by The Green Sunshine Company (pictured below). LEDs seem to get the best results with temperatures around 79-82°F (26-28°F). Let us know which LED grow light has produced the most trichomes for you.
- HPS – HPS grow lights produce excellent trichome production as long it’s not hot or humid. HPS seems to get the best bud quality and trichome production with temperatures around 74-79°F (24-26°F). Since HPS lights produce a lot of heat and plants respond best at cooler temperatures, they are the perfect grow light in winter or any situation where you would otherwise need a heater to keep plants warm enough.
- CMH/LEC – There are different bulbs you can use in this type of fixture, and they produce different results. The “vegetative” bulbs (like the Philips 4200k “blue” bulb) can be used from seed to harvest, including in the flowering stage. Although this lowers yields compared to using the “flowering” or 3100k bulb, it amps up trichome and terpene production (likely due to increased UV light). The CMH flowering/3100k bulb produces amazing yields but has not produced an above-average amount of trichomes when I’ve used it. See an experiment.
- Blue and especially UV light seems to contribute to the creation more trichomes. Always wear eye protection around UV light sources!
HPS grow lights produce excellent trichome production as long as it’s not too hot or humid. These autoflowering plants were grown under a 250W HPS (from top left going clockwise: Purple Chem Auto, THC Bomb Auto, Purple Roc Berry Auto, OG Kush Auto).
CMH/LEC grow lights with a 4k bulb produce the most trichomes of any light I’ve tried so far. In some tests, it also seems to produce a high level of terpenes compared to other grow lights.
I touched a little on the environment when talking about the different grow lights but here’s more on what you can do to help produce as many trichomes as possible.
- Not Hot – Keep a comfortable temperature (it shouldn’t feel hot or cold to you) while buds are forming. Especially don’t let it get hot during the last 2 weeks before harvest
- Low Humidity – Keep humidity under 60% in the late flowering stage
- Strong Light – Lights should be bright but not so much plants get light stress
- No Nutrient Deficiencies – Plants tend to produce the most trichomes when they’re getting enough nutrients to stay healthy. Plants that suffer from nutrient deficiencies tend to grow less-sparkly buds.
- Low Nitrogen in Late Flowering – Nutrients should be designed specifically for bloom/flowering. These nutrients have less Nitrogen than Phosphorus/Potassium. Nitrogen is important at every stage of life, so it shouldn’t be completely cut out, but too much Nitrogen in the second half of the flowering stage can reduce trichome development and keep buds smaller.
- Supplement with UV light – Some growers add extra UV light during the last two weeks before harvest. This can increase trichome development but watch out for foxtails, herms, or bleaching.
“Good” Plant Stress
Some strategies to stress plants may increase trichome production.
- Supercropping – Bending/snapping plants in a way that stresses them without “breaking the skin” (if done right this can increase yields, too)
- Other Physical Stress – I’ve heard of growers cutting leaves and putting nails though stems the last day or two before harvest. The later option makes me sad 🙁
- Give 24-48 hours of darkness just before harvest – Be careful because if you don’t have a lot of green healthy leaves, this may discolor your buds.
- Water plants with ice water just before harvest – I’ve heard of some growers giving plants icy water just before harvest to try to shock their roots. Again, this is an unproven method…
Some supplements claim to actually increase either the number of trichomes on your buds, or the potency of your buds. Although there are lots of “snake oil” products out there in the supplement world, some supplements have proven themselves time and again.
Rhizoflora Terpinator is one of the most popular supplements to help increase trichome production and is used by both hobbyist and commercial growers to increase both the number of trichomes and terpene (smell) production. There are probably other great supplements that do this, too, but this particular one has been tried and tested by many real cannabis growers.
Just be careful. Overdoing it with Terpinator can cause foxtails, herms, or even kill your plants in extreme cases. This supplement works by stressing your plant in a way that increases tichomes, but too much stress is a bad thing. Use as directed!
Rhizoflora Terpinator can be an effective supplement. Just be careful not to go overboard!
Learn How to Improve Cannabis…
- Bud Quality
- THC Levels
- CBD Levels
- Bud Color (How to Grow Pink or Purple Buds)
- Glitter (Make Buds Sparkle with More Trichomes)
- Bonus: What Determines Yields?