by Nebula Haze
Cannabis plants need short days (or more specifically long nights) in order to start flowering and make buds. Most indoor growers give their plants 12 hours of darkness and 12 hours of light each day to initiate budding and continue with that 12/12 light schedule until it's time to harvest. A 12 hour night is long enough to force almost any cannabis plant to enter the flowering stage and finish maturing in a reasonable amount of time.
However some cannabis plants, especially Sativa and Haze strains which originate near the equator, can take 3+ months to finish flowering if they're kept on a 12/12 light schedule. Their buds can sometimes take that long before they are mature.
Sativa and Haze strains often get really tall and can take months in the flowering stage before buds are mature! These colas from a Malawi Gold (Chamba) plant are already huge and have been flowering for almost two months! But they still aren't showing signs of stopping! This strain can take 4+ months to finish flowering if kept on a 12/12 schedule!
If you're growing a long-flowering plant indoors, and want to "hurry it along" one of the best things you can do is reduce the light period so your plant is getting longer nights. For example you could give your plants 13 or 14 hours of darkness each day (11/13 or 10/14 schedule) to hasten the plant. It "thinks" winter is coming and finishes up in less time.
Give plants longer nights to get them to mature faster!
The downside to this technique is you will reduce your yields by giving your plant fewer hours each day. Additionally, your plant will be done budding sooner, so you'll lose the weeks of budding it could have had, which would have also added to the final weight of your buds.
Because of the potentially reduced yields, it's recommended to wait until the plant has been flowering for at least 8 weeks before you initiate longer nights. That gives buds enough time to fully form before the plant gets reduced light each day!
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