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Defoliating Cannabis: How to Improve Growth of Your Plant

Indoor cannabis cultivation is all about maximizing light and space. Unfortunately, many cannabis strains can produce thick foliage that overshadows lower buds, preventing the plant’s ability to flourish. This is when defoliating cannabis becomes important.

Defoliation is an ideal way to increase the resources plants need for growth. So, if you want your cannabis to grow healthy, start defoliating cannabis. But before that, you need to learn some basics to do it right and not ruin your cannabis. Read further to get some insights about defoliation.

How to Defoliate Cannabis?

Unlike pruning, which strips away nodes and branches and is more aggressive, cannabis defoliation only removes leaves. But you may need to prune and defoliate your cannabis plants based on the need of your plants.

The purpose of this process is to expose buds to light that are hiding under leaves. Removing leaves from the marijuana plant during the flowering stage will shed ample light and offer oxygen, facilitating plumper and quicker growth.

Although defoliating cannabis during the flowering stage is a popular and common practice, some experts defoliate plants during the vegetative stage. However, defoliating at this stage presents significant challenges; new growers should avoid it until they have mastered it.

Wondering how to defoliate cannabis? Here are a few factors that you need to consider during defoliation.

  •  The plants should be leafy before defoliating.
  •  The whole plant is healthy, hardy, and fast-growing to undergo this process.
  •  Large fan leaves have developed buds that grow better and healthier when exposed to more light.
  • The weed plant is put inside with strong lighting for better growth (it’s not necessary)

In terms of when to defoliate weed, most professional cultivators suggest you defoliate at the beginning of the stage and one more time during their third week. However, you can always use the visual clues discussed above to determine the right time to defoliate.  

Method of Defoliating Cannabis

Whenever you decide to defoliate, begin with the large overlapping fan leaves. Removing these leaves will allow fresh air to reach buds, pointing them towards the sunlight and setting them free to grow. Asses your plant thoroughly, clearing away space for weed buds to flourish.

To get a more finishing look, you can also remove small stems at the bottom of the plant that will not develop buds. Note that anything you cut from the bottom of the plant, like bushy leaves or weak stems, allows the plant energy to rise to the lushest and top colas parts.

Benefits of Defoliating Cannabis Plants

Before we get to the benefits of defoliation, it’s essential to understand that cannabis plants have a significant amount of energy at their disposal to boost growth. This depends on several factors, the nutrient content of the soil, the amount of available soil, the amount of light, and temperature and humidity levels.

Growing plants indoors gives you the liberty to feed the right nutrients to your plants at the right time and control humidity and temperature according to your needs. But the amount of soil, light, and space plants can get is far less than in nature. Removing bigger leaves that don’t encourage development will help your plant produce the necessary amount of energy with its limited resources.

Getting rid of foliage will allow air circulation in the room, which will eventually reach your plants. It will keep humidity and temperature consistent throughout your crop and reduce the risk of pest infections and mold, which usually grow in humid and warm conditions.

Which Cannabis Plants to Defoliate?

Every cannabis plant is not a good candidate for the defoliation technique. Keep in mind that defoliation is not something that helps with ailing plants. Defoliation should only be used for super strong and healthy plants.

This is because healthy cannabis with plenty of green plants can easily tolerate mild stress caused by weed defoliation. If you practice the method on weak, sick plants, they will be more likely to die in a few weeks.

Good Candidate for Defoliation

Lots of Leaves

Your cannabis plant is strong and has ample leaves. If the leaves overlap and touch each other, it might be a perfect candidate for defoliation.

Excess Foliages

Healthy, fast-growing cannabis plants have too many leaves. The common indication of a plant with excessive leaves is that it will block airflow and light at the bottom of the plant, preventing the growth of hidden buds. Hence, a plant whose upper leaves are hiding under leaves is the best candidate for defoliation.

Hardy Genetics

If you have opted for a popular strain for being delicate or fickle, you should not attempt defoliation on it. Defoliating cannabis that belongs to hardy strain can endure some abuse.

How Much Defoliation should you do?

All the cannabis plants are different. So, we can’t say how much defoliation will work for your cannabis. Remember that going overboard with defoliation is possible. If you defoliate more than you should, you will notice signs of stress, such as slow growth and drooping.

So, for optimal results, take it easy! Beginner cultivators who don’t know how much to defoliate don’t remove every leave – just get rid of the bigger ones. Then, wait for a few weeks to see the response of your plant. If the plant is doing well, remove 15 to 20% more leaves blocking the light. Then, wait for a response.

You can follow this process to remove all the bigger ones that are hiding buds under it. However, cutting too many leaves can impact growth if your plants don’t show noticeable symptoms. The simplest way to successfully grow a healthy cannabis plant is experience. Until then, gradually defoliating cannabis is an ideal technique for you.

Bottom Line

In a nutshell, defoliating cannabis is the best way to support your indoor cannabis plants to grow fast and healthy. The best part is that the process is easy and simple. However, you just need to learn how much defoliating is enough for your cannabis plant.

If you are looking for reliable brands to purchase cannabis seeds from, you can contact Hypno Seeds. We are experts in the industry and can offer you guidance for cannabis-related queries.

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