15 Most common misconceptions about growing marijuana

Published Apr 9, 2019 10:32 a.m. ET

If you are just learning how to grow weed than it is important to educate yourself on the difference between facts and fiction that you may have been exposed to over the years regarding growing marijuana. There are a lot of common myths and misconceptions that plague the internet and have been spread around for years as gospel. If you don’t want to find yourself conducting unnecessary or potentially harmful experiments on your investment than we suggest you take a moment to glance over these 15 most common misconceptions surrounding the do’s and don'ts of growing marijuana.

1. More nutrients will make a plant grow faster

Marijuana plants do need much higher levels of nutrients than many other plant species, and if they aren’t fed properly, it will result in a wilt-y, discolored, and underdeveloped plant that won’t give you a very good harvest as far as size and potency are concerned. The thing is that too many nutrients can actually have the opposite effect on cannabis plants by burning and damaging or even killing them. It’s called a nutrient burn, and once it occurs, it can be incredibly difficult for a plant to recover fully. Adding too many nutrients during the flowering stage can also result in an awful tasting bud. Often, they are forever damaged by this mistake, so there is most definitely a thing as too many nutrients.

2. Cannabis plants grow like weeds

A lot of people think that there isn’t much more to growing weed then throwing down some seeds and hoping for the best. This stems from tales of marijuana plants that once thrived in ditches like weeds, lending the nickname weed plant. Though technically you could plant some seeds and simply hope for the best, that's not how professional growers of any plant start seedlings as it’s impossible to give them the best chance at not only surviving but also thriving.

3. Flushing marijuana plants is necessary

A lot of even the most experienced cannabis growers will introduce an official flushing period to their scheduled grow period immediately before harvest. This generally takes place for two weeks before the plants have fully matured. Though flushing a plant can help to rid it of some impurities, the most important thing to remember is to avoid fertilizing at all during the last two weeks of a plant’s life. Flushing will not remove high levels of chemicals that may impact flavor on its own, only waiting it out will give it time to utilize those nutrients before harvest.

4. Urine will help cannabis plants to grow better

One of the widest circulated myths about growing marijuana is that peeing on your plants will provide them with a hearty boost in nutrients that will help them to grow faster and better. Though urine does have high amounts of nitrogen in it, there are other things in there that aren’t very good for a plant, and some of them can even deprive cannabis of nutrients. Luckily there are many much less stinky and easier ways to give a plant what it needs without the added potential risk of causing a nutrient deficiency.

5. Goodseeds and genetics result in potent marijuana plant’s

Some good strong genetics can certainly be helpful when growing marijuana, but it won’t guarantee that your plants will be equally as healthy or potent every time. The most significant influence on the outcome of any weed strain is the conditions that it is grown within. The genetics only play a small part in a crops quality potential.

6. Watering cannabis plants with a flavored liquid will alter the taste

It is commonly believed that if you use flavored liquids to water when growing marijuana that it will change the flavor to a more enjoyable one once the buds are harvested and smoked. Some of the most recommended liquids to use are Kool Aid, fruit juices, urine, sugar water, molasses water, vanilla extract, and egg whites that have been mixed into water. Using any of these flavored juices to water marijuana plants can be harmful over time as the bacteria builds form sugary reside sitting on top of the soil which can grow mold and cause root rot. Molasses is the only one that seems to have any real positive effect on how a plant will taste and that is only in very small amounts during the flowering stage. The only way to truly alter the taste of a cannabis plant is to select genetics with an already enjoyable aroma or to manipulate a plant so that it increases natural terpene production.

7. Dark cycle when growing marijuana means pitch black

The entire point of the dark period when growing cannabis is to simulate the natural night a plant would experience if kept outdoors. This allows the plant time to rest and recuperate after a long day of intense light exposure. If you think about it, the average night is very rarely ever pitch black as the presence of the moon will light up the sky and glimmer off of streets and plants. Scientists have now realized that the moon holds a great deal of relevance to growers as it’s lighter rays will stimulate a marijuana plants rate of flowering helping to increase the overall yield to come harvest time.

8. Growing marijuana requires high temperatures

Marijuana plants are thermo periodic which means that they have evolved to develop within lower temperature range quite well. Though most growing will aim for a greenhouse type effect cannabis can often thrive in temperatures that drop 10-20 degrees below the average daily high of 23 C that Canadians will see during a typical growing season.

9. No nitrogen during the flowering stage

Nitrogen is an essential nutrient that is required throughout every growing phase of a marijuana plant including flowering. The main reason this particular myth has spread is due to many growers feeding their plants right up till harvest which can negatively affect the taste. Nitrogen can be given to a plant right up until the last two weeks before harvest.

10. Bag seeds work great to grow weed easy for beginners

Marijuana bag seeds are often recommended to those who are starting with a really low budget or just learning how to grow weed. Unfortunately, bag seeds are an awful choice even for the most experienced growers out there. This kind of seed will produce plants of varying genetics with a 50% or higher ratio of male vs.female plants. Males can be difficult to spot by the untrained eye and if left can read an entire crop essentially useless. For beginners and experienced people alike, the best seed option will be feminized seeds which guarantee a female marijuana plant every time and help to remove any guesswork from growing.

11. Marijuana plant gender can be predicted by counting leaf tips

Gender in young cannabis plants can be predicted as soon as 4 weeks into growing, but the number of tips that are present on a leaf will hold no relevance. The primary indicator of a male plant is a lack of tendrils and the presence of seed pods beginning to form.

12. Potassium stimulates flowering

Potassium is a very important nutrient to marijuana plants as it does many things like help to activate 50 enzymes and regulate water intake and nutrient delivery to plant cells. Though the addition of potassium during the flowering stage likely won’t hinder a cannabis plants growth, the ideal addition during this stage is phosphorus.

13. Checking water PH is necessary when growing marijuana

If you are using a soil substrate to grow your cannabis plants than there is no need to check the PH level of your water every time you use it. The only time that testing PH levels may be helpful is when using a hydro grow operation with a water base or when diagnosing and or treating a marijuana plant that is having issues.

14. Growing cannabis is expensive

Growing marijuana can get costly, but that depends on how you choose to tackle the task. There are many cost-effective options that you can start with like growing outdoors or using smaller fluorescent lights. Seeds tend to be the most expensive investment, and even that is only true for feminized seeds as bag seeds sell for pennies a piece. No matter how much it ends up costing you the result will be a product that is worth much more than what you have invested.

15. Male marijuana plants should be harvested at the same time as females

Those who are new to growing marijuana often make the mistake of assuming that male plants are equal to females and thus should be developed to full maturity and harvested right alongside their counterparts. If you were to do that, you would be left with an entire crop of seedy ruined weed, and this is entirely a misconception due to the uniqueness of cannabis. Many plants actually require both male and female plants to produce a high harvest, but the opposite is true when you are growing marijuana.

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