How Light Schedules Affect a Marijuana Plant

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How Light Schedules Affect Marijuana Life Stages

Marijuana plants go through two main life stages called vegetative and flowering. Exposure to light greatly affects how marijuana plants grow and flower during these stages. The length of exposure to light can affect how fast the plants flower. All strains of marijuana called “photoperiod dependent” are highly sensitive to light. There are some strains called “auto flowering,” which are not as sensitive. However, these auto flowering strains are very rare and have to be specially ordered.

How Light Affects Vegetative Stage

This is the stage when marijuana plants mature and get ready to flower. How plants go through this stage and flower will greatly depend on how much light is available.  For optimal growth and flowering, the plants should be given at least 18 hours of light and 6 hours of darkness each day without any interruptions. Growers who want plants to quickly mature and flower keep the vegetative stage in a 12-12 light schedule, where light is available for 12 hours per day. Plants can be kept in 24 hours of light as well.

How Light Affects the Flowering Stage

Marijuana plants that grow in the wild start flowering in the fall. The flowering is triggered by the lessening of the intensity of light the season brings after summer, which indicates to the plants that the end of their life cycle in near.  Most growers keep plants on an 18-6 light schedule during the vegetative stage and switch to a 12-12 light schedule in the flowering stage. The plants, in this case, get 4 hours of less light, triggering the flowering stage.

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