Light deprivation greenhouses are quickly becoming the standard for cannabis production throughout the country. Light dep is a cost-effective growing technique that allows growers to get the most out of their growing space by harvesting high-quality cannabis throughout the year. Utilizing light deprivation techniques also allows growers to better meet the needs of the market. While dispensaries can run low on sun-grown cannabis later in the year, those manipulating the light cycle can fill this void and become more prominent in their regional market.
Cannabis won’t flower if its getting more than twelve hours of light in a day. During vegetative growth, the plants require more light. Light dep becomes essential to producing quality plants when the days become longer. Depending on the type of operation, manipulating the light cycle can be labor intensive and expensive. However, to maintain or create a thriving cannabis operation, light deprivation is essential.
Luckily, in today’s technological world, light deprivation is easier than it has ever been. No longer is a team needed to haul tarps around a growing space and to pull shade material over growing structures. Now, greenhouses can come outfitted with automated systems that cover plants with darkness when necessary, and just as easily provide light when required. Utilizing one of these automated systems allows growers to save money on lighting coasts, because they depend on the sun’s natural light, while also cutting labor costs. An automated light dep greenhouse has quickly become essential for any operation that is looking to completely maximize its profits.
The Basics of Light Deprivation
During vegetative growth, cannabis plants are being bombarded with light. The light allows them to grow at rapid rates, and during this time they can grow as much as two inches a day.
But how does the absence of light affect plant?
In the wild, cannabis plants begin to flower as the days shorten at the end of summer and beginning of fall. It’s important for growers to recognize that during this time the plant is responding to the longer periods of darkness, not the shortened periods of light. The plant requires 12 hours of darkness each day to flower, and because it is responding to the dark, it is essential to provide plants with 12 hours of uninterrupted darkness. If a plant is introduced to light at the wrong time, its flowering process will be disrupted. At times flowering may even be reversed.
Once the light dep cycle is implemented, the plants will begin to react within a few days. The growth rate will decline. During the flowering process, indica plants can grow 25 percent larger, while sativa plants may double in size. The plants’ gender will become apparent in a few weeks – usually by week three. Male plants will become taller, while female plants will grow shorter and sturdier.
As the effects of darkness start to promote flowering, growers will notice that stigmas will appear. This coincides with rapid flower growth, and the plant is on its way to providing the sought-after buds. The stigmas will shoot out and appear to make up most of the flower. Flower development will then begin to slow and the stigmas will dry out and darken.
Now the trichomes will start to present themselves and become more clear to the grower. They’ll fill with resin and become thicker. The plants will start to get their distinctive aroma, and eventually the trichomes will appear to be standing. The bud is ready to be processed.
All of this is possible because of darkness.
Due to this biological process, light deprivation is an essential part of cultivating cannabis year-round.