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The Flowering Stage

 

This is Part 7 of an 8-part series on becoming a Hydro Pro:

First, congratulations are in order, you have made it this far!

We know it's not easy, but we hope the experience has been worthwhile.

Today we'll teach you everything you should know about the all-important flowering stage.

Before we start, you are probably asking why do plants flower? To answer your question, the flowering stage is also known as the reproduction stage. It is where plants attempt to continue their species for another generation of growth.

Plants accomplish reproduction through pollination where a flower’s pollen was carried to another flower or dropped into the ground. It is usually carried through the wind, bees and other insects and animals. 

How do Plants Flower?

There are two types of flowering plants. The auto-flower and the photoperiodic flowering plants. Let us discuss each one of them!

Auto Flower Plants

For most plants flowering happens naturally. These plants are called “autoflower” plants. These plants simply produce their fruits when the reach the age of maturity.

Photoperiodic Flowering Plants

There is another kind of plant that needs a significant change in their environment like a change in temperature or light cycle, in order to begin the flowering stage.

This physiological reaction of organisms to the length of day/light or night/darkeness is called photoperodism.

Photoperiodism is also defined as the developmental responses of plants to the relative lengths of light and dark periods.

These type of plants uses a photoreceptor protein such as phytochromes. These receptors senses the level of intensity, duration and color of environmental light to adjust the plant’s physiology.

Receptors like phytochromes are pigments that the plants uses to detect light. They are sensitive to light in the far red region of the light spectrum. Plants uses red light to regulate the time of flowering based on the length of day and night. Exposure to red light activates the phytochromes active form while exposure to darkness activates phytochromes inactive form.

Plants then measure the ratio of active phytochromes to inactive phytochromes at dawn which then signals the plant whether they should vegetate or flower. The active to the inactive ratio of plants is also known as the critical photoperiod (the amount of light to dark period that is required to start flowering).

For some plants, the daylight should exceed the night length in order to start flowering (a.k.a long day plants) while other plants require short day length (a.k.a short day plants).

Now, for a great majority of plants, they begin flowering towards the end of the growing season where the length of day and night is almost equal.

When working with photoperiodic plants, it is important to note the dark period has paramount importance in the process. If there is any light leakage in your system then your plants will not transition to the flowering stage and will just continue its vegetative stage.

What Happens during Flowering?

During the flowering stage, the plant’s focus shifted from producing lush foliage to producing its reproductive organs.

The male reproductive part is called the stamen which produces the pollen.

While the female reproductive part is the pistil which contains the potential seeds.

Most plants are considered monoecious, meaning they carry both male and female reproductive parts.

Plants who have male and female reproductive in distinct and separate individuals are called dioecious plants. Some examples of dioecious plants are:

  • Asparagus
  • Kiwis
  • Hops
  • Papayas

Types of Pollen Carriers

In order for plants to reproduce, they would need pollen carriers and these carriers could be the following:

  • Insects
  • Birds
  • Wind
  • even Humans!

Plant’s Nutrient Needs during the Flowering Stage

We’ve always said that your plant’s nutrient need changes depending on the stage they are in. Needless to say, the nutrient need of your plants during the flowering stage differs from the vegetative stage.

As a general rule, the phosphorus and potassium consumption of your plants are increased and the nitrogen consumption decreases during the flowering stage.

During this stage, you may want to opt not to use foliar sprays. Foliar sprays can unnecessarily increase humidity and increase wet spots that might invite molds and mildews.

The Ideal Growing Environment

During the flowering stage, the following temperature is recommended:

  • Day Air Temperature: 74F to 82F
  • Night Air Temperature: 64F to 72F
  • Humidity: 40% to 50%, anything over 60% will encourage fungal growth

High Heat Zones

Now, if you live in an area with higher temperatures, or you're having trouble in keeping your temperature down, a good solution is to run your lights during the cool hours of night and have your dark periods during the hot hours of the day.

It is also important to consider airflow.

During this stage, it critical to monitor your growing environment. If your flowering plants suffer from poor environment then your harvest might suffer too.

Plant Support

As your plants grow and reach maturity, always have a good support in place. Utilizing a net trellis or tying the plant through a stake will ensure proper plant and fruit support.

Also, continuing shade management techniques like pruning is also a good practice. It will ensure air flow and proper light exposure.

Battling Bugs, Mildew and Infestation

Having unwanted bugs and infestation during the flowering stage could tricky as most pesticides is no longer recommend because it may affect your harvest or they may no longer work. The best course of action to avoid infestation is to:

  • Due diligence and preventive practices during earlier stage of growth
  • Closely monitor your plants
  • Ensure an ideal growing environment

What to Expect from your Plants

For starters, your plants can grow another 25% to 50% after they begin flowering.

Here are what to expect from your plants during the flowering stage:

Week 1
  • Plants appear as if they are continuing to vegetate
  • Growth rate slows down
Week 2
  • Vegetation Stops
  • The energy of plants is applied to producing flowers.
  • Flowers start to form along the nodes
Week 3
  • Number of flowering sites increases
  • Flower size increases
Week 4
  • Plants are close to reaching yjrot final height
  • Plants focus their energy to flowering
  • Odor may become noticeable
  • Frequent water and nutrient change is needed as plants absorb more nutrients and water.
Week 5 & 6
  • Visible fruits and flowers increases
  • Plants are becoming denser and thicker
Week 7 & 8
  • Plants will swell, ripen and reach maturity

Take note the timeframe we have given is based on most plants' maturity levels. It will still vary from plant to plant and strain to strain.

In addition, it is always good to review your plants’ specific visible signs when they reach maturity.

Flushing

As your plants reach maturity, it is important to flush out excessive nutrients stored in the plant's cells.

These excessive nutrients can affect the overall taste, smell and purity of your plant's fruits.

How to Flush your Plants?

In order to flush the excessive nutrients in your plants, simply fill your reservoir with PH conditioned water only for 3 to 7 days. By doing this, you are forcing the plant to use its excess nutrients.

And that is the end of the flowering stage.

Tune in next week for another exciting episode where we'll discuss the harvesting stage!


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