Flowering early is never a good idea if you want high yields per plant. When flowered early, marijuana plants will stop growing more branches that could have added more bud sites to your plant.
In the end, your plant will produce less than it should, had it grown a little bigger to accommodate more buds.
For people growing on limited timelines, flowering early might seem like an attractive idea, but you don’t stretch the plant to its full yielding potential.
Flowering early sounds better when you’re the one pulling the strings. However, when the plant initiates the change itself, it can be troubling.
Indoor growers rarely have issues with early flowering because the light cycles are strictly controlled.
On the other hand, outdoor growers experience these issues because any change in the dark cycle can induce flowering in the plants.
What Happens If Your Cannabis Flowers Too Early?
Cannabis plants might flower earlier than they should. This is often caused by long periods of darkness. Once the days grow longer, most strains will revert to the vegetative phase, but most indica varieties will continue into flowering, resulting in small plants and small yields.
Growing outdoors means you have to take the beating of weather changes.
Unfortunately, most growers think that the darkness needs to be longer for the plants to begin flowering.
This isn’t true.
Some strains are more sensitive to light than others. While some plants require days of endless darkness to induce flowering, some strains will begin flowering after 8 hours of darkness per day.
That means if a cloud hangs over your plant for a few days it is on its way to flowering.
You’ve got to be careful with the indica strains. Because once they initiate flowering, attempting to revert them to the veg stage might only stress them further.
Depending on the stability of your particular strain, abrupt changes in the light cycles might turn your plants into hermaphrodites.
Reasons Why Cannabis Plants Might Flower Early
Weed plants flower early for different reasons. But all the early flowering has to do with a lighting problem.
Exposure To a Dark Period
Some growers prefer to begin their grows indoors and then take them outdoors later.
Most of this is done to escape the weather’s ravages or give the plants a steadier light at the beginning.
If you introduce your plants outdoors when days are shorter, your plants might begin flowering because of exposure to the dark period.
Avoid taking your plants out too early into the season.
If you put your plants towards the end of March, when the spring begins, the plants will be exposed to nearly 12 hours of darkness, which is enough to induce flowering.
For some strains, by the time the days get longer, they’ll be far into flowering to revert, but most strains will revert to veg and flower appropriately.
An Abrupt Change in Lighting Cycles
For indoor growers, the changes in light cycles mean a lot.
If, for instance, you’re growing your plants at 20/4 light cycle, then for whatever reason the plant begins to receive 14 hours of light only, the extra 6 hours of darkness is enough to induce flowering.The same changes will induce flowering outdoors.
How Do You Reverse Early Flowering?
You can reverse an early flowering plant back to the vegetative stage by interrupting the dark cycle.
Indoors, simply increase the light exposure hours, like a 20/4 or 18/6 light schedule.
Outside, it’s pretty tough because you depend on the sun to shower its rays on the plant.
It’s even harder for plants grown in the ground, but you can set up lights to interrupt the dark cycle. Here, you’ll just have to be creative and make do with the resources you have.If you’re growing outdoors in pots, you can bring the plants indoors and treat them to custom lighting before the days get longer outdoors.
Why Are My Clones Flowering Early?
Clones generally flower earlier than seedlings. This is because they don’t have to grow taproots and start from zero. However, clones will also flower earlier than they should if exposed to more darkness.
Your clones will also flower prematurely if you cut them from flowering mother plants.
Clones take the age of the mother plant. So if you take a clone from a flowering mother plant, you’re taking a ‘flowering clone’. Even after changing the lights to the veg schedule, the clone will need time to revert from flowering.
When Not To Reverse An Early Flowering Plant
Early flowering plants are a spoiler when you want the best yields per plant. The bigger the plant grows, the better the yield.
Thus, if your plant flowers too early, your first instinct would be to revert it to the veg stage.
But sometimes, doing so can be counterproductive. Here are reasons not to revert your plant to the veg stage:
- If the plant is too far into flowering— Timing is essential in deciding whether to revert.
When the plants have gone too far into flowering, attempting to change the light cycles might not revert them but hurt the development of the buds.
Some strains can’t take the pain of light changes and thus might end up turning hermies. Sativa strains, in particular, do not revert to veg once they begin flowering.
2. If the plant isn’t healthy– Only a healthy plant can sustain the stress associated with abrupt light changes. If the plant is showing signs of ill health, let it progress into flowering. The buds will be smaller but just as potent.
3. When you prefer small plants— Some growers prefer to grow many small plants instead of a few huge ones.
So if you prefer your plants smaller, early flowering shouldn’t be something that troubles you.
Growing many small plants in a small space is just as productive. The Sea of Green (SoG) is a high-yielding technique that thrives on many small plants.
Some growers only veg for 3-4 weeks before flowering and still get a good harvest overall.
However, yield per plant will be reduced with small plants!
In summary, when your plants flower too early, your yield per plant will be reduced, and this will reduce your overall yield considerably. You can revert the plants to the vegetative stage to grow a little bigger for more bud sites and bigger buds.