How to Get Bigger Buds Indoors and Outdoors - Happy Hydro

As cannabis legalization continues to sweep across the United States and other parts of the world, more and more people are taking up the hobby of growing their own cannabis plants. Growing cannabis can be a rewarding hobby, but for many growers, it can also be challenging. One of the biggest challenges for growers is growing bigger buds.

In this article, we'll explore the best techniques for growing bigger cannabis and how to get bigger buds too, from genetics to harvesting.

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Genetics: The Answer to "How to Get Bigger Buds"

When it comes to growing cannabis, the genetics of the plant is the foundation of big, potent buds. The right genetics can make all the difference in the world when it comes to the size, density, and potency of your buds.

In fact, the code inscribed in DNA dictates the properties of an individual plant's life cycle, including things like leaf shape, flavor, ratios of aromatic terpenes, and active cannabinoids produced by the, flowering times, height, and many other aspects, says Amsterdam Genetics.

Choosing the right seeds

When selecting seeds, it's important to look for high-quality, reputable breeders with a track record of producing strong, healthy plants. Avoid cheap, unknown seeds that are often of poor quality and can produce weak, low-yielding plants.

If the genetics of the strain you select are unstable, there is more variability in the outcome of the offspring. Unstable genetics are often blamed for hermaphroditic plants and other unexpected outcomes in the growth cycle.

Therefore, it's essential to do your research and ensure that you select a strain with stable genetics to produce the best possible results.

Using the Screen of Green (SCROG) Method

If you're looking to increase your cannabis yields, the Screen of Green (SCROG) method might be the perfect technique for you. This method involves using a screen as a trellis to control and guide the growth of your plants.

As a result, you'll be able to create an even canopy of dense flowers that distributes light more effectively, leading to more bud growth.

Getting started with your SCROG

To get started with the SCROG method, you'll want to place a screen over your plants once they reach a height of around 10 inches. This will give you enough space to work with while still allowing the plants to grow tall enough to reach the screen. The screen itself should be sturdy and able to hold the weight of your plants buds well as they grow.

As your plants continue to grow, you'll want to tie down the branches so they grow horizontally along the screen. This will help to create an even canopy that allows for more efficient light distribution. It's important to use gentle wire or string to avoid damaging the plants.

How does the SCROG increase my yields?

By training your plants in this way, you'll be able to maximize the number of bud sites and ultimately increase your yields. While the SCROG method can be a bit more time-consuming than some other techniques, it's a great option for growers who are looking to take their yields to the next level.

As an added bonus, the horizontal growth pattern created by the SCROG method can make it easier to keep your plants at a manageable height, which is especially important for indoor growers.

The Importance of Canopy Airflow for Bigger Buds

Good airflow is crucial for the health and rapid growth of your cannabis plants. It helps to prevent the buildup of moisture, which can lead to mold and mildew. Airflow also ensures that your plants are getting enough carbon dioxide, which is essential for photosynthesis. When your plants have access to enough CO2, they can produce more energy, which translates to bigger and denser buds.

To ensure proper canopy airflow, you need to make sure that your plants are not too close together. When plants are overcrowded, they compete for resources like light, water, and nutrients. This can lead to stunted growth and smaller buds. You also need to ensure that when growing indoors there is adequate space between the plants and the walls of your grow room. This space allows air to move freely and circulate around the plants.

Investing in a fan or two can also help improve airflow in your grow room. You can place the fans strategically to ensure that fresh air moves around the entire room, including the top of the canopy, where the buds are growing.

Make sure to purchase high-quality circulation fans! If you look around you may see that a lot of oscillating fans have bad reviews because of low-quality parts and the wires coming loose over time from the movement of the fan. This is not a product that we recommend skimping out on.

Density Boosting Supplements for Cannabis Plants

When it comes to growing cannabis, every grower wants to achieve the highest yield and quality possible. One way to boost the density of your buds is by using additives and supplements designed specifically for that purpose.

Using bud hardeners

As a grower, you might have heard about bud hardeners, but are they safe to use on your cannabis plants? The answer isn't a simple yes or no, but rather depends on the specific product you're using and how you use it.

First, let's clarify what bud hardeners are. These products contain high levels of phosphorus and potassium, which are essential nutrients for plant growth. They are intended to be used during the flowering stage to promote the growth of dense and heavy buds. One potential danger of using bud hardeners is the risk of overfeeding your plants. Overfeeding can lead to nutrient burn, which can damage your plants and reduce their overall health and yield. It's important to follow the manufacturer's instructions and use the product sparingly.

Another potential issue is the use of growth hormones in some bud hardeners. While these hormones can promote bud growth, they can also have negative effects on your plants and your health.

Using plant growth regulators (not recommended)

Plant Growth Regulators (PGRs) are chemicals that can be used on cannabis plants to enhance their growth and appearance. These chemicals come in two types: naturally derived and chemically derived.

Naturally derived PGRs include kelp, chitosan, and triacontanol, while chemically derived PGRs include Daminozide (Alar) and Uniconazole. These PGRs are sprayed on plants or added into fertilizers to help plants grow more uniformly or to manipulate certain attributes.

The most common PGR: Paclobutrazol

The most commonly used PGR is Paclobutrazol (PBZ). PBZ is a plant growth retardant that binds to enzymes crucial to the cannabis growing process. While PBZ may make buds look denser and more valuable, it is important to note that this chemical can negatively affect the quality of the plant and smoking paclobutrazol-contaminated buds can cause the compound to break down into nitrosamines.

Nitrosamines are considered to be the most carcinogenic compounds found in cigarettes, and long-term exposure to them can cause a variety of cancers. The use of PGRs in general, including PBZ, is a controversial topic in the cannabis industry and should be avoided in our opinion.

Feeding with carbohydrates

Another type of supplement that can help increase bud density and create huge buds is sugar-based additives.

These products contain carbohydrates that can provide your plants with all the energy that they need to grow larger and denser buds.

In addition to increasing bud size, sugar-based additives can also enhance the flavor and aroma of your cannabis. According to an article on Maximum Yield, carbohydrate formulas can feed vital microorganisms in the roots, which break down organic matter and feed the plants.

This process can help produce healthier plants with stronger terpene profiles.

It's worth noting that carbohydrate formulas are primarily used in the flowering stage of growth, but they can also provide benefits in the vegetative stage.

Using amino acids

Amino acid blends are also commonly used to promote denser, massive buds. They are the building blocks of proteins, which are essential for plant growth and development.

They're are involved in many aspects of plant growth and development, including nutrient uptake, photosynthesis, and hormone synthesis. Amino acids can also help improve plant resilience to stress and disease, which can lead to better yields overall.

By providing your plants with a blend of amino acids during the flowering stage, you can help increase the size and density of your buds.

Don't over-do it

While these supplements can be effective, it is important to use them in moderation and to follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully.

Overuse of these products can actually harm your plants and reduce your overall yield and you should be very careful if you're a beginner.

It's always best to start with a small amount and see how your plants respond before increasing the dosage. In addition, it is important to note that the use of supplements and additives should not be a substitute for proper growing techniques such as providing adequate light, water, and nutrients.

Low Stress Training (LST) for Big Buds

Low Stress Training (LST) is a popular technique used by growers to increase yields and manipulate the size and shape of their plants. LST is a bit like cultivating bonsai trees, as you are manipulating the plant's growth through gentle bending and pruning, rather than topping or cutting it.

In this section, we will discuss how to implement LST and why it is a useful technique for cannabis growers who want to grow big buds.

Implementing your LST strategy

To begin implementing LST, start by gently bending the branches of your plants downwards and away from the center of the entire plant. Use wire or string to hold the branches in place. This will help to create a more even canopy and promote more bud growth.

By bending the branches, you are redistributing the plant's hormones to encourage more lateral growth, resulting in more bud sites and a larger overall yield.

It is important to note that LST should be done during the vegetative stage of growth, as the branches are still flexible and can be manipulated easily.

Implementing LST has many benefits, including increasing yields and promoting even growth. By using this technique, you can create a more uniform canopy, ensuring that all parts of the plant receive an equal amount of light and nutrients. This can also help to prevent mold and mildew, as there are no shaded areas where moisture can accumulate.

Remember to start with a small amount of bending and gradually increase as the plant responds positively. With patience and practice, you can master the art of LST and take your cannabis growing to the next level.

Flowering Stage: Why It's Critical for Bigger Buds

The flowering stage is a critical time in plant life and the growth cycle of your cannabis plants, as this is when your buds begin to form and mature. During this stage, it's important to maintain the right temperature and humidity levels in your grow room, as well as providing your plants with the right nutrients.

Keep your environment & nutrients dialed in

According to Ed Rosenthal, author of "Marijuana Grower's Handbook," the ideal temperature for the is around 68-77°F (20-25°C) during the day and 58-70°F (14-21°C) at night. You should also maintain a relative humidity level of around 40-50% during this stage. Additionally, it's important to ensure that your plants are receiving the right nutrients during the flowering stage.

Phosphorus and potassium are essential for bud development, so it's a good idea to switch to a bloom-specific nutrient formula that is higher in these elements. Be sure to follow the instructions on the nutrient package, as overfeeding can be just as harmful as underfeeding.

Monitor the pH levels of your watering solution

One way to ensure that your plants are receiving the right nutrients is to monitor their pH levels. pH levels can affect nutrient availability, so it's important to maintain a pH range of 5.5-6.5 during the flowering stage. You can use a pH testing kit or meter to check the pH levels of your nutrient solution and adjust as needed with pH up or down solutions.

Use the correct amount of light intensity

It's also important to provide your plants with enough light during the flowering stage. Most cannabis strains require 12 hours of uninterrupted darkness to induce cannabis flowering stage, followed by 12 hours of light.

According to an article on GPN Magazine, cannabis is a highly versatile crop that can thrive under high levels of light, with optimal photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) ranging from 950 to 1,200 in full bloom, which translates to 41 to 51 daily light integral (DLI). The author of the article, who has experience working with various flowering plants, emphasizes that takes on more light than any other plant they have worked with in the past.

Harvesting Your Cannabis Plant for Maximum Yield

Harvesting cannabis is a crucial step in the growing process that requires careful observation and attention to detail to achieve maximum yield.

Harvesting too early or too late can significantly impact the potency and quality of the buds.

In this section, we will discuss the best practices for harvesting cannabis to help you the most out of your crop.

Always check your trichomes with an LED Loupe

Observing the trichomes is the first step in determining when to harvest your plants. Trichomes are the small, crystal-like structures that cover the buds, and they play a vital role in the plant's potency.

As the the plant grows and matures, the trichomes will change color from clear to milky white or amber. According to Kyle Kushman, the best time to harvest is when the trichomes are around 50-70% milky white and 30-50% amber. Use a magnifying glass or jeweler's loupe to examine the trichomes and determine when they are at their peak.

Trim & dry your cannabis plants properly

Once you've determined that it's time to harvest, it's crucial to use clean, sharp pruning shears to avoid damaging the buds. Start by cutting the main stem of each plant at the base, and then trim away any excess leaves and stems from the buds. This process is known as "trimming" and helps to remove any unwanted plant material that could affect the quality of the buds.

After trimming, it's time to dry the buds. Hang them upside down in a cool, dark, and well-ventilated area for about a week. This process allows the buds to dry slowly, which helps to preserve their potency and flavor.

Be sure to keep an eye on the humidity level, as buds that are too moist can develop mold and mildew.

Once the buds are dry, you can trim away any remaining leaves and stems and store them in airtight containers in a cool, dry, and dark place. This process, known as "curing," allows the buds to continue to dry slowly and develop their flavor and aroma. Curing can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks, depending on the desired results.

Protip for harvesting outdoors

It's important to note that the best time of day to harvest outdoor marijuana plants is in the morning, before the sun blasts them. This helps to prevent excess moisture buildup and allows the to dry more evenly. Additionally, be sure to avoid harvesting marijuana plants that are wet or dewy, as this can lead to mold and mildew growth.

Nutrient Deficiencies and pH Levels

Nutrient deficiencies and incorrect pH levels can negatively impact the growth of cannabis plants and result in smaller buds. It's important to understand how to prevent and address these issues in order to cultivate healthy and high-yielding plants.

One of the most common nutrient deficiencies in cannabis plants are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium deficiencies, which can cause yellowing of the leaves and stunted growth [1]. These deficiencies can be prevented by using high-quality soil or hydroponic nutrient solutions that are specifically formulated for cannabis. It's also crucial to monitor your plants for signs of nutrient deficiencies and adjust your nutrient regimen as needed.

How pH levels affect nutrient availability

Aside from nutrient deficiencies, pH levels can also affect nutrient availability. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral. Values below 7 indicate an acidic soil, and above 7 indicate an alkaline soil.

Maintaining the proper pH range for your plants is important because a change in pH by one unit means it is 10 times more acidic or alkaline. Iron deficient rose leaves is an example of the effect of pH levels on plants.

To maintain proper pH levels, monitor the pH levels of your nutrient solution as well as the pH levels of your soil or growing medium. The ideal pH range for flowering cannabis plants is between 6.0 and 7.0, with hydroponic systems leaning towards the lower end of the range. Adjusting pH levels can be done using pH adjusters such as pH up or down solutions, which are available at most garden stores.

Indica-Dominant vs Sativa-Dominant: Which Produces Bigger Buds?

When deciding which strain of cannabis to grow, there are many factors to consider, including the growth characteristics of the plant and the effects of the strain. Two of the most common types of cannabis strains are indica-dominant and sativa-dominant strains.

Let's talk Indica

Indica-dominant strains are known for their short, bushy growth pattern and are often preferred by growers looking for high yields of dense, resinous buds. They grow faster than sativa, and each plant produces more buds.

This makes them a popular choice for growers looking to maximize their yields. Indica-dominant strains are also generally easier to grow, making them a good choice for beginners.

Let's talk Sativa

Sativa-dominant strains, on the other hand, are known for their tall, slender growth pattern and are often preferred by growers looking for a more cerebral, uplifting high. They are are tall and thin with finger-like leaves.

In comparison to indica plants, sativa plants generally take longer to mature and have a longer flowering period. While indica plants can take up to 10 weeks to flower outdoors, sativa plants can take up to 4 months to fully mature.

This extended growth period is due to the tall and slender growth pattern of sativa plants, which requires more time to develop dense and resinous buds. Sativa-dominant strains require more attention and care during the growing process, but they can still produce big buds.

While both types of strains can produce big buds, the growth characteristics of each strain can affect the overall yield and density of your buds. Indica-dominant strains generally produce higher yields of dense, larger buds, while sativa-dominant strains may produce lower yields of less dense buds. However, this can vary depending on the specific strain and growing conditions.


As a cannabis grower, the ultimate goal is to produce high-quality buds that are both potent and flavorful. While this may seem like a daunting task, it is achievable with the right techniques and a little bit of patience.

As mentioned earlier, the key to growing bigger cannabis buds lies in selecting high-quality genetics, providing your plants with the right nutrients and environment, and harvesting at the right time.

Remember, genetics is the biggest factor when it comes to growing big buds. So it is crucial to select high-quality genetics when choosing your cannabis strains. Make sure to do your research and choose a strain that is known for producing large, dense buds.

In addition to genetics, providing your plants with the right nutrients and environment is also crucial for bud development. Make sure to use a high-quality nutrient solution and follow the recommended feeding schedule for your plants.

Also, maintaining the right temperature, humidity, and light levels in your grow space can significantly improve the size of your buds!

Author | Chris McDonald

With two decades of expertise, Chris leads Happy Hydro in redefining sustainable gardening and delights in backpacking adventures, mind-expanding journeys, and creating memories with his loved ones.

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