Light Dep Weed: Everything You Need To Know

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Light dep weed
Author avatar By Parker Curtis
January 13, 2022
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Light dep weed cultivation methods allow growers to harvest faster and more regularly than natural seasons allow. By following light deprivation techniques, cultivators can grow fat buds year-round at a fraction of indoor growing costs.

Light deprivation techniques usually only work on regular and feminized seeds, as auto-flowering versions have a dedicated lifespan that disregards light exposure. Let’s find out what light dep weed is and how to use light deprivation to grow massive colas.

Cannabis in a light-deprived greenhouse
Cannabis in a light-deprived greenhouse

What is light dep weed?

Light deprived weed, or light dep for short, is a fairly straightforward cannabis cultivation technique. Growers reduce their crops’ light exposure to trick the plant into thinking that the flowering season begins sooner than it does.

Growers can practice light deprivation weed methods indoors, outdoors, or in a greenhouse, regardless of how many crops they plant. Most states restrict private growers to 6 plants, which can take up some space, so outdoor and greenhouse setups are generally the most popular.

The size of light dep cannabis is often underestimated and may become unmanageable in indoor setups if the strain in question grows particularly tall or wide.

Setting up a cannabis light deprivation system outside or in a greenhouse is often more cost-effective than indoor setups with similar dimensions. While a grow room or grow tent is fantastic, the limited space and high energy costs can become a stumbling block in the long term.

Outdoor light dep setups allow growers to utilize the natural light and airflow while spending less on electricity and ventilation. However, outdoor steps may require additional protection to prevent damage during adverse weather.

Greenhouses are a great option for growers that want to cultivate light dep weed. Cultivators can use darkened panels to reduce light exposure while maintaining their crops’ stable, safe environment. Additionally, greenhouse growers can add lights to their setup to create a 12–hour day/night cycle.

Is light dep weed good or bad?

Many people question if light dep weed is good or bad for the plant, the quality of the buds, or the yields. The answer is: it’s good. Using cannabis light deprivation methods to cultivate your crops boosts yields and potency while giving the plant a well-balanced life cycle.

Several studies about light deprivation weed suggest this cultivation method is also good for the environment. The main benefits of light dep cannabis are: 

  • Multiple harvests per year as the plants have a shorter overall lifespan.
  • Reduced energy consumption when growing light dep weed vs. indoor crops.
  • More sustainable than standard indoor and greenhouse setups.

Using an automated cannabis light deprivation system is the best option if you’re growing indoors or in a greenhouse. Outdoor growers needn’t worry about energy costs, as the sun brings the light, and shade cloth provides light deprivation.

Light dep weed vs. indoor

It’s tough to draw a comparison of light dep weed vs. indoor cannabis. Indoor, greenhouse, and outdoor environments can utilize different light deprivation techniques and have varying results.

Usually, outdoor growers maximize the availability of the summer sun, with up to 14 hours per day. However, outdoor light dep weed should be in a spot that receives only 12 hours.

Standard indoor setups require artificial lighting with a 16:8 light/dark cycle to stimulate growth and a 12/12 light cycle during the flowering phase. However, indoor light dep weed stays at a 12–hour cycle throughout their lifespan.

Greenhouses are generally the go-to setup for light dep cannabis cultivators. Growers can modify it where needed, protect their plants, and save on long-term energy costs. 

Indoor grow room
Indoor grow room

What is the light deprivation yield per plant?

The average light dep yield per plant depends as much on the cannabis strain in question as to whether it’s light dep weed or not. Every strain has its yield capacity, which depends on multiple factors such as strain genetics, environment, nutrients, and space.

It’s impossible to say how many oz of light dep weed you’ll harvest, as yields depend on various factors. As a whole, growers that follow light dep cannabis cultivation methods often see a 25–30% increase in yields compared to standard indoor, outdoor, or greenhouse setups. 

When can you use light deprivation?

Whether you grow indoors, outdoors, or in a greenhouse, the time you use light deprivation techniques will differ. Indoor and greenhouse growers aren’t restricted to seasons like outdoor cultivators and can grow cannabis all year.

Before you begin the light deprivation techniques, give your plants some time to grow. If you have an automated light system, provide your plants with 13–15 hours of light per day for the first few weeks. Once their limbs are strong and they’re a good size, you can reduce the available light.

A good rule of thumb is to wait about 4–8 weeks into the vegging phase before turning your crops into light dep weed. It gives them time to develop enough that they will sufficiently carry nutrients to the flowers.

Light deprivation techniques: how to grow with light dep weed

There are multiple light deprivation techniques that cultivators can use to boost their yield sizes and frequency. 

Outdoor light dep weed is very easy to manage and straightforward to set up. You simply need some shade cloth or tarp sheets to cover your crops and reduce light exposure.

Greenhouse growers can replace their panels with tinted ones or cover the entire space with dark sheets or black plastic to grow light dep greenhouse cannabis. 

If you only have one or two plants and want to grow indoor light dep cannabis, the best way to do so is on your windowsill. Block the sun with a curtain or blind when needed or place them in a windowsill that only receives 12 hours of light per day at most.

Greenhouse light deprivation technique
Greenhouse light deprivation technique

How to automate light dep weed

Many growers don’t appreciate the benefit of an automated lighting system and often shrug it off as a luxury. Automating your light dep weed is essential for consistent growth and quality. 

A 24–hour timer plug costs next to nothing and allows you to set your light schedule with ease. You only need to set the timer, plug it into the wall, and flick the switch.

FAQs about light deprivation

Light dep weed is a fascinating subject that often provides more questions than answers. We decided to look at the most commonly asked:

Is light dep better than greenhouse?

Yes and no. Although light dep weed flowers faster and often produces higher yields than standard greenhouse crops, it does require more attention and further costs.

How long does light dep take to grow?

The lifespan of your light dep cannabis crop depends on the strain, soil, and light. There’s no clear-cut cultivation duration, and it can take anywhere between 12–20 weeks for light dep weed to be ready for harvest.

Is light dep better than outdoor?

Depending on the variant, climate, nutrients, and other factors, growers might have higher yields when they grow light dep weed versus outdoor crops. However, overall bud flavors, potency, and yields can also vary heavily depending on the strain.

Light deprivation cannabis
Light deprivation cannabis

Grow your own light dep weed

Growing light dep weed at home provides delicious, potent buds and high yields in a shorter time than standard cultivation methods. Why not try growing your own light dep cannabis at home?

Girl Scout Cookies feminized seeds are perfect for small-scale light deprivation techniques. As hybrid plants with high yield potentials, these babies are every light dep cannabis cultivators’ dream.

If the size doesn’t matter, and you want the biggest, juiciest plants in town, look no further. Visit Homegrown Cannabis Co and join the Homegrown Forum to learn more about light dep weed and which seeds are the best for the job.


About the author: Parker Curtis

Parker Curtis has around a decade of cannabis-growing experience, specialising in soil-less and hydro grows. He’s mastering outdoor, greenhouse, and indoor grows.

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