With the increasing popularity of cannabis consumption, there is also a rise in the variety of strains available in the market – and this includes pink or purple-toned buds. While these multicolored flowers are not known to possess any recreational or medicinal advantage over their green counterparts, face-value certainly has its strong points. Even better, by having enough horticulture know-how, producing these colorful plants is attainable.
Changing The Colors Of Cannabis Constituents
Having brightly-colored cannabis is a novel trend that creates an alluring visual appearance. Although that does not equate to enhanced cannabinoid potency or health effects, this fascination is still taking the horticulture and retail scene by storm.
Parts That Can Alter Colors
When talking about colorful cannabis, vibrant multihued buds often come to mind. However, aside from the precious flowers, other parts can also veer away from their standard colors, such as pistils, leaves, and trichomes. Some of these components contribute to a physically appealing growth. Meanwhile, others have a massive impact on the cola’s final look, which may affect its salability.
The primary cannabis product for consumption is the buds. These flowers are composed of hundreds of calyxes piled on top of each other, containing the plant’s reproductive organs, pistils, stigmas, as well as resin glands. They also provide most of the color to the buds, although the distribution ratio varies. In general, the higher the percentage of purple calyxes are, the more vibrant colas appear.
Protruding from the calyx are the female cannabis’ sexual organ called pistils, this is one way to identify the gender of cannabis plants and ensure they are female. These hairy filaments, in some cases, turn pink or purple, while the rest of the buds remain green. When this happens, some of the pistil color may be retained after drying or curing.
Depending on the strain and the environment, leaves may turn purple while the green buds stay unaffected. The change often takes place when cannabis is exposed to cold night temperatures. In addition, the part of the foliage unshielded from direct light is more likely to turn plum, while those under the shade maintain their emerald hue.
Although this phenomenon is aesthetically pleasing, most of the leaves are trimmed off after harvest, which means that the gorgeous color will be of no use or advantage.
The crystal-capped outgrowths on cannabis leaves, calyxes, and buds are termed as trichomes. Also known as cannabinoid factories, they start clear before turning milky white, indicating that the buds have reached their maximum THC levels and are ready for harvest. If the flowers are not collected, the gooey coat will become yellowish, bearing subdued effects, then eventually wilt and die.
From time to time, however, the resin glands may turn pink or purple, making it challenging to determine when to harvest. In this case, it is best to rely on the pistils instead.
Although vivid trichomes pose a challenge when harvesting, they are quite a sight to behold because of their exotic appearance. Moreover, the resin color may leave a tint on the buds after drying and curing, but the original nug color will remain dominant.
Reasons Why Leaves And Buds Turn Purple
Numerous plant species – cannabis included – bring forth to purple leaves. While it can be a telltale sign of phosphorus deficiency, more often than not, the occurrence is instigated by these three factors:
Genetics. Some cannabis variants are rich with anthocyanin, a type of flavonoid that produces red, blue, and purple hues in floras. However, most won’t change colors unless triggered by environmental elements.
Extreme Light Conditions. Anthocyanin also protects a plant’s photosynthetic tissue. The synthesis aims to shield the flora against the harmful UV-B rays of the sun or from stress brought about by different light intensities.
Lower Temperatures. A drop in grow room temperature at night time momentarily pauses chlorophyll production. It mimics the natural temperature decrease during autumn, which is when leaves turn, red, orange, or purple due to the break down of the green pigment. Depending on the strain, some leaves may change hue while the buds remain green.
Advantage Of Non-Green Cannabis
Besides its fascinating appearance, pink or purple-toned flowers are not superior or different from their green counterparts. Furthermore, the alleged benefits gained from colored flowers are likely because of the strain rather than the hue.
According to a 2013 journal, there is no significant evidence that anthocyanin impacts human biology or illnesses. Though it is an excellent antioxidant present in foods like berries, the pigment would theoretically only be advantageous when the cannabis buds are eaten. Similarly, the anti-inflammatory properties of anthocyanin may be more operative only when ingested. That being said, strains with higher concentrations of CBD may be a more definite way to harness the anti-inflammatory properties than going for plum-colored cannabis.
It is important to note, however, that this field is still subject to scientific testing, so until then, there is no surefire way of telling whether the anti-inflammatory effects present in anthocyanin-rich foods can be found in purple cannabis or not. On the other hand, when it comes to potency, purple buds tend to have lower THC content than green ones. But this does not mean that high-THC is not feasible.
Turning The Cannabis To Pink Or Purple
There are several reasons why purple or pink cannabis is preferred – it could simply be for fun, visual appeal, or an increased price markup. Whatever the reason, growing varicolored buds is highly achievable. Bear in mind, however, that the endeavor’s success primarily due to genetics drawn out by skilled cultivation. Ergo, no matter what is done, some strains will never churn off buds that are anything but green because of their genotype.
Colorful Strains With Vibrant Buds And Pistils
Before anything else, it is vital to start with the right genetics – that is, to stick only to variants naturally inclined to exhibit mauve tinge. For a maximum effect, it is imperative to select strains known to yield many colorful pistils and the calyxes, since these constitute the final color the most. It is a bonus if the leaves and trichomes are vivid as well.
Dark-Colored Strains For An Intense Color Payoff
Sometimes referred to as black strains, these plants with deeply tinted buds also tend to showcase pistils and nearby leaves in dark tones. It is recommended to opt for such variants as it increases the chance of retaining dark lilac shade even after drying or curing. At any rate, it is best to steer clear of pale buds since they usually lose most of their vibrancy after post-harvest procedures.
It is important to note that it is only natural for the color to diminish after these processes. Even bright green buds become a more subdued green once they have been cured for a few weeks. Hence, fiercely colorful buds typically mean that they are still quite fresh.
When cultivating cannabis that changes colors, keep in mind that certain strains only reveal their non-green hues when exposed to night temperatures that are cooler than daytime during the late flowering stage. On the other hand, some will undergo color change regardless of the heat, or lack thereof, while others remain unaffected.
It is advisable to maintain the grow room snug within 24 to 27°C (75-80°F) during daytime hours and cool in evenings at 18 to 21°C (65-70°F) since this contrast seems to help draw out the colors for most genetically inclined strains. For example, variants like Auto Frisian Dew turn into bright purple more easily when exposed to 70°F (21°C) temperatures at night. Conversely, strains like Querkle respond and turn color more quickly when the temperature is warm throughout.
In some situations, intense, direct lighting may potentially induce purple tones on the buds and leaves. Although the reason is unclear, it is possible that it is the sunscreen function of anthocyanin at work. In the end, the role of light levels varies depending on the strain.
pH Levels At The Roots
It is exceedingly rare for the pH of the medium to affect plant color, but it may be the case in some cannabis strains. For example, the variant Fucking Incredible (FI) purportedly generates pink or reddish pistils at pH ranges around 6.8 (in soil), but produces the usual white pistils at pH levels closer to 6. Further testing, however, is still needed to verify its effectivity and to figure out which strains respond to such stimulants, so this method must be executed with a grain of salt.
9 Best Pink And Purple Cannabis Strains
With their captivating beauty, it is hardly a surprise that rich, multi-hued cannabis are taking the spotlight and racking in cash. Here are some of the strains known for their eye-catching colors.
Photoperiod (Regular) Strains
Also known as short-day plants, photoperiod floras like cannabis are light-dependent and require specific lengths of light/dark exposure to go into different life cycle stages. In brief, the herb stays in the vegetative phase for as long as it receives 18 hours of light and 6 hours of darkness (also known as the 18-6 light cycle). Then, once 12:12 light-dark schedule is set in motion, it will usher in flowering. Some of the variants under this category that are predisposed to coloring include:
Vigorous and high yielding, Panama produces long-running colas brimming with trichomes that reveal pinkish and reddish pistils when flowering. As the buds mature, the hairy pistils – or even the buds themselves – may deepen their pink shade. Unlike other Sativas, though, this strawberry-smelling flora can thrive in cold climates such as in Eastern Europe.
With the hardiness that can endure the less than ideal growing conditions of Northern Europe, Frisian Dew is designed for outdoor cannabis cultivation. It is also resilient and impervious to mold and pest, apart from being a high yielder. Moreover, the half-and-half hybrid turns into a vivid purple instead of green 50 percent of the time.
Suitable for growing outdoors due to its monstrous size, Purple Trainwreck loves warm environments but can tolerate colder settings. It responds to night temperature drop during flowering by displaying buds of magenta tint with dark red hairs. Once combusted, its alluring fragrance of citrus with hints of pine and lavender delivers a euphoric yet relaxing experience.
Boasting of dense, resinous buds overlaid with pink or dramatic purple hues, Smooth Smoke is no doubt a potent beauty. It grows quick and flourishes in both controlled or open air setups because of its robust Indica structure. Moreover, its flowers only require minimum curing time, allowing toking sessions to come sooner than expected.
One of the most distinct-looking variants around, Frisian Duck has unusual 3-finger leaves, which resemble a duck’s footprint, and brilliantly-colored buds. Needless to say, it differs immensely from traditional cannabis because of its exciting appearance. While its uniqueness may give the impression that it is complicated to grow, this peculiar charmer thrives even in harsh outdoor conditions and is a hardy against pests and mold. In time, it matures into a Christmas tree-like plant with lovely purple shades during flowering.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are the auto-flowering strains, which, unlike the light-dependent photoperiods, will flower automatically regardless of the lighting conditions. Here are some variants from this class of cannabis that may change color.
Purple Kush Autoflower
Guaranteeing 100% mauve bud production, the flowers of Purple Kush Auto turn almost black after going through post-harvest processes. It is a rapid-flowering strain that, aside from its deep magenta shade, is also prized for its distinctive and intense earthy, berry scent. Moreover, the plant has strong resistance against pests and fungi.
Auto Frisian Dew
Unlike the original Frisian Dew which tends to produce up to 50% purple buds, the auto-flowering version makes a modest 10%. Nonetheless, when the violet tone does appear, the color is exceptionally striking and may even overflow to the surrounding leaves.
Auto Bloody Skunk
The Auto Bloody Skunk represents its parents well. Up to 90% of its buds don the exquisite purple hue from its Red Poison Auto parent. Meanwhile, Sweet Skunk Auto, the other predecessor, gifts its sweet, skunky yet pleasant flavor and scent. In addition, it matures swiftly into a tiny, high-yielding, fir-shaped stunner with a substantial main cola in just 8 weeks from germination.
Dark Devil Auto
Interbreeding Big Devil XL with an unnamed auto-flowering plant resulted in the Dark Devil Auto. The latter, an exotic variant flourishing in the Hindu Kush mountains of Pakistan, grants the purple attribute of this hybrid. As what its name implies, the plant yields dark buds that are of deep purple, almost black tone.
A Colorful Cannabis Harvest
Multicolored cannabis continues to gain recognition even if they are not wildly different from their green counterparts in terms of potency and medicinal effects. Although they may potentially have added health benefits, the claims are still subject to further testing, and, for the time being, these two classes of cannabis are only set apart by their appearance. Nonetheless, more and more strains predisposed to coloration are emerging in the market. Fortunately, by understanding the science behind this phenomenon, producing these vibrant plants is within reach.