Most growers would love to know how to make buds bigger during flowering. The truth is that it can be as simple as moving a light source closer to the plant.
Growing bigger buds gives your more consumable cannabis and saves you money.
We’re going to look at eight fundamentals to help you make your plants yield bigger ganja flowers. We’ve included a bonus one because we’re nice.
Why is learning how to grow dense buds relevant?
The bud of the female plant is where the highest concentration of THC is found.
Leaves and male buds produce THC, but female flowers hold the most, making them treasured to canna lovers.
THC is the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis and produces the mind-altering effects of the plant when consumed —it’s what gets you high.
Whether you’re cultivating for medicinal or recreational purposes, learning how to grow dense buds is going to result in a bigger stash.
A bigger stash means greater yields for you and your friends, plus you get more bang for your buck.
How to make buds bigger during flowering indoors
Numerous factors determine if you grow big buds. We’re going to look at the main influences that dictate the size of your buds.
Growing indoors gives you more control over the growing environment.
As long as you have the space, it’s the best way to get huge marijuana buds and bigger yields from your plants.
If you’re ready to learn more about how to make buds bigger during flowering indoors, let’s get started.
Use the best pots
To start at the root of how to grow heavy buds, consider the pots you’re using.
The different pots available for home-growers have various advantages and disadvantages. Here are the most common potting options and what you should consider about each:
Regular pots are affordable and accessible—the bonus is that they look great. To grow bigger buds, your plant needs enough space for its root system; this is why cannabis plants in regular pots need repotting.
Smart pots or fabric containers allow the plant more oxygen and make water runoff easier, so there’s less risk of over-watering.
Plants in smart pots need watering more often.
Smart pots aren’t rigid and might need some support to ensure the plant stays upright as it gets bigger and heavier.
Air pots offer the same benefits as smart pots, better airflow and drainage. More oxygen reaching the plants can result in the growing-medium drying out quicker.
Watering more regularly and watering schedules can be a challenge when using air pots and smart pots.
If you’re happy with extra watering, smart pots and air pots are great at providing your plant with the airflow needed to grow dense buds.
Hempy pots are very similar to regular pots, except the drainage holes are on the pot’s side instead of the bottom.
The design of hempy pots creates a small reservoir in the bottom of the pot, meaning the plant should need less watering. On the flip side, this could result in the excess nutrient build-up, not what you’re looking for if you want to see your plant grow heavy buds.
Hydroponics is a method of growing plants without any soil; the root system is housed in water.
The main benefit of growing hydro is that any water and nutrients the plant needs are directly available. Less work getting nutrients gives the plant more free energy to grow big buds.
Hydroponics can be a high-maintenance system to set up and expensive. Not all strains love hydro, and there are several that respond much better when grown in soil.
Increase light intensity
Cannabis plants need light to grow. The distance of the plant from the light source can make a big difference in how the plant grows.
Light has a very broad spectrum, and plants need the right wavelength. For example, cannabis plants utilize light from 400nm (blue) to 700nm (red); all other light just bounces off.
Part of knowing how to grow big buds is choosing the right lights. If money is no question, you can buy very high-powered lights for your space.
Making sure you have the right number of lights at the appropriate distance from your plant can boost your yield.
Lumens are a unit measuring light intensity. Back in the day, light intensity was measured by candlelight.
A single candle at a distance of 12” from 12” x 12” book, for example, produces 1 lumen of light. Adding another candle doubles the light intensity and so on. So, a lumen is essentially 1 foot-candle.
Typically an HPS bulb emits around 140 lumens(lm) per watt, so a 400w bulb gives us 56,000lm. Being a foot away, the plant receives most of this light.
Moving the plant another foot away means it only gets 25% of this light intensity, 14,000lm.
Now that we see how important the distance between light and plant is, you’re one step closer to knowing how to grow heavy buds.
Using reflective surfaces in your grow space means that more of the plant gets additional light.
Want to know how to grow bigger buds but don’t want to fork out for more lights? Keep going as we look at the techniques that give your plants even more light without additional light sources.
Add CO₂ to your grow room
Now we know how to grow dense buds by ensuring sufficient light, the plant needs more CO₂ to maximize photosynthesis.
Plants use carbon (C) from the air (which contains CO₂) and hydrogen (H) from water (H₂O) to produce carbohydrates. The plants then emit the oxygen (O) and store the carbohydrates as glucose.
In the air, CO₂ levels are usually between 3500–4000 PPM. That’s plenty for most plants and is perfect for giving your plants what they need to grow bigger buds indoors.
You can give plants all the CO₂ they need by ensuring there is always a supply of fresh air in the grow-space.
An ideal ventilation setup has:
- One exhaust fan to get rid of any hot air circulating your plants (you can add a carbon filter to reduce the smell)
- An intake fan to bring air into the grow space
- Additional fans to circulate air to all the plants
Depending on your grow space, use a suitable amount of fans to ensure sufficient fresh air for your crops.
Fresh air is crucial if you want your plants to get big buds.
In smaller grow spaces, you can use clip-on fans to increase airflow.
Provide good conditions of temperature and humidity
Airflow is a great way to grow big buds, but temperature and humidity play a vital role.
The ideal temperature of an indoor grow usually between 75–85°F (24–29°C).
If your temperature is too low, the plant’s metabolism slows down, and it won’t grow anymore.
If the temperature drops below 54°F, the plant might give up and die.
When ganja plants are too hot, their leaves start to curl up and wilt.
Overheating can make your plants more vulnerable to a whole host of other problems like spider mites, root rot, mildew, and nutrient burn.
So, another way to get bigger buds during flowering is to monitor the temperature closely.
Cannabis plants are grown in an environment where it’s too hot often produce buds that don’t smell. This is because the heat burns away the terpenes, which all canna-lovers want.
Too much humidity can result in root rot, mildew, and similar issues—definitely not the way to get dense buds.
If the environment isn’t humid enough, the plant transpires—when the plant loses water vapor through the leaves as it aims to find balance with its environment.
Transpiration is a natural process and pretty inevitable, but disease in your plants is bad news.
Part of learning how to grow big buds is finding a sweet spot for the humidity.
Providing the ideal humidity level is crucial to giving the plants a better chance of growing bigger.
Feed nutrients correctly
Nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) are the essential nutrients that marijuana plants need to grow. Other micro and macro-nutrients also come into play when we look at how to grow bigger buds during flowering indoors.
A plant usually wants more nitrogen during the vegetative phase, so the N-P-K mix might be 6-3-2, 2-1-1, or 4-2-1.
Too much or not enough of any micro or macronutrients can lead to your plants developing different ailments.
Another way to get bigger buds during flowering indoors is to ensure that your plants have appropriate nutrient levels.
Manipulate plant growth
The main ways to manipulate plant growth are low-stress training (LST) and high-stress training (HST).
We don’t recommend adopting multiple techniques if you’re a new grower. Try one or two at a time and check your results if you’re just starting.
Tying down the plant
Discovering how to grow big buds can be as simple as tying down the tallest parts of the plant, promoting growth in other areas.
Tying the plant allows you to force the plant to grow more evenly and not just straight upwards.
Bending the plant
Plants usually grow towards the sun or light source. By bending the plants into different directions, you can manipulate the plant to grow in a certain direction.
Light is the main fuel source for growth, so more fuel means the plant can grow bigger buds.
Sea of Green (SOG)
Some growers have less space available and want to know how to get bigger buds. If this sounds like you, then maybe Sea of Green (SOG) could work for you.
Mostly used with indica plants (short and bushy), you force the plant into flowering earlier than usual, two weeks into the vegetative phase.
Trimming the branches underneath the main canopy lets the plant focus its energy on the buds at the top, producing bigger and denser flowers.
SOG can be a great way to help your plant grow big buds.
As SOG gives you a quick turnaround, some growers choose to clone new batches to give themselves more harvests in a single season.
Screen of Green (SCROG)
We looked at how to grow bigger buds via the light source, but what about using growing techniques to get better light exposure?
Screen of Green (SCROG) works by creating a horizontal screen for the plants to pass through, giving you an even canopy of plants.
An even canopy means each plant gets a maximized light exposure. Maximum light exposure means more chance for the plants to grow big buds.
Typically cannabis plants have a single central cola. As the plants grow, tying the branches to the screen or net trains the plants to produce colas from each branch.
The results from SCROG are that your plants can grow bigger buds during flowering and bigger harvests from each plant.
The biggest secret for how to get bigger buds during flowering indoors is just trimming away the fat, removing non-essential parts of the plant.
As cannabis plants grow, the lower leaves tend to die off. You can see dead leaves by their discoloration.
By cutting away excess plant matter, your plants won’t be wasting energy on dead leaves.
The question of how to make buds bigger during flowering can give you answers that seem counterintuitive, like cutting off the top of the plant.
Sometimes called ‘pinching out,’ topping is the process of cutting the stem at the top of the plant. Doing this causes the plant to grow two colas instead of one.
It is possible to perform multiple toppings and split the cola into four, or even eight or more.
Topping could be the answer if you want to know how to grow small plants with big buds.
Performing multiple toppings can give you plants that end up looking like upside-down Christmas trees—heavy at the top and skinny down below.
A single topping lets the plant grow its lower branches, meaning the plant has a better distribution of resources.
Topping a plant provides better light exposure and bigger yields.
Another step on the journey of how to grow heavy buds is fimming.
Like topping, fimming means cutting off the plant’s top at the vegetative part instead of the growing tip.
The results are similar to topping, and your plants should develop more lateral branches and side shoots.
Super cropping is a selection of four different techniques that you can use to increase yields and grow bigger buds. Some are easier than others, and you can chop and choose the techniques you want to use:
- Selective Leaf Pruning
- Branch and Node Pruning
- Topping and Training
- Bending and Breaking (aka Snapping and Twisting)
To find out more, take a look at the Kyle Kushman guide to super cropping.
If you ever asked how to grow small weed plants with big buds, schwazzing might be for you.
Schwazzing is a form of extreme defoliation to give the plant better light penetration and airflow, resulting in bigger harvests.
Removing all of the lower leaves as the plant goes from vegetative to flowering lets it focus growth on the bud sites. The result is bigger yields for you.
As the trimmed leaves have a lot of sugar and nutrients, it’s always recommended that you feed the plant extra nutrients after schwazzing.
Harvest at the right time
As you learn more ways of how to grow bigger buds and your plant reaches completion, it’s important to cut it at the right time.
Knowing the exact moment to chop your plant can make a huge difference.
All plants are unique, and between each plant, the harvest time can vary a lot.
The difference in harvest time between plants in a crop can be a pretty large window.
Cropping your plants prematurely means they won’t have as much time to grow big buds.
Harvesting at the right time can be a case of patience, but chopping too early could cost as much as one-quarter of your crop.
In your toolbox of how to grow dense buds, you might want to include molasses.
Friendly bacteria in the soil can help your plant have access to more nutrients.
Some growers feed the friendly lifeforms by introducing a small amount of molasses when watering.
Using molasses is supposed to help you end up with more sticky, sweet buds, but some growers report increases of 15—20% in their yields.
Applying extra carbohydrates, or sugars, directly to the plant with a spray can be dangerous and not the best way of how to grow bigger buds.
Spraying sugars directly onto your plants can attract unwanted insects and also physically harm the plant.
Root delivery is how many growers prefer to supplement their plants and encourage them to grow bigger buds indoors. That’s why molasses is often used as an ingredient in fertilizers.
Introducing molasses directly into a hydro setup can cause no end of problems like clogging and damaging filters. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Bonus: how choosing the right genetics can help you grow big buds
One of the key ways to grow bigger buds indoors is choosing the right strain.
The genetics of a plant has the final say in how big it grows or how much crop it produces.
Even in the hands of an expert grower, a plant with low-yield genetics won’t produce mammoth amounts of cannabis or grow heavy buds.
Choose a strain that naturally yields bigger buds and crops.
By buying feminized seeds from Homegrown Cannabis Co., you give yourself the best chance of only growing females.
Female plants naturally grow big buds, compared to their male counterparts who tend to produce smaller buds.
Critical 2.0 feminized
Critical 2.0 feminized boasts all the same qualities as its predecessor, benefiting from being a bit more hardy and resilient.
This strain is pretty special because it produces huge, dense nugs, but it’s very resistant to mold.
When cultivating these crops, they could yield up to 24.69 oz. per m² indoors and 32 oz. per plant outdoors. This cultivar is sativa-dominant and offers users a fast-acting, energetic high when consumed—ideal for recreational and medicinal applications.
Fantastic effects and the genetic know-how to grow dense buds—Critical 2.0 has it all.
Great White Shark feminized
Great White Shark feminized takes its name from its enormous size and ability to consume your head in one bite.
This indica-dominant cultivar offers yields reaching 28.21oz. per m² indoors and 35 oz. per plant outdoors. Its genetics increase the likelihood to grow dense buds.
Very much a ‘one and done’ kind of strain, we wouldn’t recommend partaking in some Great White Shark if you have a lot to do.
The sedating effects make this plant great for weekends and just before bed, delivering intense stress relief and relaxation.
All in all, Great White Shark is a tantalizing cultivar that knows how to grow heavy buds and offer users a knockout stone.
Exodus Cheese feminized
Exodus Cheese feminized is among the Skunk varieties famed for their vigorous growth. This strain knows how to grow heavy buds, producing harvests up to 27.69 oz. per m² indoors and 28 oz. per plant outdoors..
The strain takes its name from the flavor, a creamy taste that reminds you of Blue Cheese—hence the name.
Exodus Cheese leaves users feeling happy and uplifted—great if you’re starting new tasks. It also has many medicinal properties and works well as a natural antidepressant and anti-anxiety medicine.
Offering you a boost in happiness when medicated and the power to grow big buds, Exodus Cheese is a very enticing option.
Final points about how to get big buds
Now you have some ideas about how to make buds bigger during flowering, let’s recap the main points we’ve covered.
- Choose a high-yield strain to suit you
- Grow in the correct pots
- Make sure the plants receive a suitable amount of light
- Use the right nutrients for different stages of growth
- Utilize LST or HST techniques for the desired effects
- Recording your results can help you make good decisions in your future grows
One or two changes to the way you grow could reward you with a bigger crop and give your plants what they need to grow bigger buds. Just be sure not to overdo it if you’re just starting.
Here at Homegrown Cannabis Co., we pride ourselves on being a bit more than a seed bank. Check out the Grow Your Own With Kyle Kushman blog for expert tips to help you to grow big buds.
To connect with other cultivators and share your growing experience, head over to the Homegrown Forum. Who knows? You may just learn something new or help someone else out.
Good luck and enjoy!
About the author: Derek LaRose
Also known as Kronic from The Cannabis Kronicles, Derek LaRose is a young ambitious cultivator and a staple educator for indoor cultivation.