The smell that fills the air when you open a jar of flowers or pinch a bud comes from terpenes. If you want to enhance the flavor profile of your cannabis buds, terpenes are the key to producing a unique odor and delicious flavor.
If you are new to growing, terpenes are a combination of carbon and hydrogen which is naturally created by plants to attract insects that will benefit the plant, protect the plant, pollinate the plant, and repel pests and animals from the plant. In cannabis plants, terpenes form in the trichomes (tiny hairs). Since cannabis plants are wind pollinated, they primarily produce terpenes to protect themselves from plant-eating animals.
There are over 100 different terpenes, and the smells in each strain directly relate to the effects felt by consumers and patients. The terpene myrcene boosts anti-inflammatory effects, while the terpene pinene boosts pain relief and combats stress. Terpenes also impact how cannabis products are marketed online and throughout dispensaries. Consumers buy products based on how the product makes them feel. Cannabis products are no different. One consumer might be looking for a product that boosts energy levels and supports focus, while another might want a product that decreases anxiety.
As cannabis plants reach the end of the flowering stage, their terpene levels will be at their highest. Higher terpene levels will lead to bigger profits and happier customers. The type of plant nutrients, the atmospheric conditions, and the way your plants are harvested will impact your terpene levels.
Sugars or carbohydrates are essential during the flowering stage if you want large, dense buds that have higher resin and terpene levels. Throughout its lifecycle, your cannabis plants will require various carbohydrate levels. Carbohydrates have the most influence at the bud fattening stage, halfway through the bloom cycle. Because plants don’t absorb added sugars, your plant nutrient schedule should encourage your plants to create sugars on their own. Nitrogen levels should be eliminated during the last two weeks of the flowering stage, as nitrogen can slow growth and reduce terpenes.
Plant nutrients, like JEWEL that improve the absorption of nutrients, will naturally increase the sugar levels in your plant’s metabolism. This will also cause the plant to become resistant to disease and it will make the plant stronger. Since JEWEL includes 0% nitrogen, it can be used throughout the entire flowering stage to boost terpene production.
While you can boost terpenes in hydroponic and aquaponic setups, soil makes the best growing medium for cannabis because it is native to the plant. A high-quality soil will provide the plant with a steady stream of minerals and plant nutrients. Soil will also help you maintain the best pH and alkaline levels for maximum absorption of the plant nutrients that increase terpenes.
JEWEL is a super concentrated plant nutrient that can be used in soil mediums to increase terpenes. The following chart shows how many mL per gallon of water you should feed your plants during Veg and Flower. As a Foliar spray during Veg and the first two weeks of Flower mix 2-4 mL per gallon in your sprayer. Since nutrients can slightly increase pH in soil, it is important to closely monitor your pH levels to ensure they are between 5.5 and 6.5.
Lightly stressing your plants can help boost terpene levels, but if you stress them too much you can reduce your quality and yields. A simple way to stress your plants includes pinching the stalk of a branch or repositioning branches that don’t get a lot of sunlight. Pruning lower branches during the flowering stage can also help the plant’s resources focus on the flowering site (cola) which will help increase terpenes.
When it comes to growing, lighting plays a critical role in the production of terpenes. The trichomes at the top of the plant protect the plant from too much light exposure. If growing indoors, you can boost trichomes and terpene production by exposing your plants to UV-B lights during the flowering phase for 2-3 weeks. If growing outdoors, ensure there is proper spacing between your plants so that every cola gets enough light.
In the flowering room, the humidity levels should stay between 50-60 percent. To slightly stress the plants and increase terpene production, with the help of a dehumidifier, the humidity can be dropped to 30 percent. This also helps reduce molds and other problems associated with too much humidity during the flowering stage. While your buds are curing (drying), keeping a consistent humidity of 45-55% will increase terpenes and make your buds tastier.
Harvesting cannabis plants too early or too late can affect your terpene levels. Harvesting too early causes fewer trichomes while harvesting too late causes the trichomes to break down, thus decreasing terpenes.
To determine if your cannabis is ready for harvest, you can use a magnifying glass to look at the shape and color of your plant’s trichomes. The trichomes will change from clear to opaque to amber as they develop. Once amber trichomes appear, it is safe to harvest your plants.
Drying cannabis too early can also affect terpene levels. Cannabis should be dried slowly, usually 7-14 days before it can be cured. Curing your harvest preserves and celebrates the terpenes.The key to producing a lucrative harvest lies in understanding terpenes and how to boost terpene production. Because there are so many ways to boost terpene production, even growers growing the same strain can develop products that are unique. If you have questions about using JEWEL to increase terpene production or want to speak with a grow specialist about your plant nutrient schedule, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org