We are growing a couple plants and we are having trouble finding any pre-flowers. Do you have any pointers to help us? Also is it possible to grow good yielding plants under fluorescent bulbs?

– Angel

The Must Try legend.

Sure thing! Male and female pre-flowers are the first sign of a plant’s sex. Plants are either male or female. Occasionally an intersex (hermaphrodite) having flowers of both sexes will occur, especially late in life, but they will not show now in the pre-flowering stage of growth. The pre-flowers grow at branch internodes just behind the leaf spur or stipule about the fourth week of vegetative growth, when the plant is six to eight weeks old. This is the point of sexual maturity, the first sign a plant is preparing for flowering-the next stage in life.

You can see pre-flowers with the naked eye, but a 10 to 30X magnifier will make viewing easier. You can accurately determine plant sex after eight weeks. Using this method, you can distinguish sex before inducing flowering.

Plants grown from seed under an 18/6 day/night photoperiod will generally show pre-flowers before plants that are given a 24/0 day/night photoperiod. Pre-flowers do not depend on the hours of light/dark the plants receive. Once pre-flowers are distinguishable as male or female, plants can be induced to flower with a 12/12 day/night photoperiod.

Hang a thermometer/hygrometer at the canopy of the garden to measure temperature and humidity. If flowering plants get too hot, resin production is affected.

Male pre-flowers have pollen sacs hang like little balls. Each pollen sac has enough pollen to pollinate all the females in the average grow room. Remove and destroy male plants grown from seed as soon as you can verify male pre-flowers. Removing male plants now will virtually ensure an all female crop of sinsemilla.

Female pre-flowers look like a regular female flower; most have a pair of white fuzzy pistils. Pistils normally emerge after the light green seed bract part of the pre-flower has formed. Wait until pistils have formed to ensure the plant is a female and not a male. The pre-flowering stage lasts from one to two weeks. Once pre-flowers are distinguishable as female, plants can be induced to flower with a 12112 day/night photoperiod.

Always wait to induce flowering until after pre-flowers appear. Inducing flowering with 12 hours of uninterrupted darkness and 12 hours of light before preflowers develop will stress the plant. This stress could cause odd growth, and plants might grow into hermaphrodites. Inducing flowering before pre-flowers form will not speed flowering. Flowering will occur about the same time as if
you had waited for pre-flowers to show!

Sticky, sweet-smelling sublime bud!

Use fluorescent T-8 or 65-95w Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL) available at Home Depot at a good price for flowering. Keep the lamps close (2-4 inches – 5-10 cm) from the tops of plants for best results. But plants illuminated with T-8 and CFL lamps will not have super dense buds unless you use a lot of them to illuminate plants.