Sometimes when flowering cannabis plants the grower will end up with cannabis buds that are light and fluffy. When growing cannabis growers are looking for dense, tight nugs to harvest.
This however doesn’t happen for a few different reasons. The main reasons why cannabis buds get light and fluffy are, high heat in the grow space, lack of proper lighting during flowering and too many or lack of nutrients.
How to tell if your Cannabis buds are light and fluffy?
Once the grower has switched their lighting to flowering 12 hours of darkness your plants will take a few days to get switched into a seed production mode (otherwise known as flowering or budding). For the next 8 to 15 weeks that cannabis plant will be producing flowers that will make seeds.
However when cannabis growers are growing sinsemilla or “Seedless Cannabis Buds” the grower is looking for buds that grow very close together and stack on top of each other without stretching. When this doesn’t happen the grower’s cannabis buds are light, fluffy and this is not wanted.
What Causes Light and Fluffy Cannabis Buds?
Here are the three different issues that cause fluffy cannabis buds explained in detail.
Cannabis Plant Genetics
Cannabis Genetics play the most important role in determining if your flowers will be dense or not. Some strains just don’t grow dense buds no matter what you do for them. For these types of plants, no matter what you do they will never be very dense. This very much is true when you review cannabis indica vs cannabis sativa genetics. Most sativa strains will grow much less dense flowers just because of their genetics, nothing the grower can do will make them super dense.
Even using the techniques below will not make for very dense cannabis buds. A very common strain where this is the case is Haze cannabis strains. They generally will not produce dense cannabis flowers.
When considering cannabis genetics to grow if having the dense buds possible is important to you we recommend checking out hybrid strains that have been bred to grow dense buds while still having great potency. One strain that we recommend is Canadian Sunshine, these cannabis plants have great potency and have been bred for dense buds.
If you would like to read more about cannabis Landraces check out this article!
Lacking Proper Nutrients
Cannabis needs two macro nutrients to grow dense cannabis buds. These two nutrients are Phosphorus and Potassium. Don’t get us wrong, the plant still needs all the other important nutrients to grow large dense cannabis flowers, however these two are very important for growing quality buds.
Now that the plant is in the flowering stage it will require less nitrogen, however it will still require some nitrogen to help the plant grow leaves. Most of the time there will be enough nitrogen left in the growing medium, if you are growing in Soil.
Adding too much nitrogen during the flowering stage for cannabis will cause the plants to stretch more than they normally would with only a little nitrogen. This can be seen when growing two clones side by side in the same growing environment. The one given too much nitrogen will stretch more.
Likewise when the plant doesn’t get enough Phosphorus and Potassium the buds will also suffer from being light and fluffy. It is very important that in flower cannabis has access to these two very important nutrients in order to grow dense cannabis buds.
If you are looking for a good guide for Organic Nutrients for flowering we suggest this guide.
High Heat Causing Cannabis Buds Light, Fluffy
Heat is another major factor in keeping your cannabis buds dense and full. We believe that high heat may be the most important in keeping buds dense. Heat in your grow room is never a good thing, and requires good ventilation to keep the room cool.
If the grower is unable to keep the room temperature about about 69.8F (21C) to 73.4F (23C) the plant will also start to stretch during the flowering time of growth. Not only is it important to keep the temperature in range when the lights are on, it is also very important to keep the temperature lower at night time. During lights off the room should be kept about 7 to 8 Degrees lower.
What is Foxtailing
We have included “foxtailing” under the heat section as this is a very common occurrence when the grow room is too hot. When this happens in a hot grow room, the buds themselves will start to stretch out. The reason why this is a big issue is that the buds could be growing very nicely and dense. If the room becomes hot for a few days it can cause foxtailing in your buds.
We have seen this happening when grower Air Conditioning has broken down. It only can take a few days of high heat for this to happen to your buds. The tops of the buds will start to stretch out from the other more dense buds. This will create what looks like a “tail” of buds that are long and stretched out.
Lack of Sufficient Lighting
The last issue is lack of sufficient grow room lighting for your plants. Not only do you need bright lighting for your cannabis plants, you need the right type of lighting as well. A full spectrum light will work best for keeping your buds tight and dense. We recommend a strong full spectrum light to keep your buds dense.
Good lighting is one of the most important factors to keep your cannabis buds from getting light and fluffy. Having a bright light with a good spectrum of blue and red lighting will keep the buds much more dense.
To create dense buds you may also have to turn up the brightness of your growing light or move it closer to the top of the canopy of the plants. If you are using a weaker light like Fluorescents they will have to be very close to the top of the plants to get dense buds.
If dense buds are a very important factor for you, then growing with weaker lights may not be a consideration for your grow room.
You can read more about the best lighting for cannabis here.
My Buds aren’t Filling Out What Can I do?
This is something that is very hard to do mid flowering. However it can be done with some simple changes. First start by lowering the temperature in the grow space, if this can’t be completed by ventilation and air intake you may need to invest in an AC unit.
Next move the light as close to the plant canopy as you can without burning the plants. It is also a good idea to check your plants growing mediums PH value to make sure it is within range. You want the plant to be getting all the nutrients it needs to grow well.
Are Cannabis Buds that are light and Fluffy less Potent?
Contrary to popular belief, cannabis buds that are light and fluffy are not necessarily any less potent than dense cannabis flowers. Airy buds can still be just as potent for cannabinoids then other buds. They can still have high THC and CBD content as well.
Most of the time growers don’t want airy buds due to “bag appeal” of the buds after they are dried and cured. You can learn more about harvesting and curing cannabis buds here.
A great example of this is old school sativa genetics. While we discussed sativa genetics above as not being as dense as other cannabis species, they are in fact some of the most potent cannabis you can grow. Even if their buds are not as dense as a hybrid plant or indica species.
Should I Remove Lower Cannabis Budding Sites?
All lower budding sites typically will not produce dense buds due to the light not being able to reach these budding sites under the canopy. In order for the plant to put its energy into the upper most important budding sites, we recommend that growers trim all these lower branches and leaves so the plant will not put any extra effort into growing these lower less desirable flowers at the bottom of the plants.
Too Many Budding Sites on Your Plants before Flowering
This is a bigger issue indoors than outdoors, the cannabis plant only has so many resources to use to grow big dense buds. It can either put all these resources into growing many smaller fluffy, airy buds or one or two very large dense buds.
Before switching the plant into flowering mode, it is a good idea to remove most of the smaller branches that will grow flowers on them. Leave only a few very strong main growing branches, as these will grow the best flowers as they have the thickest stems to support quality dense buds.
What is Defoliation and how can it help make Dense Buds?
Defoliation is another growing technique that can help to create dense cannabis flowers. In the first couple of weeks of flowering, the grower will remove all the larger fan leaves of the plant. This will allow more light to get to more budding sites on the plant. It will also remove any shade from the buds by these large fan leaves.
When the plant has many leaves in the flower period this can hinder bud growth, and once again the buds will be reaching for more light causing them to foxtail due to lack of direct lighting.
Is there any way to fix Airy buds After Harvest?
If the buds are airy once you harvest them, there isn’t much you can do to make them dense. However even with these buds they can still be potent, if they are dried and cured well after harvest they can still be quality flowers. Airy buds are also somewhat easier to dry as dense buds are more subject to developing mold if not dried correctly.
Fixing Airy Buds Outdoors
Growing cannabis outdoors there isn’t much you can do in the way of controlling the environment to grow dense cannabis buds. It is going to be hot, dry, wet etc. outside so you have to roll with the punch when growing outdoors.
There are a few things you can do however to help get dense buds. First is keeping your plants watered well when it’s dry outside. Watering and keeping your plants from drying out is a big factor to keep your flowers growing well.
Make sure they have all the nutrients they need by top dressing the plants over the summer and fall, using the correct nutrients for flowering as discussed above.
Outdoor growers can also defoliate the larger leaves before the plant starts to flower. This will allow for more air flow in the buds, and more light to get to the budding sites on your plants.
When the plants are grown directly in the ground they are able to support far more budding sites due to the plant being able to have a very large root system in the ground for water and nutrient supply.
While the main reason for cannabis buds to be light and fluffy comes down to the genetics of the plants. These points in this article will help you keep them as big and dense as you can throughout the growing period of your plants.