Basic Questions & Answers


So I’ve been reading about the heated debate on defoliation lately, sometime with Autos and sometimes with regulars or feminized. As I’ve been answering questions I’ve been recording whats been asked & answered, so here it is.

…enjoy, and happy growing :slight_smile:

Questions & Answers by the "Aquaponic Dumme"

What is an Autoflower?

Before answering this, it’s important to understand the basics on plants and their flowering habits. The term “Auto-flower” is a sales term to make it easier for the consumers to understand what they’re buying.

There are categories to plants, when dealing with what triggers flowering. There’s “short day”, “day neutral ”, and “long day” plants. In cannabis, we’ll be focusing specifically on “short day” and “day neutral” types. A “day neutral” plant is a plant that flowers regardless of the length of the period of light it is exposed to. “Short day plants” are plants that require a longer period of uninterrupted darkness.

The Cannabaceae family has many types, but here we’ll be focused on are Indica, Sativa, and Ruderalis-hybrid. While Indica, Sativa types are “short day” plants (Feminized & Regulars type), Ruderalis type is a “neutral day” plant (Autoflower Type).

What triggers flowering in plants is not the same processes as what makes plants grow in the first place.

How do plants get food?

Plants are Autotrophs, meaning they make their own food. Fertilizers you use are NOT food. Instead nutrients create the enzymatic reaction for the chloroplast within the leaves, to turn light photons and CO2 into sugars (plant food).

What types of leaves are on cannabis?

On cannabis, leaves are leaves. The only difference is some leaves may develop trichome. This doesn’t change how they’re affected by light, or the function they have for the plant. Leaves are the source of “all” the energy in the plant. No other place in the plant can do what leaves do.

Do lower leaves respond to light like upper leaves on indoor growing?

The lower the leaf, the farther it is from the light and the less photoexcitation will occur.

Where do plants make food?

Plants manufacture a chemical substance called G3P, which is the building block for sugars (food). This is where all cell growth and division comes from. G3P is manufactured in the leaves, in a very complex system called the Calvin Cycle.

Many argue that, “we’re growing bud, not leaves”, so why should you keep the leaves?

It’s the leaves themselves that are what is growing the flower (bud). As aforementioned, plants feed themselves and the source of the food is the leaf.

Shouldn’t I defoliate to allow light to the lower leaves?

Leaves are not in competition with the leaves below. They all make the same stuff, based on how much light or “photoexcitation” they get. They definitely don’t block light; they’re actively using it to make energy for carbon fixation and cell division.

Don’t “bud sites” need light?

The slang “Bud” meaning “cannabis flower” cannot process photonic light like leaves can. Unlike mammals, cells don’t migrate throughout the plant; they’re fixed where cell division occurred. This means, the Mesophyll cells remain in the leaf. “All” the plants energy directly comes from light, and this process happens in the leaf, not the flower. The flower has its own job of the development of seeds.

Should I tuck leaves to allow light to lower leaves?

Again, leaves are NOT in competition with each other. If you sacrifice light exposer of upper mature healthy leaves for lower underdeveloped leaves, you limit photoexcitation and hence growth. Instead try LST for “all” leaf matter to be exposed to photons evenly.

Is it ever a good idea to remove leaves?

You want as much healthy, mature, leaf surface area, as possible while entering into flower cycle. You may remove underdeveloped leaves, or leaves that have necrosis, or affected by bugs & fungi, with a beneficial result.

The idea is to have as many “sources” as possible to feed the growing flower.


1st time grower - help with trimming
First time grower, first time topping
When the plants are budding should you cut all the leaves off the plant
Using trim with clear trichomes
Is it true flowers don't use light

Thanks for taking the time to share this information @Dumme
I’m on the side of not removing any of the leaves myself if healthy
Ill be book marking this thread to share with others as needed :v:️ CB


Should I use Molasses & Honey?

I see people using molasses all the time, and I often encourage the farmer to consider adding actual “live” cultures of beneficial bacterium as appose to just sugars. Try adding EM1 or Mommoth P instead; I think you’ll like the results. Don’t get me wrong, adding molasses will probably not hurt anything unless you go overboard, but it scientifically doesn’t make sense to spend money on “nothing”.

I look at it this way. The consensus is that the use of molasses is “to feed the microorganisms”. Ok, that’s cool and all, but consider this…,
1- “Organic” growers use organic fertilizers.
2- Microorganisms first break this fertilizers down, as this is the only way plants can actually uptake the nutrients.
3- This means, the microorganisms already have plenty of food, per se.

As far as the actual use of molasses, I personally like more of a scientific reason to use something. In this study, “no statistical difference among sugar sources when applied to corn or soybeans with no statistical yield increases”. I personally try and look past all the hippie science when growing cannabis.

Although I tend to avoid sourcing from dot-com’s, this guy seems to disagree as well:

As far as honey, I can’t see any benefit to using it. Unless you’re using it to protect a cutting or a break in the plant from bacterium spread, there’s simply no benefit. Honey is currently used in hospital settings to limit microorganism population, which seems counter-productive in a “living-soil” or “organic” setting.


Do male plants develop seeds?

In Botany, “plant sex” is only determined after the plant’s sex organ actually develops in real-time. Even in a lab, only probability can be determined through a special PCR-test for sex identification. This test is basically a test to measure the actual size of the sex alleles, within the DNA.

Cannabis plants have either male “or” female sex organs, making them an “incomplete” or “imperfect” flower, -or- have both male and female sex organs, making them a “complete” or “perfect” flower. I your plant does have both, it’s commonly called a “hermaphrodite”.

What we call “males” doesn’t have the ability to develop seeds as this process happens in the “calyx”, which is a female sex organ. The calyx starts development of seeds when “pollen” from a male pollen sac, is introduced.

If your plant has seeds, it’s either a female that’s been pollinated by a male, or it’s developed both male and female sex organs itself, and then self-pollinated. This would make it a hermaphrodite and not male.

Shown below is a crude picture of a “complete” or “perfect” flower.