Ask Ed


I don’t have enough space for a mother plant. However, I do have a space where I can vegetate small plants, so would the system work if I could take a clone from the plant just before placing it in the flowering room? Can I clone a clone or do I need a mother plant?

Andre J.,

You can take a clone from a plant that originated as a clone. The genetics will remain the same as in the original plant.


I’m growing a White Widow/Jack Herer cross as a mother plant. It’s been under continuous light, 24 hours a day, for about a year. Recently it started to produce flowers. What’s causing this? What should I do about it?


As marijuana plants age, they grow more susceptible to dark periods, causing them to flower. Eventually, they begin to flower even without the light/dark cues that usually force flowering. There’s not much you can do about it. The plant is reaching old age and is programmed to flower. Clones from the plant will stay in vegetative without flowering for a long time. Cloning creates a new plant, so the genetics are reset.


I have been growing for a while now with seeds from many companies. My problem is that I am not really satisfied with the stone I get from my stash. It always takes me down too much. I would prefer an energetic high that’s inspirational. What strains do you could recommend?


I would try varieties with Haze, Jamaican, Colombian, and central African backgrounds as well as Thai and Laotian varieties. Some varieties that you might like are Australian Blue, California Orange, Canna Sutra, Cinderella, Flo, Haze variants, Kalichakra, Keralan, Power Plant, Silver Pearl, Sour Diesel Silver, and other sativa dominant varieties.


I purchased 20 seeds, 10 Big Bud x Northern Lights #5, and 10 South African Durban Poison x Skunk #1 from a reputable seed merchant. I live at 45 degrees Northern Latitude, at the U.S-Canadian border. This year I am planning on growing in a greenhouse with translucent walls. We get quite a lot of light during the summer, as the sun doesn’t go down until 10 p.m. in June. On September 21, the light cycle is 12/12. When would be the best time to plant the seeds? I don’t want to plant too early so as to have excessive vegetative growth.

Daib M.,

There are two ways you can go: You could plant in early April and let the plants grow for about six weeks, then in mid-May limit the light to 12 hours using blackout curtains. The plants will flower and be ripe by August 1st. At this point, the sun is still very bright and supports vigorous bud growth. To keep the plants from flowering during the early spring, the dark cycle should be broken each evening with a blast of light, which restarts the plants’ dark period countdown.

The more traditional method of keeping them at a controlled height is to plant late. By starting plants in mid-June or even early July, they have only a short time to grow before the lengthening dark period forces them to flower. They just don’t have a chance to grow too tall. The problem with flowering plants in season using only natural light in northern areas is that not only does the length of the day decrease, but light intensity also declines. The maturing flowers must make do with less light and often-cloudy skies.

"This garden was divided into sections that could be darkened individually. Here some sections are covered and others are not."“This garden was divided into sections that could be darkened individually. Here some sections are covered and others are not.”CLIP LARGE LEAVES HIDING BUDS

My indoor plants are about four weeks into the flowering stage. I haven’t clipped any of the large leaves around the developing buds. However, it’s been bothering me lately as I’ve noticed that these leaves are blocking light to the buds on the lower parts of the plant. If I cut these leaves would it throw the plant into shock or would it be beneficial and help these buds develop?

Johnny Planter,
Birmingham, Alabama

The plant’s investment in the leaf occurred when it built the organ, creating tissue and connecting it to the vascular system. Once the leaf was fully grown, and even while it was growing, it was paying off on the investment. The leaf is a sugar factory. During photosynthesis, the plant uses light energy to combine water and carbon dioxide into sugar while releasing oxygen. This is the first step in plant growth and also supports flower maturation.

While removing leaves won’t put the plant into shock, it will remove sources of energy and food for the plant. Most growers erroneously remove the fan leaves. You could do a controlled experiment: Prune half the branches of a plant but leave the rest unpruned. See which group yields more mature buds. I know which branches I’d bet on. On the other hand, eaves that shade growing buds stunt or at least delay their growth. The solution is to remove only those leaves that shade growing buds. Leave the rest of the leaves.


I’ve acquired a low-pressure sodium lamp. How good is this light for growing? Most people I ask either have no idea or have never even heard of low-pressure sodium lamps. Any information on this would be super helpful.

Stephen C.,

Low-pressure sodium lamps are normally used to illuminate long stretches of roadways because they are the most efficient electric light, emitting about 200 lumens per watt, as compared to about 130 for high-pressure sodium lamps. LPS lamps emit light in a single spectrum with a wavelength at 570 nm, which is a yellow/amber color. The human eye is especially sensitive to yellows so it has even more illuminating power than a multi-spectrum lamp. Since the light is a single spectrum, the light renders all objects in shades of yellow and brown.

The lamp is shaped long like a fluorescent tube but is thicker and consists of several layers of glass surrounding sodium-based liquid. The liquid heats up and vaporizes under the electrical charge, and emits light.

LPS lamps can be used to supplement natural or artificial light, but should not be used as the primary source because plants grow better when other spectrums are present. In trials where I used LPS lamps with other light sources it increased production. When used alone the plants grew, but rather than reaching towards the light they grew away from it. In trials on wheat using LPS lamps alone, there was a reduction in production of the precursors of lignin (PAL and TAL), one of the components of stems. The resulting stems were thin and lacked strength.

When LPS lamps were used to supplement HPS lamps or sunlight in a greenhouse, they increased bud yield and were considered useful. When a single 180 watt LPS lamp was placed over a 25 square foot garden illuminated by a 1000 watt stationary HPS, yield increased about 15% as compared with previous crops.

"The top buds on this plant turn purple as they ripen. The lower leaves, which have not been clipped, turn yellow as the plant uses the nutrients they contain for bud development."“The top buds on this plant turn purple as they ripen. The lower leaves, which have not been clipped, turn yellow as the plant uses the nutrients they contain for bud development.”VEGATATIVE LIGHTING REGIMENT

What are the light and dark time periods during the vegetative stage?

DJA 420,

Marijuana grows fastest under continuous lighting. In experiments performed in the 1980’s plants under continuous light during vegetative had a yield increase of 15-24%. If you are seeking the fastest growth possible during this period, keep the lights on 24 hours a day until the plants are forced to flower. The plants will grow well when they are given a dark period daily, however their growth rate will be slower. The lighting regimen is a choice for the grower to make.

Several grow book authors and most growers believe that marijuana needs a “rest period” of darkness for best growth. This is based on misinterpretations of several pieces of information. Most green plants are classified as either C-3 or C-4, which represents the way carbon (C) is used during photosynthesis. C-4 plants, including many fast growing tropical plants, temporarily store carbon dioxide (CO2) over the dark period (night) to use for photosynthesis during the day. C-4 plants slow down photosynthesis once the stored CO2 is used up and they must gather CO2 from the air. That’s why trees often slow photosynthesis in mid-afternoon even though the sun still bright. At least one author stated that this applies to marijuana. It doesn’t.

C-3 plants, including marijuana and most vegetables, gather CO2 only during the light period when they are photosynthesizing. During the dark period these plants use only oxygen for their metabolic life processes, similar to animal respiration. They don’t take up CO2 then, nor do they use it. As soon and as long as the light is on, C-3 plants gather CO2 from the air and restart photosynthesis.

Marijuana and other C-3 plants also have the ability to use higher CO2 concentrations than the 400 parts per million (ppm) found in the air. If the light is bright enough and the plants have sufficient nutrients and water, plants respond to CO2 enrichment of up to 2,000 ppm by photosynthesizing faster and growing at an accelerated rate, resulting in higher yields. They can do this continuously, without a dark period throughout vegetative stage.

The dark reaction is a process of photosynthesis that takes place both in darkness and light. Briefly, the dark reaction uses ATP and NADPH, which are molecules that hold energy absorbed from light. The energy is used to break apart CO2 to its components, C and oxygen (O). The O2 is released as gas into the air in another reaction that takes place only under lit conditions. Because it’s called a dark reaction and can occur in the dark, some authors have written that darkness is needed for this process to take place. This is not so.

Another reason that some people think plants need a rest period is they anthropomorphize the needs of the plants. People need a rest, so plants must too. One well-known example of plants not needing a rest is Alaska, which is renowned for its giant vegetables. They are the result of continuous light in the early part of the summer. The growth factor deals with the equation that for indoor growers: light = growth. If the plants receive a brighter light or the light is on for a longer duration they grow faster than with a dimmer light or one of shorter duration. A plant under 18 hours of light will grow only three quarters as fast as one under continuous light.

There are many factors that growers may consider when deciding whether or not to light their garden continuously or with a break every day. These include the electric bill, convenience, and how fast the grower wants the plants to grow. The electric bill may be a factor due to finances or fear of a noticeably faster meter than the neighbors. It may not be convenient to have lights on at certain hours. If a grower is timing the plants to be a certain size at a certain date, s/he may not want the plants growing at full speed. Reducing the number of hours of light can be used to slow down the growth rate to control plant size.

Another reason to grow plants using a dark period is if they are to be subsequently placed outdoors. Some plant varieties, when grown under continuous light and then placed outdoors, especially in the lower two thirds of the U.S., are shocked into flowering by the change to only 14 to 16 hours of light even on summer’s longest day, June 22. Plants grown using a six-hour dark cycle don’t have as much of an adjustment to make and are less likely to exhibit photoperiod confusion.

Some varieties flower with as few as seven or eight hours of continuous darkness. That’s a light period of 16 or 17 hours. To keep the plants in vegetative growth, the longest continuous dark period the plants should receive is six hours.

Let’s say that for a certain set-up the plants need to grow half as fast as they would under continuous light to be the right size to place in the grow room. That calls for increasing the dark period to 12 hours. However, the plants would be forced to flower if they received an uninterrupted 12-hour dark cycle. Instead, split the dark periods into three or more periods of darkness interrupted by a light period. For instance, four hours on, four hours off, or one hour on, one hour off. The plants will never receive more than a few hours of uninterrupted darkness so they won’t flower.

"The top buds on this plant turn purple as they ripen. The lower leaves, which have not been clipped, turn yellow as the plant uses the nutrients they contain for bud development."“The top buds on this plant turn purple as they ripen. The lower leaves, which have not been clipped, turn yellow as the plant uses the nutrients they contain for bud development.”PRECOCIOUS BABY

My little outdoor plant is flowering but it is only about six inches tall. This is a special little plant from an once-in-a-lifetime seed. Is there any way I can get it to grow taller after it flowers?

Eduardo H.,

You probably planted the seed or clone outdoors either early in the season or late in the season. In either case, the plant was triggered to flower by experiencing a long uninterrupted dark period. The plant may be able to be regenerated after finishing flowering.

However, a surer bet would be to change the lighting regimen to vegetative so that you will be sure to get cuts from it, and not lose the genetics. To change the light regimen outdoors the dark period must be interrupted. Shining a bright light on the plant halfway through the dark period can do this. If it gets dark at 8 p.m., shine the light at 1 a.m. This can be done using a light timer. You could also keep a dim light on the plant, which would reverse flowering, or a bright light that would support photosynthesis.
To regenerate the plant after the flower ripens leave some vegetation on the stem while harvesting, then provide it with continuous light. Hopefully, the plant will sprout new vegetative growth within two or three weeks.


Can you cook with hash oil? I have some oil and would like to mix it with peanut butter, but I don’t know how to proceed.


Yes, hash oil is easy to cook with. If it is more liquid than viscous, it can be added to warm oil and used in sautéing and baking – but not frying, which is hotter than THC’s boiling point. To add it to peanut butter, warm the butter to about 125 °F (52 °C) and add the oil. Stir until it dissolves into the oil.

Drops can be added to gravies, stews, alcoholic and milk drinks, and any other food you would like to enhance. You can also use the liquid sublingually, under your tongue. It will be absorbed by the mucous membranes very efficiently and quickly, in just a few minutes. In comparison, eating requires a stronger dose and takes longer for its effects to be felt.

If the oil is more viscous than liquid, heat it using a cigarette lighter, small torch or electric stove burner. Use pliers to hold small vials or metal containers during heating. As the oil heats it becomes less viscous and mixes more easily with foods. SEE REFERENCE IN LUX PIECE

"These bumps and red rash occurred an hour after this person started manicuring. The area was itchy. The person stopped manicuring and a day later the rash was gone."“These bumps and red rash occurred an hour after this person started manicuring. The area was itchy. The person stopped manicuring and a day later the rash was gone.”ALLERGIC?

I think I am allergic to a mold called Aspergillus that grows on marijuana. I have smoked for over three years and I’ve always had problems with my skin, but they were never as severe as they have been recently. I could never really pinpoint what it was. I went through prescriptions for dermatitis, foliculitis, scabies and other ailments. My allergic reaction includes elevated bumps that are red and very itchy. I get them on my back, arms, neck, rear-end, thighs and face. Nothing was working at all.

I browsed the internet and I found a website about Aspergillus. The results of my allergy test from when I was younger showed that I was allergic to it. I quit smoking marijuana for two weeks and I was putting a steroid cream on the irritated area. It cleared up quite a bit but spots were still rising. Is this because whatever I am allergic to is in my fat cells? How long until my body is (completely) clean of it? I made the mistake of using marijuana again after those two weeks and I had another severe breakout.

“J T”,

Although your allergy may have some of the same symptoms associated with Aspergillus it would be improbable that all the marijuana you have used was infected. If you have allergic reactions whenever you use marijuana, perhaps marijuana itself is the culprit.

You might try using water hash. It contains very little vegetative matter and the THC containing glands have been bathed in water so any Aspergillus that was on the plant will be washed away, leaving a more pure substance. If you still experience an allergic reaction, you should try to avoid marijuana substances. If you don’t experience a bad reaction, your allergy is either due to the fungus or to the vegetative material but not to the psycho-actives, and you can use the filtered, washed hash.


I am growing some Hash Plant that I have cloned three times. This time I noticed some yellow flowers on the very tip of the top buds starting at the fifth week. They look like very immature female flowers, until they split into two at the top of the bud sites and produce pale yellow petals and yellow powder. When I picked some of them they squished in my fingers in a pasty type powder. I have grown this plant out to nine weeks with no seeds in the past. Are these yellow things male flowers? How long from the onset of this does it take for seeds to begin to form?


The flowers that you observed are male. The powdery substance you felt is pollen. Once the pollen makes contact with a stigma, seed formation starts immediately. First, the stigma becomes unreceptive to pollen and it dries as the pollen travels through it to the ovary to which it is attached. Then, the pollen fertilizes the ovary and the seed begins to grow. The developing seed and the ovary produce hormones that turn growth in the surrounding area from flower to seed production around the fertilized flower. All of these events occur within hours of fertilization. The seed begins to show noticeable development within a few days. It will ripen in about three weeks.

"Trainwreck is an auto-flowering plant outdoors. As it grows, it flowers. It doesn’t grow very big and grows more and more bud, but it doesn’t ripen until mid-season."“Trainwreck is an auto-flowering plant outdoors. As it grows, it flowers. It doesn’t grow very big and grows more and more bud, but it doesn’t ripen until mid-season.”VACUUM SEALING

After my buds are dry and cured well, I like to vacuum seal them. I find it makes them rock-hard, and I don’t notice a loss of potency. Am I hurting the buds by sucking the air out to make them tight and more compact?

Mark M.,

Oxygen in air gradually oxidizes THC, especially in warm environments and when subject to light. Vacuum sealing prevents oxygen in the air from reaching the buds. You aren’t hurting the buds at all, but are preserving their integrity. Store the bags in a refrigerator or freezer and the herb will stay fresh for years.


I have an outdoor garden with 20 plants of different varieties in 25-gallon containers. I filled them with a rich mixture of compost, coir, wood chips and nutrients. The plants were between 8-12 feet tall and filled with large buds when I started harvesting the ripe buds about a month ago. There are still immature buds on about half the plants and the weather is quickly changing. In fact it’s been so cloudy and cool that no buds have ripened in the past week and, this year, for the first time I had to cut away moldy buds.

I have a grow room that I shut down each summer that has six 1000 watt lamps. Can I move the plants, which have been trimmed to 5-6 feet tall indoors?

Double Jointman,

Yes. The plants can be moved indoors. They will do better under lights than they are doing outdoors. As you observed, the cool, cloudy weather is not supporting plant growth – that is, bud ripening.

Electric lighting doesn’t match the brightness of the summer sun, but by the beginning of autumn its intensity has decreased substantially. The indoor lights may match the sun’s brightness on clear days and may be brighter than the sun on overcast days. Before you bring the plants indoors, remove all dead and dying leaves and scrape away the top half-inch of soil. These measures reduce the risk of insect infection.

The main risk of bringing the plants indoors is that they may be hosting insects that have become inactive because of the cool weather. As soon as they encounter the warm conditions of the indoor garden, they reactivate. Be prepared to knock them out immediately if they appear, using organic sprays. As soon as the plants are indoors under lights and the planting containers have warmed up so the roots are cozy, bud ripening will resume.


My uncle passed away and I was cleaning out his freezer when I found some glass jars containing good sinse and seeds from various strains and hybrids that he had grown. All the packages are marked either, 1982, 1989 or 2000. I tried some of the buds and they were good to excellent. I was wondering how I should deal with the seeds. Are they still good? What special measures should I take to germinate them? I have continued storing the seeds in the freezer.

Diamond Lily,

The seeds are probably still good and in good shape if they were stored continuously over the years. The seed is similar to life in suspended animation. It uses very little energy to stay alive until it is in a situation favorable to germination.

In a freezer, life comes to a virtual standstill. Time almost stops and seeds stay viable for many years. The seeds should still be vigorous. Continue to keep them frozen until they are to be used. To start them, place them in a glass of water or between a wet towel using a solution of 1% hydrogen peroxide and a starting solution with Vitamin B12 such as Superthrive. After soaking for 12-24 hours, place the seeds in a planting medium.

Keep the medium moist. The seeds should germinate in a week or less, though once in a while it takes a few days longer.


Is there a best time of the day to harvest?

Lake Placid, NY

In the 1970’s, Carlton Turner, then a researcher at the University of Mississippi and later President Reagan’s drug policy advisor, tested marijuana harvested at different times of the day and he found a circadian rhythm to marijuana potency. He found that potency was lowest at dusk, just past sunset. It built up through the night and peaked just before dawn. Then as the sun bore down on the plant, cannabinoids deteriorated only to start building up again as night bore down.

This experiment, as well as many anecdotal experiences, is similar to the wisdom of herbalists and essential oil makers who find that plants’ collected at dawn yield more and higher quality oils.

Home gardeners may try this too: Cut a fragrant rose at dawn and refrigerate it in a plastic bag. Then take a similar flower from the same plant at the same stage of flowering at dusk. Refrigerate that in a plastic bag. After both have been cooled to the same temperature, smell each one. Which one is more fragrant, whether cool or warm? From all of these factors, we can draw the conclusion that the best time to harvest is at dawn or after a dark period. Some growers extend the last dark period to 24 hours or more, but no experiments have been performed on this technique so we don’t know how effective it really is or what time length would be optimal.

Do you have a grow question (or answer) for Ask Ed? Send mail to: Ask Ed, PMB 147, 530 Divisadero Street, San Francisco CA, 94117, USA. You can also email [email protected] and check out his website

All growers with questions featured in CC will be rewarded by Ed Rosenthal with a copy of his book Best of Ask Ed: Your Marijuana Questions Answered. Sorry, but Ed cannot send personal replies to your questions!