7 Environmental Factors that Affect Bud Quality

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Added 09 May 2023

Are you a cannabis grower looking to improve the quality of your cannabis buds? Look no further and begin by fine-tuning the environment around your cannabis plants. The environment plays a crucial role in the quality of your cannabis. From temperature to lighting and a range of other factors, the environment influences your cannabis potency, flavor, and overall appeal. 

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at these environmental factors that affect the quality of your buds and provide you with expert tips to improve the quality. So, grab your joint, sit back, and prepare to learn more about the factors that affect the quality of cannabis. Let’s get started. 

1. Temperature 


One of the primary factors that affect bud quality in cannabis is the temperature. When the temperature is too hot or too cold, it can stress out the plant and make the buds grow airy or long, affect the color, or even hamper the potency or flavor. So, how does temperature affect bud quality in cannabis? Let’s take a look.

Cold Temperatures 

It is recommended that you should grow your cannabis in cooler temperatures, especially during the last week of the flowering stage. Cooler temperatures during the late flowering stage allow the buds to gain most of their flavor, aroma, size, and potency. But cold temperatures before the bud development stage don’t really affect the buds’ quality much. 

Generally, the best temperature for bud development is around 75°F or 24°C, and if the temperatures are right during the night, your buds may even develop colors like purple, red, or pink, depending on the strain you’re growing. 

However, if the temperatures are too cold during the entirety of the flowering season, the plant stretches (or grows) slowly, and the buds may not grow big or bushy, either. You must wait until the end of the flowering season to drop the temperatures. Your plant will grow well if the temperatures are a little warm during the start of the flowering stage. 

Remember, you need to ensure your plant gets the most optimal environment during the start of the flowering stage — it sets the stage for excellent bud development. And later, you only need to bring the temperature down a little to mimic the onset of winter. Once the buds have developed enough, the cooler temperature will also help preserve their aroma and potency. 

Another way cold temperatures may affect bud quality is if the temperature drops too low, regardless of the growth stage. Generally, temperatures below 65°F or 18°C can cause cold stress in plants, which can stunt the plant’s growth and bud development. 

Additionally, extreme cold can make your cannabis plant more prone to nutrient deficiencies and overwatering, and the plant may also develop symptoms like yellowing or curling of leaves.

Hot Temperatures

On the other hand, warmer temperatures can also impact the quality of your cannabis buds if you don’t control them properly. Too much heat can hamper bud development and even affect their quality and potency, especially when the buds are close to harvest. 

Here, some strains are more resistant to heat than others, but it is best to avoid high temperatures during the late flowering stage. Here are some things that can happen to your cannabis if the temperatures are too high:

  • The flowers may lose potency or smell due to trichome and terpene degradation
  • Due to stress, your plant may turn into a hermaphrodite (hermies)
  • The buds may grow into foxtails 
  • Higher temperatures may also attract pests like spider mites or even mold and other pathogens, especially if there is poor air circulation 
  • The leaves may turn crispy brown, too 
  • The buds may grow discolored, be harsh to smoke, and the quality may not be high in general 

So, as mentioned earlier, it is best to keep the temperatures around 73°F (23°C) during the flowering stage and never let the temperatures cross 82°F or 28°C. Beyond this point, your plant will experience heat stress, and the buds will lose their quality. 

2. Humidity


The next environmental factor that affects the quality of your cannabis buds is relative humidity. Typically, most cannabis plants grow well in a relative humidity of 40% to 50% during the flowering stage, and for some strains, a little higher RH is also okay. Just do the best you can if you don’t have the equipment to adjust the humidity. 

However, you must keep the relative humidity from crossing the 60% mark in all cases, as it can increase the chances of mold or bud rot, slow the growth of buds (leading to smaller yields), and make the buds more airy. 

And mold or fungus in any form is never good for the cannabis plant. It is difficult to get rid of. If it starts growing on your buds, there’s nothing you can do about it. The only option you have to deal with bud rot is to discard the buds and start growing a new plant since mold is harmful to your health

This happens because high humidity affects the plant’s perspiration and nutrient absorption processes, i.e., the nutrients and water do not travel well within the plant, leading to poor bud development. 

On the other hand, low humidity around the 40% to 50% mark is ideal for bud development, it shouldn’t go too low either. If the relative humidity drops below 35%, your plant may experience stress — the buds may not grow bushy, or the same may impact trichome production. But this depends on the strain you use, so understand your strain as much as you can to know its RH preferences. 

You can maintain optimal humidity levels in various ways. For most grow rooms, you can use oscillating fans, vents, and an air conditioner to keep the grow room’s air fresh and clean. But if humidity is a major problem, you can even use humidifiers or dehumidifiers, which are quite effective at controlling the humidity in grow rooms. 

3. Light


One of the most important environmental factors that affect the cannabis plant’s growth is light. Even if everything else is under control, like the temperature, humidity, or grow medium, improper light can lead to a lot of problems. This is why you will see indoor growers spending most of the cultivation money on grow lights. There are multiple aspects of light you need to control, like light intensity, color spectrum, distance, and light cycle. Let’s take a look at them.

Light Distance and Intensity

The first two aspects — distance and intensity — work in tandem with each other. Light being too close or too bright produces the same results, and the same goes for light being too far or too dim. 

So, when the lights are too close or too bright, your cannabis plant can suffer from light burns, which is quite harmful to the plant. This can lead to many problems, such as the following:

  • The terpenes or cannabinoids may degrade or burn off
  • The buds may turn into foxtails or hermies 
  • The buds may start bleaching or develop burn spots 
  • The buds may not smell, taste, or feel the same as expected 

On the other hand, if the lights are positioned too far, or the intensity is too low, your light can experience light deprivation. That’s another recipe for disaster. Here are some of the effects of the grow lights being too far or too dim:

  • The buds may stop growing entirely 
  • Your cannabis plant may stop growing entirely 
  • The buds may not develop adequate terpenes or cannabinoids 
  • Your plant may stretch too much to reach closer to the grow lights 

So, you must keep your grow lights at the right distance. During the flowering stage, you need to place your lights between 16 to 36 inches, depending on the lights you use. But since grow lights come in various intensities and types, you should always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the best results. 

And for intensity, your grow lights should produce around 35,000 to 85,000 lux during the flowering stage, with the sweet spot at 60,000 lux. 

Light Spectrum

The next aspect is the light spectrum, i.e., the color of light that can also influence the plant’s bud quality. For the best results, you should set your grow lights to produce red to far-red light during the flowering stage. This color spectrum is ideal for flowering plants since it boosts terpene and cannabinoid production in the buds

If you can, you should also supplement the primary grow lights with UV, which increases trichome production in the buds. And the more trichomes on the buds, the more aromatic and potent the buds are. 

Light Cycle 

Whether you’re growing photoperiod or autoflowering cannabis, you must maintain the right light cycle during the flowering stage. For a photoperiod plant, you need to maintain a light cycle of 12/12 to mimic the natural light cycle. A similar light cycle can be used for autoflowering cannabis, even though it does not rely on the light cycle much.

However, you must ensure that you completely lightproof your grow room during the dark hours. If a light leak occurs, even from a tiny LED from the temperature sensor, your cannabis plant can turn into a hermaphrodite, i.e., the buds will start growing seeds, which can hamper the buds’ quality, effect, and flavor. 

4. Carbon Dioxide 

Carbon Dioxide

Carbon dioxide may not be of much use to us, but for your plant, it is one of the primary elements necessary for survival. Your plant relies on it to produce energy during the photosynthesis process — CO2 is to your plant what oxygen is to you. 

Cannabis converts carbon dioxide using light to produce energy, and high concentrations of CO2 will encourage the plant to produce energy and grow bigger. So, if your growing room lacks carbon dioxide, it may grow slowly.

Fortunately, you can add more carbon dioxide to your grow room to get bigger buds than ever before. It’s a simple tactic, depending on your method, which can increase your plant’s yield by 20% while boosting the buds’ quality. 

In most regions, the atmosphere contains around 410 ppm of carbon dioxide (on average), which is adequate for your cannabis plant’s growth. But if you want to add more CO2 to your room, you need to increase the ppm between 1,200 to 2,000. Avoid adding more CO2 than 2,000 ppm as it can be dangerous for you

You can introduce more CO2 in your grow room in various ways, such as the following:

CO2 Generators

CO2 generators resemble patio heaters and are the most effective way to introduce more CO2 in grow rooms. These generators use propane or natural gas to produce CO2, and they come with automatic valves and power switches that allow you to control the flow of the gas as per your requirements. 

Compressed Liquid CO2

The second most effective way of adding more CO2 to your grow room is with compressed CO2, which you can find at local hydroponics or welding stores. The latter one will have cheaper options. 

The benefit of compressed CO2 is that you can control the gas flow with an emitter device, which does not produce any heat, moisture, or sulfur, unlike CO2 generators. But you will also need other peripherals like a pressure regulator, a flow meter, a solenoid valve, and other fittings and piping. 

Dry Ice

The options mentioned above are excellent but also expensive, but if you want to save money while adding more CO2 to your grow room, you can use dry ice. It is also the easiest method to add more CO2. All you need to do is place a block of dry ice in your grow room. It will gradually break down and release CO2 into the room. 


Place a bag of compost in your grow room. Compost releases carbon dioxide and can last up to three months. The only downside with compost is that you can’t adjust the flow of CO2, but it isn't a problem anyway since it does not release so much CO2. 

5. Growing Medium

Growing medium

Growing medium is also an important factor influencing your cannabis plant’s bud quality. The medium is responsible for housing the roots and nourishing the plant with nutrients, water, and oxygen. 

For cannabis, you can use multiple growing mediums, like soil, coco coir, perlite, Rockwool, or vermiculite. For many growers, the best and most basic growing medium is soil, which is the most natural way of growing cannabis. 

Here, you must invest in high-quality soil that contains a diverse range of microorganisms and nutrients. Low-quality soil lacks nutrients and may not nourish your plant enough during the flowering stage. 

Another popular choice for cannabis growers is coco coir, made from coconut husks. It is a terrific alternative to soil since it has a neutral pH and is free of pests and diseases. It is also porous, so it can retain a lot of air and water, which promotes root growth. 

You can also choose Rockwool, which is growing increasingly in popularity for indoor and hydroponic growers. This growing medium is made from molten lava rock, which is later spun into fibers. It is sterile and offers terrific aeration and drainage. 

Whichever growing medium you choose, always ensure it is of high quality, and the pH is between 5.5 to 6.5 for the best growth. A high-quality growing medium will allow your plant’s roots to grow big, leading to better plant growth. And the eventual result would be your plant growing bigger and developing big, bushy buds. 

6. Nutrients


Simply choosing a growing medium doesn’t suffice, you need to make sure the growing medium contains all the right nutrients for optimal bud development. Recent studies have shown that different concentrations of micro- and macro-nutrients can significantly affect the quality of buds. 

While you don’t really need to focus on micronutrients — your plant requires them in minute quantities, which it usually gets from tap water itself. However, you must focus on macronutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. 

Flowering cannabis plants require less nitrogen and more potassium for optimal bud development. So, during the first couple of weeks of bloom, you need to feed NPK in a 5:7:10 ratio. During the mid-flowering stage, you can use an NPK ratio of 6:10:15, and in the last weeks of flowering, use an NPK ratio of 4:7:10. Of course, you can use other concentrations and fine-tune them according to your preference, but remember to always keep potassium concentration higher. 

Consider using bloom-specific fertilizers during the flowering stage, as they contain all the nutrients in the correct ratios, taking the stress off your shoulder so you can focus on other aspects of growing cannabis. 

Lastly, always ensure the pH of your nutrient solution is between 5.5 to 6.5. If the pH is off, the roots may fail to absorb some of the nutrients, which can lead to nutrient deficiencies, lockouts, and toxicities. You don’t want your plant to experience these problems during the flowering stage as it can significantly affect the quality of buds.

It is wise to invest in a pH meter, ideally a digital one, and regularly check the pH of your nutrient solution and runoff water. Both readings should be close, if not equal, but if they are too different, you need to flush your plant and adjust the pH of the nutrient solution. 

7. Pests


One environmental factor that many growers overlook is the presence of pests around their cannabis plants. Some pests are good to have, but others are downright nuisance for cannabis. These pests are like parasites that feast on your cannabis plant, and if they are not eradicated on time, they may kill your cannabis plant.

Harmful pests come in three varieties. First, sucking pests that suck the nutrients out of your cannabis plants, hampering its growth and yield. Second, chewing pests that feed on your plant’s tissues like buds, branches, leaves, etc. And third, infectious pests carry harmful pathogens that can infect your plant.

All of these pests have the capability to harm the bud quality of your plants. Some of the most common harmful pests you may encounter while growing cannabis are spider mites, aphids, fungus gnats, slugs, snails, caterpillars, thrips, and many more. 

The best way to deal with pests is to avoid them entirely by keeping your grow room isolated from the outdoors via nets, keeping the air fresh, and using companion plants to ward off any pests. 

But if your plant is unlucky enough to suffer a pest infestation, you can try using neem oil mixed in water to solve the problem. Neem oil is effective at killing the majority of pests but be careful not to spray it on the buds as it can damage your buds’ flavor profile. You can also use other organic pesticides or diatomaceous earth. 

Summary: 7 Environmental Factors that Affect Bud Quality 

In conclusion, the quality of your buds is affected by various environmental factors like temperature, humidity, light, growing medium, etc. These factors influence your plant’s growth, terpenoid and cannabinoid production, and your plant’s resistance to diseases. 

As a cannabis grower, you must understand the impact of these factors and take measures to optimize them to suit your plant’s preferences and boost bud quality. By providing the ideal conditions, your buds will not only grow big and bushy, but they will be more potent, aromatic, and flavorful. 

Use this guide as a starting point and gather as much knowledge and skill as you can about these factors. Of course, it is not an easy task. You need patience, careful consideration, and precise management of the environment of your grow room. 

Use the right methods and tactics and you will grow cannabis that will surprise even the most experienced growers. Your high-quality cannabis buds will prove to be tough competition to even top-shelf cannabis products. 


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