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8 Steps to Grow Massive Cannabis Buds

Created by
JoshuaHolt JoshuaHolt
Added 10 December 2021

Cannabis bud

We all love juicy, dank, potent cannabis buds, so growing cannabis at home seems like an excellent idea to get ‘em big buds. 

However, have you ever felt like home-grown buds are somewhat inferior to dispensary buds?

Sure, they may be tasty because you took the organic route, but they never seem to be as big as the ones sold by commercial producers. 

So, what’s the secret? What exactly are they doing that you don’t know?

Come to think of it, is it even possible to grow massive buds at home or is it a futile exercise?

The short answer is, yes, you can grow big beautiful buds at home. 

In fact, you can do better because you don’t need to worry about a thousand plants. All you need to do is take care of your little grow room with 5-8 plants. 

With fewer plants, you have the advantage of controlling everything and paying more attention to each and every plant.  

Most importantly, you know exactly what’s going into every plant, making it healthier. In the past, several dispensaries have been pulled up for producing cannabis laced with pesticides, so you can bet that your home-grown cannabis is superior. 

You can grow big potent buds, provided you follow specific rules. 

In this article, we will show you how easy it is to grow massive buds at home, and we promise they will look and taste much better than commercial cannabis. 

1. Turn Up the Lights

Cannabis plant under lights

Cannabis needs lights to grow — this part is non-negotiable — but the type of lights you supply will play a vital role in the size and the yields. For instance, many growers assume that CFL lights produce the same output as LEDs or HIDs (HPS and MH). But, no, it’s simply not possible. 

Many growers also think that fluorescent lights will do the job. While fluoros will work just fine during the seedling stage and perhaps even during the vegetative stage to a certain extent, you cannot compare them to LEDs or HIDs unless you use a large number of lights. If you choose to use too many fluoros, you may as well shift to other powerful lights because the costs will end up the same anyway. 

The bottom line? Good light conditions are essential for your cannabis plant, but regular compact fluorescent and small LED bulbs or strips won’t cut it. They don’t produce enough light for the plant to grow the flowers properly.

Instead, we recommend using high-pressure sodium (HPS) fixtures that provide the most light in the right spectrum that plants need during the flowering stage. But, HPS (High-Pressure Sodium) and MH (Metal Halide) lights can get hot, so keep the room well ventilated and position the lights 18 to 36 inches above the plant’s top.

That said, plenty of LED fixtures are better than HPS lights nowadays. You can see a complete list of various lights here. While an LED light on average can draw around 32W per sqft, HPS lights can go up to 40W. Although HPS lights produce bigger buds with more yields, LED lights are far better considering the light spectrum, PAR, lumens, and other factors. 

Suffice it to say that HPS and LED lights are almost identical if you compare various factors, although HPS lights will produce high electricity bills. Therefore, pay close attention to the spectrum, lumens, and wattage before purchasing lights. 

Also, as a general rule of thumb, you need at least 200 watts of light for every 4’x4’ feet of growing area, but it could be more if you’re using low-efficiency lights. 

2. Change Nutrients for Each Stage

Nutrient ratios

Nutrients play a critical role in getting big buds. A shortage of nutrients will create nutrient deficiencies. However, this doesn’t mean you add more since excess will create toxicity. 

Cannabis is a hungry plant, and it needs three macronutrients the most — nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK) — throughout its growth. However, most new growers forget to change the ratio as the plant grows. It also needs micronutrients, but those will remain constant. 

In the early stages of the plant, it requires more nitrogen to grow denser leaves and stronger stems; however, it also needs ample amounts of phosphorus and potassium, so it’s a good idea to use equal parts of all three nutrients. During the pre-flowering stage, it needs a lot more phosphorus. The flowering stage requires more potassium. 

It’s best to stick to commercial nutrients to ensure perfection. However, if you plan to use regular nutrients for most plants, you can use specific nutrient ratios. Make sure you add other nutrients like calcium, zinc, magnesium, and other micronutrients as well. 

For your reference, here are ideal NPK ratios you must focus on:

  • Vegetative stage: 1:1:1
  • Mid-bloom stage: 1:3:2
  • Late flowering stage: 0:3:3

Balance the NPK ratios accordingly to grow bigger, more potent buds.

3. Balance the pH


Next, you need to balance the pH of the growing medium because it affects the plant’s growth faster than everything combined. For instance, if the pH of your growing medium is too low, your plant won’t absorb sufficient magnesium, leading to yellowing of the leaves.


We recommend you invest in a pH pen and regularly check the pH balance of the growing medium. Ideally, the pH balance should be between 5.5 to 6.5 in hydroponic mediums for optimal growth of the buds. If you’re growing organic cannabis, you may not have to worry about the pH, but it’s a must if you plan to use commercial inorganic nutrients. 

4. Train Your Plant


There are various ways to train your cannabis plants to ensure you get big buds, but our favorite is the LST or Low-Stress Training. 

The basic premise of training plants is to ensure that all parts of the plant get uniform light. As your cannabis plant grows taller, the bigger leaves on the top shade the lower leaves, stunting their growth. As a result, the higher tiers of the plant have better flowers than the lower ones.

To remedy this, you can gently bend the top of the plant to provide more light to the lower leaves, increasing the colas within them that yield better flower buds.

The easiest way to train your plant is by tying the stems to thin bamboo sticks to keep them in place without damaging them. Or, you can use zip ties meant for plants to do the job for you. 

5. Prune or Defoliate 


Pruning or defoliating is a technique to remove the leaves at the bottom parts of the plant. Some people even remove healthy leaves to force the plants into getting defensive, so they grow faster and sturdier. 

Pruning makes the plant grow more leaves than you cut because it views it as a threat. However, do not overdo this, as the plant may stop growing altogether. 

6. Control Temperature and Humidity


Proper temperature and humidity are critical to the plant for healthy growth.

The cannabis plant grows most vigorously in temperatures ranging from 68 to 77F during the growing or vegetative stage. However, during flowering, they will do well in temperatures ranging from 65 to 85F. Although they can adjust even if the temps dip or increase slightly above this range, maintaining this specific range will give you a better chance to get big buds. 

So, you need to ventilate the room properly to ensure the plant grows in controlled temperatures.

As for humidity, you need to keep the plant well hydrated to prevent drought stress that can slow down its growth. But that does not mean you overhydrate the plant — that would lead to fungal diseases that can wreck your cannabis culture.

Here’s a quick list for both humidity and temperatures. 





High 60-70%



Moderate 40-70%



Low 40-50%


Late Flowering 

Very low 30-40%


Make sure you lower the humidity to less than 55% at all costs during the flowering stage. Investing in a decent humidifier will work better than those small ones that don’t work much. 

7. Pump Up CO2

Carbon dioxide, or CO2, is the fuel for your plant’s photosynthesis, but the amount available naturally in the atmosphere may not be enough for an indoor cannabis plant.

The outdoor atmosphere has around 400 ppm of CO2, which is adequate to sustain an outdoor cannabis culture. However, the CO2 levels tend to drop indoors.

You need to increase the CO2 quantity for an indoor cannabis plant to grow big cannabis buds. For the best results, an ideal amount of CO2 for indoor plants should be between 1000 to 1500 ppm.

We recommend you invest in a CO2 generator because it can take the hassle out of regularly opening and shutting the windows to maintain the CO2 levels.

8. Be Patient

When you start seeing the cannabis buds maturing, do not be tempted to harvest them yet. We recommend you wait for another 10 to 14 days before picking them as the cannabis buds tend to bulk up in the last couple of weeks before they finish growing.

All in all, patience is the key.

Summary: 8 Steps To Grow Massive Cannabis Buds

Nothing beats getting high on your own supply (as long as we are talking about home-grown, legal cannabis). But small, less potent flowers can take the fun out of the entire growing-weed-at-home process. And let’s not forget your wasted efforts!

So, you must follow these eight tips to grow big cannabis buds at home, whether indoors or outdoors. 

Big buds aren’t difficult to achieve. You just have to provide the right conditions for your plant, such as a proper pH balance, temperature and humidity, light, and nutrients. And be patient because you will get to enjoy potent buds grown right in your bedroom (or garden).




The big ass colas are almost purely genetics. can't put lipstick on a pig. Big colas are themselves a trait.. either a plant has it or it is not capable of doing it. Need the genetics to do so, and big bud isn't the end-all be-all trait, anyway.

Studies have shown waiting for that bulk also coincides in a statistically significant decrease in THC% (link below). Sure it adds bulk, but that new bulk is proportionately more non-psychoactive plant material than before senescence started (must be mathematically true).... some may want more mass, some may want more THC%, and i would not presume to know their individual context.. certainly not for some groupthink that has never been proven to be true.

Another horrible thing repeated constantly -- clear trichomes are not absent of THC.. in fact when they become cloudy, that is the beginning of degradation... amber is severely degradated THCA -> whatever the new configuration results... cba? whatever it is less psychoactive and likely puts you to sleep.

Remember that many beliefs based on anecdotal knowledge or misinterpreted science exist in horticulture (horticulture is not a real science, plant biology is), let alone a smaller, more esoteric subset of marijuana growers. These things will more often than not be proven false over time, or shown that they have bastardized good science/math into a dumbed-down catchy phrase or slick marketing strategy or worse.. simply wrong and misguided.

There are things in this article that are stated with such confidence but little to no evidence to back it up beyond groupthink based on anecdotal nonsense of inferior human senses and insufficient sample sizes

i'd bet money the pH suggestion differences for hydro and solid substrate will be proven to be irrelevant or complete bullshit. I'd wager the drastic shifts in npk ratios per stage in life cycle are bullshit too. More often than not it leads to burning the shit out of their canopies and reduced photosynthesis, which powers all cellular growth, so ... very, very, very unlikely a net positive event when it happens.

in regard to pH.. you'd be better served adjusting individual NPK et al ppms to work at a safer pH target than pushing your pH below 6 on purpose. 5.8-slightly acidic is fine.. but if you aim for 5.5-5.8, you have no room for error on the far side. You will lock things out or need higher than necessary ppms to mitigate the lower pH for some neccessary molecules. So many moving factors, this needs a lot of study to hammer out with confidence. EAch one impacts the other factors, so you need a matrix of possibilities and test them all to see how it goes... i believe it is mentioned in this research paper - the complexity of it and the dearth of good existing info... it's a good read and tosses more than 1 stupid myth on its head.

Bet nearly all the suggestions for temp/rh are based on a VPD table. Turning up lights shouldn't be needed if you did some rudimentary math to determine your needs based on your environment and intentions to start. You can only give so much light per 24 hour cycle... there is a ceiling based on relevant factors.

It's good to remember some people think hair grows faster or thicker when you cut it... your hair isn't grass. What you see above the skin is not even alive. faster growth or thicker growth is an optical illusion based on how the hair initially grows in along you skin as opposed to projecting out from it, but some people will still confidently argue otherwise until they are blue in the face.... facts be damned.

These are the type of things people are capable of believing while completely false. People still think stress causes heart-burn, as another example. For generations we named the common cold several different things based on observed symtpoms (follies of inductive reasoning)... we were incapable of understanding that it was the same virus behind it all at the time.. so we filled in blanks with really shitty, ignorant and overtly wrong answers in hindsight.

This sort of behaviour is still quite prevalent all over despite being capable of more sophisticated understanding, and not just relegated to marijuana farming.


Another horrible thing repeated constantly -- clear trichomes are not absent of THC.. in fact when they become cloudy, that is the beginning of degradation... amber is severely degradated THCA -> whatever the new configuration results... cba? whatever it is less psychoactive and likely puts you to sleep.

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