Question of the Week:
"What is the average yield for each indoor plant?" -- Robin & Josh

Answer from Nico:
Robin & Josh, thanks for writing in!

This is a very simple question -- but a good one and I am glad you asked. It is important to understand the basics in marijuana horticulture as our laws loosen and more and more people in the US are able to grow their own cannabis both for medical and recreational use.

There are three key factors that will determine how much a single cannabis plant can yield. Unfortunately, there is no single answer, or “average” for each plant, as yield can vary greatly depending on three very important factors:

1. Genetics:
The first and perhaps most important factor that will influence how much an indoor plant can yield is its genetic heritage. Certain strains of cannabis are known to be large yielders, while others are notorious for yielding very little despite much effort. Just like humans, the potential of two plants’ offspring is dependent upon its genetic code buried deep within its chromosomes. 

2. Light:
Light is the single most important element of what the grower can provide your plant with -- more than even water or nutrients. Without light, your indoor plant will die, and only with light can your plant create food (in the form of glucose) via photosynthesis. As a general rule, the more intense the light, the better it is for the plant (though obviously there are limits). Remember, plants -- even indoor plants -- have naturally evolved under the sun. Most indoor growers use 400-, 600- or 1,000-watt HID (high-intensity discharge) bulbs. In fact, many growers like to measure their plant yields to the wattage it was grown under (i.e., “I get a gram per watt”). 

3. Technique:
Another important consideration in how much a plant might yield is the system in which it is grown and the cultivation techniques deployed. For instance, many growers argue that hydroponic cultivation garners higher yields than growing out of soil (though other argue there may be a trade off with quality) does. But for certain, there are a few horticultural techniques that can be deployed that will undoubtedly bolster your yield. One such technique is pruning or, more specifically, topping your plant (done during the vegetative stage) which is simply the removal of the top terminal shoot. This causes the plant to release hormones that grow new side branches. This will create more top colas and with proper trellising to support the bushy structure, can increase yield by up to 20 percent.

Got questions? Email ‘em over to Nico at Edit.Grow@hightimes.com and be sure to put “Nico’s Nuggets” in the subject line!