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Hydro 101 with Deonna Marie: Growing Phases, Part 2

Bloom phase means you’re getting close to harvesting your hydroponic crop. Bloom phase means you’re getting close to harvesting your hydroponic crop.

It's bloom time! Personally, the bloom phase is my favorite part of hydroponics indoor growing. This is the stage where all the hard work you have put in during pre-veg and vegetative phases will pay off, which is why we love hydroponics gardening in the first place. Last time, we talked about pre-veg and veg phase. But there are a few things you will have to do differently than you did during the vegetative stage. Bloom phase (sometimes called “flower” phase) requires an adjustment to your indoor grow room’s lighting, humidity and nutrients.

As the plants begin to bloom, the humidity in your grow room will begin to rise, so be aware of your flowers adding some unwanted moisture to the growing environment.

In order for your plants to begin to bloom, you will need to change out your metal halide bulb and replace it with a high-pressure sodium bulb. The reason for this switch is that flowering plants like the red spectrum that a high-pressure sodium bulb puts out. This spectrum promotes flower growth, so you will achieve a much bigger yield with this bulb. I recommend the new Red Diamond bulb for this phase. The spectrum is spot on.

After you have changed out bulbs, you need to set your lighting timer to a schedule of 12 hours of light on, and 12 hours off. This is what triggers your plants to bloom. You will stay with this light cycle all the way to harvest time.

As the plants begin to bloom, the humidity in your grow room will begin to rise, so be aware of your flowers adding some unwanted moisture to the growing environment. Your target humidity is 40-50% with a temperature of 70-75 degrees. If your humidity levels go above the desired range, you risk becoming victim to molds and disease like powdery mildew, grey mold, and even rot.

You should already have fans running to help control air circulation (we’ll cover that in a future column). But to keep humidity in check during bloom phase, sometimes you can simply add another inline fan to remove the moisture from the air. However, if that's not enough, you may need a de-humidifier, which will definitely do the trick. Whatever you do, whether you’re using oscillating or inline fans, make sure you keep all of your fans running 24-7. Air movement is more important now than any other stage of a plant’s growth.

Your plants also have different needs for nutrients at this stage, so be sure to switch to bloom nutrients. They have lower levels of nitrogen, and higher levels of phosphorus and potassium, which will promote flower growth. Every plant has a different finishing time, but most take anywhere from 8-10 weeks of total bloom time. Be sure to do your research for whatever you’re growing so you know how long your plants will take to finish.

And here’s the good news: when the bloom phase is finished, it's harvest time! Now you’re ready to enjoy the fruits of your hydroponics gardening labor with your friends and customers. Hope this helps, my fellow hydroponics growers. Happy blooming!

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Deonna Marie knows a thing or two about blooming.
Last modified on Thursday, 30 August 2012 18:58

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