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Maximizing the Taste and Smell of a Cannabis Crop

Maximizing the Taste and Smell of a Cannabis Crop

When cultivating cannabis, there are two important considerations to make: overall yield and crop quality. Though most growers look for ways to end up with the most buds possible, many forget to focus on growing weed that smells and tastes great.

Just as foods taste better when they smell good, producing marijuana with a fragrant aroma will improve the consumer’s overall experience. In this guide, you’ll learn what to do (and what to avoid) when growing great-tasting, aromatic buds.

Special Supplements and Nutrients

Where supplementation and nutrients are concerned, cannabis cultivators have several options that may improve the crop’s aroma and taste. In fact, many of these products are specially formulated for that purpose. When supplementing cannabis plants in the flowering stage, be sure to use low-nitrogen products. These supplements have less nitrogen and more phosphorus and potassium.

It’s also important to avoid chemical supplements. These nutrient sources have compound names such as magnesium carbonate, ammonium phosphate, and potassium nitrate. Though such nutrients’ qualities make them attractive to many growers, they don’t add much in the way of product smell or taste. For the most flavorful and aromatic buds, use plant nutrients made from bone meal, guano, worm castings, kelp, and other organic sources.

Focus on Light Quality

Most growers know that intense light will help cannabis buds reach their potential as far as smell, taste, and potency are concerned. The most popular grow lights for flowering plants are HPS grow lights, because they produce more potent buds. However, HPS units may not be the best way to increase aroma and taste. There’s anecdotal evidence that some light types, such as UV-B lights, may increase trichome production and improve smell. Because UV-B light is risky for humans, growers should protect themselves from undue exposure. Glass blocks almost all UV light, so if your plants are under a hood or in a greenhouse, some of that light may not reach them. When using UV lights, there should be a direct, clear path from the light to the crop.

Use Living Soil

Another great way to ensure that cannabis plants get the nutrients they need is to use living soil. This type of growth medium includes active colonies of microorganisms. It’s much like the soil a wild plant would use, only it’s a bit better because it contains the exact blend of supplements and nutrients the plant needs. Buds grown in living soil usually have more complex terpene profiles, which makes them taste and smell better.

The only disadvantage to the use of living soil is that the plants may grow a little slower than with liquid nutrients. However, the buds will be more fragrant, with a range of smells that it’s almost impossible to replicate with other methods. If you’re looking to maximize the smell and taste of a cannabis crop, living soil is an easy and natural way to attain that goal. With living soil and great seeds from, any crop can get off to a great start.

Control Humidity and Temperature in the Late Flowering Stage

Though these factors may be tough to control in some grow situations, monitoring humidity and temperature during the final six weeks of the flowering phase will make a big difference in the taste and smell of your buds. Keep the daytime temperature under 80°F as higher temps may burn the flowers.

Nighttime temperatures should be five to ten degrees cooler than in the daytime. Cooler nights help cannabis plants ramp up terpene production, and during the late flowering stage, they bring out vibrant colors in some strains. The grow space should be at or around 50% relative humidity for optimal plant growth and terpene production. Lower humidity prevents bud rot and stresses the plants just enough to produce additional trichomes, which affect the plant’s aroma and flavor.

Flush Before Harvest Time

When plants receive water-borne supplements, it’s best to stop adding them to the growth medium one or two weeks before harvesting. This gives the plants time to metabolize any nutrients they’ve already absorbed, so they’re less likely to affect the taste and smell of the buds. If the plants aren’t receiving extra nutrients in the water, there’s no need to follow this step. In hydroponic setups there’s no nutrient buffer (because there’s no soil), so it’s best to flush for a week or less to preserve the appearance and taste of the buds.

Harvest Properly

One of the most important things about cannabis harvesting is to pick the buds in a timely fashion. Terpenes give cannabis its unmistakable aroma, and when crops are harvested too early, the buds won’t taste or smell as good as they would have if they’d been allowed to mature.

Trim buds while they’re on the stems so they can be hung to dry. This method gives the buds a water buffer and makes it easier to dry them slowly. With this approach, your crop will smell much like it did in the flowering stage. Don’t handle the buds too much, as it will destroy terpenes and reduce overall smell and taste.

Avoid the Use of Scent Neutralizers

Though it’s advisable to mask the aroma of cannabis in some situations, some products are too good at covering up the smell. The problem with commercially available scent neutralizers is that they affect the taste and smell of the product. The air freshener in the bathroom down the hall won’t do much, but if you’re using odor eliminators when guests are over, the smell may leach into the cannabis crop. In simple terms, if the product leaves the smell of perfume or chemicals in the air, do not use it on or near the plants. Carbon filters work much better than spray products, and they don’t affect the aroma or taste of the buds.

Prevent Harvest-Time Mistakes That Lead to the Growth of Mold and Mildew

Most cannabis growers don’t think about mold when it’s harvest time, but it can be a serious problem in certain conditions. If buds become moldy, they’ll be very harsh-tasting, foul-smelling, and unsafe to consume. Mold is very common around harvest time, and the denser and bigger the buds are, the more likely they are to mold.

To reduce the chances of mold growth, keep the grow room’s humidity below or at 50% during the flowering stage. If possible, reduce it even more during the final week or two before harvest. Low humidity not only accelerates trichome production, but it also prevents bud rot and other moisture-related problems.

If the growing area’s humidity is too high, increase airflow and use an exhaust fan to remove moist air. Each leaf releases water into the air, and removing a few leaves may reduce humidity in urgent situations.

Big buds should always have proper airflow, especially at harvest time. If the plants’ buds are covered in leaves, or if there’s not enough air circulating through the grow room, mold is much more likely to grow. With strategic defoliation, buds will receive the air and light needed for denser growth and improved aroma and taste.

It’s best to defoliate leafy plants at or near harvest time to ensure there’s enough air to reach the plant. It may help to remove leaves at the middle and bottom of the plant, or to strip the fan leaves that prevent the buds from getting air and light. Defoliation is an advanced technique that’s best for experienced cannabis cultivators.

Finally, keep the grow room’s temperature between 70 – 80°F. Anything below 70°F may trigger the growth of fuzzy mold and bud rot, while temps above 80°F increase the risk of mildew and powdery white mold.

Begin With Good Genetics

No matter how successful a grow op is, it’s impossible to make plants overcome their own genetics. If plants don’t have the right genes to yield fragrant, tasty buds, there’s not much a grower can do to improve those qualities. This guide covers most of the things growers can do to maximize a plant’s potential, but if you’re looking for a special taste or smell, it’s important to choose seeds and clones with good genes.

Most cannabis strains give off an aroma when they’re grown correctly. However, certain strains (such as Northern Lights) have a light smell, so efforts to increase these plants’ terpenoid content won’t be very successful.

Closing Thoughts on Improving the Taste and Smell of Cannabis Crops

The safe and effective cultivation of cannabis isn’t something that’s easily mastered. The process takes time and effort, so you’ll need a healthy measure of patience. Everyone needs a helping hand when growing their own crops, and the tips covered in this guide will help growers get yields with the aroma and taste they love. With high-quality auto-flowering or feminized seeds from the team at, your cannabis crop will get off to the best possible start.