All plants contain color pigments. For most of them, the dominant pigment is chlorophyll, the substance responsible not just for photosynthesis, but also for giving most terrestrial plants their characteristic green hues. Plants don’t just contain chlorophyll, though. They also have other active pigments, such as carotenoid and anthocyanin, which can also play a role in photosynthesis.
Like most plants, marijuana contains more chlorophyll than it does carotenoid or anthocyanin. As a result, its dominant color is green. That doesn’t mean consumers who buy vibrant purple buds are being had, though. These buds just have abnormally high concentrations of anthocyanins, the compounds responsible for giving some plants, including certain strains of marijuana plants, their purple hues.
Today’s marijuana growers often select for traits like varicolored flowers with pink or purple tones, not because they’re more potent or offer any medical advantage, but because modern marijuana consumers are always looking for something new and interesting. There’s a right way and a wrong way to grow pink and purple buds, though. Avoid common mistakes like inducing excessive environmental stress and read on to find out how to do it right instead.
Generally speaking, pink or purple-hued buds don’t taste, smell, or feel any different from their verdant counterparts. Although anthocyanins are known to have many beneficial health effects when ingested orally, to date, there has been no evidence that smoking them confers the same benefits. That being said, commercial growers have every reason to start experimenting with pink and purple buds. They’re popular with marijuana enthusiasts looking for something new and often fetch a higher price on local markets.
All plants contain some concentrations of anthocyanin and carotenoids, but the concentrations of these compounds aren’t the only thing that affects bud coloration. Adverse environmental conditions can also cause various plant parts to turn purple, but issues like phosphorous deficiency are more likely to impact leaves than buds.
Some strains of marijuana are more likely to produce pink or purple buds than others, usually because they contain higher concentrations of anthocyanin. This flavonoid can turn parts of the plant red or blue, which explains why different concentrations produce pink or purple buds since these colors are created from these two primary colors. Even strains of cannabis that are abnormally rich in anthocyanin won’t usually produce varicolored buds unless they are subjected to the right environmental conditions, though, so buying the right weed seeds isn’t enough.
Low nighttime temperatures temporarily halt chlorophyll production, changing the concentration of chemicals in plants’ leaves, pistils, calyxes, and trichomes. In anthocyanin-rich strains, this can bring out beautiful pink or purple hues. Strains that are not rich in this flavonoid will develop red, orange, or purple leaves, but their buds will remain green.
Outdoor growers will have to wait until the end of the season to notice this change. Indoor growers can induce pigment changes by lowering the temperature in their grow rooms when the lights are off. It will only work once the plants have entered the flowering stage, though, so don’t expose the plants to unnecessary environmental stress by substantially altering nighttime temperatures while they’re still in veg. The ideal temperature change is 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Some growers induce changes in bud color by exposing their plants to extreme light conditions. Since anthocyanin acts as a protective agent against UV-B rays for plants’ photosynthetic tissues, this can be an effective technique. However, exposure to extreme light conditions can place plants under extreme stress, altering their grow cycles and, in some cases, inducing hermaphroditism, so this method doesn’t come highly recommended.
The right way to grow pink and purple buds is to choose anthocyanin-rich cannabis seeds and ensure that they are exposed to low nighttime temperatures near the end of the flowering stage. Some growers looking for short cuts may be tempted to try other methods, such as oxygen or carbon dioxide deprivation, overfeeding nitrogen, changing the watering schedule or soil pH, or even using food coloring to dye the buds. These methods are not effective and even if they do alter the plants’ coloration, they will also alter the potency of their buds and their taste and aroma profiles and can substantially reduce yields. They’re just not worth the risk. The only real shortcut you can safely take when growing your marijuana is to start with fast flowering seeds.
There are four parts of marijuana plants that can turn pink or purple under the right environmental conditions. Most growers focus explicitly on altering the color of calyxes, trichomes, and pistils, but both fan leaves and sugar leaves can also turn different colors. Since growers trim these away during the post-harvest phase, there’s no reason to focus on growing vibrant purple leaves, though.
Calyxes are tiny pods that contain marijuana plants’ reproductive organs and resin glands. They provide most of the color to the colas since they’re the primary component in buds. As the buds mature, their calyxes open up to reveal pistils, which can also change color in certain strains.
In the wild, a marijuana plant’s pistils would be responsible for catching pollen from male plants to propagate the species. In a controlled grow, no pollination occurs, but the pistils will still become exposed as the buds mature. These fine hair-like structures start off creamy white, then change color as the flowering stage progresses. In most strains, they turn orange, red, or brown. Some strains also produce pink or purple pistils under the right environmental conditions.
Trichomes are where most of a marijuana plant’s cannabinoids, including THC, are stored. They start out clear, then turn milky white when the plants are ready for harvest. Sometimes, trichomes can also turn pink or purple. Unfortunately, this can cause some confusion for growers, who typically use the color of their plants’ trichomes as an indicator of when they are ready to harvest. If the trichomes turn pink or purple instead of white, growers should check the pistils for more reliable signs that it’s time to harvest their buds.
Since not all strains will turn pink or purple when exposed to low temperatures, growers need to select the right seeds if they want to grow vibrant, colorful buds. There are both cbd strain seeds and high thc seeds for sale that will possess this trait, and here are a few of our favorites:
Panama is classic cannabis sativa known for producing dense buds with pink or red pistils and trichomes. It’s also high-yielding under the right conditions and has an average THC content of 23%. Unlike most sativas, Panama thrives in the cooler climates, perfect for inducing color changes.
Purple kush was voted one of the top ten most powerful strains of marijuana by High Times in 2016. This indica has an average THC concentration of 22% and trace amounts of CBD, making it perfect for nighttime smoking. Its unique genetics also all but guarantee deep purple undertones.
Most Purple Kush plants grow bright green buds with orange pistils and purple leaves, but at least one auto-flowering variety inverts this color scheme to create bright leaves and deep purple buds. Since Purple Kush Auto is crossed with Hindu Kush, it has a lower average THC concentration. However, many growers prefer it for its unique, eye-catching coloration and quicker maturation time.
Granddaddy purple is an indica-heavy cross of Purple Urkle and Big Bud. It produces not just purple leaves, but also purple-hued buds with orange pistils that can get so dense that growers need to supply the branches with extra support. Its sedative effects make it perfect for inducing relaxation and treating pain.
Purple haze is a sativa-dominant hybrid known for inducing creativity and a sense of euphoria in users. It’s one of the most popular strains of marijuana in the world thanks partly to its beautiful, lavender-colored buds laced with orange pistils and partly to its lineage, especially on the Haze side of the family. Unlike most purple strains, it’s great for daytime use and perfect for social settings. For fans of Jimi Hendrix, Purple Haze also makes a good conversation starter.
Blueberry is an indica-dominant hybrid known for its fruity flavor and long-lasting euphoric effects. It produces heavy yields of beautiful, varicolored buds with undertones of bright blue and pink. Germinating Blueberry seeds can be challenging, but once the plants have started, even inexperienced growers find it easy to work with as long as they live in warm, sunny climates.
The primary advantage of growing pink and purple buds is that it gives commercial growers an edge with consumers looking for new, interesting products to try out. Growers who want to start producing high-quality, varicolored buds shouldn’t try to take shortcuts. They need to start with seeds explicitly bred to produce pink or purple plants, provide them with excellent care throughout the vegetative stage, and ensure adequate temperature changes at night at the end of the season. It’s the only way to grow varicolored buds that look great, taste great, and feel great.