If you live in one of the ten states that have legalized growing cannabis, congratulations! You can now be on the frontier of a home-growing revolution. Growing cannabis at home is surprisingly easy, and benefits you in more ways than one!
When deciding what strain of cannabis to grow, you may be attracted to purple cannabis plants. Purple cannabis makes for an eye-catching plant and produces top-quality kush.
You probably have a lot of questions about purple cannabis. In this article, we'll walk you through everything you need to know about purple cannabis. From what makes it purple to which strain is best for you, read on for your ultimate guide to growing purple.
What is Purple Cannabis?
As the name suggests, purple cannabis is a kind of cannabis with deep purple leaves and flower. Purple cannabis plants begin with green leaves, but change colors when exposed to cool temperatures. In the same way that tree leaves turn orange and red in the fall, certain strains of cannabis leaves will turn purple.
Purple cannabis has been a popular commodity for a while now. Jimi Hendrix's classic song "Purple Haze" is named for the strain!
There are a lot of myths surrounding purple cannabis and how to grow it. We'll expand on those later. Producing purple cannabis is as simple as buying the right seeds and exposing the plants to cold temperatures: that's it.
What Makes Cannabis Purple
Since purple cannabis is still a cannabis plant, it has all the same terpenes, cannabinoids, and THC. The plants turn purple due to a different chemical makeup than green plants.
To understand why some cannabis turns purple, you have to understand flavonoids. Flavonoids are a group of phytonutrients found in most fruits and vegetables and many plants as well. These compounds are responsible for pigmentation and are powerful antioxidants.
Cannabis plants are rich in flavonoids. These compounds determine whether a plant will turn purple, orange, or even black!
Two flavonoids are commonly found in cannabis. Carotenoids cause warmer hues, from light yellows to oranges and reds. The flavonoid responsible for purple hues is called anthocyanin.
The Importance of Anthocyanin
Anthocyanin is a flavonoid that determines what color a cannabis plant shifts to. Depending on their pH, the anthocyanin causes a plant to turn red, orange, blue, purple, or black.
Because of the cannabis plant's vascular system, most nutrients are found in all parts of the plant. This includes anthocyanin, which can be found in cannabis stems, flowers, leaves, and roots. However, this does not mean that the plant will be purple for its entire lifespan.
For the majority of a cannabis plant's growth, chlorophyll will overpower the anthocyanin and make the plant green. This is because chlorophyll better absorbs sunlight. The plant can grow faster and healthier when relying on chlorophyll.
But when the air turns cooler, anthocyanin takes center stage. This causes the cannabis plants to mature and turn to their darker hues. It serves a practical purpose as well: the colors attract more insects who aid in pollination.
Anthocyanin in fruits and vegetables has proven to be a powerful antioxidant. The presence of anthocyanin in cannabis may even make cannabinoids bind to receptors more easily.
Is Purple Cannabis Natural or Man Made?
Well, both. Whether or not a cannabis plant will turn purple relies largely on its genetics. However, the release of anthocyanin is dependent on cool temperatures in the fall.
If you're growing outdoors and have a particularly balmy autumn, your cannabis may not produce brilliant purple hues. The chlorophyll may overpower the anthocyanin until harvest.
When growing indoors, you can control the plant's environment to properly encourage anthocyanin turnover. This is why purple cannabis has become more popular in recent years; the technology for growing marijuana indoors gives you more control than ever.
There are a few different strains of purple cannabis. Many of these are iconic strains; you'll recognize a few names here!
Both Indica and Sativa plants can turn purple. Whether you're looking for a buzzy head high or want to be in-da-couch, there's a purple plant for you.
Here are some of the most popular purple cannabis plants:
- Granddaddy Purple (Indica)
- Purple Kush (Indica)
- Obama Kush (Indica)
- Purple Haze (Sativa)
- Blueberry (Indica)
- Shaman (Sativa)
- Sour Grapes (Hybrid)
Multi-colored hybrid strains also exist, such as Frooty Pebbles. Frooty Pebbles was created by cross-breeding Granddaddy Purp with Green Ribbon and Tahoe Alien.
With new technology and cannabis experimentation, there are bound to be even more colorful strains in the future.
Myths About Purple Cannabis
Since purple cannabis is dependent upon the presence of anthocyanin, there's no way you'll coax purple leaves out of a green plant. However, there are still many myths about what it takes to grow purple cannabis.
One is that oxygen or carbon dioxide deprivation can make a plant turn purple. Though oxygen deprivation will make a human turn purple, the effect isn't the same on plants. Please give your cannabis all the air it needs; otherwise, you'll just have a weak plant.
Another myth is that increased nitrogen can make a plant turn purple. Though nitrogen does make for a healthy plant, excess nitrogen has adverse effects. You can end up burning your plant and causing it to turn brown.
Adjusting a plant's light, water, or growing medium also won't make it turn purple. Treat your plant kindly, as you would any other plant. Nothing but anthocyanin and cold weather will make the colors change.
Growing Purple Cannabis
Cannabis is a relatively easy plant to grow. It's hardy, disease-resistant, and grow well both indoors and outdoors.
Purple cannabis is no exception. For the first part of its life, you'll treat the plant as you would any other cannabis sprout. Water regularly, keep it in a grow tent or grow box, read it bedtime stories.
But ensuring that your plant properly displays its plum hues takes a little more attention. Every step in the process is vital, from buying the right seeds to harvesting your marijuana. The effort will be worth it when you see the deep purple leaves on your plant!
Genetics are Everything
The genetics of your plant will determine how much anthocyanin is present. Therefore, it's important to make sure you're purchasing seeds that will produce anthocyanin-rich plants.
Like we said, there's no way to make cannabis leaves turn purple when the anthocyanin just isn't there. Research purple strains before buying your seeds so you don't end up disappointed.
Some strains will produce more predictable results than others. Purple Heart cannabis and Sour Grapes are great plants to begin with when trying for purple cannabis. These strains are especially rich in anthocyanin, and you'll be impressed with the change in your leaves.
If you're growing from a clone, the same rules apply. Luckily, with some clones, you can begin to see the purple hues already forming.
Keep it Cool
There is a definitive link between cold temperatures and anthocyanin production in many plants, not just cannabis. Anthocyanin is "activated" by shorter days and colder nights.
When growing outdoors, check for pigmentation as flowering begins. The plants will adapt to the climate in your area. You can also shade your plants for part of the day to help stimulate anthocyanin production.
To encourage your plant to change hues, turn down the temperature around your plant. At nighttime, keep it below fifty degrees Fahrenheit. You can begin this process shortly before the flowering stage, but the results will be most obvious after flowering.
Preparing for Harvest
Harvesting your cannabis is, objectively, the best part of the growing process. However, figuring out when to harvest your cannabis is more of an art than a science.
The first sign that your plant is ready for harvest is that it will grow buds. This stage is known as flowering, and is when you will check whether the plant is male or female.
To determine whether or not the plants are ready for harvest, look closely at the buds and leaves. We don't just mean look at it; we mean get a magnifying glass and really inspect the plant. You should see small crystals along the leaves and buds, known as trichromes.
Trichromes are small resin glands that are responsible for making marijuana sticky. They go from clear to cloudy to amber in color. This is how you'll determine whether the plant is ready for harvest.
Once most of the trichromes are either cloudy or amber, it's ready! Go ahead and begin to trim the leaves from the plant. Then, clip the buds, and hang them to dry for three to six weeks.
Congratulations! You've just grown a purple kush cannabis plant. Roll a joint or pack a bowl to celebrate.
Now You Know All About Purple Kush!
We hope this article has taught you everything you wanted to know about purple cannabis. Growing cannabis is already rewarding, but becomes doubly fun when you know the leaves will change hues before harvest. You can experiment with new cannabis colors and strains in the comfort of your own home.
If you're looking for a grow box optimized for cannabis plants, check out Grobo. We use deep water culture, a hydroponic technique to grow the plants. Simply add your plant, pick a grow recipes in our app, and let the system does the rest.