If you happen to live in Colorado, you’ve probably heard about the Chocolope craze. It is unquestionably one of the most popular marijuana strains in the state, and it has a long and proud lineage. It is a heavily sativa-dominant (over 90%) strain with a THC content of approximately 19%. Its potent and energizing effects mean Chocolope is one of the most popular morning strains in the U.S. Indeed, some users describe its energetic effects as being similar to a strong cup of coffee, only without the comedown.
It is a cross of Chocolate Thai and Cannalope Haze and was created in the Netherlands by DNA Genetics way back in the 1980s. It came at a time when top-shelf genetics were just about making their way into the mainstream. Chocolope doesn’t just provide you with coffee-like effects; it also offers a roasty chocolate back-end taste to complement the fruitiness that’s a feature of its Thai genetics.
Chocolate Thai was considered as one of Europe’s lower quality strains at the time, but DNA Genetics backcrossed it with Cannalope Haze several times. The result included full calyxes, and a sweeter and cleaner scent and flavor. One of the main effects of Chocolope is the uplifting high, which makes it a great medicinal cannabis. It is typically recommended to individuals with depression or stress.
If Chocolope happens to be your favorite strain, you’re in luck! In this growing guide, we show you important tips and tricks to produce potent and plentiful buds.
1 – Should you grow Chocolope indoors or outdoors?
Indoor growers will be thrilled to know that they can easily grow Chocolope inside. However, as it is prone to mildew and mold, it requires a well-ventilated space. Ideally, you will plant seedlings of Chocolope when there is no longer any risk of frost. If you grow it indoors, its flowering time is 8-9 weeks, and it can yield up to 21 ounces per square meter.
If you’re seeking enormous yields, consider growing Chocolope outdoors. Although it can deal with excess humidity, it is best to lower the percentage if you can; otherwise, mold could grow and ruin your crop. This strain provides the best yield when kept in temperatures of between 68- and 80-degrees Fahrenheit. You won’t believe how much bud a well-cared for Chocolope plant can produce outside! Try 35 ounces per plant! It should be ready to harvest in late October.
2 – Consider greenhouse growing (if you have space)
Although it is a long shot, if you have access to a greenhouse, you could benefit from Chocolope’s incredible capacity to produce gigantic yields. Although it grows well inside, it needs lots of space because it tends to grow huge if you don’t indulge in training. When you use a greenhouse, you offer as much space as your plants need, and can use either soil or a hydro system.
The so-called ‘greenhouse effect’ is a process that keeps the interior of the building warm even when it is very cold outside. The sun’s energy passes through the walls of the greenhouse and heats the plants and soil. Your Chocolope plants will release the energy as infrared radiation which is unable to escape. As a result, the heat gets trapped and the temperature of the air increases.
Thanks to the greenhouse effect, you can grow weed 12 months a year. If you choose to grow your Chocolope plants in a greenhouse, bear in mind that your weed needs sunlight for more than 12 hours a day to remain in the vegetative stage. Once you expose your plants to 12+ hours of continuous darkness a day, it will begin to flower. Outside of the summer months, the sun remains lower on the horizon which reduces the amount of energy your crop takes in.
If you decide to adhere to the normal growth cycle of cannabis, make sure you put your plants into the ground in June. They should remain in the vegetative stage during the summer and start to flower in the early fall. Hopefully, your Chocolope will be ready to harvest long before the harsh winter months come, but even if your crop isn’t ready by then, your greenhouse will keep them protected.
3 – Ventilating your grow room
As excess humidity could cause mold to grow on your precious Chocolope, it is important to invest in a good ventilation system for your grow room. This system helps maintain the temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide levels in your indoor space. All of the above atmospheric conditions impact photosynthesis, and when you ensure everything is in the right range, your plant will grow and develop correctly.
If you have a small grow room, you need little more than a couple of reliable motorized fans. If the grow space is really small, a single fan could be enough. Using a fan is one of the easiest ways to keep the temperature below 80 degrees, although it can be a few degrees warmer if the air is enriched with carbon dioxide.
You could also invest in an exhaust fan which will remove excess heat and draw in fresh air. In a mid-sized grow space, use both motorized and exhaust fans. There are also atmospheric controllers on the market which have built-in humidistats and thermostats. These are handy gadgets because they allow you to automate your fans and ensure your plants enjoy consistent conditions.
4 – Feeding your Chocolope
As a general rule, the Chocolope plant prefers light to moderate feeding. If you overdo it, your plants could suffer from nutrient burn. One of the main symptoms is a discoloration of leaves, and we look at various leaf-related problems in #8. The rate of feeding varies according to the growth stage of your crop.
In reality, if you purchase high-quality pre-fertilized soil, it should be relatively easy to feed your plants. During the vegetative stage, focus on providing your plants with Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K), with an emphasis on N. Additional nutrients of significant importance include Iron, Calcium, Manganese, Magnesium, and Sulfur.
One mistake that novice growers make is to reduce Nitrogen intake during the first week of flowering. The first flowers will not appear for a few more weeks. In the meantime, your plants still require a high level of Nitrogen. By around the fourth week of flowering, you should start to notice small buds all over the plants which also smell fantastic! This is a sign to switch to a ‘Bloom’ fertilizer which contains a high level of Phosphorus. It is at this point that you begin to reduce your crop’s N intake.
Once your plants are around two weeks from harvest, you can start to reduce nutrient intake gradually. Check the Electrical Conductivity (EC) level. If it is above 1.0 in the final week, perform a flush of the soil to remove all traces of the fertilizer. Otherwise, your buds will have a foul chemical taste.
5 – What is electrical conductivity?
Electrical Conductivity (EC) is a method of measuring the amount of total dissolved solids (TDS) in water. You can purchase a special EC meter to measure the level of dissolved salts in the water, and the number is converted into a value in parts per million (ppm).
The minutiae of EC measurements are complex because there are several factors which impact the reading. For example, EC values depend on the temperature of the room where they are taken. A 1.8-degree Fahrenheit difference will change the reading by approximately 2.5%.
The EC balance of a solution also varies depending on irrigation, evaporation, and the nutrient uptake of the plant’s roots. For example, if the growing medium is allowed to become too dry on days when more water is taken from the soil or solution, the EC measurement could double or even triple, which is an indication of excess salts in the roots.
The EC level should remain at 1.0 towards the end of the vegetative stage, but you can allow it to increase gradually throughout flowering. By week two of flowering, the ideal EC level is around 1.2. It should reach a level of 1.8 about a week or two before flowering. Then, you need to halt nutrient uptake so the EC reading returns to 1.0 by the time you harvest.
6 – Hydroponic Growing Made Easy
When you use a hydroponic system, you can use an inert growing medium instead of soil. Popular options include Rockwool and Coco Noir. Here are some quick tips to get the most out of your hydro system.
Use Clean Water with a Neutral pH
Don’t begin growing until the water circulating your system is at a pH of 7.0. If you are not getting this reading, invest in a Reverse Osmosis (RO) system which will create this pH neutral water for you. You can use distilled water while waiting for your RO system to be delivered.
It is imperative that you have sterile equipment. This means sterile tanks, pipes, reservoirs, filters, and every other part of the hydroponic system. A failure to sanitize your equipment increases the risk of diseases such as root rot. Once a disease takes hold in a hydroponics setup, it can ravage your entire crop remarkably quickly.
Temperature & Humidity
As well as checking the pH of the water in your system, make sure it is at a temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the ideal temperature for nutrient absorption and also keeps algae away. The air temperature in your room can be 75-80 degrees.
As we mentioned earlier, Chocolope prefers low humidity. Therefore, keep the rate at 60% during the early vegetative stage and lower it throughout the growing cycle. By the middle of the flowering stage, your Chocolope will still thrive in a grow room with a humidity level of 40%.
Lighting & Air Flow
The grow light market is complex and competitive with opponents and proponents of every form of lighting. In reality, your budget and the size of your grow space will dictate the lights you purchase. For example, if you have a large grow room with good ventilation and deep pockets, High Intensity Discharge (HID) lights are excellent.
If you have a small grow room and a low budget, try Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs). Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) are also suitable for small rooms but are expensive. As a rule of thumb, don’t purchase any lighting incapable of producing light in sufficient amounts from at least 400 nanometers.
As we mentioned in #3, air flow is crucial for the health of your plants. We recommend mounting the fans in locations capable of covering as much of the grow room as possible. If the room has poor ventilation, the lower leaves of your plants will retain moisture and become susceptible to mildew and mold.
7 – Should you remove fan leaves?
Chocolope plants can grow extremely bushy, which is bad news if you leave them unattended. Low-stress training (LST) methods can help bend and shape the plant in such a way as to encourage growth in the right areas. However, the removal of large fan leaves is also an effective method of boosting airflow to the rest of the plant, thus reducing the risk of mold and mildew.
Your grow room could have the ideal temperature and humidity levels, along with an excellent air conditioning system, yet it may not be enough to prevent powdery mildew because plants with a dense canopy will still have restricted airflow. Rather than wait until the mold problem appears, be proactive by getting rid of the fan leaves deep in the canopy. This process reduces the temperature and moisture of the deepest, darkest parts of the plant.
Spider mites are also attracted to warm and humid conditions. You need to be especially vigilant in the middle to late stages of the growth cycle. A simple method of removing fan leaves is to pick a spot deep in the plant that you can’t see. Next, remove all the fan leaves that are obscuring your view.
As you walk through your grow room, carefully analyze the space between each cola. If it is impossible to view the center of the canopy, begin plucking some leaves but don’t get rid of the gorgeous sugar leaves in the vicinity. Next, look down on the plants from above. If there are colas blocked from the light by leaves, remove the excess to boost airflow and light intake.
8 – Quick fixes for common marijuana leaf problems
Even the most experienced marijuana growers will face problems in the form of pests and plant disease from time to time. As a beginner, it is crucial to learn more about the trials and tribulations faced by your plants. The more the know, the more you can do to prevent the likes of spider mites ruining your crop. Perhaps more importantly, you will learn how to spot and eliminate these issues before they cause too much damage.
Although cannabis plants are durable, they are susceptible to a variety of conditions. One of the best ways to spot a problem is by checking the leaves. Here are five common issues with marijuana plants which are all noticeable due to the reaction of the leaves.
1 – Nutrient burn
As the name suggests, nutrient burn happens when you overfeed your plants. If this happens, the edges of the leaves show a brown color and also look crispy and burned. Check the tips of the leaves first and if you see the problem, halt feeding for a couple of weeks to enable the plants to flush out the excess nutrients.
2 – Wrong pH range
Marijuana prefers a pH range of 6.0 – 6.8 or 5.5 – 6.5 if using a hydroponics system. If your plant is exposed to the incorrect pH range, it can go into a nutrient lockout and stop taking in nutrients. This nutrient deficiency will cause the leaves to go bright yellow and die.
3 – Light burn
If the tops of your Chocolope plants are too close to the grow lights, the leaves may turn yellow and will look burned. Check the leaves that are closest to the light first. If you uncover this problem, raise the lights by at least six inches and closely monitor your plants to ensure they don’t get too close again.
4 – Overwatering or underwatering
If you overwater your plants, the leaves curl downwards and will have a rigid appearance because they are filled with water. Growth is also slowed to a halt. If your plants are under-watered, the leaves will begin to droop. If you’re concerned about over-watering, check the soil. If it is saturated, cut down on watering. If your plants need more water, add it immediately. Within 30 minutes or so, the leaves will surprise you by perking back up.
5 – Spider mite infestation
If you don’t catch an infestation of spider mites early on, it will become incredibly hard to get rid of them. Like most pests, mites hide on the underside of leaves and are tricky to spot with the naked eye. As a result, we recommend investing in a magnifying glass; it can also help you spot if the crop is ready for harvest by looking at the trichomes.
Early signs of spider mites include light-colored spots on leaves. Although you can purchase a commercial insecticide, an organic method of removing mites is to introduce ladybugs to your garden. Ladybugs feast on spider mites and will eliminate your pest problem quickly and easily.