When trying to grow your favorite marijuana strain, it is crucial to understand the unique challenges you may face. You can’t grow one strain in precisely the same way as another and expect identical results. Each marijuana strain has its own ideal temperature, humidity, feeding requirements, and even pruning guidelines.
Purple Kush is an almost pure indica strain, known for providing nearly instant relaxation. Its THC levels can vary widely from 13% to an awe-inspiring 27%, and it is a genetic cross between Purple Afghani and Hindu Kush. If you need to destress and enjoy an intense body buzz, you should definitely check out this growing guide for Purple Kush, where we provide you with tips on growing strong and potent plants.
Tip #1 – You can ‘turn’ your weed purple
Admittedly, you won’t necessarily “create” Purple Kush, but you can create marijuana with a purple color! A lot of growers believe that depriving weed of oxygen and carbon dioxide is enough to increase the chance of getting purple buds.
However, this is NOT true, nor is the practice of boosting nitrogen intake.
| “Some growers say you can “create” purple buds by starving your weed plants of carbon dioxide – this is most certainly NOT true.”
In reality, you must choose seeds that are high in anthocyanin; a crucial component in turning weed purple. It is the same pigment that gives blueberries and eggplants their distinct colors. Some other strains (aside from Purple Kush) that are high in anthocyanin include:
- Blue Cheese
- Haze Berry
- Blue Mystic
As anthocyanin is hidden by chlorophyll’s stronger pigments, you need to create the right temperature in order for the compound to be expressed. During the fall, for instance, the green pigments in marijuana break down and cause the anthocyanin to come out. In certain strains, it results in gold, blue or yellow pigments emerging.
During the flowering stage, make sure you reduce the temperature during the night cycle. Ideally, it will drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit at times. As you probably know, exposing your weed to such low temperatures for too long can harm it, so monitor conditions carefully.
If you get it right, the bud turns purple approximately two weeks before harvest. [Though please note that purple buds aren’t necessarily more potent than green buds of the same strain].
Tip #2 – You can grow indoors or outdoors
With a flowering time of 7-8 weeks indoors, Purple Kush doesn’t take long to provide you with delicious and relaxing weed. As the plant is a typical indica – in so far as it grows short, low, and bushy, and is seldom taller than three feet – it is ideal for indoor growing. It provides you with approximately 14 ounces of bud per square meter planted.
It is best to grow Purple Kush in soil, although a hydroponics system works very well as long as you keep humidity low. You can also activate the anthocyanins through exposure to temperatures of around 50 degrees like we mentioned above. Remember, long-term exposure to cold hurts your yield so you should only do this close to harvest time.
DID YOU KNOW: The purple shades in Purple Haze marijuana comes from a flavonoid pigment called anthocyanin?
When growing outdoors, make sure that exposure to rain and humidity is limited. It is ready for harvest earlier than most strains (mid-September) and provides eight ounces per plant.
Tip #3 – Prune your Purple Kush for maximum yield
Pruning the plant is normally a good idea for any marijuana strain, but especially for Purple Kush. When you do it correctly, you find it easier to care for the plants due to the decreased height, benefit from powerful stems, and you end up with an increased yield.
The idea behind pruning is to expose the smaller buds to light or else the chemical auxin limits their development. When you trim the big central bud, you end up with several large buds instead of one gigantic one and many tiny buds.
Make sure you only prune Purple Kush during the vegetative stage because the plants need time to recover and grow large leaves. Don’t force your plants into flowering for a minimum of three days after pruning. It is also essential to reduce fertilizer usage during this timeframe to aid recovery.
As Purple Kush is such a small and bushy plant, it is ideal for the Sea of Green (SOG) method when grown indoors. If you go down the SOG route, place a screen 0.5m above your Purple Kush plants. Take the top off each one once it is 0.1m through the screen and wait until the new tops grow 0.1m through. Next, bend them and connect the tops to the screen.
| “Since Purple Kush is such a small and bushy plant, it is an ideal Sea of Green candidate for indoor grows.”
Begin pruning when the first shoots have grown through the screen. After a few days, switch the light cycle and force your plants into the flowering stage. During the first fortnight, the Purple Kush plants should continue growing. Experts say that using the SOG method in conjunction with proper pruning should provide a gram of weed per Watt of light. In other words, a single 400-Watt HPS bulb could yield 400 grams (over 16 ounces of cannabis). However, expect Purple Kush’s yield to be significantly lower.
Tip #4 – If you want to use a hydroponics system…
As long as you ensure humidity levels are in check, your Purple Kush plant can thrive if you use a hydroponics system for indoor growing. In case you didn’t know, hydroponics involves growing marijuana in an inert medium such as Rockwool. Soil contains bacteria, fungi, and nutrients, whereas inert growing mediums contain nothing. As a result, you need to add the nutrients, but there is no danger of diseases or pests coming from Rockwool.
Purple Kush performs extremely well when you use a hydroponics system because it is capable of greater nutrient intake than sativas, without risk of overloading. If you are a new grower with a relatively small number of plants, the Wick System is a good option because it is so basic and easy to use. All you have to do is connect your pots with a thick wick dipped into the reservoir (the vessel that holds the water) and monitor your plants now and again.
| “Purple Kush is a great candidate for hydroponics, as it’s capable of massive nutrient intake without risk of overloading.”
Ideally, you will choose a reservoir large enough to hold at least one week’s worth of nutrients. It should also have a lid, or else you risk losing moisture to evaporation. Keep it close to a water source and purchase at least one backup reservoir.
Another popular hydroponics method worth investigating when growing Purple Kush is Deep Water Culture (DWC). This involves suspending the roots of the plants into a highly oxygenated nutrient solution. DWC systems are easy to build and extremely effective. Every plant has an individual reservoir filled with nutrient solution. There is also a container at the top that has an inert growing medium. The roots hang into the solution.
Tip #5 – Nutrients for hydroponics systems
Although mixing your nutrient solution using a hydroponics system is relatively easy, it must be performed accurately or your Purple Kush will suffer. In theory, it is as simple as filling up your reservoir with reverse osmosis water, adding the nutrients and additives, and adjusting the pH.
Although nutrient concentrations depend on the strain you’re growing, it is always best to underfeed than overfeed because the latter can ‘shock’ the plant for weeks and cripple its development. In contrast, a Purple Kush plant can go without nutrients for several days (because it absorbs existing nutrients so well) without experiencing problems.
The three most important nutrients are Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K). Secondary micronutrients include Boron, Copper, Zinc, Sulfur, and Magnesium. You should purchase and use nitrogen-rich solutions for your Purple Kush during the vegetative stage and switch to phosphorus-rich solutions during flowering.
You can buy these nutrients in powder or solution form. Although the former is cheaper, the latter works best for small crops because they mix well with water and allow for a greater degree of error.
| “Powder nutrients are preferable for Purple Kush grows, as they work best for small crops, mix well with water, and allow for a greater degree of error.”
Although you will probably get ‘okay’ results by following the instructions to the letter, experienced growers know that it is best to begin slowly with 25-50% of the recommended dosage before slowly increasing it as necessary.
Frankly, once you reach the 50% mark, it is unlikely that your plants will show nutrient deficiencies. If you are underfeeding, your plants will exhibit a yellowish color and start drooping. If this happens, just increase the dosage.
In contrast, if your plants show burnt leaf tips, it is clear that they are suffering from nutrient burn. If this happens, it can take weeks for your plants to recover.
Tip #6 – Pay attention to electrical conductivity (EC) readings & parts per million (PPM) when using nutrients
The trouble with mixing in nutrients is that you have no idea if it is safe for your plants without accurate measurements. The EC reading tells you how strong the solution is: the greater the mineral content, the higher the EC number. Ideally, the EC level will be in the 0.8 to 2.0 range. The figure should also be lower in young plants because they need fewer nutrients than a flowering plant.
Parts per million (ppm) is another method of checking nutrient content; in the marijuana industry, there is a 500 and a 700 scale. To determine ppm, multiply the EC figure by either 500 or 700 depending on the scale you use. For example, if you use the 500 scale and your nutrients’ EC reading is 1.6, you are using 800ppm.
Here is a quick guide to typical ppm densities based on a marijuana plant’s growth cycle:
|GROWTH STAGE||NUTRIENT CONTENT (ppm)|
|Seedling||100 – 250|
|Early vegetative stage||300 – 400|
|Late vegetative stage||450 – 700|
|Early booming||750 – 950|
|Mature||1000 – 1600|
If you are using a hydroponics system, you can increase nutrient intake earlier in a Purple Kush plant’s life. It is not unheard of for growers to provide up to 1100 ppm of high-quality nutrients within a week of the plant establishing strong roots.
To be honest, this is probably far too high and risks nutrient burn, but many experienced growers swear by it. We recommend sticking to the ranges in the table above.
Tip #7: Maintain the right pH with hydroponics
Aside from the EC level, pH is perhaps the most important factor in water and nutrient management. pH is the measure of an aqueous solution’s acidity or alkalinity. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14. 0. A pH of 6.9 means a solution is acidic, 7.0 is ‘neutral,’ and 7.1+ is alkaline.
The pH your marijuana plant is exposed to dictates its ability to absorb nutrients. If the pH is too high or too low, your plants won’t receive adequate feeding, and your yield will suffer as a result.
DID YOU KNOW: The pH levels your marijuana plants are exposed to dictate their ability to absorb nutrients?
When you grow Purple Kush in soil, it is best to keep the pH in the 6.2 – 6.8 range. This figure drops slightly when using a hydroponics system. New growers who experience difficulties when growing marijuana tend to make a mess of the pH. Soil has a natural pH buffering ability, which gives you the liberty of being less than accurate when providing feeding solutions; you don’t get the same margin of error with hydroponics.
Make sure you invest in a high-quality pH meter because you will have to measure it quite often. Although the pH range is 5.2 – 6.2 for hydroponics, 5.8 is classified as ideal. If the pH is too high or low, invest in pH UP or pH DOWN solutions as necessary and make the requisite adjustments.
There is also a difference in pH between hard and soft water. Hard water tends to have an elevated pH level and contains high levels of bicarbonates. It takes more acid to lower the pH of hard water than its soft equivalent. Ideally, you will use a reverse osmosis (RO) system to filter your water and eliminate any potential difficulties caused by Hard water.
Tip #8 – Temperature & humidity levels
It is a fact that Purple Kush is a difficult strain to cultivate. As it is a pure indica, it grows low to the ground and is extremely bushy. As a result, it is tough to grow it outdoors properly. Purple Kush is particularly vulnerable to rain exposure and high humidity. Although this strain is resistant to pests and mold, you risk disease if you allow it to get wet. On the plus side, pests don’t like Purple Kush because of its bitter taste.
| “Unfortunately for rookie growers, Purple Kush [can be] a pretty difficult strain to cultivate … there’s just no two ways about it.”
There are different schools of thought regarding Purple Kush’s ideal growing temperature. It is widely believed that it prefers relatively cool temperatures of 65 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit, but some growers claim that their Kush flourishes between 77 and 85 degrees. We recommend keeping the temperature below 80 degrees for the most part, and don’t allow it to drop by more than 10 degrees at night.
As for humidity, it is best to keep it at around 50% during the vegetative stage. Remember, the relative humidity (RH) in a plant cell is close to 100% so when the RH in the air is lower, a greater amount of water is removed from the leaves. Generally, growers like to keep the humidity level high to reduce the number of times they have to water the plant.
With Purple Kush, you have to keep it lower than normal. Once you get to the flowering stage, you can reduce the humidity levels by a few percent each week. By the time you are close to harvest, it is normal to have the humidity level down at 40%, or even less on occasion.