Growing plants indoors presents a whole range of great benefits. It gives you the ability to cultivate strains and plants that would just never live outdoors. It also gives you the chance to learn about the intricacies of plant growth, offering you finely tuned control over the fundamentals. Together with the fantastic control and customisation offered by your Maxspect LED lighting rig, adapting and experimenting of the amount of nutrients, water, and light your plants receive gives you ultimate control to get the best from your crop.

Historically there are some drawbacks to growing indoors - one assumption is that it requires a lot of electricity, furthermore you’ll be producing a lot of extra heat and noise. With Maxspects ultra efficient and silent-running R420r units these drawbacks are a thing of the past.

Grow bushy plants

To utilise your space optimally you’ll no-doubt want your plants to be as dense and bushy as possible. This can be accomplished through two different practices. You’ll want to both minimize the distance between nodes and also promote lateral growth. The distance between the nodes essentially just means the distance between the base of the leaf stems on a plant. The greater the distance between the leaves, the more slender and spindly a plant will appear. The R420r's compact dimensions, light effeciency and low heat production mean you can really optimise your growing space and pack in the foliage.

What you really shouldn't be aiming for are spindly plants. If they grow tall and thin, then its very unlikely that they will be able to support the heavy buds that you’re aiming for. In addition you will need to put extra effort into supporting the plant and you’ll risk losing those hard-earned buds if any of the stems snap. Not only that, but a stretched plant can easily grow too close to the grow lights, although our units are ultra low heaght, the mere proximity can cause a whole range of issues, which ultimately lead to a reduced yield.

Back to those preventative measures. In the event that we need to counteract extending, we'll have to recognize what causes it first. Hereditary qualities can play a big part here, yet for our present goals and purposes, we can leave that to one side. Past your decision of strain, you don't have much control over the plant qualities. What you control is the earth! The two essential elements you'll be observing are warmth and light. You'll need to be aware of these elements from the earliest starting point, and not simply in the period most generally discussed by cultivators: 'the stretch', when plants begin getting twelve hours of light rather than eighteen. We'll get to that period later.

How to control temperature in your grow room

We’ll start with heat. Temperature is very important. Even if you are getting just the right levels of light, your plants can still get spindly if you don’t have the proper temperature levels. Ideally, your grow room will range from 73 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit (23 to 28 degrees Celsius). To help you maintain and monitor these levels, you’ll want to make sure you have a decent thermometer. Regularly record the minimum and maximum temperatures in your grow room: these changes are extremely important, as the temperature change between day and night is the primary factor in internode growth. The more the temperatures change, the more your plants will stretch out.

The technique of adjusting day and night temperatures to control the growth of a plant is known by horticulturists as the DIF technique (DIF stands for ‘difference’). When the day temperature is higher than the night temperature, you have a positive DIF, and vice versa. The more positive the DIF, the larger the distance between the nodes will be. When night temperatures are higher, you have a negative DIF. This will slow growth, and minimize the distance between the nodes. Maintaining a positive DIF of just a couple degrees will ensure that your plants keep growing, but slowly, with short spacing between the nodes of the leaves and stems.

In fact, the application of a negative DIF can completely inhibit growth in a plant. Commercial growers and farmers sometimes use this technique to force certain crops to ‘wait’, so that they can harvest everything at the same time. It’s unlikely that you’ll want to do this, but the information is valuable nonetheless. If you do decide to delay the growth of your plants by applying a negative DIF, be careful: humidity can rise rapidly in a room without lights on. Be sure that your grow room is well ventilated so that you don’t risk the onset of mold.

An alternative option is the ‘morning pulse’. To use this technique, you let the temperature in the room drop by a couple degrees for the first two to three hours you turn the lights on, then maintain a positive DIF afterward. This will have an effect similar to the negative DIF, but you won’t have to worry about rising humidity. The easiest way to apply this technique is through the use of an air conditioning unit or a temperature-controlled fan.

Prevent your plants from stretching

Another factor to consider is space. Through it can be tempting, don’t overcrowd your grow room. This is an easy way for plants to stretch out as they fight with one another for light. Overcrowding will get worse as plants grow, too, since the lower portions of the plant might get almost no light at all. The light they do receive will be richer in infrared, which will cause the plant to stretch even further.

Before you get started, take the time to plan out and organize your space. You want plenty of room for all the plants: they’ll take up more space as they grow, and you don’t want to grow yourself into a corner. The type of light you’re using will also affect the plant growth. We won’t go too deeply into the different types of light you can use, nor the different parts of the spectrum you’ll want to use as the plant matures.

Though you might be tempted to use a window sill to take advantage of direct sunlight, only do this if you have absolutely no other options. In direct sunlight, young plants can easily get too hot and wilt. On the other hand, if there isn’t direct sunlight, the plants will end up stretching out in the attempt to get more light.

When your plants begin to flower, you’ll want to begin reducing their light exposure from 18 hours to 12 hours. During this time period, the plants will undergo rapid vertical growth: there is almost nothing you can do about this. Since plants require nitrogen for this sort of growth, you might expect that you could diminish it by cutting off nitrogen, but don’t do it! Your plant needs nitrogen, and trying to cut it off will just damage its health.

Your white-blue lights can still be used through the first several weeks of flowering to help keep the distances between nodes short and minimize stretching.

Above all, don’t forget to plan as carefully as you can. As the old saying goes, “Measure once, cut twice.” It’s much easier to take care of any issues by giving yourself wiggle room and expecting issues before they actually arrive. You should always expect some stretching to occur. In addition to the initial growth, your plants will likely double in size once they begin flowering and you change the amount of time they are exposed to light. Make sure you are accounting for all of this growth when you plan out your space. For example, if the maximum height in your grow space is four feet tall, make sure you are switching your plants to flower at 2 feet.

The bottom line is this: if you want to make sure your plants grow at a reasonable rate without experiencing extreme stretching and damaged stems, make sure you get plenty of light and don’t let your night temperatures vary too far from your day temperatures.