How to Grow Purple Cannabis
Every grower has fantasised about harvesting big, purple buds at home. But what exactly can you do to manipulate the colour of your weed?
Purple cannabis certainly does exist, but there’s a right way to turn your pot purple, and a wrong way.
HOW TO GROW PURPLE CANNABIS
Purple weed is real eye candy. And while there are many rumours circulating the internet about how to grow purple cannabis at home, there are really only two variables that you can play with to manipulate the colour of your weed. Keep reading to find out what they are.
WHAT CAUSES CANNABIS TO TURN PURPLE?
All plants have naturally occurring pigments. The most dominant pigment in most plants (including cannabis) is chlorophyll, which, apart from helping plants photosynthesise, also gives them their green colour.
However, plants also have many other active pigments, including carotenoids and anthocyanins. In the absence of chlorophyll, plants may use pigments like anthocyanins to absorb sunlight and photosynthesise. Unlike chlorophyll, anthocyanins naturally absorb all wavelengths from the sun except those in the indigo spectrum, which is what gives plants their purple colour.
Hence, purple cannabis plants (or any purple plant for that matter) get their colour because the dominant pigment in their leaves and flowers are anthocyanins, rather than chlorophyll.
WHAT PARTS OF CANNABIS CAN TURN PURPLE?
There are four main parts of your cannabis plant that can turn purple:
• Pistils: Pistils are the fine hairs that pop out of your buds, letting you know they’re female. Pistils generally start off a creamy white colour and turn orange/red/brown as plants mature. However, it is possible for your plant’s pistils to turn pink or purple, and this colour will remain after you harvest, dry, and cure your buds.
• Calyxes: Calyxes are the small pods that make up your buds. Cannabis flowers are actually made up of hundreds of these small calyxes stacked on top of one another. As the flowers mature, the calyxes open and reveal their pistils, which are designed to catch pollen from male cannabis plants.
• Leaves: The fan and sugar leaves of your cannabis plant can also turn purple. However, they usually won’t have a large effect on the final colour of your buds, as you’ll likely trim away most of the leaves during your post-harvest work.
• Trichomes: Trichomes are the tiny crystals that cover your buds. While they usually start off clear and become opaque and then amber later on, it is possible for them to turn purple, too.
THE WRONG WAYS TO TURN YOUR POT PURPLE
Many people mistakenly believe that the best way to turn cannabis purple is to deprive their plants of oxygen. However, depriving your plants of oxygen, carbon dioxide, or any other gas will not improve your chances of harvesting purple buds. Feeding your plants more nitrogen also won’t change the colour of your plants, at least not unless you overdo it and end up burning them to a crispy shade of brown.
Some growers also use food colouring to dye their plants. And while it might work, we definitely do not recommend trying it. Finally, changing your plant’s light cycle, watering schedule, or grow medium also won’t increase its chances of turning purple, nor will yelling, screaming, or singing to your plants.
THE RIGHT WAYS TO TURN YOUR PLANTS PURPLE
Now that you know how NOT to go about growing purple weed, here are a few pointers to help you maximise your chances of harvesting some eye-catching purple buds this season:
1: START WITH THE RIGHT GENETICS
Genetics are going to have the biggest impact on the final colour of your plants. So, if you’re set on growing purple weed, shop around for purple strains, as they’ll have been specifically bred for their unique colour. Remember that your buds are going to lose some colour after trimming, so opt for strains with the most vibrant purple pigmentation you can find.
Keep reading through to the end of this article for some top recommendations on purple strains to grow at home.
2: ADJUST YOUR TEMPERATURES
While you might be eager to watch your plants turn purple, this will usually only happen once they’ve finished vegetative growth and start flowering. Once your plants have entered their flowering stage, try dropping your nighttime temperatures. Colder temperatures cause chlorophyll to break down and can encourage your plants to produce more anthocyanins. Ideally, you’ll want there to be a difference of 10–15°C between your daytime and nighttime temperatures.
OTHER WAYS TO GROW PURPLE WEED
There are some other ways to manipulate the colour of your plants. Most of these techniques, however, involve depriving your plants of certain nutrients, which, of course, we do not recommend doing. Even if you are able to achieve some purple colouration using these alternative methods, it will likely be to the detriment of quality, flavour, and potency.
GENETICS: THE #1 REASON WEED TURNS PURPLE
Remember, the two main factors affecting the colour of your cannabis plants are genetics and temperature. If you’re really set on growing purple weed, make sure to invest in the right genetics from the get-go.
At Royal Queen Seeds, our expert breeders have bred some killer purple strains. Make sure to check them out and add a splash of colour to your next harvest:
Purple Queen is an almost pure indica variety bred from Hindu Kush and Purple Afghani genetics. She flowers over 9–11 weeks and produces big, purple buds with a uniquely pungent aroma that combines hints of both pine and fuel. Purple Queen also boasts a THC concentration of up to 22% and produces a nice, relaxing body stone that’s perfect for whenever you need to unwind and relax.
Perhaps you've seen brilliant purple bud. Perhaps you've even accidentally grown it. Now, you'd like to do it on purpose. Here is the ultimate guide to making your bud glow with that unique purple hue.
Purple Cannabis: Why You Should Care About Color
Grandaddy Purple. Purple Kush. Purple Haze.
If you’ve ever been into a dispensary you might have seen some of these strain names and noticed that the cannabis community has a fascination with the color purple. Purple strains, which are sometimes grouped together and called “Purps” are a relatively new genetic trend and a product of selective breeding that has resulted in purple marijuana being more common. There are all sorts of myths abound about royally-colored purple weed and while many of us are aware of them, most have wondered at one point or another: why is some weed purple?
What is Purple Weed?
The purple color in your bud doesn’t indicate that your weed is different in any significant way. Much like some flower is dark green and some it lighter, dark purple bud is just a product of the plant’s genetics and growing methods.
All cannabis has what are called ‘flavonoids’ in them – chemicals that, like terpenes or cannabinoids, have a range of psychoactive and therapeutic effects. Some flavonoids are anti-inflammatory, while others are antioxidants.
One of those flavonoids is called anthocyanin, which often is responsible for making some cannabis flowers take on a vibrant purple color. Anthocyanin is also present in a lot of plants and is one of the chemicals that make leaves change color in the fall.Strains with a deep purple color are generally high in anthocyanin and many growers have been known to bring it out in strains with purple in the name.
Flavonoids also play an important role in the way cannabis effects the user, though the precise mechanism by which it does so isn’t always clear. The term entourage effect, coined in 1998 by two British researchers, refers to the way that the key compounds in cannabis (like THC and CBD) function in concert with all of the other chemicals in the plant. The effects produced by a strain are the result of the delicate and complex interplay of all of these chemicals.
How is Purple Weed Grown?
When it comes to the purps, how the bud is grown matters too. Purple weed plants don’t necessarily always exhibit deep purple colors. Anthocyanin can also cause cannabis strains to have colors like deep red, rust-colored or blueberry blue. It all depends on how it’s grown.
Since anthocyanin has a stronger impact in the fall or in cold temperatures when chlorophyll (the chemical that makes plants green) is produced in lower amounts. Some growers, hoping to bring out the purple hues, might lower the temperature while the plant is growing to bring it out more prominently. However, this can decrease yield and THC concentration, so it’s not something that growers do very often.
Where Did Purple Weed Come From?
The wider availability of purple cannabis is an example of how genetics can be traced back to some key strains that later get bred into new varieties. One of the first purple strains to hit the market with a splash was Grand Daddy Purple, which started showing up in the California medical market in the early 2000s. According to some, it owes some of its genetic lineage to Purple Urkle – another purple-colored strain that is thought to be a genetic variant of Mendocino Purp. Always take lineage history with a grain of salt, however; much of this was originally based on word-of-mouth and strain names are notoriously poor indicators of weed’s actual lineage.
Is Purple Weed Any Different Than Green Weed?
You may have gotten high on purp weed without even noticing it. Indeed, there’s nothing in purple weed that makes it any more unique than any other strain when it comes to effects. In general, there’s nothing that makes it better or worse than any other type – it’s just different. Also, the idea that purple weed is stronger than green weed is just a myth.
That said, purple strains could tell you some things about the cannabis’ genetic lineage. Because purple tends to appear in strains grown in cooler temperature, weed that’s purple often has genetics that trace back to shorter, bushier indica plants that originally grew in the cooler Asian climates. Purple Kush, for instance, is a classic indica strain that demonstrates this principle.
While it might not have a clear impact on the quality or strength of your smoke, not enough research has been conducted on purple cannabis to say otherwise. Some have theorized that the anthocyanin that makes your pot purple is the same thing that makes some fruits and vegetables purple. As a result, your weed might have some of the same antioxidant qualities that are found in those fruits.
But don’t take the lack of proven benefits as a reason to discount purple bud or to see its color as irrelevant. The aesthetic look of the bud – its trimming, how tight or fluffy it is and its color – are all the result of choices made by the grower. Presentation matters, similarly to why you often pay more at a high-end restaurant. So next time you come across a sticky, purple bud, take some extra time to appreciate all the complex shades you can see in the bud. Even if you’re not smoking a purple strain, be sure to check for other colors, as it’s one of the many things that make every cannabis strain unique.
Have you tried purple weed before? Let us know your favorite purple strain in the comments below!
Grandaddy Purple. Purple Kush. Purple Haze. If you’ve ever been into a dispensary you might have seen some of these strain names and noticed that the cannabis community has a fascination with the color purple. Purple strains, which are sometimes grouped together and called