Many growers and particularly those on their first couple of cycles often ask the question; “How do I get my bud dense?” The truth is that it’s not a simple thing to do, although it’s what we all want. As you gain experience you start to realize that there is no shortcut to getting dense cannabis flower. No little trick will create the hardest nugs you’ve ever grown. Density is earned.

Grow dense bud with less leaves.

It’s a combination of things, a set of to do’s that need to be done constantly. Growing quality cannabis will require more dedication, effort and time from you. You’ll be researching more about growing and getting to know the plant while providing a haven for it to thrive in.

Work on these points and you’ll be cultivating buds that you’ll be proud to share with your mates. For the purpose of this article, lets assume we’re growing in a buffered coco/perlite mix with standard 3 part nutrients. Lets also assume that training and defoliation is practiced and that proper lighting is being provided for indoor setups.

Get Intimate With The Root Zone

It’s not about what you use, but what’s in it and what the pH is. When you know the EC and pH of the root zone, you’ve just taken your growing to the next level. Providing the proper environment for your plant is key, especially in the place where it gets it’s food from. Living soil guys don’t need to worry about this too much.

Note the EC/PPM and pH of your solution before watering. The very first run off gives insight into the state of the root zone. Should readings be way out, you know you have problems. You’ll have better results if you keep these in check over the course of the flowering period, greatly improving the density of your flower.

Control Temperature For Dense Bud

Many years ago, I was once told that “you’re not really growing cannabis indoors if you aren’t controlling temperature.” I’ll never forget his words scolding me like a noob, which at the time I was. I sorted my climate out and noticed a change in my plants immediately. Temps are super important and make a massive difference not only in the buds you’re growing, but the terpenes they are producing too. 

For outdoor growers, grow strains that are suited to your climate, research the parent history and where those strains originated. For example, theres no better place to grow Durban Poison than in Kwa-zulu Natal! Jack Herer has parents that originate from the equator, so it’s doesn’t like the cold.

The right climate equals dense flower.

For indoor cultivators, recreate an oncoming winter gradually dropping temps as flowering progresses. A simple heater, fan and some automation products can help you achieve stable highs and lows throughout your grow. A happy plant will give you the dense flower you’re looking for.

Use Additives

Although it’s possible to grow decent bud using a standard 3 part or base nutrients, additives can make a difference. With organic liquid nutrients, inoculate your medium with microbes and mycorrhizae. Use humic and fulvic acids and possibly even research a bit into KNF, amino acids and aloe vera. All these can increase the uptake of nutrients and help build a plant’s immune system, growing healthier flowers. 

For synthetic nutrient cultivators, things like calcium, magnesium and silica supplements as well as ripeners and finishers can help get improved results. 

Flowering is a stressful time for a plant, additives can help cannabis manage that stress, the same way cannabis can help you manage yours.

CO2 Can Add Mass

Can CO2 increase density and yields? No doubt. Some claim up to 50%, or even 100% greater yields. CO2 is naturally found in the atmosphere and plants use it during the day light hours. They filter out the carbon to use as building blocks and give us back the oxygen. The more carbon they have access to, the more they can use to grow bud.

By replacing the air in your grow room every 2 minutes, you’re keeping constant CO2 levels for your plants. If your ventilation and extraction isn’t good enough, your CO2 levels are dropping constantly and your plants are suffocating. Improve extraction and ventilation or increase CO2 levels, that will provide your plant with the building blocks they need.

It must also be said that CO2 is still a dangerous gas and should not be taken lightly. Work with it cautiously and make sure that rooms and tents are well ventilated before entering them. Here’s where to get hold of some CO2


I can’t remember where I heard it or read it, I would happily give the credit if I can remember. It went; “drop the EC of your medium and watch your buds swell.” And they were so very right. 

By decreasing the EC of the growing medium towards the end of the flowering cycle, the plant believes it’s naturally coming to an end. She will put out a last effort with what she’s got available in the growing medium (which is constantly decreasing creating urgency) as well as whats stored inside her. The aim before she dies is to expand those buds and ensure pollination.

Sherbet at the end of it’s flush.

You won’t be sorry if you master the art of a well timed flush. Your cannabis will burn better, smell and taste better and will be a pleasure to smoke if dried and cured correctly.

Know Your Cultivar

Too often I get asked how to grow buds that are dense, then only to find out it’s the first time they’re growing that strain and the source of the genetics were sketchy. The truth is that a cup winning strain was grown numerous times by the cultivator constantly making notes and adjustments. Dialing it in as they say. This allows one to get to know what the cultivar likes, how hungry it is, does it prefer cooler temps, and various other preferences they have.

My best advice about growing buds that are dank and dense is to know what you’re growing and have a plan. Was the first harvest of a strain decent while just winging it? Imagine what you can do for the second run with a plan in your hand. Keep stains you like and practice flowering them.

One thing that should be done is to grow with proper genetics. Buy seeds or clones from a trusted seed bank and do your research. There are such services in SA like Natural Highs or clones from Canna Clone SA


There is so much more we can talk about but for now stick to these tips above. Put in some dedication and you will be growing buds that your friends will be begging you for and asking you how you did it. If you want that dense, then best you up your game, because there is no short cut.


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