Outside the cannabis world, there are a few species of plants with flowers that are known to turn different colors based on the pH at the roots.
The parts of the plant that can become colorful are…
Here is that plant a few weeks later.
Choose Strains with Brightly Colored Buds and Pistils If Possible – This maximizes the overall colorful appearance of your buds.
“Duck” strains are characterized by their oddly shaped leaves. The idea is that the plants look less like cannabis with 3-finger leaves. The bright colored buds also help make them look less like cannabis.
Now that you know all the parts of the plant that can turn green, let’s move on to growing pink and purple buds at home.
These buds were given low pH early in the flowering stage while buds were still mostly white. It did help bring our purple, but as a result, many of the leaves got deficiencies which reduced yields at harvest. If you try to bring out colors via low pH, make sure to wait until plants are close to harvest so you don’t harm the leaves by accident.
This is a Frisian Duck plant in the vegetative stage.
Here are the buds from that Super Purple Haze plant drying – you can see that the parts of the buds that were exposed to the light have strong hints of purple.
This Frisian Duck plant is just about ready to harvest!
Blue Dream (rare deep purple phenotype)
4 Different “Parts” of Cannabis Can Become Colorful.
The leaves most likely to be affected are the top leaves and other leaves getting direct light. With this purpling, the leaves in the shade of the plant usually stay green.
This Dark Devil Auto bud turned completely purple from top to bottom.
Note: Some strains turn color no matter what the temperature. You can contact the breeder and ask if they have advice on how to bring out colors for a particular strain. I’ve found that most breeders will get back to you quickly if you go to their website and ask questions!
Buds may still be purple-tinted from leaves that weren’t completely trimmed off.
To maximize the final color, you want to choose a strain with brightly colored buds and pistils. For example, this bud has purple calyxes, mostly purple pistils, and even some purple leaves. This combination makes the entire bud appear bright purple.
Although color is determined primarily by genetics, there are a few things you can do to help your plant express its natural colors…
For some strains, the leaves may turn purple while the buds stay green.
Buds are made up of different parts and are usually more than one color.
To produce the most colorful buds, you need to make sure the color goes all the way through the buds, and ideally, also through all the surrounding leaves. This level of color-penetration is most likely to happen with intensely dark colored buds. Buds that are paler in color tend to lose a lot of their vibrancy in the post-harvest processing.
How to Maximize Color with Temperature.
It’s not just cannabis plants that grow purple leaves. Here’s an example of a False Shamrock plant, which has glorious purple leaves from top to bottom!
This Frisian Duck plant was grown outdoors in a greenhouse. More than half of Frisian Duck plants grow bright purple buds!
All blue cannabis descends from Dutch Passion’s Blueberry, developed in Amsterdam in the 1970s. Popular strains include Blue Haze, Blue Mystic and Blue Cheese. These predominant Indica strains are known for being heavy, often used for relaxation and for providing relief from muscle spasms, pain, or stress.
Cannabis strains that retain green as the dominant bud color include Green Crack and Green Goblin. With a tangy, fruity flavor redolent of mango, Green Crack is a great daytime strain known to fight fatigue, stress and depression.
Orange will mostly affect the hairs and buds, such as Agent Orange, Orange Crush, or Tangerine Dream. These strains are known for their aromas of fresh-cut citrus and are excellent mood enhancers.
Think of tree leaves in fall. As the temperature drops, they change from green to red, orange, yellow or gold. The same is true for cannabis: once the green fades, the colors appear.
Strong and vibrant color also indicates that your cannabis is at its peak freshness, taste, and potency. If you are consuming your colorful bud orally in tinctures, oils, edibles, or capsules, you are also getting the nutritional benefits of carotenoids, anthocyanins and other flavonoids. But what about the actual color? Do different colors provide different effects? Your cannabis can come in a rainbow of colors, and yes, different shades can determine varied effects, taste, and even smell.
ROYGBIV – Taste the Rainbow.
Other plants high in these molecules include blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, goji berries, blood oranges, and cranberries. Cranberries especially are touted for their powerful antioxidant properties, due to anthocyanins.
Purple Orangutan (or Gorilla) has some of the strongest purple hues in the world. This mostly indica hybrid produces lush, chunky buds covered in trichomes and purple shades. Purple Gorilla flowers smell of fresh earth and an array of berries, with a taste reminiscent of grapes picked right from the vine.
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Green: Green is the predominant color of most flowering plants, including cannabis, due to the presence of chlorophyll. Often plant tissues will have so much chlorophyll that its green color masks the presence of other pigments.
In addition, black strains are noted for their intense psychedelic, cerebral highs. If you want visuals, this lineage is for you. The inky appearance comes from an overabundance of all colors in the leaves.
Orange: Carotenoids give cannabis those citrusy hues of yellow, gold, and orange. To get these colors, more alkaline conditions are required. If these colors are predominant in the plant, they will come out naturally as the flowering phase comes to an end.
Temperature plays a vital role too. Chlorophyll is the plant component vital to photosynthesis and cooler temperatures inhibit chlorophyll production. For cannabis, depending on the lineage of the strain, certain colors can appear when you drop the temperature and the light cycle shortens, simulating a change in season.
In fact, buds that have been grown and harvested to their maximum potential can be so covered with trichomes that they almost appear white. Trichomes are packed with cannabinoids and terpenes so these flowers can be quite potent. White Widow or White Rhino are two strains with a propensity to become encrusted with trichomes.
The ideal range to grow cannabis is a pH of 5.5-6.5, however, during flowering, you can lean one way or another to enhance or minimize certain anthocyanins to bring out certain colors. Additionally, different strains of cannabis come with different cannabinoid ratios, flavor profiles and anthocyanins.
Red: Red hairs show up more frequently, but red buds and leaves are not nearly as common. Red marijuana is a genetically selected plant and is created by combining three kinds of cannabis – ruderalis, indica and sativa. It’s an extremely rare plant. The “Red” is best known for its hybrid effects, which simultaneously offer great relief to the body and the mind and is known for its intoxicating aroma.
Indigo: There are some rare strains that are so dark they almost appear black. The origin of these genetics goes back to Vietnamese landraces, like Vietnamese Black. All other strains derived from hybrids, such as Black Willy and Black Tuna, share both the signature ebony buds and leaves.
Yellow strains include Lemon Haze, Golden Lemon, and Strawberry Banana. Known for their sweet and citrusy scents and high-THC content, they are said to produce happy, invigorating effects that sharpen creativity and sensory awareness.
Anthocyanins belong to a parent class of molecules called flavonoids and are synthesized via the phenylpropanoid pathway. They occur in all tissues of higher plants, including leaves, stems, roots, flowers and fruits. They are odorless and moderately astringent, and can appear red, blue or purple according to their pH.
Blue: Cannabis flowers with shades of blue are high in anthocyanins and are by far some of the most beautiful. Likewise, fruits and vegetables high in anthocyanins include blueberries, açai, raspberries, blackberries, and purple cabbage. Blue-hued cannabis can be achieved by picking a blue strain of cannabis seeds and letting it grow outdoors, naturally occurring as the temperature drops.
Long before cannabinoid testing began, customers made their choices mostly based on smell and color. After that, taste and of course potency. Even today, with all the knowledge we have available when making our weed purchases, there is nothing more appealing than a jar of colorful buds.
Violet: Purple strains of cannabis are probably the most popular, such as Granddaddy Purple, Purple Haze and Purple Urkle. Marijuana strains that appear purplish or blue as opposed to the traditional green cannabis, tend to be more fruity, due to the high number of anthocyanins.
So where do those amazing bud colors come from? In a word, anthocyanins.
However, anthocyanins are known to act as powerful antioxidants and are also thought to have analgesic, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties. So while the presence of anthocyanins doesn’t change the potency of cannabinoids like THC levels, it might give the strain an added entourage effect on health.
There are also some lovely shades of pink, such as Predator Pink or Pink Kush, with actual pink and fuchsia hues. These are Indica-dominant hybrids, with powerful body-focused effects known to eliminate pain, insomnia, and appetite loss.
Yellow: Carotenoids produce the warm hues found in many plants including carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and tomatoes. Beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin are among the more than 750 carotenoids have been identified and can be converted by the body into Vitamin A. Many flavonoids are also yellow and can influence the colors of cannabis.
A common misconception is that strains with bold color are more potent. The truth is that color has nothing to do with potency.
Anthocyanins can be present in plant tissues, leaves and flowers. Sometimes, they even present in the trichomes themselves, which are the hairs or fine outgrowths or appendages on plants. They also can attract pollinating creatures like butterflies and bees, while deterring pests.
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