What is Fade and How to Achieve it?

If you’re a new grower, you may be unaccustomed to fade; while if you’re a more experienced grower, you may already have your own methods established to encourage more fade on your plants. But perhaps we can supply you with some information you weren’t previously aware of.

The fade of cannabis leaves can be thought of similar to that of any other plant where the leaves change colour as they progress into Autumn.

With cannabis, there are various aspects that influence the fade however. Certain plants will fade differently depending on the genes, some may fade only under certain lighting, while others may only fade under cool temperatures etc (We’ll go into more detail below).

Cannabis leaves tend to fade based off the environmental conditions they encounter, some phenotypes may fade under normal conditions and under all lighting types, while others may fade under HPS but not under LED, or visa versa.

Cannabis leaf showing aesthetic fade, the yellow edges relating to nitrogen fade while the reds were a genetic trait. Image by Trichomchaser420

Temperature can also play a large part in the fade of certain genetics. Many plants will only express colour changes when temperatures drop below 20’C, because of this some growers may lower their room temperatures near the end of flower to bring out the purple colouration, which may also affect the calyxes.

Some growers may also stop or lower feeding nitrogen around the middle of the flowering period to have more of a nitrogen deficiency lead fade starting from the bottom of the plant. The combination of nitrogen deficiency (at an acceptable time in flowering) with a genetic fade may also adjust the appearance of the fade. Some fades may also only be introduced once a lack of nitrogen is present.

Other plants just fade regardless of feed and temperatures, these kinds of fades will often start on the sugar leaves and work their way down the plant. Though these can also only fade under certain lighting types in a few cases.

You may wonder why a fade is so sought after, the reason is simply aesthetic value. Faded fan leaves make for good photography, while colouration on the sugar leaves and calyxes will be able to, in many cases, give the bud itself some more bag appeal.

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