Hardening Off Kratom Seedlings
Updated: Oct 5, 2019
Once you have successfully acclimated your kratom seedlings according to our transplant and acclimation protocol (and they are thriving indoors without the need of a tight humidity seal), it's time to harden them off. Hardening off refers to the process of moving plants outdoors to gradually introduce them to the direct sunlight, dry air, and cold nights.
Even if you are planning an indoor grow, this is an invaluable step that will not only strengthen your specimens, but improve their capacity for agricultural applications.
Be sure to make changes of temperature and drops in humidity gradual at first.
Nutrients and targeted light wavelengths
If you have not already done so, now is the time to put the seedling lamp to use. The seedling lamp uses targeted wavelengths of light to encourage larger and broader leaves, deeper and richer color expression, and a more rapid onset of maturity when used as directed.
The seedling lamp makes a marked difference in the growth and power of your seedlings.
Light is a nutrient, and giving your seedling the seedling lamp is like giving them a vitamin. Some people may dismiss the seedling lamp because they want to grow naturally, but by depriving your seedling of the targeted wavelengths, you are providing far less nutrients from light than you could be during this pivotal pre-hardened phase. Although you will still have a beautiful plant, that plant will be skinnier, weaker and slower to develop than the same plant would be if you followed our lighting protocols.
To maintain our protocols, keep specimens under the seedling lamp 24 hours a day for two weeks. During that time, feed your seedlings the prescribed nutrient protocol for your custom application. At the end of the two week period, you may find your seedlings have doubled in size. They should also look markedly different, resembling less of a salamander and more of a dragon.
After two weeks under the seedling lamp full time, with scheduled feedings according to your custom feeding protocol, your seedlings should emerged transformed.
You should not be experiencing any humidity curl or droop at this phase. Your seedlings should be strong with thick erect leaves that have the look of alligator skin. If your leaves are smoother, that means your humidity is high. If you live in a tropical climate with high humidity, this is no trouble at all. If you do not, use a dehumidifier or otherwise drop your humidity level until your plants begin producing alligator leaves. Alligator leaves indicate your seedlings are ready to journey outside.
The first time you bring your seedlings outside, do so in the morning or evening when the sun is at a low angle in the sky. Depending on your weather conditions, the midday light may bring on a slight droop in leaves. The moment you identify droop, remove the seedlings from the sun and put them back inside under the seedling lamp. A nice drink of water and misting can help refresh them once they are back indoors.
Repeat this process later in the evening, then bring the seedlings back inside and under the lamp after the sun goes down. Let the seedlings experience momentary darkness and the temperature drop associated with the fall of night before returning them to the light of their lamp indoors.
After a few days of this gradual exposure, you should be able to leave your seedlings outside all day without them experiencing any droop. Leaf and branch development should accelerate during this time. If your seedlings have the chance to experience rain, allow this to happen. Although some rain can have a pH too extreme for your seedlings, it is generally a welcome delight, and they lift their leaves up to the heavens in joy.
During this time, your soil should be drying out more quickly than before, unless you live in a rainy climate and are hardening off your specimens in wet weather. Wind and warm outdoor weather evaporate soil moisture more quickly than typical indoor conditions. Unfiltered sunlight also provides immense nutrition to your specimens, bolstering growth. Use this opportunity to power feed.
Power feed in mostly dry soil
When you allow your specimens' soil to moderately dry out (meaning dry to the touch, not to the point of dehydration or droop) it is much more absorbent. You can use this to your advantage and encourage massive uptake of extra nutrients by feeding in this state, when the roots are extra ready to drink up whatever the soil absorbs. Be sure to follow our custom feeding protocols so you don't accidentally burn your specimens. Always check the pot to make sure the soil is dry before power feeding. If it's not, wait. A good trick to learn is to lift the container and get a feeling for how it feels when it's wet verses dry. When it feels light but the plants still look happy, that is the perfect time to power feed.
When done correctly, the plants will look visibly happy with no signs of overfeeding. If you begin to notice hot pink or red splotches, you've overfed. It's not the end of the world. Water thoroughly and wait 5-7 days before feeding again. When you do feed, use half what you used before. If small leaves close to the soil turn brown and mushy, you've transferred the nutrient solution to the soil too rapidly and allowed them to get soggy with solution, which burns them. Spots on your leaves that look like cigarette burns are from splashing nutrient solution onto the leaves. Do your best to lift up undercarriage leaves and pour your nutrient solution slowly as to minimize splash burning.
After several full days in the sun without any droop or signs of distress, you can leave your seedlings outdoors overnight or continue to bring them indoors under the lamps, depending on your personal cultivation goals. More time under a light means more growth but more work. Although it's higher maintenance, bringing the plants inside overnight, under the lamp, gets you bigger, stronger plants, faster -- and it also hastens maturity.
What about photodark periods?
It is worth noting that many species require a photodark period to process nutrients and establish good growth in the root zone. For kratom, however, we've found trees can reach early maturity, achieve substantial harvest size and develop desirable alkaloid potency without ever experiencing photodark periods. We have had considerable and repeated success from postponing photodark periods until after first complete harvest, somewhere between 9 months and a year of age.
If you wish to provide photodark periods before your first harvest, ask yourself if it is because the plants really want that, or because you are so programmed to think they do. If they do indeed tell you they want darkness, two hours is sufficient. 22/2 is a powerful spiritual number that has to do with balance, manifesting miracles and new auspicious and timely opportunities.
After first harvest, allow plants to spend time outdoors where they will adjust to Earth's day/night cycle and begin to regain their strength. Allow them to develop a few sets of leaves outdoors before moving them to their next environment, whether that is a greenhouse or indoor grow. They will be tough as nails, and moving them into a high humidity hot house at this point will yield monster leaves that will knock you on your ass.
Buy kratom seedlings to cultivate
Our Borneo Rainforest line is excellent for agricultural applications and also for the discerning collector. Standard seedlings are 9 months from first complete harvest. Harvest-mature defoliated specimens are also available, ready to refoliate with leaves perfectly suited to the environment you provide. Lab tests taken at 11 months of age revealed average alkaloid levels of 1.19% mitragynine and .004% 7hydroxymitragynine in our Borneo Rainforest line. Learn more at magickpowerspotions.com