iight its weird because I got one plant thats about a foot and i got 4 others that are all about half the big plants' size..why is this?? can you explain alt branching..I think I know whatcha mean but a little explanation would help..get at me..peace
normal branching is when two branches or leaves are coming off the main stalk symmetrically. alternate branching is when the branches are staggered, alternating, off the main branch. I think switching to 12-12 before alternating branching occurs will help hurry the maturation along, but i'm not sure what if any negative effects will occur too.
All plants are like people, short and tall, skinny and fat. So if you understand that concept its easy to apply to growing cannabis. Some plants grow tall, some grow short, genetics detemine most of the characteristics (height, width, flower formation...etc.).
Its like having the Smith family who is mostly 5' 7" and putting them next to the Jones family who is mostly 6' 2". Your genes determine your height so its the same with cannabis.
Keep in mind the plants will stretch, sometimes doubling in height, in the first few weeks of flowering. You don't want to outgrow your light source and with CFLs this is very easy to do. I would flower once the plants reach their 6th node (node: level of branches, like floors on a building) or no bigger than 10-12 inches. Flowering when the plants are short insures that they will stay shorter so the buds that grow will be fewer in number but much larger in size. This is essential when growing with weaker lighting (less than 400w).