12-12 vs 11-13

12/12 vs 11/13 – What’s The Best Flowering Cycle?

Growing marijuana has never been easy. From watering and adding nutrition to light consumption everything has to be regulated. Not to mention growing them is also quite costly. 

So, what if you can shorten that time? Sounds like a good idea? But to do that you’ll have to enable the flowering stage first.

So, which flowering cycle would be good when it comes to 12/12 vs 11/13?

Unlike the 11/13 flowering cycle, the 12/12 flowering cycle is a must-to-follow procedure to enable the flowering stage. The 11/13 flowering cycle involves keeping your buds in the dark. Leaving your cannabis in the dark will fasten bud production but it’s risky. So, the 12/12 flowering cycle is safer.

Wanna know more details about both flowering cycles? Then join us in the rest of the discussion.

Let’s begin!

Quick Comparison

Let’s take a fast look at some fundamental differences between the two flowering cycles.

Aspect12/12 Flowering Cycle11/13 Flowering Cycle
Time Period 12 hours daylight, 12 hours darkness11 hours daylight, 13 hours darkness
Grow Period 7-9 weeks6-8 weeks
Bud ApeeranceAfter 3 weeksFaster 
Developed Bud Appearance  After week 5After 4 weeks
Mature Bud7-8 Weeks6-7 weeks
Harvest TimeLess Lesser 

But again, these are just a brief summary. But don’t worry. We have elaborated on these factors as much as possible.

Before moving on to the next segment check out this graph for a comprehensive view.

12-12 vs 11-13 comparison chart

Care for the detailed talks? Here we begin!

Detailed Comparison of the Two Flowering Cycles

Both the 12/12 and 11/13 flowering cycle has been proved to form flowering buds. However, there are a lot of things that play a role here. 

Now firstly, what is a 12/12 flowering cycle?

A 12/12 flowering cycle is basically a trick to grow your cannabis plant faster. It’s a process of maintaining the light absorption of your cannabis plant to grow faster. In this cycle, the buds are kept in darkness for 12 hours.

what is a 12-12 flowering cycle
Source: homegrowncannabisco.com

Now that you know what a 12/12 flowering cycle is you may wonder what is an 11/13 flowering cycle?

An 11/13 flowering cycle is also a process of growing plants. But it’s a much faster process. In this cycle, the buds are kept in the dark for 13 hours and in light for 11 hours.

A cannabis plant has two stages of the growth process. The first stage is called the vegetative state of plant growth. The plant only grows in this state. There’s only seedling sprouted without any leaves or buds.

Later in the flowering stage, the plant starts to produce buds. The flowering stage of the cannabis plant doesn’t start easily. To get it started it has to spend a certain amount of time in darkness.

And that is what we mean by the plant dark cycle. The time period has to be at least 12 hours. Unless your cannabis hasn’t spent straight 12 hours in the dark the buds won’t come.

Now, 12 hours is the minimum requirement. This is the start of 12 on 12 off process. Some people keep the plant in darkness for even longer. 

For example, you can keep it for 13 hours in the dark. That would be 11 on 13 of the flowering process. There’s a debate among the cannabis grower about this time cycle.

Some say, it would be better with 12 hours and some say 13 or more. To really understand which one is better let’s see their detailed comparison.

Grow Period:

There’s some popular altercation about the 12 vs 13-hour dark cycle. Some say 12 hours is enough to start the flowering period. Another group will say it’ll need at least 13 or 13.5 hours.

Both are right, to be honest. 12 hours is the minimum time cycle. But if you’re growing pure Sativa strains then it might need more than 12 hours.

Some of the cannabis species take longer times for the flowering stage to begin. So, 11/13 might be a more favourable light-dark cycle for them.

However, you can apply 13 hours darkness cycle for any species of cannabis too. You may think what more can 1-hour alteration do. But it can put quite an effect on the growth of your plant.

With 12 hours darkness cycle, your plant will grow faster. But with 13 hours in dark, the growth will fasten even more.

Source: mrgrowit.com

If you follow the 12 hours for the whole flowering stage it’ll take 7-9 weeks. That is to get a fully matured plant ready to collect the yields. 

But if you follow the 11/13 cycle it may take only 6-8 weeks. It shortens the time period by a lot.

Winner: As the growth period is lessened by using the 11/13 process, it is the winner. 

Amount of Yield:

Lengthening the dark cycle not only has advantages but also disadvantages. And the major disadvantage it’ll put you is the reduction of yield from plants. 

You may get a faster harvest from both of these cycles. But not much of a winning production. Cannabis that is grown with a regular light-dark cycle gives a better harvest.

But as you shorten the time for it to grow it loses more bud production. Because the plant has to mature earlier. The production of buds is no longer the priority.

The time given to harvesting is directly related to how much yield you’ll get. Following a 12-hour light/dark cycle will make you lose some yield.

For 11 hours light 13 hours dark you may lose even more. That’s why most cannabis growers pay extra caution when they use longer dark cycles.

By following proper steps it’s possible to keep the loss minimal. But to reach that state you’d have to have years of practice.

One thing that I do while following the 11/13 cycle is use good quality pk boosters. But not all pk boosters available on the market are suitable for hemp. Here are my go-to pk boosters for growing hemp:

Using these products will help with your yields surely!

Winner: There’s a chance of getting more yield by following the 12/12 flowering process. 

Saving Money:

One of the good part of using dark cycles is to save up production money. If you grow marijuana indoors, keeping the plants under light is quite costly.

You’ll have to spend days after days keeping watch on the plants on light-cycle. But with longer darkness cycles the harvest days will shorten.

12-hour lightdark cycle
Source: marijuanagrow.shop

Also, it means less lighting cost. Since your plants will spend more hours in the dark. The more you keep them in dark lesser it’ll cost you the electric bill.

12 hours dark cycle sure is nice for saving up some money. But 13 hours is even more.

The amount of electricity bills that you’re piling up can also be because you’re using the wrong LED lights for your grow tents. Here are some LED lights in my opinion are worth investing in. 

Using these lights should cut some of your costs. 

Winner: The winner of this category is the 11/13 cycle as it saves electricity and costs. 

Final Verdict: Which Flowering Cycle to Choose?

There’s no winner when it comes to marijuana growth light-dark cycle. Which cycle you’re gonna choose totally depends on your plant condition.

It also depends on your urgency. 12/12 light/dark hours are a must to make your plant grow buds. Without spending a full 12 hours in dark your cannabis seed will never grow.

It won’t enter the flowering stage until you do. But 11/13 is optional. You can choose to keep your plants longer in the dark. That is if you want a quicker production of buds.

But don’t go stressing out your plant. Because it’ll result in clone plants yellowing without roots. Once your plant enters the flowering stage you can choose to switch the cycle. 

But that solely depends on your decision and the plant’s condition.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

A few more things to know-

What’s the proper light cycle for cannabis plants?

The proper light cycle for cannabis plants would be a 16/8 cycle. That means 16 hours of light and 8 hours of darkness. This light cycle must be followed when your plant is in the vegetative stage.

Is keeping cannabis on light for 24 hours good?

No, keeping cannabis on light for 24 hours isn’t good. Cannabis plants need it’s darkness hour for growth as well. Without enough darkness cycle, the flowering stage won’t come. Also, exposure to too much sunlight can cause stress to the plants.

Do marijuana plants wilt at night?

Yes, marijuana plants can wilt at night. They exhibit drooping or wilting of leaves during the night hours. So, if your plant looks wilted at night time, there’s nothing wrong with them. It’s a perfectly natural behaviour.


That’s all from us about the 12/12 vs 11/13 flowering cycle. Both of these cycles don’t have many differences. But the plants and the growing condition can make a lot of differences.

Whichever light/dark cycle you choose, pay attention to the nutrient deficiency and stress issues. Otherwise, all the effort can turn into a big disappointment. 

Happy growing!

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