Although cannabis is mainly associated with the color green, this doesn't always seem to be the case. Nowadays, we often see strains that are not only potent but come in stunning colors as well. For instance, check out Northern Lights or Purple Urkle: they have very visible tints of blue and purple. But how does that happen?
The factors that affect plant colors
The main factor that affects the traits of cannabis plants is genetics. However, the environment in which they are grown has a great effect on them as well. One thing that's for sure, however, is that cannabis plants to be any other color but green, they need to produce anthocyanins.
Anthocyanins are a collection of flavonoids that determine the taste of a plant but are also responsible for giving cannabis its distinct colors. We can also find them in fruits and vegetables like blueberries, and grapes. The exact color that the flavonoids will produce depends on their pH levels.
By nature, anthocyanins (and flavonoids in general) do not serve an aesthetic purpose in the development of plants. They do, however, play an important role in the growth of cannabis as they help protect it from ultraviolet radiation and pathogens, among other things.
Plants can also change colors because of the temperature changing in their environment. That is especially visible when Autumn rolls around. When the weather starts getting colder, the production of chlorophyll in plants stops. Since chlorophyll is what makes the leaves green, plants and trees will turn shades of gold, red, and/or yellow.
Altering the nutrient content of cannabis will also change the colors of the cannabis leaves. For example deficiency in phosphorus can result in new colors although only shortcomings in nature would result in plants that have a better appearance. If the cannabis lacks nitrogen, it will turn a shade of yellow.