With each stage of growing weed, there are tips and tricks you need to know to optimize success and maximize yields. ✓ Find out more here. How long does it take to germinate cannabis seeds? When to transplant seedlings? When to start vegging and flowering? Grow your knowledge about the lifecycle of the cannabis plant. Discover all marijuana plant stages, from the germination to the flowering. No more secrets in cannabis home cultivation.
Stages of Growing Weed 101 – The Top Things You Need to Know
Weed is a highly complex plant in comparison to most considering it has distinct stages of cannabis growth stages. Unlike other plants that typically grow with just sun, soil, and water – each weed plant stage requires its own specific protocol of nutrients, light, and environmental conditions to survive and thrive. Which makes knowing these stages of cannabis growth from the start that much more crucial for the overall health of your plants. That’s why we’ve put together the ultimate guide to the stages of growing weed with all the information you need to know for success.
The Germination Stage
As the saying goes, ‘it all starts with a seed’ which holds true for cannabis growth stages.
Unless of course, you’re beginning crops with clones, which is a cutting from a plant in its vegetative state. In that case – you can skip to that portion of the guide but for the most part, seeds still reign supreme especially for home grows.
First thing’s first, you’ll want to ensure the seed you’ll be germinating is viable. If you’re unsure of the quality or viability of seeds there are a few telltale signs to check for. Healthy seeds should be brown in color with visible stripes, and shouldn’t feel weak or be white or green. If you’re waiting to germinate your seeds, or storing them for future crops, be sure to keep them in a cool, dark space like a refrigerator or cooler area of your home.
The act of germinating seeds promotes the ‘popping’ of the initial seedling. This initial sign of life is the plant’s taproot that will take hold in your chosen medium. While some growers do just toss a seed in soil and hope that it takes, germinating the seed before the seedling stage is the best way to guarantee your seed takes life. In the germination stage seeds need –
- A warm temperature
One common way to nurture germination with these factors in mind is a method that requires a couple of plates or a ziploc bag and a paper towel. Slightly dampen the paper towel and fold it in half once or twice. Place the seeds inside the paper towel, and fold the other half over them. You can then place the paper towel in a plastic bag, and store it somewhere dark. Or, between two plates works as well.
In general, you can expect to see your seeds pop in 3-10 days making that duration the entire length of time for the germination stage. Every day or so, check back on the seeds to see if the taproot has emerged and once it has – you’re ready to move onto the cannabis seedling growth stage. So, let’s cover that more in-depth, next.
The Seedling Stage
For the start of cannabis seedling growth, you’ll place the germinated seed and taproot into your medium of choice. It’s ideal to use a small pot size for seedlings with adequate drainage for optimal results. To keep it simple, many growers use solo cups with holes in the bottom during this stage of growing weed.
Once the seed is in its growing medium, soon the growth of cotyledons AKA the first oval-shaped leaves will emerge. From there, upon providing the optimal conditions for seedling growth you’ll notice serrated leaf growth. Over the next three weeks, the seedling will continue growing new leaflets until digitate leaves sprout which are the more recognizable ‘fan leaves’ you’d expect from cannabis plants.
When plants are in the early seedling stage it’s imperative to provide an environment that’ll nurture optimal health. Because cannabis seedlings are more sensitive in this stage, they won’t require as many nutrients to start but will benefit from the following –
- Water with pH levels ranging between 6 – 7
- Pro tip: Use a spray bottle to water young seedlings to avoid overwatering.
In regards to lighting, cannabis seedlings benefit from lower intensities of light with a blue spectrum if possible. As for light cycles, seedlings thrive with 18 hours of light and 6 hours of darkness to optimize photosynthesis for healthy, overall growth. It’s best to keep lights around 24-36 inches away from the top of the seedling, to avoid burning, but also close enough to provide optimal levels of energy.
Due to the delicate growth of cannabis seedlings they can be highly susceptible to mold. To avoid any mold issues, it’s recommended to keep the area free of excess moisture and as clean as possible. Last but not least, as cannabis seedling growth progresses the level of nutrients should be slowly increased. This increase in nutrients is vital to the transition of seedlings to vegetative plants, which we’ll cover next.
The Vegetative Stage
The vegetative stage of marijuana may be less thrilling than flowering but is just as important for maximized yields. That’s because the veg period is spent bolstering the plant for strong, healthy growth to support the buds you’ll soon be harvesting. To continue favorable environmental conditions, here are a few controls to keep –
- Warm temperatures ranging between 71 – 79℉
- Relative humidity kept between 40-60%
- Watering with pH levels between 6 and 7
- Increased airflow, and CO2
A part of the process in strengthening the plant is providing adequate levels of nutrients, with an increase of nitrogen, and establishing a regular feeding schedule. In addition, you’ll want to allow your roots the room to grow which requires the transplanting of your plant into a bigger pot. Without transplanting, your roots can become rootbound. Rootbound is a condition where roots hit the side of the container, and begin circling. If the circling continues, the roots can choke themselves which significantly deters plant health or kills it altogether.
Some growers will transplant their veg plants into a medium-size pot and then transplant once more before flowering. While others will wait until their veg plants are big enough, and transplant into the final flowering container size just once and avoid the extra step. Each method is appropriate and the decision ultimately depends on the grower’s preference, budget, or size of the room.
For light cycles, the veg stage of cannabis growth continues to require 18 hours of light with 6 hours of darkness for photosynthesis purposes. Plants will also continue to benefit from higher spectrums of blue light during vegetative growth, which can promote even node spacing, and canopy uniformity. Because each stage of marijuana growth benefits from different spectrums of light, LEDs are quickly becoming the preferred grow light setup for their full-spectrum capabilities.
While it’s important to monitor the plants closely in every cannabis growth stage, a close eye is even more crucial during the vegetative period if growing with a regular or non-feminized seed. As you may know, cannabis plants are dioecious meaning they can be male or female in sex. However, female cannabis plants are the ones that produce high levels of cannabinoids, like THC that are associated with high-quality crops. So, the veg stage is when growers determine if plants are female or male, discarding any males that pop up immediately to avoid pollination. Typically, plants will show their sex around the 6-week mark for reference.
All in all, the veg cannabis growth stage typically lasts anywhere from 4-8 weeks. But just because a plant can go into flowering at 4 weeks – doesn’t necessarily mean it should. By doing so you can risk growing a smaller plant than originally intended. The transition from veg to flower will depend on the strain, and upon the specific plant’s health or stature hence the variation in the estimated time range. Ultimately, growers will decide when individual plants or crops are big and strong enough to support the flowering stage of growing heavy buds, themselves, or go based on strain history.
In fact, – the vegetative stage of marijuana growth can go beyond 8 weeks, and even perpetually. Many commercial growers will keep ‘mother plants’, or varieties forever in veg that have stable, consistent, and trusted end-results. This is where the art of ‘cloning’ also comes into play, as they can ‘clone’ the variety over and over with successful results and without the risk of unknown genetics or phenotypes.
But how? Plants can be kept in their vegetative stage because cannabis is photoperiod in nature. Meaning, the species requires specific periods of light and dark to begin blooming or flowering. So, without further adieu – let’s move on to the flowering portion of our weed plant stages guide to learn more.
The Flowering Stage
Finally, we get to the stage of growing weed when the magic happens – the infamous flowering period. The flowering weed plant stage begins when light cycles of 12 hours of light, and 12 hours of dark get initiated. This occurs outdoors when the days become shorter towards Fall, and indoors when growers set specific schedules of light. During the flowering stage of marijuana growth, here are a few key factors to maintain –
- Warm temperatures ranging between 65-79℉
- Relative humidity ranging between 40-50%
- pH levels ranging between 6 and 7
- Maintain airflow, and increase CO2
Lighting is more intense during the flowering stage and a red spectrum is beneficial for the growth of plants. Flowering plants will also benefit from another increase in nutrients, and during the final weeks, growth can be supplemented with the addition of ‘bloom’ solutions that have ample amounts of phosphorous.
Flowering cycles will differ upon the strain but ranges from 8-12 weeks. During this time, there are a few distinct periods of growth, including –
- Flowering initiation (week 1-3) –With new light cycles and amplified light intensity, plants spend the flowering initiation period growing and stretching in size. In this stage, plants often double in size and begin showing signs of flowering like the emergence of pistils, or white hairs. Reaching week 4, bud sites will begin to appear in the nodes of the plant, where the main stem and branches meet.
- Mid-flowering (weeks 4-5) –In weeks 4 and 5, plants stop stretching and growing in size and stature and begin packing on weight instead. It’s important to maintain regular and adequate levels of nutrients during the mid-flowering stage of growing weed as this is when the development and production of cannabinoids and terpenes are strongest. The extra strength is also helpful for the fattening of buds, which can be supported by trellis’ or staking and tying. Near the end of mid-flowering, pistils will also begin to darken as the cannabis life cycle matures.
- Late-flowering or ripening (weeks 6+)-The final weeks of ‘ripening’ in late flowering is when the flower buds gain the most weight, making the additional support measures that much more important. Especially considering plants can bend and break from bud weight. This is also the weed plant stage when that sticky-icky crystal coating of resinous trichomes becomes more established. These trichomes also play a pivotal role in deciding when to harvest, as their transparency and coloring change as the stages of marijuana growth progress. The flower’s pistils will also transform in color, and curl inward near the end of growth, too.
When the plant is nearing the end of its cannabis life cycle – flushing is recommended as one of the final steps during the flowering stage. Flushing refers to only watering your plant for the last week or two. Essentially, this ‘flushes’ out nutrients by triggering the plant to use the nutrients leftover in the plant – a crucial step in finishing the flowering stage and increasing plant senescence. Without this step, plants can be less aromatic or harsh upon puff, puff, passing.
After flowering and flushing, come the final stages of growing weed which is the harvesting of plants, along with the drying, and curing of buds. For more detailed information on the post-growth cannabis life cycle, including when to harvest, and how – we’d recommend checking out our complete guide to growing indoors.
Nourish to Flourish – The stages of growing weed
While the stages of growing weed differ greatly there’s one important thing to remember for each – you’ve got to nourish to flourish. Meaning, with each cannabis growth stage, the plant requires a specific routine of nutrients, lights, and environments for optimal growth and health.
Even though the cannabis life cycle may be somewhat tricky to master for beginners, with the information you gained today you’ll be on autopilot for managing weed plant stages before you know it.
So, keep staying in tune with all the latest knowledge on navigating the stages of cannabis growth, and providing your plants with the TLC they need. Stay connected to Scynce for more grower tips and tricks by following us socially or signing up for our email newsletter today!
Cannabis growth stages breakdown
Growing cannabis can seem easier when the process is broken down into the 4 main cannabis growth stages. These are the cannabis seed germination, seedling, veg and bloom. At each stage the requirements for nutrients, light and water will vary. The experienced cannabis grower will know how to give the right environmental conditions at each of the stages of cannabis growth. However cannabis plants will always teach you something new to improve the way you grow. Dive into this guide to learn all you should know about the life cycle of cannabis!
Summary: ● How long is a cannabis full grow cycle on average? ● Cannabis germination stage (2-10 days) ● Cannabis seedling stage (2-3 weeks) ● Cannabis vegetative stage (3-15 weeks) ● Cannabis flowering stage (7-14 weeks) ● Other important cannabis life cycle considerations
How long is a cannabis full grow cycle on average?
There are 4 main stages of the cannabis life cycle as it transitions from seed to harvest. Germination is often defined as the time taken from planting the cannabis seed to the point where it has produced it’s first cotyledon leaf pair. These are the first ‘baby’ (non-serrated) leaf set which is formed as the seed germinates.
Cannabis growth stages Average duration Germination stage 2-10 days Seedling stage 1-3 weeks Vegetative stage 1-15 weeks Flowering stage 7-14 weeks*
The cannabis plant life cycle for a fast growing autoflower seed variety such as as Auto Blueberry or Auto Blackberry Kush could be as little as 9 weeks from seed to harvest.
Or it could be a 6 months cannabis life cycle for an outdoor seed variety. The indoor cannabis grower has full control over their plants and the environment. This allows indoor feminised seed growers to dictate the length of vegetative growth, which in turn will affect final plant size, yield and overall life cycle.
The length of the cannabis full grow cycle will depend on your choice of cannabis seeds (autoflower seeds vs feminised seeds) and whether you grow them indoors or outdoors.
Related: Autoflower seed vs feminised seed outdoor cannabis growing
Cannabis germination stage (2-10 days)
Cannabis seeds are typically small, hard and dry. The colours vary from light to dark brown. The first cannabis plant stages take place after the seed has germinated. During seed germination the shell of the seed is initially softened by the moist germination conditions. It’s important to provide moist, but never soaked, conditions for cannabis seed germination in order to achieve maximum germination rates from your precious seeds.
Cannabis seeds should be germinated in dark conditions and don’t need any nutrients initially. Water is sufficient for the first few days. The tap root will emerge from the cannabis seed and grow downwards. The first set of cotyledon leaves will emerge and the cannabis grow cycle has begun! Note that these leaves don’t have the ‘normal’ serrated edges which you will see on all subsequent leaves. As all this is happening the cannabis root system starts to form.
It can take around 2-10 days for seed germination to occur. Occasionally, cannabis seeds can take up to 2 weeks to germinate. Eventually you will see the first set of ‘true’ cannabis leaves with serrated edges appear. For many growers, this represents the end of the cannabis germination stage and the start of the seedling stage.
Related: Dark vs white cannabis seed germination test
How long does it take to germinate cannabis seeds?
It can vary from one cannabis seed to another. Usually you can expect seeds to germinate somewhere around 2-10 days after you begin the germination process. Occasionally you can get cannabis seeds to germinate in just one day. Sometimes it can take around 2 weeks. But usually you can expect to wait around 2-10 days for your cannabis seeds to germinate.
Can you speed up the germination process?
Not really. You need to provide good cannabis seed germination conditions and then wait for nature to do her work. If you have bought good quality cannabis seeds from a proven supplier than you can expect cannabis seed germination rates of 90%+.
Many growers have accidentally killed their plants during germination by trying to speed things up by a day or two. It definitely isn’t recommended to e.g. sand-paper your seeds to reduce the shell thickness in an attempt to speed up germination. Nor is it recommended to try to force the shell off the plant during germination. Instead, just be patient and allow the cannabis genetics to do their work.
When to transplant cannabis seedlings?
If you have germinated your cannabis seeds with the moist cotton pad method then you will simply place the germinated seedlings in your grow medium (e.g. soil or coco fibre) or your grow system (e.g. DWC or NFT hydroponic system).
Many growers that use e.g. autoflowering cannabis seeds will simply put their seedling into the final grow container. This avoids the need to repeatedly transplant the seedling to progressively larger containers. In the case of an autoflower strain with a limited lifetime, this process allows the auto to focus all the available time on growth. No plant time is spent adapting during repeated transplants, allowing your auto to reach maximum potential.
Those that grow photoperiod feminised seeds indoors can choose when the blooming process starts simply by reducing daylight hours. That gives them more time to spend progressively potting up and transplanting into gradually larger containers if they wish.
Related: Cotton pads germination video tutorial
Cannabis seedling stage (2-3 weeks)
For the next 2-3 weeks after germination, the cannabis seedling will grow. The cannabis root system is essential for healthy growth and development. Experienced growers aim to deliver fully optimised grow conditions in order to maximise root growth. Give the roots waterlogged cold soil and they won’t grow well, this may result in a permanently stunted plant.
Above ground, the cannabis seedling will continue to grow. With each new set of leaves you may notice progressively more ‘blades’ or fingers on the leaves. Initially you may see 3 fingers, then 5 or 7 etc. During the life cycle of cannabis, the seedling needs less water and nutrition than it does in subsequent veg growth and flowering stages. This is one of the most delicate cannabis growing stages. The seedling needs little water and minimal nutrients.
If growing in light mix soil there you may not need to consider any grow nutrients until a week after the first set of serrated leaves emerge. Generally, a light mix soil has enough nutrition for the first couple of weeks after cannabis seed germination. After that many growers use root stimulator and grow nutrients.
If you are growing in hydroponics or coco fibre you may already be carefully using very light nutrients on young seedlings. You may prefer to use specialist low strength seedling nutrients at this stage. The goal is to keep the cannabis seedling in the nutrient sweet spot without over feeding or underfeeding. If seedlings are given excessive nutrients it can ‘burn’ the plant, permanently limiting future growth.
Related: Everything you need to know about cannabis roots
How long does the cannabis seedling stage last?
Many growers consider the first 2-3 weeks after germination to be the cannabis seedling stage. These are the first couple of weeks where the seedling is most vulnerable. The seedling may only be a few inches/cm tall with a couple of sets of true (non-cotyledon) leaves.
Lighting levels don’t need to be particularly intense for cannabis seedlings, for the technically minded PPFD levels of 200-400 should be adequate. Many use T5 fluorescent tubes for cannabis seedling lighting. The delicate young seedling leaf tissue can be damaged by the intense light levels which you will need in later cannabis flowering stages.
If you do see your cannabis seedlings stretching a little too much it can help to reduce the distance between the plants and the light. With higher light intensities, the stretching should reduce. If your seedling suffer elongated stems you can gently prop up your seedling with some small wooden supports, such as toothpicks (or similar)
What does a healthy cannabis seedling look like?
You can expect a short, squat plant. The cotyledon leaves will be small in comparison to the emerging ‘true’ leaves and you will notice new leaf sets emerging from the central growing point of your plant (the ‘apex’). The colour should be a vibrant green. Any signs of yellowing is a signal that something is wrong. If your seedling has brown leaf tips it’s a sign that you have overfed your seedlings and ‘burned’ the plant. This is never a good sign and can temporarily or permanently restrict future growth.
If you have a healthy cannabis seedling it will have all the basics in place for future growth. The roots should have the space and nutrients/minerals required to grow a larger frame. The leaves will be ready to grow and absorb more light which will power future photosynthesis. Your plant is set for vegetative growth and will be ready for more light, nutrients and water.
Autoflower seed growers may already have their plant in the final grow container at this stage.
Related: Top 10 germination and seedling mistakes
Cannabis vegetative stage (3-15 weeks)
Vegetative growth is the indoor cannabis growing stage where roots, branches and leaves grow but no buds are formed. Indoor growers often use 18-24 hours of daily light whether they are using autoflower seeds or photoperiod feminised cannabis seeds.
During vegetative growth the cannabis plants gradually grow in both height and width. Nitrogen rich nutrients are particularly useful in the vegetative growth stage. The first sets of cannabis leaves grow gradually larger and new leaf sets are formed. As the plant grows it’s requirements for nutrients, water and light will all increase. Light levels can be increased from around 200 PPFD to nearer 400-600 PPFD – your light manufacturer should be able to detail the PPFD levels at various hanging heights.
How long should a cannabis plant stay in veg?
Those growing photoperiod feminised cannabis seeds can select the length of the vegetative growth stage. Often it’s around 4-6 weeks for many growers. But some growers, e.g. SCROG growers (Screen Of Green method), prefer very long periods of ‘veg’ growth, in extreme cases up to 15 weeks or so. However, SOG growers (Sea Of Green method), may not give their plants any veg growth and instead put them straight into bloom conditions.
Those growing autoflower seeds will not be able to dictate the length of the vegetative growth phase. Instead the autoflower seed genetics will determine the point at which it automatically transitions from veg to bloom. It does this without any change or alteration to the light cycle. Autoflowering cannabis seeds grow from seed to harvest under the same light cycle, typically 20 hours of daily light. Photoperiod feminised cannabis strains only commence bloom when indoor light hours are reduced to 12 per day.
Related: SOG vs SCROG cannabis growing
How does a healthy cannabis plant in veg look like?
Much depends on the length of time the plant has been in the vegetative growth stage for. A feminised strain with 15 weeks of veg growth could have filled a very large SCROG screen. Whereas an autoflower plant in veg may be perhaps 10-20cm tall, perhaps 3 weeks old and ready to start stretching once bloom begins. Much depends on your cannabis genetics and grow style. But you can expect to see a medium-sized plant with healthy green foliage, but no buds.
Why does my cannabis plant want to flower in the vegetative stage?
The cannabis flowering stage follows veg growth. Cannabis plants are genetically geared towards bloom. It’s the only chance for cannabis to produce seeds and produce the next generation of plants. You may see pre-flowers at the nodes between the stem and branches. Autoflower genetics don’t hold back. As soon as they are ready, autos start to transition from veg to bloom. During this process the auto exhibits features of both veg and bloom.
Cannabis flowering stage (7-14 weeks)
During the cannabis flowering stages, the female plant produces buds and resin. The flowering stage follows the vegetative growth stage. When growing autoflowering cannabis seeds, the transition from the vegetative stage to the flowering stage happens automatically (hence the name, autoflowering).
When growing photoperiod feminised cannabis seeds, bloom begins indoors when the daily light hours are decreased to 12. Outdoors, feminised strains sense the shortened daylight hours as autumn/fall approaches and bloom begins. However if you are growing at equatorial regions the plants can sense the short days immediately.
During the cannabis flowering stage, the plant will require gradually increased levels of nutrients and water. Phosphorus will be required in greater quantities as the plant biochemistry changes. During the cannabis flowering stage the plant biomass can increase dramatically.
Intense light levels can be used in bloom, often with PPFD levels of 600-900. More light can deliver heavier yields. Some professional cannabis growers used PPFD levels of around/over 1000 and may also supplement with Carbon Dioxide to further boost yields.
The length of the flowering stage depends on the genetics. 7 weeks of bloom is required by fast flowering indica strains such as Bubba Island Kush seeds. But a slow blooming Haze may require upwards of 14 weeks in bloom.
The following cannabis flowering stages are shown in week by week pictures, below.
How to tell if a cannabis plant is ready to bloom?
Knowing when your plant is ready to be flipped from veg growth to bloom is one of the most important decisions you will make. But first you may wish to consider a few points related to the timing of the cannabis flowering stage.
• The height of your grow room may be a limiting factor. If you have restricted vertical growing space you may prefer to have minimal veg time.
• Are you growing indica or sativa cannabis seeds? Sativa strains may stretch dramatically during bloom. Take this into account when deciding if your cannabis plant is ready to bloom.
• Growing clones or seeds? Clones don’t always have well established root systems and can take a while to create one before being flipped into bloom.
• Outdoor plants can also be forced into early bloom if you have a greenhouse equipped with blackout blinds. Otherwise, they will choose their own moment to bloom as daylight hours shorten.
• Which growing method are you using? If using the SCROG method you may wish to wait and give the plant a long veg stage. If using the SOG method you may want to offer minimal veg time or even none at all and grow from seed to harvest under 12/12 light
• Which region/climate are you growing in? If you’re growing in tropical equatorial regions you may want the most sativa dominant strains with the most stretch. That’s because the plants go into flowering more-or-less immediately. In more temperate climates, the plants commence bloom as daylight hours shorten. For Northern Hemisphere growers (Europe, USA etc) this often happens around August.
Related: Power Plant grown from seed to harvest under 12/12 light
How long does it take for cannabis to start blooming after switching the light cycle?
Once you switch the light cycle to 12/12 (12 hours of daily light) the plant undergoes plant hormone changes as it senses the shorter days.
The plant hormones cause the plant to prepare for bloom. Over the following week or so you will see the changes on the cannabis plant as she gets ready to stretch and produce flowers. You may see female pre-flowers producing a couple of pistils (hairs) at the node between the stem and a branch.
However you can expect to wait 1-2 weeks before you start to see flowers starting to appear. With certain sativa and hybrid strains it can take 3-6 weeks before any significant flower formation.
How does a healthy cannabis plant in flowering look like?
Initially you may notice areas of light green foliage at the eventual points where buds will eventually form. You may also notice the plants stretching, with increased internodal distance.
Growers monitor their cannabis flowering stages week by week. Some like to consider the cannabis flowering stage as 3 separate mini-phases; early bloom, mid bloom and late bloom. As your cannabis plant flowers the weight of buds and resin should increase as harvest point approaches.
During the cannabis flowering stage you will notice that your plant appetite for nutrients reaches maximum as it produces bigger buds and more cannabinoid-containing resin. The ratio of required nutrients will change too. Less Nitrogen (N) is required and increasing amounts of Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K) are needed to support heavy harvests of compact flowers.
During the first few weeks of bloom your plant will stretch. A sativa may stretch to 2-3 times the height it was at the end of veg. You will see increasing amounts of pistils being produced and the buds start to form and eventually fatten up. After around 5 weeks of bloom the cannabis plants have generally stopped stretching and the buds start to get larger.
As harvest approaches, the pistils start appearing as orange rather than white.
How to tell when your cannabis buds are ready for harvest?
Your cannabis seed supplier should give an indication of the approximate length of the flowering stage. This is a guideline rather than a fixed rule and it may indicate the typical earliest harvest point rather than the recommended harvest time.
Environmental conditions and the specific phenotype will determine the actual harvest date. In addition, you may have a preference for early, mid or late harvested buds.
There are various cannabis bud growth stages. They start small and gradually pack on weight and resin as they grow. Some growers like the slightly heavy effects (and more generous yields) offered by allowing the buds a week or two extra in bloom.
There are different cannabis trichomes stages to consider. Immature buds tend to have clear trichomes. As the buds approach harvest the trichomes become cloudy and eventually start to produce amber (or even red) colourations. Many harvest their buds as the trichomes are transitioning from clear to cloudy.
Related: Understanding cannabis trichomes
What to do in case of early or late flowering?
If your plant flowers early you can look forward to an earlier harvest. A late flowering plant will generally have enjoyed more time for veg growth, so you may be able to look forward to a heavier harvest.
When growing autoflower seeds you may find some plants will be ready to harvest a week or two before the slower phenotypes. Remember each plant is different. Try to time the harvest so that you have buds of the perfect maturity level for your personal tastes. Some growers love the lively energetic buzz from an early harvested plant. Other growers will always wait an extra couple of weeks to ensure that their plants have a high proportion of amber trichomes which can produce heavier effects.
What really matters to the home grower is that they:
• are growing the best cannabis seeds for them personal needs and,
• they select the optimised harvest date which provides maximum enjoyment and satisfaction for their recreational or medical needs.
Other important cannabis life cycle considerations
There are different cannabis growth stages as well as different cannabis flowering stages. The experienced grower understands the various environmental, nutrient and lighting requirements at the various stages of cannabis growth.
What stage of growth does cannabis produce trichomes?
This can depend on the specific cannabis seeds being grown. Trichomes can be seen even on young plants though they can be microscopically small. As the plant matures the amount of trichomes increases dramatically. When growing photoperiod feminised cannabis seeds you may see the first trichomes around 3 weeks into bloom. Over the following month trichome production is heavy and gives the plant a frosty appearance, as if sprinkled with sugar.
When growing autoflower seeds, trichome production tends to start around 4 weeks after germination. In the following weeks, trichome production steps up a gear as the buds gain weight. Aroma also increases as more and more trichomes are produced.
What stage of growth does cannabis stop growing?
During flowering, most photoperiod cannabis plants stop stretching after around 4-5 weeks. After that point most of the growth happens on the buds. For autoflower plants, stretch tends to stop around 6-7 weeks after germination. At that point the bulk of the plants energy is focussed on bud growth and resin production.
But it’s worth adding that these figures are only approximate. Much depends on the specific cannabis genetics that you are growing, your environmental conditions and the grow method.
How long should the harvested buds be left to dry?
Harvested buds are typically left for 7-14 days to dry before being transferred to the curing jars. When the branches ‘snap’ (rather than bend) it’s an indication that the plant is dry enough for curing to begin.
How long should the harvested buds be cured?
Many would say that a month or two is a realistic minimum to allow the taste and aromas to fully develop. Keeping your cured buds in jars even longer isn’t an issue. Many people feel that a 6-month cure with your jars in cool/dark conditions is a great way to maximise taste and aroma.
How to keep a consistent cannabis growth timeline?
When growing photoperiod feminised cannabis seeds the growth timeline is up to you. You can offer minimal veg growth for a SOG grow or several months for a SCROG grow.
Autoflower seeds, on the other hand, have a cannabis growth timeline of their own. They, not you, decide when to start blooming. Good quality auto seed suppliers should be able to give you a good idea whether they are likely to have a growth lifecycle as fast as 9 weeks e.g. Auto Blueberry seeds or a slow growth lifecycle of 12-15 weeks e.g. Auto Ultimate seeds. Note that the autos which take longer to grow may well deliver very heavy yields.
Outdoor cannabis growers should note that the different regions you live in can also determine how many daylight hours per day you will have. That will have a huge influence on your outdoor cannabis lifecycle (or growth stages). Equatorial cannabis growers have 12/12 light (or thereabouts) almost all year round. This means you won’t have any veg time at all if you grow outdoors.
Understanding the cannabis growth stages is key
With an increased understanding of the different cannabis growth stages you will find your control and enjoyment of cannabis cultivation will increase. As well as optimising your grow environment and improving your understanding of the cannabis grow cycle be sure to select the best cannabis seeds for your personal grow situation. The choice of cannabis seeds may seem large and possibly confusing.
If so please check out the Dutch Passion Seed Finder which asks a few simple questions before recommending the seeds which best fit your needs.
Everything you need to know about marijuana plant stages
Marijuana plant growth requires certain environment and unique demands at each stage during its cultivation process. There are four important marijuana plant stages of growth that take around 3-5 months to complete. In order to harvest and preserve your marijuana plant in the best way, you need to provide proper at every stage.
It is best to plant seeds in late April. It will reach its harvesting stage during September and November. During the cultivation process, you have to clean and trim the plants regularly after they reach certain growth. If you grow marijuana indoors, you may smoke your harvest in a few weeks!
The 4 Marijuana Plant Stages
You need to take care of different factors at every marijuana plant stage. The growing stages of cannabis plants have been divided into four main sections :
- Germination (3-10 days)
- Seedling (2-3 weeks)
- Vegetative (3-8 weeks)
- Flowering (8-11 weeks)
- Harvest (8-10 weeks)
Every stage has different timings and specific days. Also, you need to take utmost care while at every stage to produce a healthy and high-quality weed. A small precision, you may learn about 7 stages of the cannabis plant growth cycle somewhere, because it takes into account the non-organic stages after flowering, like pruning, harvesting or preparing the cannabis plant for a new cycle.
1. Germination Stage of marijuana plant
Germination is the first marijuana plant stages. The germination of marijuana seeds begin around 3-10 days. At first, you need to wrap a good-quality marijuana seeds in a damp cloth until you observe sprouts on them. Then you can place them in the soil for further growth. The roots will grow downwards and the stem will grow upwards. It is necessary to provide them around 16 hours of light daily during the germination stage.
For germination, plants require a warm and humid temperature with proper ventilation and watering daily. The appropriate temperature for germination is 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 26 °C). Then, you will observe rounded leaves which are also known as cotyledons develop on the plants. These tiny leaves require continuous sunlight to make the plants healthy and strong.
2. Seedling Stage of marijuana plant
When the cotyledons begin to develop in the plants, it means that they have reached the seedling stage. The seedling stage generally lasts up to 2-3 weeks. At this stage, the plants require proper lighting for around 16 hours a day. In the beginning, the leaves have only one blade. But new blades start to develop gradually. It is very important to provide a certain amount of water during the seedlings because the roots are small and they don’t need much it.
The seedling marijuana plant stages are also very delicate, if not taken proper care of, molds can appear on the leaves. Hence, it is important to provide a suitable environment for the plants to grow. The perfect humidity level should be around 65-80% with a temperature of 77 degrees Fahrenheit (22 °C). It is very important to know about the strain of the seeds so that you can take steps accordingly. Good quality seeds grow as thick and are short in height.
3. Vegetative Stage of marijuana plant
The vegetative marijuana plant stages begin from 3rd week and lasts up to 8 weeks. When the plants reach this stage, you need to transfer them into a big pot for more growth. According to the growth of the plants, you need to water the plants according to their needs. You should water the cannabis away from the main stalk so the roots expand for better water intake. You should have enough space for soil for the plants as they will grow up to 2-3 feet (60 to 90 cm).
During the vegetative stage, you can determine the male plants that can contaminate other plants. The cannabis plants grow very rapidly at this stage. The temperature should be around 68 degrees to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (21-22 °C). If you are growing Indica, the plants will be bushy and small while Sativa plants have a narrow shape and grow tall. Providing nitrogen in these plants is essential along with a minimum of 16 hours of sunlight daily. If you dry out the soil at this point, it will be better for the plants.
4. Flowering Stage of marijuana plant
The flowering stage begins from 8 weeks and lasts up to 11 weeks. It is the final plant stage of marijuana. They require around 12 hours of sunlight daily. The flowering stages have three different phases:
- Flower growth: At this stage, the buds begin to develop in the plants.
- Mid Flowering Stage: This stage begins from the 4th week up to 5 weeks. The plants stop growing because buds become bigger.
- Late Flowering Stage: The plants become sticky and flowers release a pungent smell. It is important to maintain the temperature and monitor the growth for harvesting.
The appropriate temperature is around 68 degrees Fahrenheit (21°C) with a relative humidity of 50%. You should provide them with essential nutrients such as phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium for healthy growth.
What should you do after the flowering stage?
After all the aforementioned marijuana plant stages, it is time for harvesting and other processes. The after care of the products is also very necessary:
Harvesting of marijuana plant
The harvesting stage begins after the plants have completed the flowering stage which lasts up to 8 weeks. The buds will begin to flatten and white layers will appear on them. This white layer is known as Trichomes. Remember that the quality, smell, and taste depend on the time of harvesting. It is better to harvest when the buds become brownish or red. It means that the plants ripen and are best to use.
The Pruning step
Pruning is an important process to remove the dead or unhealthy parts of the plants. This is done by using a pair of scissors. There are two types of Pruning- Dry and Wet. Most cultivators use the wet pruning method. The dry pruning method requires cutting off the leaves that contain high THC levels and sugar leaves. If you prune the plants early, it can disrupt the plant hormones and affect the taste as well.
Pruning of your plant
After pruning, the next step is how to store them. You can store cannabis for up to two years with vacuum sealing if we maintain the THC level for a longer time.
- Remove all the impurities and seeds. .
- Dry them completely under sunlight.
- Keep them in an airtight glass container.
Also, it is very important to store cannabis with different types of strains in separate jars.
Important things to know before growing cannabis at home
The different types of marijuana plants
You should have knowledge about the different types of cannabis plants. Different types of marijuana provide different types of effects. By knowing these plants you can tweak and enhance their quality while growing. Different types of Marijuana plants are :
- Indica: Indica is a type of marijuana plant that contains high THC and low CBD levels. They are short and dense. It relaxes the mind when consumed. The leaves are broad and have a fan-like structure.
- Sativa: It can grow up to 20 feet and its leaves are pointy and long. Sativa plants require darkness for up to 11 hours daily. It energizes the body and is also used for medicinal purposes.
- Hybrid: A hybrid strain of cannabis is made by mixing two cannabis strains. It has effects depending upon the dominant strain.
- Ruderalis: This type of cannabis plant does not contain CBD or THC. Ruderalis plants have the shortest height with approximately 1 foot. They are bushy and have broad leaves with thick stems.
Whether you are growing marijuana at home or outdoors, they should be given proper care. Also, you should make adjustments according to the climate of your region as well. Make sure that you are following the rules and regulations while growing marijuana at your place. To become a skilled marijuana grower you should know these different marijuana plant stages.
Tips for growing high-quality marijuana
These tips will help you to yield higher quality weed and complete the necessary requirements of the plants. Read the following to know about the tips which you can follow.
Marijuana plant stages
When you are growing marijuana you need to make sure that the seeds are reliable. A poor quality seed will not germinate. The seeds are produced by two parents of male and female genes. A good quality seed has a strong and dry texture with brown color. Whereas an undeveloped cannabis seed is greenish or white, they are not ideal for growing. Meanwhile, don’t store the seeds for a long time. They can grow sprouts if they get moisture and heat. So make sure to plant them soon after buying. Keep them away from freezing temperatures which will kill their quality.
Cloning is another process of growing marijuana. It means cutting off the branches of marijuana. When you plant these branches, they will grow into a plant. It will have the same characteristics and quality as the parent plant. Cloning cannabis can help you skip the initial planting stage of marijuana. You can buy clones easily from any dispensary. If you are using the cloning method, the parent or mother plant should be healthy and avoid cutting a flowering plant.
Production of Trichomes
There are different types of Trichomes in cannabis with different sizes and shapes. When the cannabis plants reach the flowering stage, the trichomes begin to activate. They have a hair-like structure and are responsible for producing terpenes and cannabinoids to obtain variety of strains. They are also helpful to protect the plants from any pathogens and harmful environment as well.
Final Thoughts on Plant Stage of Marijuana
This article will help you know the different marijuana plant stages and all necessary information about how to take care of them. The above extra tips will also help you to remain cautious at different stages. Now you are ready to grow marijuana all by yourself.
Initially, you will need some patience to understand the whole process and necessary steps. The above-mentioned steps of plant stages of marijuana will help you understand the requirement. After you gain certain experience, you can experiment with several strains with high yield and better quality.