Stages of the marijuana plant growth cycle

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January
17,
2020



 
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picture of marijuana plant growth stages(Amy
Phung/Leafly)

Cannabis
plants,
like
all
living
things,
go
through
a
series
of
stages
as
they
grow
and
mature.
If
you’re
interested
in
cultivating
cannabis,
it’s
especially
important
to
understand
the
changes
a
plant
undergoes
during
its
life
cycle,
as
each
stage
of
growth
requires
different
care.

Different
stages
call
for
different
amounts
of
light, nutrients,
and water.
They
also
help
us
decide
when
to prune and train the
plants.
Determining
a
plant’s
sex
and
overall
health
rely
on
stages
of
growth
as
well.

How
long
does
it
take
to
grow
a
marijuana
plant?

Generally
speaking,
it
takes
anywhere
from
14-32
weeks,
or
about
4-8
months,
to
grow
a
weed
plant.

The
biggest
variability
in
how
long
a
marijuana
plant
takes
to
grow
will
happen
in
the
vegetative
cycle—if
you’re
growing
indoors,
you
can
force
it
to
flower
after
only
a
few
weeks
when
it
is
small,
or
after
several
weeks
when
it
is
big.
If
you’re
growing
outdoors,
you’re
at
the
whim
of
the
seasons
and
will
have
to
wait
until
fall
to
harvest. The
plant
will
develop
buds
in
the
last
8-11
weeks.

The
life
cycle
of
cannabis
can
be
broken
down
into
four
primary
stages
from
seed
to
harvest:

  • Germination
    (5-10
    days)
  • Seedling
    (2-3
    weeks)
  • Vegetative
    (3-16
    weeks)
  • Flowering
    (8-11
    weeks)

Seed
germination
(5-10
days)


Light
cycle:
18
hours
of
light


(Elysse
Feigenblatt/Leafly)

The
first
stage
of
life
for
a
cannabis
plant
begins
with
the

seed
.
At
this
point,
your
cannabis
plant
is
dormant,
patiently
waiting
for
water
to
bring
it
to
life.

You
can
observe
the
quality
of
the
seed
by
its
color
and
texture.
The
seed
should
feel
hard
and
dry,
and
be
light-
to
dark-brown
in
color.
An
undeveloped
seed
is
generally
squishy
and
green
or
white
in
color
and
likely
won’t
germinate.

To
begin
growing
from
a
seed, learn
more
about
germination
here
.
This
stage
can
take
anywhere
between
5-10
days.

Once
your
seed
has
popped,
it’s
ready
to
be
placed
in
its
growing
medium.
The
tap
root
will
drive
down
while
the
stem
of
the
seedling
will
grow
upward.
Two
rounded
cotyledon
leaves
will
grow
out
from
the
stem
as
the
plant
unfolds
from
the
protective
casing
of
the
seed.
These
initial
leaves
are
responsible
for
taking
in
sunlight
needed
for
the
plant
to
become
healthy
and
stable.

As
the
roots
develop,
you
will
begin
to
see
the
first
iconic
fan
leaves
grow,
at
which
point
your
cannabis
plant
can
be
considered
a
seedling.           

Seedling
stage
(2-3
weeks)


Light
cycle:
18
hours
of
light


(Elysse
Feigenblatt/Leafly)

When
your
plant
becomes
a
seedling,
you’ll
notice
it
developing
more
of
the
traditional
cannabis
leaves.
As
a
sprout,
the
seed
will
initially
produce
leaves
with
only
one
ridged
blade.
Once
new
growth
develops,
the
leaves
will
develop
more
blades
(1,
3,
5,
7,
etc.).
A
mature
cannabis
plant
will
have
between
5-7
blades
per
leaf,
but
some
plants
may
have
more.

Cannabis
plants
are
considered
seedlings
until
they
begin
to
develop
leaves
with
the
full
number
of
blades
on
new
fan
leaves.
A
healthy
seedling
should
be
a
vibrant
green
color.
Be
very
careful
to
not
overwater
the
plant
in
its
seedling
stage—its
roots
are
so
small,
it
doesn’t
need
much
water
to
thrive.

At
this
stage,
the
plant
is
vulnerable
to

disease

and

mold
.
Keep
its
environment
clean
and
monitor
excess
moisture.

Vegetative
stage
(3-16
weeks)


Light
cycle:
18
hours
of
light


(Elysse
Feigenblatt/Leafly)

The
vegetative
stage
of
cannabis
is
where
the
plant’s
growth
truly
takes
off.
At
this
point,
you’ve
transplanted
your
plant
into
a
larger
pot,
and
the
roots
and
foliage
are
developing
rapidly.
This
is
also
the
time
to
begin

topping

or

training

your
plants.

Spacing
between
the

nodes

should
represent
the
type
of
cannabis
you
are
growing.
Indica
plants
tend
to
be
short
and
dense,
while
sativas
grow
lanky
and
more
open
in
foliage.

Be
mindful
to
increase
your
watering
as
the
plant
develops.
When
it’s
young,
your
plant
will
need
water
close
to
the
stalk,
but
as
it
grows
the
roots
will
also
grow
outward,
so
start
watering
further
away
from
the
stalk
so
the
roots
can
stretch
out
and
absorb
water
more
efficiently.

Vegetative
plants
appreciate

healthy
soil
with
nutrients
.
Feed
them
with
a
higher
level
of
nitrogen
at
this
stage.

Flowering
stage
(8-11
weeks)


Light
cycle:
12
hours
of
light


(Elysse
Feigenblatt/Leafly)

The
flowering
stage
is
the
final
stage
of
growth
for
a
cannabis
plant.
Flowering
occurs
naturally
when
the
plant
receives
less
than
12
hours
of
light
a
day
as
the
summer
days
shorten,
or
as
the
indoor
light
cycle
is
shortened.
It
is
in
this
stage
that
resinous
buds
develop
and
your
hard
work
will
be
realized.

If
you
need
to

determine
the
sex
of
your
plants

(to
discard
the
males),
they
will
start
showing
their
sex
organs
a
couple
weeks
into
the
flowering
stage.
It’s
imperative
to
separate
the
males
so
they
don’t
pollenate
the
flowering
females.

There
are
a
number
of
changes
to
consider
once
your
plant
goes
from
its
vegetative
stage
to
flowering:

  • Your
    plants
    shouldn’t
    be

    pruned
     after
    three
    weeks
    into
    the
    flowering
    stage,
    as
    it
    can
    upset
    the
    hormones
    of
    the
    plant.
  • Plants
    should
    be
    trellised
    so
    that
    buds
    will
    be
    supported
    as
    they
    develop.
  • Consider
    feeding
    plants
    with
    blooming
    nutrients.

What
week
of
flowering
do
buds
grow
the
most?

Buds
typically
grow
the
most
toward
the
end
of
the
flowering
cycle,
around
week
6-7.
You
probably
won’t
notice
much
budding
out
at
the
beginning
of
flower,
and
it
will
slow
down
toward
the
end
of
the
cycle,
when
buds
become
fully
formed.


This
post
was
originally
published
on
July
18,
2017.
It
was
most
recently
updated
on
January
17,
2020.

Once
the
buds
have
reached
full
maturation,
it’s
time
to

harvest
.



 
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Trevor Hennings's Bio Image

Trevor
Hennings

Trevor
is
a
freelance
writer
and
photographer.
He
has
spent
years
in
California
working
in
the
cannabis
industry.

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