Knowing the stages of the cannabis lifecycle will ultimately help you cultivate a better yield and potency. Here we discuss the most common phases of weed growth. Of course, this cannabis timeline is greatly affected by the type of seed used, as well as the quality of your controlled environment. (It is important to note that auto-flowering strains will not follow the same rules or cannabis growth cycle.)
Cannabis seeds are male and female. To save yourself some added trouble and effort down the cycle, if at all possible start with feminized seeds to germinate. You will have the opportunity to separate the females from the males shortly after germination or just before the flowering cycle if you don’t catch them early. (The sex of cannabis seeds is another blog entirely!) After you’ve chosen your cannabis seeds wisely, the process begins.
1. Germination Stage (1 to 10 Days) As you might guess, if this stage doesn’t go well, you won’t have a cannabis crop at all. The easiest way to germinate marijuana seeds is to soak seeds in water or a paper towel until a taproot emerges.
2. Seedling Stage (2 to 3 Weeks) This is a great time to put the finishing touches on your grow rooms. Experts recommend creating two separate growrooms – a vegetative grow room and a flowering grow room. During this cannabis growth phase, you’ll be using light nearly 24 hours a day. You should see the marijuana plant take on some cannabis characteristics by producing new sets of leaves. Plants should have 4-8 new leaves before moving on to transplanting to larger containers for the next Vegetation stage.
3. Vegetative Growth Stage (3 to 16 Weeks) Now your plants really begin to take off – don’t be surprised if they grow two inches in one day! You’ll be utilizing lots of light, water and nutrients during this cannabis growth stage. Proper temperature, humidity and nitrogen levels are critical.
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4. Flowering Stage (6 to 12 Weeks) At this stage, when lighting is cut back, all focus turns to producing buds. Timing here can impact smell, taste, weight and potency of the final product. It is recommended that harvesting cannabis should begin when 70-90% of the pistils (small white hairs on the buds) have turned brown. Waiting much longer will almost be too late to guarantee plant quality.
To harvest marijuana, cut plants down, prune and hang upside down to dry in a cool, dark, dry place for about a week. Store dried cannabis in glass jars for another couple weeks.