Stages Of Growing Cannabis
3 min

The Different Stages Of Growing Cannabis And Why They Matter

3 min

The transformation of the cannabis plant from start to finish is a joyous and sometimes arduous process. Like other living organisms, cannabis plants experience specific stages of growth. Here's the breakdown of each stage.

The transformation of the cannabis plant from start to finish is a process, and a beautiful one at that! In like manner of all living things, marijuana goes through different stages of growth, all of which require attention and care. For example, certain phases demand precise amounts of light, while others need more water and specific nutrients. Whether you're interested in growing a plant of your own, or just want to learn more about growing cannabis in general, it's important to know the details of every step. There are exactly four crucial stages, germination, seedling, vegetative, and flowering. But there's also the harvesting stage. Not necessarily a part of the plant's life cycle, but a key point nevertheless. Let's dive right in, shall we?

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Germinating Stage

The first step to growing cannabis is the germinating stage (1-2 weeks), starting with the seed. During this period, the marijuana plant is latent and needs water to begin to flourish. As far as the quality of the seed goes, it's all in colour and texture. What you want is a seed that's dry and hard, with a light to dark brown colour. But what you don't want is a seed that's squishy, white, or green. If that's what you're working with, then nine times out of ten it will fail to vegetate.

It takes roughly 24 hours to seven days for germination to take place. Once you notice that the seed has cracked, that's when you know the plant is ready to grow. While the tap root will push downward, the seedling will grow towards the sky. At the start, two round cotyledon leaves will sprout from the stem as the plant begins to unfold from its protective shell. These same leaves are what eat up the sunlight, allowing the plant to become healthy and secure. Once the roots begin to form, you'll soon notice the fan leaves flourishing. And at that point, you can officially say your plant is a seedling.


Seedling Stage

During the seedling stage (2-3 weeks, 18-24 hours sunlight), your plant develops more cannabis-like leaves. In the beginning, they only have one ridged finger. But as they grow, so do more fingers. Typically, a mature plant will have anywhere from 5-7 fingers per leaf. However, some plants have been known to produce more.

It's not until the cannabis plant forms leaves with the proper amount of fingers that it's considered to be past the seedling stage. A salubrious seedling will be short with heavy vegetation. And the leaves will be a bright green. If the plant appears to be reaching for the skies above, that could indicate a problem.

Important to note, this stage also welcomes mould and disease. So be sure to provide a clean atmosphere and keep an eye out for an overabundance of moisture.

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The Life Cycle Of The Cannabis Plant


Vegetative Stage

Next comes the vegetative stage (2-8 weeks, 13-24 hours sunlight). It also happens to be the stage where the most growth occurs. At this point, your plant has migrated to a larger pot to make more room for its fast development. Now is the right time to both train and top your plant.

As your plant grows, you should increase the amount of water you provide it with as well. In its youth, your plant needs to be watered closer to the stalk. But when it becomes larger, and the roots start to develop outwards, you should water further away from the stalk so that more is saved for the root tips.

In case you didn't know, vegetative plants love nutrients that come from healthy soils. So do feed them appropriately with increased levels of nitrogen.

When the vegetative plant nears the flowering stage, you can determine if it is a male or female just by checking out the pre-flower located at the nodes. With female pre-flowers, you'll notice two hair-like pistils growing on the buds. As for males, they form tiny sacs that hold pollen. The more the plant advances into the vegetative stage, the easier it will be to tell the sex of your plant. Keep in mind that it's important to separate the males from the females so they don't rub pollen off onto them. Breeding cannabis, however, is an exception to this rule.


Flowering Stage

Finally, the flowering stage (6-8 weeks, 12 hours sunlight). When the plant gets less than 12 hours of sunshine a day and the days of summer become shorter, or the light cycle is reduced indoors, flowering will occur naturally. And soon, those sweet, resinous buds will grace you with their presence.

There are a few things to look out for at this point. First, no pruning of the plants until they are at least two weeks through the flowering stage. Doing so can irritate the plant's hormones. Second, always stalk and trellis your plants. That way, they can support the buds they worked so hard to form. Last, but certainly not least, think about feeding them with blooming nutrients. And go easy on the water, there is such a thing as too much water when it comes to growing cannabis.



Again, harvesting is not a part of your plant's life cycle. But knowing when to harvest is crucial. Not only does it determine the taste of your cannabis, but also the aroma, weight, and effects - all of which are essential.

Like everything that concern marijuana, even the right harvesting time could be tricky to spot.

Good advice is to closely observe your plants in order to notice every little change that might occur in them. For a more general observation, pay attention to the pistils. If you don't know what they are, they are the white hairs found on buds that eventually turn brown or red as the weed ripens. When the pistils start turning brown, it's a good moment to start observing the trichomes.
Now, in order to actually see the trichomes on your buds, you will need a pocket microscope - you can buy one in our shop.

When trichomes change from clear to cloudy, your buds will have reached the maximum intensity and you should harvest right away before it's too late.

For a more detailed guide, you can check out our blog post “Grow tip: when and how to harvest your cannabis”.

Miguel Antonio Ordoñez
Miguel Antonio Ordoñez
With an AB Mass Media and Communications degree, Miguel Ordoñez is a veteran writer of 13 years and counting and has been covering cannabis-related content since 2017. Continuous, meticulous research along with personal experience has helped him build a deep well of knowledge on the subject.
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