The Best Seasons for Growing Marijuana
You can grow your weed – stick it in a pot, sprinkle water, and just like that, you’re a proud weed grower. Okay, it might not be as straightforward as it sounds; there are steps and processes to ensuring your homegrown weed comes out healthy and potent. One key ingredient is the season; yes, there are seasons for growing marijuana. Here at Elevate Holistics, we understand the effort and skill of growing marijuana plants, and we’ll tell you all about it. Below, you’ll find more details about these seasons and how you can get the best results for growing pot.
What is Weed Season?
You’ve probably heard the term “weed season,” but you’re not sure what it means. It describes the period when you can grow your marijuana outdoors, including the spring, summer, and fall seasons.
As mentioned earlier, there are seasons for growing weed, and you have to pay attention to them if you want quality yields. In the northern hemisphere, growing pot can begin as early as March or as late as May, while flower harvest starts in September and can continue till November. Planting can even kick-off as early as April, with farmers and gardeners planting seedlings indoors.
In the southern hemisphere, it’s the other way round – seed planting takes place from September to November, and harvest time is March to May. But in the tropics, it is possible to harvest outdoor marijuana all year round. Other factors influencing the ideal growing season are temperature, altitude, rainfall, and other environmental conditions, apart from season and location.
Why Does the Planting and Harvest of Cannabis Happen at Specific Times of the Year?
Seasons for growing marijuana differ by region, but regardless, you should aim for maximum light during the summer and maximum growth before fall begins. Like other crops, farmers and gardeners usually plant as soon as the weather is warm enough and the days are long enough.
Typically, climatic conditions vary by region, so the best seasons for growing marijuana are not uniform. In California, the growing season is warmer, and farmers there can plant outside early and harvest later compared to New York, where the growing season is shorter.
Some marijuana plants are photoperiod; they respond to the amount of light they get, affecting their yield and quality. As a result, timing the outdoor planting of your marijuana is critical. When the days get shorter and the nights longer, a marijuana plant will switch from the vegetative phase to the flowering stage. With the coming of the fall season, marijuana will begin to flower as hours of darkness reach 12 hours per night.
Some varieties of marijuana known as auto-flowering plants, or day-neutral marijuana, are not light sensitive. Unlike the ratio of light to dark hours required by photoperiod plants, they automatically switch from vegetative to flowering depending on the maturity period. Many auto-flowering varieties are ready to be harvested in less than ten weeks after planting.
Are There Different Growing Seasons for Different Strains?
Generally, marijuana varieties adapt to their local environment, and farmers and gardeners create strains suited to the local climate. Indicas tend to stay shorter and flower faster than sativas. Equatorial sativas are known to have the longest flowering time, but if they are grown too far north or south, they may not survive long enough to ripen.
Growth Phase and Development of Marijuana Plant
Like every plant, marijuana growth and development happen in phases, and outdoor marijuana growers try to time the growth and development of their plants for optimal plant development. When growing marijuana plants, you have to be aware of the different growth phases and what each period requires.
Early Spring: Germination Stage
Germination is the first stage in the life of your marijuana plant if you’re growing from seed. It takes 3-10 days to develop and needs 16 hours of light daily. When your seed pushes through the soil and sprouts, you will notice two tiny, round leaves, the first of many. These leaves will deliver energy from sunlight to the seedling and fuel further growth.
If you’re wondering the best time for germination, it is generally advisable to time it so it coincides with the spring equinox.
Also, if you’re growing from seedling instead, you don’t have to worry – your plant would have already germinated.
Spring to Early Summer: Seedling Stage
Growing marijuana plants requires close attention. Think of seedlings as baby plants. This stage lasts for 2-3 weeks, and the plant needs 16 hours of light daily. Like all babies, your seedling is delicate and needs lots of tender care. At this stage, the plant will begin to develop traditional cannabis fan-shaped leaves. Note that a healthy seedling should be a vibrant green color.
You may become eager and decide to give your plant plenty of water. That’s fine, but be careful not to overdo it; its roots are still small and don’t need much water. Instead, give it plenty of light, keep its environment clean and pay very close attention because, at this stage, your plant is vulnerable to disease and mold.
In cooler climates, growers prefer to keep their plants indoors where it is safe and warm; they wait till the plant is between 6 inches and a foot tall and strong enough to handle the environment outside. Even in warmer weather, growers opt to start their seedlings indoors to keep them safe from pests, disease, and mold.
Summer to Early Fall: Vegetative State
The vegetative phase lasts 3-16 weeks, and your plant needs 16 hours of light a day, including 6 hours of direct sunlight outdoors. At this stage, growth goes into overdrive; the roots grow deep, and more leaves develop. For weeks, the foliage will grow outward into a sizeable bush and upwards towards abundant sunlight. When these happen, you have to start topping and training your plants to maximize yield and provide more even light distribution to the leaves.
As your plant develops large root systems, you will need more water and nutrients to fuel growth and development. Healthy soil is necessary; it will provide a good base for your plant to sit in and soak in the water and nutrients it needs to grow strong and healthy.
Growers prefer to grow female marijuana plants because they are richer in cannabinoids; as a result, they separate the males from the females. The vegetative phase is the best time for separation because this is when they begin to show sex organs.
Fall: Flowering Stage
The flowering stage is the final growth phase for marijuana plants, it happens for 8-11 weeks, and your plant needs 12 hours of light daily. This is where you see the fruits of all your hard work – The buds. There are three phases in the flowering phase:
- Flower initiation: This happens in weeks 1-3 when you notice the development of white, hairy pistles, which signify the coming buds. The plant will continue to grow but at a slower pace than the rapid growth of the vegetative state.
- Mid-Flowering: The plant will stop growing in weeks 4-5, and the buds will appear.
- Late flowering/ripening: from week six onwards, watch the pistils; when they go from white to brown, the buds are ready for harvest.
How Long Does It Take to Grow Marijuana?
You can go from germination to flowering and harvest in 4-8 weeks, depending on the variety you’re growing and where you’re growing. Due to differences in seasons for growing marijuana, growth time may differ. The quality of your buds and the health of your plant throughout the growth process depends on your knowledge of the marijuana growth stages and the lifecycle of your plants.
Go from Germination to Bud with Elevate
Like a marijuana plant needs care and attention to reach maximum yield, we believe consumers need the best guidance to get the best results from marijuana planting and consumption. That’s why we’re here. At Elevate Holistics, we have answers to the cannabis-related questions you have, and we would love to share them with you. Growing marijuana is an art, and we’ve mastered the art of tending to both the plant and the consumer. Everything you need to reach full yield is just a click away.
Reach out to us today and schedule your very own grow consultation to help perfect your cannabis growth.
How to Perfectly Time Your Marijuana Harvest (Every Time)
By 2024, the American marijuana industry is expected to be worth $37 billion. And there’s a good reason why — marijuana has many uses, from medicinal to recreational enjoyment. Since marijuana use is increasing, more people are growing their own marijuana and some are even starting a small cannabis harvesting business.
But, growing marijuana isn’t as simple as starting an herb garden. For example, timing your cannabis harvest can be difficult.
But don’t be intimidated — Trim Daddy can help you better time your marijuana harvest. We’ve compiled our very own guide to improve your cannabis production process.
Timing Your Harvest
Accurately timing your plants is challenging because every marijuana plant and strain is different. Here are some factors to consider during the flowering and harvesting phases.
1. Strain Type and Flowering Time
The first way to approach harvest timing is by looking at the type of strain. You should harvest Indica strains before Sativa strains. Indica harvest time takes eight weeks after flowering and Sativa strains take ten weeks after flowering.
During the flowering phase, it’s essential to pay attention to your plant’s growth and progression. The first few weeks are especially important — you’ll not only need to properly feed them but ensure they have plenty of space to grow.
Keep in mind that if you’re using Autoflower seeds, your timeline may be a bit different, depending on your strain.
Week one is when you’ll see the most growth. This is why week one is also called the “stretch phase.”
During week two, your plant may develop pistils. Pistils are extremely important to marijuana maturity, more on those a little later on.
The growing and stretching will slow down during week three. You may also see the first signs of developing buds.
Growing usually stops at week four. During this phase, you should make sure the buds are growing. Check the buds every day to ensure they’re getting larger. They also may start producing trichomes during this time.
Week five is characterized by thickening buds as well as new bud formation. This is a sure sign your plant is in full flowering mode.
Week six marks the end of the flowering stage. Not all strains take as long to mature, so it’s vital you pay close attention to your plant’s progress. While milky white trichomes are a sure sign of maturity, there are other ways to determine maturity. A few other methods are mentioned below.
2. Stem Strength
Lots of stem growth issues can occur during the flowering and pre-flowering phases. Fragile and weak stems usually indicate a problem and can even prevent your plant from maturing. But if your stems are strong, this may signal the plant is in the later flowering stages.
3. Resin Level
Harvesting buds based on resin level is a little controversial; some plants are ready to harvest when resin trichomes are at their THC concentration peak and other strains still need to wait a few more days after this time.
If you’re judging harvesting by resin level, keep your strain in mind. As stated earlier, Indicas should be harvested earlier than Sativas — when the resin glands are developed but not fully ripened. Extending the harvesting time will impact the effects.
4. Leaf Color
Another indication that it’s time to harvest cannabis plants are when the leaves change color. During the flowering phase, the leaves will be a healthy green color. As they enter the harvesting phase, the leaves turn a yellow or yellow-brown color.
We promised more about pistils – we wouldn’t leave you hanging. When pistils first form, they look similar to little white hairs. As the plant matures, the pistils will darken and curl inward. If there’s a combination of dark and white pistils, your plant is not ready for harvest.
Most growers use the trichome strategy to determine when marijuana is ready to harvest. They use a magnifying glass or magnifier to study the trichomes.
Harvest-ready trichomes are milky-white, almost looking like plastic. These vivid trichomes also mean the plant has potent THC and/or CBD levels.
If the trichomes still look clear and glassy, your plant isn’t ready for harvest. If you harvest your plant too early, the effects won’t be as potent.
Some growers also let marijuana plants harvest after the trichomes turn milky white. They will turn an amber color; while the effects won’t be as intense, you’ll still get a cerebral sensation. Waiting this long to harvest depends on the strain you’re growing.
Fundamentals of Marijuana Harvesting
Everyone has a different growing and harvesting process. But are there any specific best practices?
Harvesting Best Practices
There are a few steps to complete before, during, and after harvesting:
- Know your trimming strategy (explained below) and drying process ahead of time
- Remove all large fans and water leaves between five and ten before cutting the buds
- Don’t forget to clean and sanitize your trimming, handling, and drying areas
- Have a plan for how you’ll safely store and transport your crop , if necessary
Following these few extra steps will ensure harvesting and drying will be flawless.
For more details on how to handle your crop after harvesting, check out our After Harvest guide.
When to Trim
There is not one ‘best and most impactful’ way to trim your plant, but your trimming method can impact consumption results. It’s generally recommended to trim before drying your cannabis. Drying makes the resin glands brittle; trimming when your plant is dry will risk resin gland loss.
Machine vs. Hand Trimming
Should you still use hand trimming or is machine trimming recommended? Machine trimming saves a lot of time and can improve the look of buds. However, some plants still require hand trimming.
As an alternative, you can have the best of both worlds. You can use a trimming device that offers the precision of hand trimming with the speed of a machine.
Trim Your Marijuana Harvest With Ease
One of the biggest struggles faced by new marijuana growers is timing your plant for maturity.
An accurate marijuana harvest time will result in healthy buds that produce amazing results. There are many ways to know your plant is ready for harvest, but it’s still essential to pay close attention to the flowering phase and practice the best trimming methods.
Are you looking for a better way to trim your marijuana harvest? Trim Daddy creates an efficient trimming solution without compromising the quality of hand trimming. Shop Trim Daddy today !
How Long Does It Take To Grow Weed: Guide
Do you want to grow some of your own weed plants? Yeah, it can be a whole lot of fun, and it is definitely rewarding too, especially when it comes to the final product.
However, this is not something that can be done overnight. Rome was not build in a night, and neither was a great pot plant harvest.
So, how long does it take to grow weed? Well, generally speaking, it is going to take between 3 to 5 months to grow a weed plant. From the time it takes you to start collecting your growing equipment, to when your freshly grown weed is ready to smoke, it is going to take an average of 4 months.
Keep in mind that different operations, various strains, and growing methods will change how long it takes for this process to complete. Do keep in mind that it can take up to 6 or 7 months depending on how you go about it.
1. Preparing For The Grow – Getting The Equipment (0 to 14 days)
The first thing that you are going to need to take into account here is that you need to get your grow room and all of your equipment ready to go.
Now, if you have a good little pickup truck or van, you could probably get this whole process done in a single day. (here is a good guide and list if you are growing on a budget).
However, if you are on foot and have to make several trips, or if you do not have a good grower’s supply store nearby, and you therefore have to order equipment online, it could take up to 2 weeks to get all of your equipment for growing your marijuana plants.
Remember folks, you are going to need the essentials, which includes things like
- The right soil (more on that here).
- Germination medium.
- Planters and buckets.
- Lights. .
- Air fans or some kind of ventilation system.
- Reflective materials.
- Maybe even a carbon filter for good measure.
This is the bare minimum you will need to start your own little indoor growing operation. Keep in mind that you will also need a few hours to set everything up.
If you are super dedicated and have a good gardening or weed growing supply store nearby, and maybe even have a helping hand from a friend, you could get this whole process done in a single day, but if you need to order your equipment online, it might take up to 2 weeks.
2. Getting Seeds or Clones (Up To 1 Month)
The next thing that you will need to do before you can even start growing your weed plants is to get the seeds.
Of course, you cannot just start growing weed without seeds. In case you have been collecting seeds from the weed you smoke, if there were seeds, these are not going to be ideal for use.
You do not know how old the seeds are, they might be defective, and they most definitely will not be feminized either. You do want to ensure that you get feminized seeds whenever possible.
Feminized seeds are treated and have been bred in such a way that ensures that the resulting plant will be a female plant.
Remember folks, you do not want male marijuana plants in your grow room. Not only do these barely have any THC in them, but they will actually pollinate the females and ruin the whole batch.
Now, if you have a local marijuana seed bank, getting your seeds will take however long it takes to drive, walk, bike, or take public transportation there and back. However, in many places, such as the USA for example, you will have to order your seeds online, and this can take up to 4 weeks to get the delivery.
Make sure to read some reviews, because you always want to go to reputable seed banks so you don’t get ripped off. We do want to note that technically you could combine the first stage of getting your equipment with this stage, as you could buy in person or order everything online at once, as long as you have the right resources at your disposal. So, this can take up to 1 month.
**The first 2 steps here, getting your equipment and getting your seeds, combined, should take no longer than 1 whole month at the very most.**
If you need some idea on how much it costs to get started growing indoors, then this article should answer all your questions.
3. Germinating Your Seeds & The Seedling State (3 To 7 Days)
The next step on your weed plant growing journey is the germination and seedling stage. Yes, before you can plop that seed into the soil, it first needs to be germinated.
This means that you supply it with some moisture and the right conditions, so that it cracks open and starts to grow a sprout, which is the beginning of every marijuana plant.
Depending on the germination medium you use, the quality of the seeds, and the conditions of the location, it will take between 3 and 7 days for this germination process to be completed.
By all means, you should never have to wait longer than 7 days from when you start germination, to when you plant the sprouted seed in soil and therefore begin the vegetative state.
On a side note, if you are using marijuana plant clones, there is no germination required, and you can skip this step altogether.
4. Vegetative State (3 Weeks To 2.5 Months)
Now comes the vegetative state. This is when the marijuana plant grows in height, when it develops a large and strong root system, when it grows its fan leaves, and when it develops a nice thick stem to support those heavy weed buds that are going to start growing in the next stage, the flowering stage.
The vegetative state is very important, because this is when the plant develops, and generally speaking, the longer a weed plant is in the vegetative state, and the larger it gets, the higher the yield will be once the flowering stage is done.
You Are In Control Of The Time Spent In The Vegetative State
What you need you know here is that for your regular weed plant, you are the one who controls how long it remains in this vegetative state for.
As long as you provide your weed plant with 18 or more hours of light per day, and stick to a consistent schedule, it will remain in the vegetative state for as long as you choose.
It is not until you change the lighting schedule from 18 hours of light and 6 hours of dark (or a full 24 hours of light per day), over to 12 hours of light and 12 hours of dark, that it will switch over into the flowering stage.
Ideal Amount Of Time To Let A Weed Plant Vegetate
Some people let their plants vegetate for only 1 month, some 2, and some 3. However, we would not recommend letting your weed plant remain in the vegetative state for more than 9 or 10 weeks at the most.
If your plant stays in this stage for too long, they have a tendency to grow very tall, but their center stalks don’t get much thicker after a certain point.
This then sometimes results in your weed plant being top heavy and tipping over due to a stem that is too thin to support the weight of all of the marijuana flowers.
So, in terms of time it takes to vegetate your weed plant, it is 10 weeks or 2.5 months at most.
A Note On The Vegetative Stage & Autoflowering Weed Plants
Now, before we get into time here, we do want to mention autoflowering plants. These plants will automatically switch to the flowering stage regardless of what you do with the lights.
Autoflowering or automatic flowering plants will remain in the vegetative state for about 3 weeks before they automatically begin flowering and producing buds.
Do also keep in mind that although autoflowering plants take much less time to go from seed to your pipe, they also produce lower yields.
5. Flowering State (6 Weeks To 4.5 Months)
The next stage in the weed growing process is the flowering state of the plant. This is when your marijuana plant will develop the flowers or buds, or in other words, the final product that can be smoked, baked, or vaped.
This is when the plant will fatten a lot, it will grow in width, as well as in height a too. Most importantly, this is when all of that awesome THC is developed, the stuff that actually gets you high and has you feeling good as new.
Let’s take a quick look at a general timeline of what your weed plant will do during this flowering stage.
- Week 1 – 3: Flowering process begins
- Week 3 – 4: Budlets or flowers start to form
- Week 4 – 6: Buds start to get really fat
- Week 6 – 8: The buds will ripen, pistils darken, lots of THC develops (you need to keep in mind that how long this stage takes is going to depend heavily on the strain you have. Generally speaking, it should take around 2 to 3 weeks, but it can also take up to 6 weeks depending on the strain)
- Week 8 – 10 (or week 12 to 14 depending on how long it took for the buds to ripen and pistils to darken): The flowering stage ends and you will flush your weed plant with pure water for 2 weeks to remove fertilizer, nutrients, and chemicals left from the growth process.
Total Time For A Marijuana Plant To Flower
As you can see, in general, at the very least, a normal weed plant is going to take around 10 weeks or 2.5 months to go from the beginning of the flowering stage to when it is ready to harvest.
Of course, different strains require varying amounts of time in this stage. It could take up to 4 months or 16 weeks for a weed plant to complete its flowering stage.
Yes, we said that each of the above sub-stages of the flowering stage would take 2 weeks, but this is a rough estimate and a generalization.
Some may take as little as 1.5 weeks for each sub-stage, while some plants might take 3 or 4 weeks. It all depends on the strain.
A Special Note On Time Spent In The Flowering Stage
Also remember that unlike with the vegetative state, where you can choose how long to let the plant vegetates for by controlling the light, a weed plant in its flowering state is going to do its own thing.
Once the buds are ripe and the pistils are dark, with lots of THC, you need to harvest. You cannot expect to let the buds keep growing bigger and bigger indefinitely in the hopes of getting a higher yield.
Once the buds are ripe and ready to go, they need to be harvested.
6. Harvesting & Drying Stage (Up To 10 Days)
The next stage in the weed growing journey is to harvest and dry your weed. You do need to trim your weed plant first in order to harvest it, which should take no more than a couple of hours if you only have a few plants.
You then need to take all of the branches you have cut off the stalks, the branches which have all of the buds on them, and hang them up to dry.
Most people have a special little drying space ready to go, and this needs to have good ventilation. It should take no longer than 7 to 10 days for your weed to dry, if you have a dedicated drying space.
If you have a dehumidifier, you can cut this time down to 3 or 4 days. Making sure that the plants are thoroughly dry will make it cure better, it will prevent mold from developing, and it will taste better when smoked too (If you need help finding the right dehumidifier, this article will help you out).
7. Curing Stage (2 To 6 Weeks)
The curing stage is very important indeed. Some newbie growers will try to smoke their weed right after it has been dried, but this is a big mistake.
Did you know that up to 50% of your marijuana’s THC content will develop during the curing stage? That is right guys, a lot of the potency your weed has is developed during the curing process, therefore making it very important. Weed that is not cured properly will not be nearly as strong as it could be.
The curing process is also very important because it allows your freshly grown marijuana to develop a much better flavor. Yes, some weed is earthy, some is fruity, some is sweet, and there are lots of other flavor profiles too.
However, if you do not let the marijuana buds cure properly, it will all taste like plant matter, kind of like hay or grass. It just won’t taste good if you do not let it cure properly.
Curing should be done for a minimum of 2 weeks, with 4 weeks being the average, and some people going up to 5 or 6 weeks to allow for maximum flavor and potency.
Some Fast Growing Weed Strains To Check Out
Just to give you an idea of some of the fastest growing weed strains out there, which includes some autoflowering strains, let’s go through a list of the fastest growing ones that you can take advantage of for a quick harvest.
- Royal Haze
- White Ryder
- Red Dwarf
- Early Girl
- OG Kush
- Critical Kush
- Jamaican Dream
- Early Maroc
- Black D.O.G
- Early Widow
So, as you can see, in terms of how long it takes to grow a marijuana plant from the beginnings to by the time it is ready to smoke, it can take anywhere from 3 to 7 months. If you have seeds and equipment ready to go, and you have an autoflowering plant, it might take as little as 2.5 months.
If you have a strain of weed that takes a long time to flower, you have to order equipment, and you let it vegetate and cure for a long time, it might take up to 6 or 7 months.
There is a lot of leeway here. If you are in a hurry, we would recommend growing some autoflowering weed plants or other strains which are known for being fairly quick.
My passion for the sticky icky started nearly a decade ago, and it all began when I first laid my eyes on the beauty that is the marijuana plant.
I cover all aspects of growing from equipment recommendations to plant health/care tips to help both new and experienced growers.