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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
  • Humidity
  • Air
  • Water

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 –

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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!

    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.

    1. Remove all the impurities and seeds. .
    2. Dry them completely under sunlight.
    3. 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 Process

    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.

    Stages of Marijuana Growth

    Like any other plant, cannabis goes through different stages of growth and each of these growth stages require varying amounts of nutrients, water, and light. If you plan to grow marijuana plant, some of the basic questions that will cross your mind would be related to the stages of growing marijuana, how long each stage lasts to provide what the plants need at the right time.

    Marijuana Seed germination

    The first stage of growing marijuana is seed germination. For cannabis seedlings to germinate, they will need humidity, air, water, and a warm temperature. Place the seeds in a dark, humid, and warm place. As soon as the seeds open and start showing the first tap roots, put them in a small pot with the next medium for growing. The tap root will start to develop and produce their first oval leaves known as cotyledons.

    Marijuana Seedlings

    There are several stages of growing marijuana outdoors and the second one is the seedling stage. The seed opens and a pair of small leaves appear. Next, the little plant starts producing single serrated leaflets. While the seedling grows and develops, new leaves with more leaflets appear until the plant starts producing digitate leaves that have serrated borders. These are commonly known as the cannabis fan leaves. This stage may last up to 3 weeks.

    Marijuana Vegetative stage

    The vegetative stage comes next in the stages of marijuana growing. Here healthy cannabis plants will grow in size and height given the proper conditions. At some point, the plant will grow only stems and leaves. It might also start developing pre-flowers which indicate the plant’s sex. However, the buds will only start developing as the days grow shorter, usually in fall.

    Depending on the desired size of the plant, most cannabis growers keep their indoor plants in this stage between 4 to 8 weeks. Depending on the strain, the plant may start flowering starting the 4th week of this stage. But these plants will have a smaller size. Growers who give their plants more time to vegetate will grow larger plants that may produce higher yields. When growing plants indoors growers must change the timer of the lights to a 12/12 hours schedule to stimulate the flowering stage.

    Marijuana Flowering stage

    The flowering stage for indoor plants can get triggered by changing the light timer to a 12/12 schedule. It’s very important not to interrupt the hours of darkness of the plants so they will flower correctly. Any interruption might confuse the plant and cause a delay in flowering. The plant might even go back to the vegetative stage or start developing hermaphrodite flowers, which is something growers don’t want to happen.

    For outdoor plants, they usually enter the flowering stage as the days grow shorter. Autoflowering cannabis strains don’t require a photoperiod change for them to start flowering. The vegetative stages of outdoor plants generally last around 4 weeks, after which they will automatically change stages.

    Marijuana Ripening

    The cannabis buds will gain the most weight in the last few weeks. At this time, they become sticky to the touch and become very smelly. When this happens, growers can almost start harvesting. The pistils of the cannabis plant at this stage, will start showing cream, brown, and white colors. They will also curl inwards and get covered with trichomes. Similarly, the trichomes will change colors too. It’s important for growers to pay close attention to all of these changes as they are the best indications for knowing when it’s time to harvest.

    Where to plant Marijuana

    Before growers can pack their flowers and buds using GreenRush Packaging , they must first grow their plants successfully. Knowing where to plant plays an important part in this.

    Outdoors

    Some growers grow their cannabis plants in the spring so they can harvest in the fall. The most crucial step for outdoor growers is to choose the right soil. The right soil should contain organic materials and plant nutrients including earthworm castings, forest humus and microbes. There are also soils classified as “super soils” because they either eliminate or minimize the need for additional plant food or nutrients. Investing in cannabis-compatible soil is the best investment for outdoor growers.

    Greenhouses

    This is the best option for those who want to grow their plants in a space with controlled conditions. A greenhouse will provide bright sunlight needed to raise a healthy plant while offering better controls in terms of the plant’s environment. For instance, darkness is crucial for the plant during some of the growth stages. A greenhouse will provide the grower with the control to use roof covering systems or blackout shades. Also, the plants can receive protection from the elements in a greenhouse along with protection from pets and wild animals. However, a greenhouse costs a lot and it isn’t ideal for budget-conscious growers.

    Indoors

    Indoor growers will have the flexibility to plant their seeds any time of the year as long as they manage the indoor conditions like the humidity, temperature, air quality, and light. In particular, light management is very important because plants cannot thrive without enough light. Unlike outdoor gardens where there is an abundance of sunlight, with indoor plants, growers must invest in a lighting system.

    Best time to plant Marijuana

    The best reminder that it is time for growers to start outdoor growing and seed germination is the Spring Equinox. During this time, the sun will be high in the sky. Growers must make sure that all of their plants are outdoors by the Summer Solstice. When the autumn season comes, the weather will start changing as the sun will descend in the sky. By this time, cannabis plants should have already developed their sticky and sweet buds. The urge to harvest can be very tempting but it’s recommended to wait until around the Fall Equinox to harvest.

    After harvesting, growers must have their harvests cleaned, dried, and cured, well before the Winter Solstice. After all of these important steps, they can start making other products like topicals, tinctures, cannabutter, and more. After growing, producing and packaging different cannabis products, growers can now kick their feet up and relax during the winter after a long and productive growing season.