Learn the fundamentals of cannabis plant growth phases and the average life cycle during the growing process.
One of the most amazing aspects of cultivating marijuana is witnessing the plant’s full life cycle in a single year or just three months. When it comes to turning a tiny seed into a big plant, the cannabis growth cycle is long and tedious, yet the end product is difficult to quantify. Individual weed plant stages are represented by distinct changes in the plant, a trait shared by plant and animal life throughout the world. Continue reading this Seed Supreme guide to learn more about the cannabis life cycle and what you already know about each stage.
A Summary of the Growth Cycle
The cannabis growth cycle is mostly determined by growing weed indoors or outside. Indoor growth allows you to modify the growing circumstances and hence “trick” a plant into flowering sooner than it would normally do outside.
Outdoor weed operates on the sun’s time clock and requires hot, long days to thrive. Greenhouse weed falls somewhere in the middle because light deprivation technologies can control the growth stages.
Growing marijuana from seed takes 4-8 months on average. You can, however, shorten this lifecycle by using auto-flowering strains or starting with clones. Because October is the busiest month for outdoor marijuana harvesting, many producers refer to it as “Croptober.”
Stages of Cannabis Plant Development
Naturally, all marijuana plants begin as seeds. The male plant fertilizes the female plant, which produces these seeds. Buy marijuana seeds because they are relatively resistant to anything you throw at them and survive for long. They are, however, at risk of being “frozen to death.” They become worthless if exposed to temperatures below 20 degrees Fahrenheit for an extended period. Let’s have a look at what occurs next.
If you successfully keep your seeds from freezing, the following stage is germination. During this phase, the seed is exposed to moisture and light to coax it out of its shell. It does not require soil to sprout, but it will require some nutrient value as it begins to grow. The germination period is commonly marked by the appearance of two cotyledon leaves above the earth.
The germination period lasts 3-10 days, while some seeds germinate in as short as 24 hours or as long as two weeks. The seeds require 16 hours of light per day during this time.
The seedling stage begins as soon as the seed germinates. This is the stage at which true leaf growth with typical ridges appears. The plant develops a stronger root system that burrows deep into the soil during the seedling stage. It also prepares the soil to create chlorophyll, which is required for growth later in the cannabis life cycle.
The seedlings must be maintained warm and supplied with nitrogen-rich fertilizers at this stage. Keep the lights on for a total of 16 hours per day. This period typically lasts two to three weeks, though some strains have extended it to six weeks.
As they enter the vegetative growth stage, your plants start to shape. A rapid development spurt occurs, and don’t be surprised if they stretch up to two inches every day as the tiny plants consume nutrients. Plants become particularly responsive to light during the veg period, which is why indoor growers can control lighting settings so much during this time.
Sativas will get lankier as they mature, while indicas will become more rounded and bushy. However, this isn’t the only thing that changes—the vegetative period is similar to puberty for your plants. Male plants generate pollen sacs, whereas female plants produce two white pistils. Make sure to remove these pollen sacs to avoid any pollination issues.
Keep these growing babies warm, wet, and well-fed, and they’ll fly away swiftly. The lights can be left on for as little as 16 hours or as long as 24 hours. The vegetative stage lasts between 3 and 8 weeks.
All marijuana plants are in the home stretch during the flowering period. As the plant nears the end of its life cycle, less light pushes it to generate buds. The blossoming stage lasts 6-9 weeks and is divided into three stages:
- Pre-flower | Weeks 1-3: Pistils are indicators of pre-flowering, and these white hairs indicate where buds will grow.
- Mid-flower | Weeks 4-5: The plant has stopped growing and is focusing all its energy on flower formation. The pistils will change from white to amber as the buds grow larger.
- Late flower | Week 6 to harvest: The buds are becoming sticky as the trichomes ripen, infusing the air with the pleasant aroma of freshly harvested cannabis.
Less than 12 hours of light per day is ideal for plants in the flowering period. When plants are ripening, flush them to remove any salts and nutrients that have remained in the plant. When the trichomes turn a light brown, almost like brown sugar or caramel, it’s time to harvest. If you wait too long before harvesting, the THC content will diminish. When in doubt, choose an earlier harvest over a later one.
When the plants have reached full maturity, it is finally time to chop them down. This is accomplished by severing the plant branch by branch and hanging it dry. To avoid injuring the delicate trichomes, use extreme care when cutting down and carrying branches.
A dry room should maintain 40-50% humidity levels and should be hung for 10-14 days. Too much humidity can cause mold, while too little can cause the buds to dry out too rapidly, resulting in crumbly weed.
After the cannabis has dried, the buds should be pruned. This is a time-consuming technique because you must first remove the buds from the stalk and then pull off all the fan leaves. The sugar leaves on all sides of the bud are then cut off using a sharp pair of scissors. The idea is to remove only what is necessary, never too much. Every grower appears to have a distinct preference for how their weed should be trimmed, but the most important factor is to keep the bud’s shape and form.
It’s time to cure the buds once they’ve been expertly pruned. This process, which involves enclosing the buds in an airtight container, might take several months. During the first several weeks, “burp” the jar by opening and closing it to let air enter, then seal it and store it in a dark spot. The curing procedure results in better-tasting weed and a more enjoyable smoking experience.