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budding marijuana seeds

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The biggest variability in how long a marijuana plant takes to grow will happen in the vegetative stage—after the seedling phase and before flowering.

Outdoors, flowering occurs naturally when the plant receives less light each day as summer turns into fall. Indoor growers can trigger the flowering cycle by reducing the amount of light marijuana plants receive from 16 to 12 hours a day.

How long does it take to grow a marijuana plant?

Marijuana light cycle: 12 hours a day

Be mindful to increase your watering as the plant develops. When it’s young, your plant will need water close to the stalk, but as it grows the roots will also grow outward, so start watering further away from the stalk in the soil so roots can stretch out and absorb water more efficiently.

Be sure to keep a grow journal to track the progress of your plants. Looking back on your notes will help you learn from mistakes and maximize the quality and quantity of your buds.

Check out Johanna’s full video series on how to grow weed on Leafly’s YouTube .

Many marijuana growers start autoflowers early in the season, and at a different time than a regular crop, so keep the season and climate in mind when growing and harvesting—your plants still need warmth to grow, and rain can give them bud rot. Consider growing in a greenhouse to protect them.

How weed clones work

If cannabis is legal in your state, you can buy seeds or clones from a local dispensary, or online through various seed banks.

Keep a close eye on the temperature and moisture level of the soil to keep the seed happy. It’s very delicate at this stage. Use a spray bottle to water it—over-watering can suffocate and kill the delicate sprout.

Once cannabis seeds are mature, the female plant begins to die, and seeds are either dropped to the ground where they grow into new cannabis plants next spring, or the seeds are harvested for processing into seed oil or food products, or stored so they can be sown in the ground later and become the next generation of plants.