Cannabis plants go through a series of stages as they grow and mature, and those different growth stages call for different amounts of light, nutrients, and water.
The flowering stage is the final stage of growth for a cannabis plant. This is when plants start to develop resinous buds and your hard work will be realized. Most strains flower in 8-9 weeks, but some can take even longer, especially some sativas.
How long does it take to grow a marijuana plant?
Flowering stage length: 8-11 weeks
Generally speaking, it takes anywhere from 10-32 weeks, or about 3-8 months, to grow a weed plant from seed. It’ll be quicker if you start with a clone or an autoflower seed.
Seedling stage length: 2-3 weeks
Before you just start throwing seeds into soil, consider what kind of grower you want to be. Are you running an indoor operation, or working in the great outdoors? Do you have the supplies fit for your growing environment? Have you made sure to pick seeds that’ll thrive where you’re planting them, indoors or out? Speaking on that last point, any aspiring grower should know the difference between photoperiod and autoflowering cannabis plants. There are a few key differences to note.
Cannabis plants will first give you an indication of their sex in the early phase of bloom. Typically within the first two weeks of flowering females will develop pistils or “hairs” to confirm their femininity.
Growing cannabis comes with a lot of uncertainties. That said, cannabis cultivation itself can be broken down into five distinct stages, regardless of which seeds you’ve selected.
You can trim your cannabis plants in one of two ways: wet or dry. Both have their own advantages, and each grower will differ in which one they prefer. Wet trimming refers to trimming off the sugar leaves surrounding the buds immediately after harvest while the plant still has a high water content and feels “wet”. This method is the most common, and arguably the easiest, as it doesn’t require a large room to dry out plants beforehand. However, wet trimming is literally sticky business. The resin from the flowers will cover both your hands and your scissors, but there is an upside to this. By scraping the resin from your scissors every now and then, you’ll quickly build up a supply of “scissor hash”, allowing you an early taste of your harvest.
Photoperiod strains can be kept in vegetative growth indefinitely so long as 18+ hours of light and suitable conditions prevail. This is what allows indoor growers to keep mother plants for years and why outdoor grower’s plant in springtime. Indoors or outdoors 18+ hours of light facilitates taking cuttings too.
The time from seed to smokable harvest averages 3-3.5 months for me with a strain like Northern Lights, where I grow the plants for 3-4 weeks in the vegetative stage, growing with cheap, regular CFL lights in coco coir, and with that setup I can get a few easy ounces per plant.
From Day 1 of your marijuana plant’s life to a Smokable Harvest, you’re looking at 8.5 weeks – 7+ Months. Many factors will affect the total time, but the average grow takes 3-4 months.
In order to achieve the shorter 8.5 weeks, you need to choose a fast-finishing strain like Northern Lights and even still, at the low range, you’ll be growing tiny plants that produce just a few grams of smokable harvest.
One of the fastest grow methods is growing marijuana with bubbleponics, which shaves a few weeks off the total time and will actually increase your yields, but it requires a bit more equipment to get started.
Additionally, many growers prefer to ‘cure’ their buds for longer than the 2-week minimum for added flavor and bag appeal, which accounts for why some grows could take several months from seed to smokable harvest.