We love to teach others how to grow cannabis in all of the stages of its growth. This is why we will teach you about the life cycle of a cannabis plant. You will be able to take control of your situation by using knowledge, so you can grow the best cannabis.
Along with a brief overview of the lifecycle of cannabis plants, we will also provide tips for harvesting and storage. There are some differences between the growing of cannabis outdoors or indoors, so we will also discuss them.
In its lifetime, your marijuana plant will experience many changes.
There will undoubtedly be many milestones. You will be able to better care for your plants if you know the details. It is more likely that you will notice potential health problems as soon as they occur, rather than waiting until it is too late.
Knowing what the best case scenario is will help you recognize and fix issues. Sometimes, however, you may run into a problem that you simply can’t solve.
A plant won’t grow for one reason or another. There is nothing you can do to change this. It’s never a bad idea to know what to expect.
You will be amazed at the difference in just a few weeks. Learn about every stage of your plant’s life to be prepared.
- 1 Cannabis Seeds
- 2 Germinating Cannabis-Seeds
- 3 Basics you should know!
- 4 Cannabis Seeds & Moisture
- 5 The Cannabis Seedling Stage
- 6 Vegetative Stage of the cannabis plant
- 7 Flowering Stage of the Cannabis Plant
- 8 The flowering stage lasts for approximately 8 weeks
- 9 Pre-Flowering (Recognize the sex)
- 10 The Flowering Phase of Cannabis
- 11 Harvest time
- 12 Cannabis Indoor Grow Life Cycle
- 13 Lifecycle of Outdoor Cannabis Plants
- 14 Too long flowering period
To create and spread cannabis seeds, sexual reproduction is used. Two parents (male and female) produce seeds, and they contain both male and female genes. However, there is an exception. This is when seeds are produced from a hermaphrodite or symbiotic plant. However, this is not something home growers need to worry about.
Under its waxy cover lies a small, dehydrated plant, consisting of the root and stem and two leaves. It is just waiting for warmth and moisture to reach it. Metabolically, the plant enters a state of suspended animation, where it slows down. This allows the seeds not only to stay viable for a long time but also prevents them from dying.
When the cannabis seeds receives water and heat, it will sprouts. It will eventually die if it is too old. This is why seeds can’t be kept forever. However, some seeds may keep longer and better than others.
The seed contains a small store of calories that can be used to fuel the plant’s journey. This is called the endosperm.
Until they are exposed to water and light marijuana seeds are laying dormant . The seeds are quite hardy and should survive in a cool, dark place. The perfect place to store your seeds is a fridge or cellar.
Here are some reasons to protect your seeds.
They can also die and never become a harvestable plant. Keep them in a cool place, as extreme temperatures can cause damage. Cannabis seeds can be killed if they are kept below freezing.
Once you are ready to plant your seed, expose it to light and moisture. Exposure to light and moisture will activate hormones in the seeds, which will start the growing process.
Basics you should know!
One root will grow down, splitting open the outer layer of the seed. It then goes into the soil to search for water and nutrients. A green stalk will grow upward at the same time, or shortly after. Two initial cotyledon leafs will also appear.
This is where seeds begin to change as there are two types of seeds. The cotyledons are cannabis plants. They have two distinct leaves when they sprout and belong to the dicotyledonous plant group. Read the article How To Germinate Marijuana Seeds for more info.
Two meristems are present in cannabis plants as sprouts: one at the crown, also known as “shoot-meristem”, and one at root, which is known to be the “root-meristem”. The stem and leaves will become the taproot.
The meristem cells are where cell division takes place. This is the basis of plant growth.
This is where you will find the highest concentration of multiplying cell. Of course, there are multiplying cells throughout the plant, but they are heavily located in the crown and the roots. This is the place where most plant growth takes place.
As meristem cells age, they become a single type: they will produce only those cells. A meristem cell that has started producing roots will, for instance, stop reproducing leaves or stems.
Here’s what matters:
The basic structure of Meristem cells is identical. They respond differently to different stimuli and their environment. This distinction is important to remember when cutting clones. The cells at the bottom of the cutting will turn into roots and the cells at their top will grow into the rest.
You need to be careful, but there are ways around it if something goes wrong.
Anuxins such as naphthaleneacetic acids could be applied to the plant. You can use auxins to stimulate root growth in new cuttings. This can be useful if your roots aren’t growing.
Sometimes, your seeds might not germinate.
Each cannabis seed is unique but they all lose effectiveness after about one year. Some seeds can sprout after many years. Here you can find the whole Guide for: How to germinate Cannabis seeds.
Cannabis Seeds & Moisture
Keep seeds dry when storing them. If you want to grow viable plants from them, moisture can cause fungus growth or premature sprouting.
To sprout, you will need moisture. It is important that the seeds do not absorb too much water. Molds and rot could occur.
Micropyles allow moisture to enter marijuana seeds when they are sprouted. Micropyles are tiny, porous openings. If the openings are blocked or damaged, it is possible to germinate plants.
However, it is not a problem.
Warm water can be used to soak your seeds. Scarification can also be used to scratch your seeds’ surface. This can be done by lightly nicking the seeds with a sharp edge or using an abrasive material.
Here’s the catch:
This is only necessary to incite germination. It is possible to pass on seeds that require a lot of work to germinate so they can be passed on to future generations. It would be shame if you had to do more.
The seed contains a tiny plant that will absorb moisture and grow. It will eventually burst out of the shell and enter suspended animation. It will require heat, water, and air. It will not survive in a dry environment.
The Cannabis Seedling Stage
The cannabis-seedling process continues, and the seed coat protecting it is released. The base of the cannabis plant begins to develop root systems, and the leaves begin to grow out from the top.
Soon, new leaves will begin to appear. The plant will then enter its first real growth phase. It will grow bigger and more vigorously until it is triggered for bloom.
After three to seven days of initial growth, a healthy plant will be able grow into a seedling.
Seedlings can remain alive for up to six weeks. It all depends on the type of seedling you cultivate and other environmental factors.
Pay attention to your plants. Pay attention to the rapid growth of your leaves.
The plant will enter the vegetative stage once it has developed leaves and a strong root system.
Successfully growing plants is done during the seedling stage.
- Try to maintain a temperature of around 77 degrees Fahrenheit
- Make sure that the humidity is suitable (about 60% at this stage)
- At this stage the nutrients can quickly become too much. Make sure you do not fertilize or only fertilize very little
As soon as you start to see the cotyledons you will need white light (18 hour per day), a temperature of between 68 and 77 degrees, and humidity of around 60%.
CFL lamps are great for cannabis-seedlings, as they produce very little heat. Here you can find the whole Guide for: How to take care about cannabis seedlings.
Vegetative Stage of the cannabis plant
This is when marijuana plants really come into their own and produce the jagged big leaves that you have been longing for. More foilage it was the cannabis plant can produce now because it can absorb more co2 and nutrients in this stage.
In the vegetative stage of growth of the cannabis plant, the plant grow taller and the roots will grow bigger too. You can watch your cannabis plant grow in this stage. A healthy cannabis plant can grow as much as 2 inches in one day.
Light exposure is the main factor in controlling the duration of vegetative phase. If you are growing outdoors, this means it will depend on what part of the world you are in. Indoor growers can leave the plant in vegetative status for up to two months, but they usually last around one and a half months.
This stage is full of surprises. The plant grows stalks and leaves. The plant also has a strong structure that can hold heavy buds. With the addition of new leaves, the plant gets taller and more robust. At this time, you should be able to notice the difference between cannabis varieties.
Temperature should range from 65 to 78 degrees with humidity between 50% and 70%. There should also be constant white light (at least 18 hours per day) and nitrogen-rich (N) fertilizer if needed. The stage should last approximately one to two months.
The grower can be quite passive at this stage, but it is important to pay attention to the light exposure. In another article, we’ll discuss the relationship between light exposure to flowering. Here you can find the whole Guide for: Vegetative Stage of Cannabis Growth
Flowering Stage of the Cannabis Plant
This stage is critical for growers as well as anyone who harvests cannabis. After a period of low light exposure, the flowering stage starts. This is when the plant becomes sexually mature and is ready to spread its genes. Both male and female cannabis plants go through a flowering stage. Male cannabis plants mature earlier than female cannabis plants. Sometimes even weeks before.
When the plant reaches its flowering stage, it will produce a lot of sticky resin. The resin is concentrated in the plant’s reproductive parts (also known as “the buds”).
This resin contains the highest percentages of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) that you will find on the plant. THC is the most sought-after active ingredient for both medicinal users and smokers. This resin is a great way of highlighting its importance.
Your plant’s potency is determined by how long it spent flowering. It also depends on whether or not the plant has been fertilized.
The flowering stage lasts for approximately 8 weeks
You are probably eager to harvest the buds. However, it is best to wait. It may take a while. The length of your flowering time can vary depending on which strain you choose and how much control you have over the environment.
There are however some standards.
Most cannabis strains will flower in 6-10 weeks. It could take longer depending on the strain and the conditions.
Practical reasons allow you to divide the flowering stage in two parts. After the plant has reached the vegetative stage, the first phase begins. During this time, you may notice some buds developing. This is the so-called pre-flower phase.
After the fourth week, or 6-8 weeks of vegetative development, this stage is reached. You can induce pre-flowering by providing the plants with 18 hours of sun. This stage can last between one and two weeks. Pre-flowers can be found at the base of the plant between the fourth and sixth nodes. They can either be male or female. Skilled growers will remove males to ensure that feminized varieties are produced. Pre-flowers look similar to female flowers and have white fuzzy pistils. Here you can find the whole Guide for: The Flowering Stage of Cannabis Growth.
Pre-Flowering (Recognize the sex)
This stage is reached after the fourth week or 6-8 weeks of vegetative growth. Pre-flowering can be induced by giving the plants 18 hours of sunlight. This stage can take between 1-2 weeks. The pre-flowers are found between the fourth to sixth nodes at the bottom of the plant. They can be either male or female. To ensure that feminized strains are produced, skilled growers will remove males. Pre-flowers are similar to female flowers, and many contain white fuzzy pistils.
The majority of growers start the flowering phase by changing the lighting. The cannabis flowering phase begins when the light cycle is changed to 12 hours on or 12 hours off. This increases the cannabis development rate and makes the internodes shorter, allowing them to form the structure that will bear the cannabis flowers. The stem is where you will find an internode. This is the area between two nodes and will be used to grow leaflets.
Temperature should range from 68 to 77 degrees. The humidity should be between 50% and 70%. It is recommended to have a light cycle of 12 hours per night with orange-red lighting. Apply nitrogen-rich fertilizer as needed. You should begin to see buds-like structures after the pre-flowering period. This usually took about two weeks. They will continue growing, but they won’t develop as fast as before. The first flowers will appear.
It is possible that you are seeing buds grow, which means cannabis has stopped growing.
This is great because:
Now, the plant will invest all of its resources in growing its buds. The plant will also become thicker and denser. The resin-covered buds can be smelled. Some pistils will turn brown while others, especially the large ones at the bottom, will turn yellow.
Temperature should range between 68-77 degrees and humidity around 50%. Orange-red lighting should be used for 12 hours to complete a light cycle. You can use fertilizer that has K (potassium) and P (phosphor) in the usual amount but not more nitrogen. Here you can find the whole Guide for: Cannabis Pre-Flowers – How to recognize the Sex.
The Flowering Phase of Cannabis
You should stop fertilizing the plant about 10 days before it matures. When the buds become dense, glimmering, and smelly, you can tell when maturity is reached.
Everything was green up until now. At this point, however, the pistils become brown and large leaves turn yellow. The buds also expand and gain weight. You can harvest cannabis depending on what type you choose and your personal taste.
Harvesting is not really part of the life cycle, but it is a crucial point in the life cycle of your marijuana plants. Harvesting determines the quality, taste, and effects of your marijuana.
The pistils are the best way to determine when to harvest. Pistils are tiny white hairs that grow on buds and slowly turn brown/red as your weed matures.
Here are some things to watch out for:
A mini harvesting guide was created by me. It contains everything you need to harvest. Take a look at the mini guide here to learn how to harvest according to flowering time, pistils and trichomes. This guide is essential reading for any marijuana grower. Here you can find the whole Guide for: When to harvest cannabis.
Cannabis Indoor Grow Life Cycle
How long does it take to grow throu all of the plants stages?
The indoor life cycle lasts on average 3 months from seed to harvest. It will take approximately 2 to 2.5 months if you start with clones. The flowering time of your strain will also affect the length of your life cycle. Some strains flower in 7-8 weeks, while others take between 9-10 weeks. Some strains can take as long as 15 weeks to flower.
When you switch from 18 hours to 12 hours of daylight daily, the flowering stage starts. This is a simple way to tell when your buds are ready to harvest. While environmental factors can affect flowering times, they are not more than five days. Although flowering time is not the best way to determine harvest times, it can be a useful guideline.
The size of the cannabis plants before they flower will determine how long it takes to get them to vegetate. The shorter the vegetation time, the more plants you can place per square feet. Below are photos of plants with their ages.
The cannabis plants should be forced to flower when their leaf tips touch each other. Seeing that the first 2 or 3 weeks of the flowering stage your plants will continue growing, make sure your plants don’t outgrow your grow room.
Lifecycle of Outdoor Cannabis Plants
Outdoor cannabis plants have a much longer life span than indoor cannabis plants. Because you can’t control the weather, and you must let nature take care of everything, when you grow outdoors. It can take anywhere from 6 to 9 months to harvest a seed depending on where you live and what strain you choose.
The amount of sunlight they get affects the reaction of cannabis plants. Outdoors, the process is more unpredictable because the grower cannot control the sun.
Your plants start flowering in August as they ‘know’ that winter is approaching. The males pollinate the female plants at the beginning of flowering to produce seeds.
It will take between 2 and 3 months for your plants to be ready for harvest after they have been receiving less sunlight. Most strains will be ready for harvest in October or November. Indica cannabis strains flower faster than sativa varieties.
When the last frost has passed, outdoor season begins. Frost is not good for seedlings. You can germinate cannabis seeds indoors so that you have strong plants to plant outdoors once the frost has passed.
This pro tip will help you get the most from a very short growing season.
It is best to germinate your plants two months before the temperature stops freezing. When you feel the temperatures have stopped, move your plants outside. You can keep them in a container for up to a month. You can place them indoors for a day if the weather is too cold/too windy.
Autoflowering cannabis strains are an exception to the indoor and outdoor life cycles. These strains are easy to grow and do not require much light. They can take up to 10 weeks to reach harvest. Learn all you need to know about these strains by reading my article, “What are autoflowering cannabis strains?”
Too long flowering period
Although you want cannabis to bloom for a reasonable amount of time, it’s possible for them to be left alone for too long. The cannabis plant’s medicinal value decreases when it is too mature.
What happens if you don’t harvest?
The cannabis plant ceases to produce calyces. The stem shrinks and the calyces stretch, and the leaves turn yellow and fall off.
Each stage of the cannabis growth process has its unique environmental factors, such as temperature, humidity, fertilization, light cycles, and light cycle. If you want to harvest great’medical-grade” buds, make sure all these factors are in order.
It is simple to grow marijuana like a professional once you have a good understanding of the cannabis lifecycle. There are no more rookie mistakes such as freezing seeds or transplanting too early. Instead, you will be able to practice advanced techniques and learn new skills.
You don’t have to worry. I also provide more information on how you can improve the health and growth of your plants elsewhere on my blog. You can also watch your flowers grow while you wait.