Cannabis Growth Stages

The weed plant grows from 10 to 36 weeks, depending on the strain. All these periods accompanied by changes in the plant with its peculiarities of care at each stage of marijuana growth.

It is rational to divide the cannabis life cycle into the following phases:

  • Seed germination
  • Seedling
  • Vegetation
  • Flowering
  • Ripening

Seed germination

stages of weed growth

The first stage of cannabis growth is seed germination (except for those cases when you multiply the plant by cloning). It begins with the moment of soaking the seeds and ends with the opening of the first leaves of the plant.

The optimal temperature for germination is 24º C; the lower temperature delays this process. The minimum temperature for germination is 0º C. It usually takes three to seven days to germinate. Unlike the following, the first leaves have an elliptical shape and do not have the usual edges.


The next stage process of growing weed is the phase of seedlings – the phase of the active root growth of plants. This phase begins with the disclosure of the plant’s first leaves and ends with the appearance of the first pair of full leaves of serrated form. It can be considered to be over when the appearance of the second pair of leaves of the serrated structure is noticeable. However, it is better to hold the plant a little longer in the conditions of seedlings until the growth of leaves accelerates noticeably.


cannabis growth stages

Vegetation is the phase of the marijuana growth cycle of active green mass growth. It begins with the appearance of the first pair of serrated leaves and continues until the appearance of pre-flowers. As the plant develops, its growth rate also increases. For this reason, it is necessary to gradually increase the concentration of nutrient solution at the whole vegetative stage. For ease of fertilizer application, it is rational to divide this phase into several parts:

Early vegetation

At the beginning of the vegetative marijuana growing stages, the plant grows slowly. At this stage, the plant usually forms up to five pairs of leaves and has short internodes.

Middle and late vegetation

At this stage of marijuana growth, stem elongation is faster, and the internode becomes longer. The division into middle and late vegetation is conditional and is aimed at determining the moment for the transition to a more concentrated nutrient solution. The boundary between the middle and late vegetation may look like this:

As a rule, during the whole marijuana growth timeline, from seven to twelve pairs of leaves are formed. The first pair of leaves has one leaf plate each. The second pair of leaves has three leaves each, the third pair has five leaves each, and so on, usually up to eleven leaves.

The period of vegetative growth may last from 1 to 5 months. The end of this phase should be considered the moment when the plant begins to show sexual signs.


cannabis life cycle

Pre-flowering – a phase of the marijuana plant life cycle when the plant is preparing for flowering and shows sexual signs. The plant forms embryos of flowers – so-called pre-flowers. It usually occurs after the fourth week of vegetative growth, usually between the fourth and sixth nodes, counting from the root of the plant.

Important: pre-flowers of male and female plants have differences. If the purpose of growing hemp is not to obtain seeds, male plants at this stage should be identified and removed as soon as possible. It is done to avoid accidental pollination, ensuring a quality seedless harvest.

In auto-flowering strains, the pre-flowering phase quickly turns into a flowering phase, while in photoperiodic strains it lasts until you artificially switch the plant to a light cycle of 12 hours or less. The end of the pre-flowering phase is the appearance of clear signs of flowering.


stages of marijuana growth

The transition to the flowering stages of weed growth is accompanied by the following external signs: the stem elongates, the branches begin to grow asymmetrically, new leaves form fewer petals, new inflorescences appear and their growth gradually slows down. The period of full development of flowers takes from 4 to 16 weeks.


marijuana plant life cycle

There are two independent stages of ripening: seed ripening and bud ripening.

Seed ripening

The stage begins at the moment when the female plant gets a viable seed from the male. The seeds grow inside a female bud. For full ripening of seeds, it is necessary about 2 to 16 weeks.

Ripening of buds

Buds are ripe but unfertilized inflorescences of female hemp plants. Buds are valued for their large and dense inflorescences with high THC content. The reason for bud formation is an attempt to attract male seed.

Full ripening of a bud takes from 4 to 16 weeks. The inflorescences will grow large and produce many trichomes. Resin can drip on the lower leaves. The plant will become very sticky. The pistils in the buds begin to thicken and accumulate in round bunches. Closer to the last days of flowering pistils change color, which indicates that the plant is ready for harvest.


marijuana growth timeline

Another one of artificially created cannabis growth stages of feeding hemp plants. 7-10 days before the expected harvest, you should stop using fertilizers to allow the plants to absorb their accumulated nutrients. The remaining fertilizers may give the product an undesirable taste.

At this stage, it is rational to use special additives. These supplements help speed up and enhance plant ripening, as well as remove unwanted substances from mature plants.


In fact, it is not a stage of weed plant growth, but we could not leave you without a harvest after so much work has been done. We wish you a great yield!

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The content on this channel does not form a professional opinion, recommendation, substitute for consulting a specialist, or receiving medical advice. Cannabis is a dangerous drug, as defined in the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance, for all that assumes. Four Hundred and Twenty does not encourage or recommend consuming any substance and will not be responsible for any such use.


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