Cannabis plants are considered seedlings until they begin to develop leaves with the full number of blades on new fan leaves. A healthy seedling should be a vibrant green color.
It’s important to know these stages and how long each lasts to know what the plant needs and when. Knowing where your cannabis plants are in their life cycle will dictate when to prune, train, and trellis your plants, and when to harvest.
The vegetative stage of cannabis is where the plant’s growth truly takes off. At this point, you’ve transplanted your plant into a larger pot and the roots and foliage are developing rapidly. This is also the time to begin topping or training your plants.
Marijuana light cycle: 16 hours a day
Be very careful to not overwater the plant in its seedling stage—its roots are so small, it doesn’t need much water to thrive.
How long does it take to grow a marijuana plant?
Two rounded cotyledon leaves will grow out from the stem as the plant unfolds from the protective casing of the seed. These initial leaves are responsible for taking in sunlight needed for the plant to become healthy and stable.
Marijuana light cycle: indoor—16 hours a day; outdoor—at least 6 hours of direct sunlight (“full sun”), plus several hours indirect sunlight
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Male: Small green sacs full of pollen will be seen on the node areas.
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Female: Two pistils (the pistil contains the reproductive parts of a flower) will be growing on the buds (flowers grow above these leaves, one cluster on each side).
How to tell if your plant is a male or female
The quality of your plant depends on your knowledge of the cannabis growth stages and the lifecycle of your plants.
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1. Germinating: 1-7 days
2. Seedling: 2-3 weeks
3. Vegetative: 2-8 weeks
4. Pre-Flowering: 1-2 weeks
5. Flowering: 6-8 weeks
It can take anywhere from 4 to 8 months to grow a cannabis plant, this varies based on where you’re growing. If you have an indoor grow room, your plant has the ability to flower after only a few weeks!
When possible, use natural structures and formations in your garden as windbreaks to prevent excessive stress on your plants that could lead to branches breaking.
If you decide to use seeds, make sure you start them about a month before you would typically start clones to give them time to germinate and adequately develop their taproot.
Choosing the best site for outdoor cannabis
Some cannabis genetics have adapted to specific climates and are capable of growing more easily in certain conditions than others, so pay very close attention to the cultivars, or strains, that you choose. A little research will go a long way in ensuring you have a successful harvest.
Seeds vs. clones
Most cultivars will begin to flower once they receive fewer than 15 hours of sunlight per day. The latitude of your garden has a direct impact on how many hours a day your plants receive light.