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stages of growing weed indoors

Marijuana light cycle: 12 hours a day

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.

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 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.

Vegetative stage

The first marijuana plant stage begins with the seed. A cannabis seed should feel hard and dry, and be light- to dark-brown in color. An undeveloped seed is generally squishy and green or white in color and likely won’t germinate.

Marijuana light cycle: 16 hours a day

We can’t stress enough that the timeframes in the above graphic are ranges of time for the Northern Hemisphere. You’ll need to adjust them based on your specific region and local weather and climate.

How long does it take to grow a marijuana plant?

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.

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.

Stages of growing weed indoors

Here’s the breakdown…

Get equipment: 0 days – 2 weeks
This includes purchasing your equipment and/or waiting for it to show up in the mail. This goes much quicker if you buy everything locally, for example at a hydroponics shop. Once you have your marijuana growing supplies, you’ll need to setup your growing area and equipment. A standard setup should take an afternoon at most. Depending on how you purchase your equipment and how quickly you setup, you could be ready the same day or in two weeks (after factoring in shipping time).

Before You Start Growing Weed

When you start with a seed, even with an auto-flowering plant, you will always have at least 3-4 weeks of vegetative growth before any buds start forming no matter what you do. Growers generally allow their plants to stay in the vegetative stage from a few weeks to a few months.

Time Needed to Grow Weed, From Seedling to Harvest

This article will give you the total time breakdown, so you can plan out the details of your grow in order to achieve the harvest times you desire:

Stages of growing weed indoors

Cannabis seeds are male and female. To save yourself some added trouble and effort down the cycle, if at all possible start with feminized seeds to germinate. You will have the opportunity to separate the females from the males shortly after germination or just before the flowering cycle if you don’t catch them early. (The sex of cannabis seeds is another blog entirely!) After you’ve chosen your cannabis seeds wisely, the process begins.

Knowing the stages of the cannabis lifecycle will ultimately help you cultivate a better yield and potency. Here we discuss the most common phases of weed growth. Of course, this cannabis timeline is greatly affected by the type of seed used, as well as the quality of your controlled environment. (It is important to note that auto-flowering strains will not follow the same rules or cannabis growth cycle.)

2. Seedling Stage (2 to 3 Weeks) This is a great time to put the finishing touches on your grow rooms. Experts recommend creating two separate growrooms – a vegetative grow room and a flowering grow room. During this cannabis growth phase, you’ll be using light nearly 24 hours a day. You should see the marijuana plant take on some cannabis characteristics by producing new sets of leaves. Plants should have 4-8 new leaves before moving on to transplanting to larger containers for the next Vegetation stage.

Your Cannabis Timeline: 4 Stages of Growing Indoor Marijuana Plants