How Long Marijuana Plants Take to Grow
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Are you not sure how long marijuana plants take to grow? Well, the first thing we recommend is to have patience, something that applies to pretty much everything in life. Plants need enough time to grow and develop correctly, and time is what can tell a nice productive plant from a pile of branches lacking in both foliage and yield.
Today we’re going to talk about normal growth times and the different stages that your plants will go through. Maybe some of these questions sound familiar to you;
- How long does cannabis take to germinate/flower?
- What can I do to make my plants flower earlier?
- Can I speed up the growth?
- Which is the fastest, highest yielding plant?
These questions are probably best answered with the age old phrase, time is gold. Obviously a lot of the answers are quite subjective and we can’t give any absolutely concrete times, but we’ll do our best in this article to provide you with a general idea of how long a marijuana plant takes to grow.
Firstly, we’ll begin by dividing the plants’ life cycle into a series of phases:
Germination is defined as the period and process through which the seed changes from a seed to a sapling.
If you’re planting cuttings, then the germination period is known as the cloning and rooting period.
Germination techniques are varying in method, although the one we tend to use the most and is the most recommended involves damp kitchen paper as a base for the seed; many people use other methods, like damp cotton, straight into the earth or a jiffy, or in water.
Some growers even use germination stimulators that work with the seeds initial metabolism and reduce the germination time to about a day in most cases.
Of course, time is relative. It will depend not just on the strain, but the actual quality of the seed itself. Some determining factors are the age of the seed, how fertile it is and how it has been kept.
Saplings tend to take around 24-72 hours to sprout, although sometimes it can take 5 days and in extreme cases it can take up to 15 days. Make sure to pay attention to the water and humidity conditions, as well as the temperature which should be at around 21-24ºC.
This is also called the vegetative phase. It’s the main period of growth that your plant will go through, and probably the most important.
After managing to get your sapling to sprout and transplanting it (into soil or a jiffy), the growth period begins. Just like the name says, your plants will grow the most it’s ever going to grow and stretch upwards during this period, allowing it to get the correct shape and size to proceed to the next stage; flowering.
Like many of you probably already know, your plants will need more light during the growth phase than any other phase. Generally, 18 hours of light and 6 hours of darkness are recommended per day. A proper balance between light and dark is the key element to a successful growth period. The light is obviously very important in as far as photosynthesis, but those hours of darkness are incredibly important as well, as during that time there’s an exchange of essential elements in your plants’ metabolisms.
This period will take more or less time depending on the seed, strain and growing method. Autoflowering plants will be much faster than feminized plants and indoor crops are generally much faster than outdoor crops. Also, if you use a stronger light your crops will generally grow faster than those with less powerful bulbs.
It’s difficult to put a number on how long the growth period takes due to environmental and external factors (fertilizers and the grower’s expertise) that can interfere with crops. Generally, indoors autoflowering plants take about 3 or 4 weeks (21 to 25 days) and around 6 to 8 weeks, maybe more, for feminized strains.
Outdoors regular and feminized seeds tend to take around 8 to 9 weeks, but by growing indoors you can mess around with the timings to make them begin flowering earlier.
This is your cannabis plants’ last period. When it starts will depend obviously on the growth period, but the plant must also have the necessary characteristics developed to allow it to grow buds.
This means that sometimes, a month after germination your plant might still look weak or small, which means that you’ll have to let it continue its growth period for more time.
It’s also important to note that autoflowering strains will flower at their own whim; you’ll need to change the light period once they start showing signs. However, seasonal seeds will need to be helped into the flowering phase by a change in light period. To be exact, you’ll need to switch them to a 12/12h light period which induces your plants into the flowering phase.
I know we said that the growth phase’s timing was relative, but true relative is how long a flowering period can take. There really are no rules apart from certain ones preached by seed banks about their strains, although in most cases these rules are simply guidelines.
The important thing to keep in mind when trying to figure out when the flowering period is coming to an end and you need to wash out the roots is how the buds look. Although times stated by seed banks can give you a general idea, the best way to find out is to watch your bud grow until they’re buried in pistils.
Once they’ve developed that fair, the harvest time will be indicated by the maturity and oxidization of the pistils and trichomes, which become that nice amber/honey color.
Indoors, autoflowering strains will generally finish up at around 8 weeks of flowering, and feminized versions can take longer depending on the growth period, and it’s normal for them to take anywhere between 10 to 12 weeks, and in a lot of cases even more.
Drying and Curing:
This stage isn’t even classifiable like the plant’s life cycle, although we can tell you that it’s a process that will take a while and it’s just an important as the plant’s periods when it comes to gett ing top quality taste, aroma, effect and potency.
First, you’ll have to differentiate between drying and curing; the first thing you’ll need to do with your freshly-cut harvest is dry it.
Basically, you’ll have to place your harvest, cut and trimmed, in a dark, cool and dry place in a drying mesh or sock (don’t forget to clean your plants roots out thoroughly towards harvesting time). All you’ll have to do is move the buds around the mesh or sock every day so they don’t become inclined to one side or another.
This process can take a while depending on placement and terrain; from two to four weeks. The sign of a properly dried bud is being able to bend it without breaking it, but while also hearing that nice crispy sound.
After the drying process comes the curing process, like a good cheese.
It simply involves placing all of your buds in a container and leaving it to sit with a periodic opening to let the air flow. Curing can be done in different containers; plastic, glass or wood, although wood is faster than glass and glass is the most recommended as it doesn’t emit or contain any sort of toxic substances.
The container in which you deposit your harvest will need to be kept in a dark, cool and dry place. The only thing you’ll need to do will be to open the container for about five minutes a day so that the humidity can leave your bud, and you end up with a perfectly chlorophyll-free product.
This process can take anywhere from two to six weeks. The main indication of a proper curing is that the bud crunches when pressed in slightly, if you bend the stem it breaks water than bends, and the intense green color should fade, as well as the leafy green smell.
According to these estimates, marijuana takes about three months to grow completely for autoflowering versions, and four to five or more months for feminized strains depending on crop method and expertise. Don’t forget that drying and curing will take a month or two more.
We’re going to insist on the fact that depending on how you grow your plants as well as the strain you choose to grow, each phase will be longer or shorter, and therefore so will the entire life cycle. Feminized strains will take longer to be harvestable, and autoflowering strains will take less time. There’s also a new version called the “fast version” that the Sweet Seeds seed bank has developed. Also, indoor crops will take less time to be harvestable than outdoor crops.
And don’t forget that patience is a virtue for every grower out there!
Author: Kiko Nieto, Growbarato Collaborator
Translation: Ciara Murphy
Everyone's wondered how long marijuana plants take to grow at some time, and the answer is quite relative but we'll do our best to give you a general idea!
How long does it take to grow weed?
Many new growers ask us: how long does it take to grow weed? A solid question as most want to plan their culture. If you are wondering how long you have to wait for a weed plant to grow, the first thing you need to understand is that the art of cultivating marijuana cannot be rushed, quite the contrary. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was a fine crop of delicious weed plants. The correct development of your plant, in time and architecture, will be what will mark the difference between a solid, firm and productive plant, and a “cluster of branches” with little foliage and low production.
In this article, we will discuss the typical development time of the plant, as well as the different phases it will go through before it is ready to harvest. Here are some of the questions that often arise on the subject:
- How long does cannabis take to germinate or flower?
- How can I get the plant to flower as soon as possible?
- Is it possible to accelerate growth?
- What is the fastest growing and most productive plant?
How long does it take to grow a weed plant?
These frequently recurring questions make us understand that more than ever, time is money. However, you should understand that the purpose of this article is not to respond subjectively to these questions, but rather to give you a thorough overview of the topic so that you know the courses of action to follow to determine the development time of a cannabis plant.
Let’s begin this explanation by differentiating the different stages of plant development:
The germination phase is defined as the length of time it takes for the seed to develop to transform into a seedling.
If you use cuttings, this germination time will be identified as the cloning and rooting time.
The methods of germinating cannabis seeds are different. The most common is to use a wet kitchen towel as a base for the seed. However, many growers use other methods, such as damp cotton, or even directly in the soil, in a Jiffy bag or in water.
Some growers also use germination boosters, which promote the seed’s initial metabolism and soften the seed pod, greatly reducing germination time.
For the other cases, the time is relative. It will depend not only on the type of variety but also on the quality of the seed. Other determining factors will be the age of the seed, its fertility, and the way it has been stored.
The time it takes for the seedling to emerge usually varies between one to five days, although it is not unusual to see seeds take 5 to 15 days to germinate. This will depend on water, humidity, oxygenation, and especially the temperature which must be between 21 ° and 24 ° C during this phase.
Also called the vegetative phase, it is crucial in the development of the plant, except that it is probably the most important phase.
After having obtained your seedling and carefully carrying out its transplant (in a Jiffy or directly in the pot), the growth phase will commence. As its name indicates, it is at this point that the plant will achieve a good part of its size, as well as the architecture necessary to start the next phase as strongly as possible.
As we already know, the photoperiod at this phase will be more important than for the others. In general, we recommended applying 18 hours of light for 6 hours of complete darkness each day. A correct balance between light and dark will be the key to perfect development. Light will be important for photosynthesis, but absolute darkness also plays a key role, because it is during this period that is realized.
This period will vary according to the variety of seed you plant, the variety and/or the crop you have chosen to use. This means that auto-flowering plants will grow more quickly than feminized varieties, and indoor crops will, in general, grow more rapidly than outdoor ones. Similarly, using a high-powered light source will help plants to grow faster than using less powerful lamps.
It is impossible to exactly quantify the length of the growth phase, but the same is true for the other phases, because of plant, environmental, and external factors (such as fertilizers and the dexterity of the cultivator) which can have a considerable impact. In general, indoors, you will count 3-4 weeks (21-25 days) for automatic varieties and around 6 to 8 weeks for feminized strains.
Although regular and feminized seasonal cultivated outdoors often take 8-9 weeks to complete their growth stage, indoors it is possible to falsify climatic and ambient conditions to shorten growth.
Once the right conditions are in place, when you see your plant reach an adequate size and start to open its initial inflorescences, it will be time to switch the photoperiod to commence the flowering cycle.
Flowering is the last period of development of the cannabis plant. Its start will not depend solely on the growth time you give the plant, but also whether or not it has the right characteristics to support the precious buds that it will develop during this phase.
Indeed, you may come across plants that will remain weak, small and without inflorescences even after a month since germination. In this case, you will still need to stay in the growth phase to allow for more solid training.
The automatic varieties will start flowering almost autonomously, which will require you to change the photoperiod when they decide to so close daily observation is necessary. Seasonal seeds, indoors, will depend on the grower’s goodwill. You will need to alter the photoperiod to 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness per day, to use the light stress to push the plant towards the flowering phase.
If the time of a growing plant is relative, this is all the more the case in flowering. Here, there are no other rules than those listed by the seed banks for their variety, that said, in the majority of cases, they will be only for information.
What matters when deciding when to finish flowering, and therefore when to clean the roots and cut the plant, is to be able to see the complete bud development. Even if the time indicated by the seed bank will give you a rough idea of the right time to cut, the main thing is to be able to see that the buds are growing until they cover most of the pistils.
Once your weed plants have fully ripened, harvest time will be revealed by the ripening and progressive oxidation of the trichomes and pistils, which acquire a characteristic amber/honey colour.
Indoors, auto-flowers generally complete their development in about 8 weeks. Feminized strains will take longer depending on the growth you have produced, with an average of 10-12 weeks.
Drying and curing
This phase cannot be considered in the strict sense as a phase of the cannabis plant, but as it is a process which takes time and which is determining to obtain a quality product in terms of flavour, odour, effect and power, it is normal to consider it as a separate phase, with its own characteristics.
It is necessary to make a distinction between drying and curing weed. Drying is the first treatment to be carried out once you have harvested.
Drying will consist of placing your recently cut and manicured buds, in a dry, dark, and cool place, on a drying mesh (remember to thoroughly clean the roots with abundant watering before cutting). Every day you will need to change the position of the buds on the mesh to avoid distorting them.
This process can take 2 to 4 weeks, depending on the location and the conditions of maintenance. The signal that will tell you a bud to dry ideally, will come when you try to bend the stem where the buds are. If you hear a crackle without the stem breaking, your flowers will be ready for curing.
This step aims to put every bud in an airtight container and let them sit with periodic ventilation. Curing can be carried out in various containers, in plastic, glass or drink. Wood is faster, and glass is more practical because it emits no toxic substances or odours.
The container in which you place your harvest should be stored in a dark, cool and dry place. The only thing you will need to do is open the container each day for several minutes so that the little remaining moisture gradually evaporates.
This process generally takes between 2 and 6 weeks. The key moment in ripening will come when the bud creaks by taking it lightly. The idea is to make the intense green go away and no longer emit this vegetable odour, which comes from the chlorophyll still contained in the plant.
According to these estimates, we see to what extent cannabis is slow to develop fully: around 3 months for autoflower varieties, and 4-6 months for feminized according to the type of culture used and the care provided. Besides, you must take into account the drying and refining which can last from 1 to 2 months approximately.
We specify that it depends on the care given to the plant, as well as the variety you choose, the times dedicated to each phase will be more or less long, which therefore influences the time of complete development. Feminized varieties will take longer than automatic ones, for example. In general, weed plants grow much faster in indoor crops, but keep in mind that it is mainly the patience of the cultivator that is fundamental to get the best results.
Growing weed plants is a time-consuming process, but one which can be a lot of fun and that we think you will find very rewarding!
Wondering how long it takes to grow a weed plant indoors or outdoors? Check this blog and find out!