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Cannabis Growth Timelapse: One Chapter at a Time (With Pictures)

Last updated: May 4, 2020

The growth of a cannabis plant can be divided into 5 main chapters: germination, seedling, vegetative, flowering, and finally, budding. Within these stages of growth, many changes occur to the plant that should be noted and carefully watched for by the grower. Here, we’re going to dive into these different stages, to give you an idea of how long things generally take and what to keep an eye out for during cannabis growth.

Chapter 1: Germination

This is where it all begins, the seed. During this formative stage of growth the cannabis seed, once planted or placed in a germination station, breaks apart and the spindly taproot emerges looking for nutrients.

Featured Image Credit: High Times

1-week-old plant

The seed should be hard, dry and darker brown to grey before being used. Younger seeds won’t “pop” as readily. It can take up to a week to 10 days for the plant to finally emerge from its seed, but once it finally does it is ready to be transferred into a more permanent location.

This is assuming the grower is using a germination technique that doesn’t involve direct planting, otherwise, they simply need to wait for the plant to sprout to begin the seedling phase.

Chapter 2: Seedling

As the taproot of the germinated plant begins to take hold, the first set of iconic fan leaves begin to develop. This signals the beginning of the plant’s seedling stage of growth and should be placed in a large growing area immediately if it hasn’t been done so already.

2-week-old plant

The first leaves should be developing at this point, which the plant uses to photosynthesize light into nutrients.

It will grow a bit taller and begin to straighten up during this week. The very first new growths will appear as well, which will be another leaf along with the development of additional blades on the current leaves. Initially, they will be quite small.

Featured Image Credit: Big Buds Mag

3-week-old plant

A healthy plant will start turning a more vibrant green color and those blades will finally start becoming sizable, it will start looking more and more like a marijuana plant at this point. Once these seedlings fully develop these initial leaves and blades, they will be considered maturing and move onto the next stage of growth.

Chapter 3: Vegetative

After those initial leaves develop the plants begin to enter a stage of explosive growth. This is the vegetative stage. A healthy vegetative stage is the period of growth most associated with great yields, as the size of the plant can make a huge difference at the end of it all.

This is also the stage with the greatest variability for the length of time it will take to get through, dependent on strains and growing conditions.

It can last anywhere from 3-16 weeks, so knowledge of the particular strain being used is crucial here.

4-6 week-old plant

Somewhere in this time-frame is generally when the sex of a plant can be determined. The pre-flowers develop here, though they can be quite small, and once sex is determined it is time to separate the males from the females before any fertilization can take place.

Sexing can technically wait until the flowering stage, but cautious growers should remove them now.

Featured Image Credit: 101GrowLights

7-12 week-old plant

The length of the vegetative stage of growth is dependent on the genetics of the plant, as well as the period of time they are receiving light. Plants can technically remain in the vegetative state pretty much indefinitely, but eventually, it will hit its max growth or the amount of growth comfortable for the room and need to be switched over to flowering.

There will be a ton of foliage at this point and the plants will want more water than seems possible. Any training should be done at this stage, as long as the plant is healthy and growing rapidly.

Chapter 4: Flowering

This is the final stage of cannabis growth. All the previous work keeping the plant healthy and structurally sound pays dividends here as the plants begin to produce their buds. All males need to be removed at this point, otherwise, fertilization will occur and the females will lose a fair amount of yield and quality.

Flowering is triggered by the light cycle shifting to 12 hours on and off, so the timing of it will vary from grow to grow but this generally begins around week 13 of a grow.

13-14 week-old plant

This is the transition phase. It technically isn’t flowering at this point, but the plant will begin preparing for bud growth. The biggest growth occurs in this short period, the structure it develops within the vegetative stage is important now as the plant can almost double in height during this transition.

Towards the end of these transition weeks, the first wispy, white hairs known as pistils will begin developing. These are what eventually will become the buds that you’re after.

Featured Image Credit: Reddit

15-16 week-old plant

Those pistils will begin developing larger and larger and become darker in color. This is also when the odor from the plant becomes very apparent, so a good filtration system is a must at this point for indoor grows.

The growth of the plant will begin to slow down here as well, eventually stopping altogether as the plant’s energy will be focused entirely on the buds.

Buds will not have grown too much at this point, so don’t worry if they are still fairly small.

Chapter 5: Budding

17 weeks and onward

The final stage of flowering will have begun at this point for most plants, and the length of time can be variable. Buds will begin to grow very quickly now, seemingly overnight turning into dense flowers all over the plant.

The rest of the growth is up to the plant, but when it seems to be getting close to harvest time flushing nutrients is important for a quality tasting harvest. Simply flush the plants with pH-balanced water and stop administering nutrients at this time to ensure a good harvest.

Featured Image Credit: Reddit

Conclusion

The weeks involved for each plant are variable for a lot of conditions, but this is a good general gist of what each week and group of weeks involve for standard cannabis grow.

Things like auto-flowering plants or quickly growing strains will heavily veer off this, but for the most part, following this guide will give a grower a good idea of what to expect each week of their growth.

Featured Image Credit: Pexels

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Cannabis Growth Timelapse: One Chapter at a Time (With Pictures) Last updated: May 4, 2020 The growth of a cannabis plant can be divided into 5 main chapters: germination, seedling,

Cannabis Time-Lapse Photography Videos

Today I would like to feature the following incredible marijuana growing time-lapse photography and videos, many of which were produced by fuzzygrow. View all of her time-lapse videos here: http://vimeo.com/user15676933/videos

A huge thanks to fuzzygrow for contributing these uniquely valuable time-lapse videos to the marijuana growing community!

New Life – The birth of a marijuana plant from seed

This time-lapse video spans 5 days, a frame was taken every 6 minutes. 24fps .

Watch two seeds sprout and grow their first two sets of leaves. The plant on the left is Super Lemon Haze and the one on the right is strain Tijuana.

Marijuana seeds first sprout two smooth “baby” leaves known as cotyledon leaves. These leaves were already formed in the shell. When the seed is put in warm wet conditions, the seeds “wake up” and the seed splits open. The white tip that first emerges becomes a root and grows downward.

The cotyledon leaves unfurl and start gaining height above the soil. You can see the first “true” (wrinkled) set of marijuana leaves nestled in between the cotyledons at first, and as time goes on these spread out to catch as much light as possible.

You may notice the young seedlings making slow circular movements. As far as we know, all plants do this while they grow and this movement is known as nutation, circumnutation, or nutational movement .

While we don’t fully understand the mechanism behind this movement, some scientists speculate that it was developed as a way for the plant to “explore” and find the best direction to grow, since even though plants are rooted, the difference of even a couple of inches can make a huge difference in the survival of the plants.

Recovery of Topped Marijuana Plant & Formation of 2 New Colas

This time-lapse video spans 7 days

In this video, a young marijuana plant is topped and you can watch as the two growth tips from the top node (quick picture cheat sheet explaining nodes & growth tips) turn into the two new main colas.

After the plant is topped, notice that not just the top two, but all the growth tips on the plant begin growing out (the plant is becoming more bushy). This is due to a hormonal response that happens in the plant when the main cola is damaged.

Watch as the two new main colas at the top get wider and taller, while their connection to the base of the trunk is strengthened and thickened to support their growth.

Young plant burned by Pyrethrum while lights are on & recovery

This time-lapse video spans 2 weeks, a frame was taken every 6 minutes. 30 fps.

This one is a little bit hard to watch as this Purple Haze seedling is hit by a strong insecticide (Doktor Doom) around 0:31 to combat spider mites.

The insecticide is sprayed while the lights are on, and unfortunately this combination of insecticide + light burns the young plant. You can see the plant struggles to recover for nearly the rest of the video.

I sprayed Dr. Doom on this young plant to try to combat spider mites. Plant is under a 42w CFL. The main apex was also burned which stopped growing but eventually a new one formed off center. New leaves sprouted just above the cotyledons as well.

Don’t spray pyrethrum-based products with any grow lights still on!

Pyrethrum is an ingredient in certain insecticides. In this case it came from Dr. Doom. Pyrethrum is very photoreactive so because it was sprayed with the lights on it created a bad situation on the plant as you can see. It almost appears to burn it. The growth was very gnarly for awhile afterwards!

You can see the extreme stress the Pyrethrum combined with grow lights has put on the young plant.

Although this plant recovers, you can see how badly the burns stunted its growth, and you’ll notice that the regrowth that follows is a bit odd as the plant “ditches” the burnt parts and then gets back into the swing of things.

Growing with ScrOG Time-Lapse

Watch as these young plants are trained to fill up a ScrOG net. ScrOG stands for “Screen Of Green” and refers to using a “screen” (usually made of string) to force plants to grow into a flat canopy.

Seedling & Vegetative Stage

The above time-lapse video spans 40 days of growth. A frame was taken every 6 minutes. 50fps .

Once the screen has been “filled out” with vegetative growth, the grower will switch to the flowering stage. The ScrOG technique is used to get better yields out of your indoor grow lights, which are most effective when plants are kept as close to the lights as possible. The ScrOG technique makes it so that when buds start forming, the lights shine directly on the buds and fatten them.

You just saw these plants fill up the ScrOG net in the last video. Now watch as the colas from these scrogged plants fatten up throughout the flowering stage until harvest time.

Flowering Stage

Why do marijuana plants seem to “breathe” in time-lapse photography? Why do the leaves begin to droop down and then suddenly spring back up?

All plants do that. It partly has to do with their Circadian rhythms. Plants must put energy into keeping cell walls rigid to hold up the leaves. Kinda like using their “muscles”. With plants like cannabis, the leaves tend to “rest” at night and “perk up” when they “think” the sun is going to come out.

The plants also wilt when they’re thirsty and perk up after being watered.

Here’s a timelapse showing a plant putting its leaves up and down in response to the light

MAKE YOUR OWN TIME LAPSE VIDEOS!

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Bonus Marijuana Time Lapse Videos

These have been circulating around the internet for a while, but if you haven’t seen them before, you don’t want to miss these bonus marijuana time-lapse videos.

Growing Marijuana Time Lapse – 80 days in 45 seconds

Sweet And Sour Headband Marijuana Time Lapse Grow – seed to harvest

Seedling to Harvest – Marijuana plant grown naturally without any plant training

See exactly how a marijuana plant grows in these high-quality time-lapse videos. Watch plants sprout, get topped, fill up a ScrOG screen, flower and more!