How Long Does It Take to Grow Marijuana A Comprehensive Guide

by duncan Winter on Apr 04, 2024

How Long Does It Take to Grow Marijuana A Comprehensive Guide

Cannabis seeds go through different stages of growth and development much like any other seed. And all the different stages require different amounts of nutrients, light and water.  

Understanding about all the different stages will help you grow marijuana seeds better as it enables you to provide the plant with what it needs at each stage. 

In this blog, we present you with a comprehensive guide on the different growing stages of marijuana seeds, its life cycle and how long does it take to grow marijuana can ensure a successful plant cultivation. 

Understanding the Cannabis Life Cycle 

Generally, it takes around 3-8 months for a weed plant to grow from seeds to harvest. It may get a little quicker if you start with autoflower seeds. 

When growing indoors, a little marijuana plant may grow large in a matter of weeks. 

But if you’re growing outdoors, your plant will be affected seasonally, which may result in changes in the growing period. 

Stages of Marijuana Plant Growth

There are in particular four stages of marijuana plant growth, each of these stages ensure that your seed flourishes and develops into a healthy plant. 

Germination Phase (3-10 Days)

Starting from the seed, this is the initial stage of the marijuana plant. During this stage, cannabis seeds should feel dry and firm and have a dark brown color.  If in case the seed is squishy, green or white in color, it is highly probable that it won’t germinate.

Your seed is ready to be planted in a growing medium, such as soil, once it has sprung, or germinated. The seedling stem develops upward while the tap root lowers. 

Two round cotyledon leaves will grow from the stem when the plant breaks free of the protective sheath around the seed. It is up to these first leaves to absorb sunlight in order for the plant to develop steadily and healthily.

When the roots start to grow, the stalk will rise and the first characteristic fan leaves will start to form. At this stage, your cannabis plant is officially a seedling.

Seedling Phase (2-3 Weeks) 

During the seedling phase, the marijuana light cycle should be 18 hours indoors, along with full and direct 6 hours sunlight a day. As your marijuana plant grows into a seedling, you'll notice that it starts to produce the classic cannabis fan leaves. 

Until they begin to develop new fan leaves with all of their blades, cannabis plants are considered seedlings. A healthy seedling has a bright green color. 

Remember not to overwater a plant when it is still in its seedling stage since it doesn't need much. This stage leaves the plant susceptible to disease and mold.  Make sure everything is clean around it and be aware of any excessive wetness.  Give it lots of light with awareness.

To help guide their plants through this delicate stage of marijuana growth, many growers begin their seeds indoors under artificial illumination, even when they are growing outdoors.

Vegetative Growth (3-16 Weeks) 

The plant grows quickly during the vegetative growth phase, concentrating on developing strong stems and rich leaves. Depending on a number of variables, this stage may last three weeks or several months.

As the plant grows, don't forget to water it more frequently. When your plant is small, it needs water close to the stalk; however, as it becomes larger, its roots will stretch out. Water the soil further away from the stalk to allow the roots to do so and improve their ability to absorb water.

The length of the vegetative stage is also greatly influenced by variables like temperature, light cycle, nutrition availability, and genetics.

Stems and Leaves 

During vegetative growth, the plant's primary focus is on developing strong stems and leaves to support future bud production.

Factors Affecting Vegetation Duration 

Understanding these factors is crucial for optimizing growth and maximizing yields. Here are some key influences:

  1. Light cycle: In order to flourish, cannabis plants normally need 18 to 24 hours of sunshine. Altering the light cycle can manipulate vegetative growth duration. Providing longer light hours promotes vegetative growth, while shorter light cycles signal the plant to transition to the flowering stage.            
  2. Nutrient Availability: Adequate nutrient supply is vital for healthy vegetative growth. Cannabis plants require nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) in different ratios during each growth stage.                              
  3. Temperature and Humidity: Maintaining optimal environmental conditions is essential for efficient photosynthesis and metabolic processes during the vegetative stage. Cannabis plants thrive in temperatures between 70-85°F (21-29°C) with relative humidity levels around 40-60%. 

Flowering Stage (8-11 Weeks) 

The flowering stage is when a cannabis plant grows to its greatest height. At this point, the plants will start to produce stickybuds, indicating that your efforts are paying off. Most strains blossom in 8 to 9 weeks, although some might take up to 9 weeks, particularly sativas.

Outside, as summer fades to fall and the plant receives less light each day, blossoming occurs naturally.

Indoor-grown cannabis plants can trigger the flowering cycle by reducing their daily exposure to light from eighteen to twelve hours.

Bud Development 

The plant produces dense clusters of cannabinoid- and aromatic-compound-rich blooms, or buds, as it directs its energy toward reproduction.

Flowering Time Frame 

The flowering stage contains three time phases: 

  1. Flower initiation (week 1-3): The plant will keep growing, and the females will produce pre-flowers, which are the buds' beginnings—pistils, or white hairs.
  2. Mid-flowering (week 4-5): The plant will stop growing and the buds will start to droop during week four or five of flowering.
  3. Later flowering/ripening (week 6 and beyond): plants will become extremely sticky and the density of trichomes will grow; observe the pistil color to determine when to harvest.

Harvesting, Drying, and Curing 

While understanding how long does it take to grow marijuana,  harvesting, drying and curing are the final and crucial steps that you should be familiar with. 

  • Harvesting Your Crop 

The conclusion of weeks or months of careful cultivation is harvest. Time is crucial during this stage since harvesting the buds too soon or too late could compromise their overall quality and potency. The ideal harvesting period can be found by keeping an eye out for indicators like pistil maturity and trichome pigmentation. When they're ready, buds are carefully plucked from the plant to ensure that extra foliage is removed without compromising the purity of the flowers. 

  • Drying and Curing Process 

After harvesting, the buds undergo a rigorous drying and curing process to enhance flavor, potency, and overall consumption experience. The cut buds need to be hung up to dry in a location with controlled humidity, good ventilation, and darkness. The buds eventually achieve the proper moisture content throughout this process, which usually takes one to two weeks, as the excess moisture evaporates.

The buds are dried, and then they are placed in airtight jars to cure. A smoother smoke and a deeper flavor are produced as a result of this process, which gradually transfers moisture from the inside to the surface of the buds. 

This process typically lasts two to four weeks but can extend for several months for good results.


     1. How long does it take to germinate cannabis seeds? 

A week or less is usually needed for germination, depending on a number of variables including genetics and environmental circumstances.

  1. Can I speed up the vegetative growth phase? 

While variables like the light cycle and nutrition availability can affect vegetative growth, it's important to create ideal conditions rather than hurrying the process because doing so can result in stunted growth or other problems.

  1. When should I harvest my cannabis plants? 

The best time to harvest varies according to the strain and desired benefits, however it usually happens when the trichomes are amber or milky white in color.

  1. How long should I dry and cure my buds? 

Depending on the presumed outcome and the surrounding conditions, drying and curing can take one to three weeks. Keep patience for better results.