Cannabis Growth Stages

Last updated: 2 April 2020

stages of growing weed

Cannabis plants, just like every other living thing out there, go through various stages in order to grow and become mature. If you happen to be someone who is interested in growing cannabis, it is vital to understand the weed plant stages and the various changes that plants undergo during the cannabis growth cycle. Every stage requires a different type and level of care.

In addition, the different stages of growing weed require different quantities of water, nutrients, and light. All of this helps the grower to decide when they should train and prune their plants. Finding out a plant’s overall health and sex relies on the cannabis growth stages too.

Stages Of Cannabis Growth Cycle

You should at least have some basic know-how regarding what happens during the marijuana plant stages if you want to improve as a gardener. Growers or gardeners are not the only ones who will benefit from this knowledge; consumers can also benefit a lot by learning how does cannabis grow.

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At all of the marijuana plant stages, the grower has to ensure that he or she provides an excellent environment that allows plants to thrive. Of course, this can sometimes be quite challenging. Cannabis is an annual plant, meaning it germinates, grows and finishes its lifecycle in one season. Generally, all of the cannabis growth stages together take from 3 to 8 months.

Discussed below are the main marijuana plant stages.

baby pot plants


As everybody knows, the plant’s journey begins with its seed. In order for the baby pot plant to grow swiftly, its seed should be properly germinated. Growers should not neglect their plant’s quality despite how early of the stage it is in. You can determine the cannabis seed’s quality by looking at how brown, hard and dry it is.

In the germination process, the germs present inside the seed come out in the shape of roots. A lot of home growers rely on the tried and tested paper towel method for seed germination. Germination stages can last for 1 to 7 days. The variety also plays a key part in the duration. The next stage starts after the first 2 leaves are formed. Once they do, the plants start losing seed husk, and then – on to the next stage.

cannabis growth stages

Vegetative Stage

This stage is where the growth starts catching pace. You may notice your baby marijuana plant growing 5 inches in only a single day. Make sure that you provide it the right nutrients as this stage is where your plant will grow buds. Nitrogen supply is vital at this point as it provides protein and chlorophyll.

growing marijuana - vegetative stageREAD NOW

The plant’s water intake also increases during this stage. Once again, light is an essential component for this plant in order to become a mature marijuana plant. The overall duration of vegetative stage also depends on the variety of cannabis being used. For example, some of the autoflowering varieties can finish the vegetative stage in as short as 2 to 3 weeks. On the other hand, most photoperiod strains need a month or two when grown indoors to come to full power before flowering. If you’re growing cannabis outdoors, you need to wait for the natural light cycle to change, which can take up to 16 weeks.

Pre-flowering Stage

male marijuana plant

You will start to notice pre flowers on your cannabis plant during the pre-flowering stage. This usually occurs during the fourth week after the vegetative growth begins. Once again, it all depends on the strain you are growing. In most cases, growers are able to find out the sex of their cannabis plants during this stage.

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Male cannabis plants tend to develop smooth, egg shaped, and tiny pollen sacks. Female cannabis plants on the other hand develop tiny V shaped pink or white hairs, which are also referred to as pistils. Growers sometime find difficulty in separating the females from the males. Letting the plant grow out for a slightly longer period than usual can clear up confusions.

mature marijuana plant

Flowering Stage

This is one of the final stages of growing weed. Flowering happens naturally when plants receive below twelve hours of light per day when summer days become shorter. It also happens the same way when indoor light cycles controlled by the grower become shorter. You will realize your hard work come to fruition during this stage as you will notice you plant’s resinous buds gradually developing in the period of 8 to 11 weeks, depending on the strain. If you haven’t done this during pre-flowering, make sure that now you separate the females from the males in order to avoid pollination.

Your pot plant will require phosphorus and potassium based nutrients in this stage in order to flower properly. Bat guano or other manure is an excellent organic and nutrient dense ingredient to provide your plant during this stage.

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stages of cannabis growth


You’ll easily find out if your plant is ready for harvesting when its cola buds start transforming into a reddish orange color. You can check the trichome head color with the help of a microscope. You’ll know the buds are good to be harvested if the trichome heads transform from clear to opaque and milky, to amber. The color of the trichomes can predict the effect produced by the buds, so make sure to harvest in time. Milky trichomes are reported to be more THC-heavy and euphoric, while amber can often guarantee stone effect.

Presence of a higher amount of trichome heads is a good indicator of a higher cannabinoid profile ratio (CBD to THC) in the trichome resin of your plant. Make sure that you do not let your plant’s trichomes fall if you are planning to harvest your plant for either its CBD or THC effects.


As we discussed earlier, weed plant stages vary on the type of cannabis strain that you are growing. That being said, growers should try to provide their baby pot plants the best possible environment to become a mature marijuana plant.

Of course, growing weed by yourself can be quite tricky, but if you really learn about the cannabis growth stages, it becomes a fun experience. The process does require some trial and error during every stage, but it is part of the learning process. Make sure that you treat each of the cannabis growth stages with equal importance in order to get a good payoff. There is nothing better smoking a strain that grew because of your hard work and effort.

ptit fumeur
At what age is the plant able to enter its flowering period? Due to an intentional error on my part, a very young plant (2 weeks old) always grew with a light cycle of 12 hours of light for 12 hours of darkness.
Hello,Usually a plant enters the flowering stage after 8-10 weeks of being in the vegetative period, though it all depends on the strain and the conditions provided
Is January also good for planting?
Real Ones ENT
Reading this, I was able to find that I was confusing the seedling phase with the vegetative phase and eventually concluded that I was far ahead in the growing cycle than I really was.
The fact that there are no comments or questions about this article lead me to assume one of three things. Either no one cares about this information, or everyone already knows about it, or it's so comprehensive that there are no questions, yet. I tend toward the latter. Good info for me.
Herbies Seeds
Hello KL,We're glad to hear you find this article useful. We wish you the best of luck!
Alex Tomazoli
Good luck
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