If you’ve never grown your own cannabis before, it can be an incredibly fun and rewarding project to take on. However, there are many details to acquaint yourself with before you get started. If you’re asking yourself, “How long does it take to grow marijuana?” or “How fast can weed grow?” then sit back and let us walk you through it! In this article, we’ll be introducing you to different grow times for various strains and discussing the stages of maturity of cannabis plants.
How Long Do I Have To Wait?
Short answer: you’re looking at obtaining a smokable bud anywhere between 9 weeks and 7+ months. Cannabis has three key phases in its growth cycle: germination, the vegetative stage and the flowering stage. Germination typically takes only 1 to 5 days. The vegetative stage can last a few weeks to several months. Finally, the flowering stage, when the buds actually start growing, can range from 6 weeks to 4 months in length. There are several factors that influence how long it will take to get to harvest time, from the type of strain you’re growing to the specific growing method you’re using.
Going Into More Detail
Now, let’s step back a little and discuss each of the main elements. The plant’s strain will have a massive impact on growing time; Indicas take less time than Sativas, for example, and autoflowering strains grow very quickly. The desired yield also determines how long it will take. The more you want, the longer it should flower. Environmental factors such as different grow methods and setups, light and humidity can also increase or decrease the time.
Genetics: Short Or Tall, Fast Or Slow
Autoflowering strains have changed the game, with grow time for these strains significantly reduced because they start to flower at an earlier age, independent of how many hours of light they receive. With autoflowering cannabis, you can expect to be harvesting your buds in 7 to 12 weeks, as all phases of growth are shortened and the plants themselves develop very quickly.
On the other hand, photoperiod plants will have to go through the regular vegetative stage before flowering. These strains enter the flowering stage depending on their light schedule, and will stay in the vegetative phase until light is reduced from 18-24 to 12 hours per day. Indica strains typically grow more quickly than Sativas, with a flowering period lasting 6-9 weeks rather than 8-14, although fast-finishing photoperiod strains do exist.
Grow Methods: Soil and Hydro
Indoor grow methods are split between soil-based plants or hydroponic systems. Using soil takes longer than hydro but is easier for those who are new to growing cannabis. What are the benefits of hydroponics? You can shave some time off your grow (and see results within 2-3 months), see a bigger yield, and avoid soil-borne diseases and pests. However, this method may be difficult for beginners, as it requires extra materials and research.
If you decide to go with soil, another question might occur: how long does it take to grow marijuana outdoors/indoors? Outdoor growing takes longer than indoor because the grower does not have as much control over the light schedule, temperature and potential exposure to disease. The vegetative state can last from early spring until late summer/fall, when days start to grow shorter. If you plant late, the vegetative phase will be reduced, but so will the growth of your plants.
The Stages Of Maturity
First, your seeds need to germinate, which can take 1-3 days but sometimes longer. Once the cannabis plants have rooted and started to grow, the vegetative stage is in full effect, which can last as short as a month with autoflowering strains and take several months with photoperiod strains. You can decide when your plant moves from the vegetative stage to flowering by changing the light schedule, thus adjusting the length of each stage. Because you can manually control the light and dark periods, you can force the plants to flower whenever you like.
The flowering stage ends when you decide it’s time to harvest your cannabis, which will influence your yield. The sooner you harvest, the less you will yield. Usually, you’ll have to wait 6-14 weeks until harvest depending on whether you’re growing a Sativa, Indica, autoflower, etc. Keep in mind that buds grow the most during the last weeks of flowering – and of course, you’ll then need to dry and cure your harvest before consumption.
Fast Flowering Cannabis Seeds
So, If You Want It Fast…
If you’re looking for a quickest possible turnaround, there are a few ways you can achieve that. As already mentioned, fast-finishing strains exist, but autoflowering strains are perfect for a quick harvest, with the vegetative state lasting around a month and flowering about two months. Hydroponic systems reduce the amount of grow time as well but require a more advanced setup. However, fast grows tend to have smaller yields because the plants spend less time bulking up in the vegetative stage. The quality of fast-grown bud depends on the strain, but can be improved with a slightly longer cure time.
Finally, an outdoor crop is not ideal for someone who would like some speedy weed. Because outdoor plants depend on natural light, they won’t grow nearly as quickly as with controlled indoor lights and reflective material.
But If You Can Wait...
If you dedicate more time to growing, the benefits are enormous. You get to decide when the vegetative stage is over and when you want to harvest, and by waiting, you may well be blessed with heftier buds, a bigger harvest overall and a more matured product. Although autoflowering and quick-growing strains are appealing because of the reduced grow time, long-flowering strains often yield greater amounts of bud, since the plant has had more time to grow. It’s also worth mentioning that many growers cure their harvest for longer than the 10 to 14-day standard, which can have an incredible result in regard to the flavor, smell and appearance of the cannabis.
Each part of the process, from germination to curing, plays a vital role in growing your own cannabis. You can spoil an amazing harvest with impatience, and you wouldn’t want to put all that hard work and time to waste, right? We’ve established that 3-5 months from planting to harvest is pretty standard, and that the growing process can only be rushed so much. Do you have any tips for cutting the grow time? Let us know what your preferred grow methods are in the comments below!