Cannabis Growth Stages – Here’s What You Need to Know

The Cannabis plant has different growth stages throughout its lifecycle. And each of these stages during the cultivation process has unique demands in terms of nutrients, water, and light. 

To grow a cannabis plant, you need around 4 to 8 months. But it does vary based on where you are growing your plant. For example, if you have an indoor space growing your plant, it will flower within a few weeks.

However, the quality of your cannabis plant will significantly depend on your knowledge of these different cannabis growth stages and how you meet the demands for each stage. 

In this post, we will list down the different growth stages of this plant. We will elaborate on other details associated with each of these stages and how you can effectively manage your plant throughout its lifecycle. 

Growth Timeline of a Cannabis Plant

1, Germinating (1 to 7 Days)

For effectively germinating your cannabis plant, you have to make sure that the seeds are mature. If you use immature seeds, they will not properly germinate. Properly mature cannabis seeds are shiny and light to dark brown. They are hard and dry to touch. 

Underdeveloped cannabis seed is soft to touch and green or white. You have to keep your cannabis seeds in the dark and wet for proper germination. You can also use a cup of water or wrap them up in a wet paper towel and place it inside a grow cabinet like TopoGrow Grow Tent

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If you expose them to moisture with light, it will stimulate hormones and boost the growth process. A single cannabis plant root is called a radicle, and it will shoot downward as the new stem grows in the opposite direction. It will cause the seed to come out of the soil. 

Unlike the leaves of a common marijuana plant, cannabis plants will have a couple of rounded cotyledon leaves that will sprout from the stem as the plant comes out of the protective casing of the seed. 

These cotyledon leaves absorb the energy that they receive from the sunlight and boost the plant’s growth. As soon as the roots are developed, and the plant shoots out its true leaves, it comes out of its seedling stage. 

2. Seedling (2 to 3 Weeks)

It is a fragile stage of a cannabis plant, and it must receive at least 18 hours of sunlight throughout the stage. You have to provide moist soil and mild humidity for fast growth. 

During this stage, the cannabis plant has a very small root system. Therefore, you have to be careful not to overwater it, or you will end up drowning the plant. After your cannabis plant becomes a seedling, it will have more traditional appearing cannabis leaves. 

In comparison, marijuana leaves have 3 to 13 fingers. The eaves that come out of a sprout will only have a rigged finger, and with growth, these leaves will develop more fingers. A mature marijuana plant will have around 5 to 7 fingers in each leaf, and this number can reach up to 13.

The leaves with the first finger can be up to four inches and will have serrated edges. These leaves grow on the opposite sides of the stem. Therefore, you will have to treat a cannabis plant as a seedling till it develops leaves with a full set of fingers. 

A healthy seedling should be short and have thick vegetation with vibrant green color. The growing environment needs to be clean and not have excessive moisture in the seedling stage. It is to make sure the plants don’t become moldy. 

3. Vegetative Phase (2 to 8 Weeks)

Once your cannabis seedling has developed seven sets of pointed leaves, the vegetative growth stage has started. You will have to relocate it in a larger pot to boost its growth. 

During this stage, its stem becomes taller and thicker. The plant will start to produce more nodes, leaves, and branches. Moreover, its root system will become more established to shoot out flowers. 

During this stage, you can start training and topping your cannabis plant. Spacing between the nodes of your cannabis plant will tell you the type of cannabis you are growing. In this stage, nodes and leaves will still develop in pairs, but they will have more distance between them, and braces will not develop in parallel to one another. 

You will also notice secondary nodes on the branches from the main stalk. You have to increase watering to aid your plant’s development during this stage. 

With growth, its roots grow outwards, and you have to water so that the root tips can absorb water and grow faster. You will have to provide it with air water and ensure it receives plenty of dry air. 

You need to provide your plant with potassium and nitrogen-rich nutrients during this stage. Moreover, you will also have to provide plenty of soil space to grow two to three feet tall. 

The plant’s growth will depend upon how much light it can get through its leaves for the process of photosynthesis. Therefore, you need to provide 18 hours of sunlight and 6 hours nighttime for your indoor plants for better growth. 

4. Pre-Flowering (1 to 2 Weeks)

Once it enters the pre flowering stage, you can determine the sex of your plant by having a look at the pre-flower nodes. The female cannabis plant has a couple of pistils on the buds. A pistil contains the reproductive parts of a cannabis flower. 

Flowers grow above the leaves, and there is a cluster on each side. On the other hand, male cannabis plants have small green sacs with pollen, and these sacs will be present on the node areas. 

Pollen can fertilize any nearby female plants’ cola and ruin their trichomes’ psychoactive potential. Therefore, you have to remove male or intersex plants before they flower. 

A cola or a terminal bud is a flowering site on a female plant, where flowers grow tightly together. Healthy cannabis plants typically develop a single main cola right at the center and a smaller cola outside. You will have to trim and train your plant to allow larger colas to grow.

Non-pollinated female weed plants have sinsemilla, as they have no seeds and have more cannabinoids. These sinsemillas have high psychoactive agent concentration. Therefore, they can increase sociability, talkativeness, munchies, hallucinations, and euphoria. These plants have high volumes of fake seed buds and resin with high THC. 

These sinsemillas have white hair that sprouts from the bracts present at the nodes of these plants. As your weed plant begins to receive less light daily, the growth will halt, and the flowering stage begins. 

5. Flowering (6 to 8 Weeks)

The cannabis flowering stage begins naturally when your cannabis plant starts receiving less than 12 hours of daily light. Your cannabis bud will need at least 10 to 12 hours of full darkness daily during this stage.

You will know that your plant is ready for harvesting when you see the pistils’ color on those cola buds change from white to reddish-orange. The trichome heads will also change color from transparent, milky, opaque, and amber. 

Amber color indicates more CBD-THC ratio in the cannabinoid within its resin. Trichomes have THC, flavonoids, terpenes, and various other cannabinoids. With the development of flower clusters, more cannabinoids develop, and their clusters become stickier.

During this stage, your plant likes warmer weather and mid-level humidity. It will benefit from intermittent nutrients for blooming. If you notice that trichomes are falling off, you have allowed your plant to grow too long, and most of its cannabinoids are gone. 

Therefore, you will not get any THC or CBD effects and must begin with a new batch. Trichomes will turn cloudy white to brown once their THC starts weakening. Having a few trichomes in brown color is fine because it indicates your plant is ready to harvest. 

It is best to allow half of the trichomes to turn opaque before harvest because it results in higher THCs and lower CBDs.

6. Harvesting (8 to 10 Weeks)

You should cut down your cannabis plant into smaller branches to simplify your drying process for harvesting. When you have cut your plant into smaller sanctions, you must strengthen the species and hang them upside down in a dark and cool room.

Commercial cannabis is dried by keeping the humidity levels between 40 percent to 50 percent. You have to keep your plants hanging from 7 to 14 days. Drying your cannabis plant is important because it avoids any development of bacteria or fungus. 

You are essentially removing moisture, and by doing so, you will preserve the life of your cannabinoids. If you complete the drying process too fast, it will result in harsh cannabis. 

Curing your cannabis is optional, and it involves aging it in a sealed and airtight container. You can use mason jars for curing and place them in a cabinet where the temperature ranges between 50F to 60F.

Where To Plant Cannabis?

The ideal place to grow your cannabis plants is in soil indoors or outdoors. But soil is not mandatory if you use aeroponics or hydroponics to grow your plants. 

The potting soil must contain phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen nutrients. You can use fertilizers in the soil but with caution. The pH levels of your soil need to remain within 5.8 to 6.5. Remember that commercial fertilizers (even organic ones) make your soil more acidic. 

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The temperature of the environment needs to remain between 75F and 86F. It is important because temperatures higher than 88F and below 60F will result in less THC potency, and growth will be slow. At 55F, the cannabis plant goes into a mild shock, while some strains might withstand temporary frost. 

You can use sunlight or grow light, and with artificial light, your plant will need 16 to 24 hours of light and up to 8 hours of darkness from germination to flowering. 

Longer light periods are suitable for vegetation and longer dark periods for flowering. Humidity levels are ideally suitable for a cannabis plant remain between 40 percent to 60 percent.  

Best Time to Plant Cannabis Plant

To cultivate your cannabis plant outdoors, you need to go to areas that receive at least 12 hours or more of daily sunlight. 

In the northern hemisphere, cannabis growers prefer mid-April, late May, and early June to plant cannabis seeds. It is ideal for providing your cannabis plants with full 4 to 9 months of growth. 

Harvest usually takes place between mid-September to early October. Cannabis plants typically flower during late summer through to fall. This season can run up to mid-November in warmer climates.

Different Types of Cannabis Plant

Primarily, there are four different types of cannabis. All four of these types of cannabis have different levels of active compounds. 


This cannabis species tends to have higher levels of THC than other types and have CBD as well. This type is used for medical and recreational along with industrial purposes. This species is taller and lankier than other types and can be as high as 20 feet. 


This species has lower THC and higher CBD compared to Sativa. Therefore, it has lesser psychoactive traits. Indica cannabis is used for medical purposes with a similar ailment relief with a lesser intoxication effect. This plant is bushy and soft, and it takes much less time for maturity. 


This type is not used a lot, and it has low levels of THC, just like Indica cannabis. But it also doesn’t have many CBDs to make it fit for use in medicine. Therefore, it is used with Sativa or Indica to create different hybrid versions. 


Hybrids occur when two or more cannabis species are crossed. It results in new species and is created when growers want to get the best of both plant parents for a superior offspring. But it is always experimental breeding, and you can use any cannabis plant to achieve the best results. 

Tips For Growing High-Quality Cannabis Plant

Here are some important tips that you need to grow high-quality cannabis plants. 

  • You have to make sure that you only source quality cannabis seeds. Make sure to do your research before you find the best quality seeds for growing marijuana. Mighty Seed Hemp is a good option. These seeds are hulled and have a slightly nutty flavor.
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  • You have to maintain proper temperature and humidity during the growth stage of your Cannabis plant. For seedlings, the temperature should be around 65F to 75F, and the humidity level should be around 60 percent. The ideal temperature for adult planets under lighting is around 80F, and humidity should be 55 percent. For adult plants without lighting, 62F to 72F is the ideal temperature with 55 percent humidity. 
  • Make sure you provide your plant with enough carbon dioxide. It is especially the case if you are growing your cannabis plants indoors. When growing outdoors, this is not an issue at all. 
  • Ensure that you provide your cannabis plants with proper fertilizers, but don’t go for commercial fertilizers because they are overly acidic. 
  • You also need to provide your cannabis plants with proper spacing and the right amount of airflow for rapid growth. Finally, don’t forget to prune your plants at the right time.

Final Thoughts

Cannabis plants have unique demands in each stage throughout their lifecycle. Growing your cannabis plants outdoors is a better option if you don’t live in harsh weather. 

But it is much simpler to grow outdoors than growing these plants indoors because you will have to be careful with the temperature and humidity levels at different stages of your plant growth. 

You might also need ample space indoors because these cannabis plants need space and airflow for faster growth. Otherwise, you might not get sufficient THC and CBD levels in your cannabis plant when you harvest it. 

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