How long does it take to grow weed?
Many new growers ask us: how long does it take to grow weed? A solid question as most want to plan their culture. If you are wondering how long you have to wait for a weed plant to grow, the first thing you need to understand is that the art of cultivating marijuana cannot be rushed, quite the contrary. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was a fine crop of delicious weed plants. The correct development of your plant, in time and architecture, will be what will mark the difference between a solid, firm and productive plant, and a “cluster of branches” with little foliage and low production.
In this article, we will discuss the typical development time of the plant, as well as the different phases it will go through before it is ready to harvest. Here are some of the questions that often arise on the subject:
- How long does cannabis take to germinate or flower?
- How can I get the plant to flower as soon as possible?
- Is it possible to accelerate growth?
- What is the fastest growing and most productive plant?
How long does it take to grow a weed plant?
These frequently recurring questions make us understand that more than ever, time is money. However, you should understand that the purpose of this article is not to respond subjectively to these questions, but rather to give you a thorough overview of the topic so that you know the courses of action to follow to determine the development time of a cannabis plant.
Let’s begin this explanation by differentiating the different stages of plant development:
The germination phase is defined as the length of time it takes for the seed to develop to transform into a seedling.
If you use cuttings, this germination time will be identified as the cloning and rooting time.
The methods of germinating cannabis seeds are different. The most common is to use a wet kitchen towel as a base for the seed. However, many growers use other methods, such as damp cotton, or even directly in the soil, in a Jiffy bag or in water.
Some growers also use germination boosters, which promote the seed’s initial metabolism and soften the seed pod, greatly reducing germination time.
For the other cases, the time is relative. It will depend not only on the type of variety but also on the quality of the seed. Other determining factors will be the age of the seed, its fertility, and the way it has been stored.
The time it takes for the seedling to emerge usually varies between one to five days, although it is not unusual to see seeds take 5 to 15 days to germinate. This will depend on water, humidity, oxygenation, and especially the temperature which must be between 21 ° and 24 ° C during this phase.
Also called the vegetative phase, it is crucial in the development of the plant, except that it is probably the most important phase.
After having obtained your seedling and carefully carrying out its transplant (in a Jiffy or directly in the pot), the growth phase will commence. As its name indicates, it is at this point that the plant will achieve a good part of its size, as well as the architecture necessary to start the next phase as strongly as possible.
As we already know, the photoperiod at this phase will be more important than for the others. In general, we recommended applying 18 hours of light for 6 hours of complete darkness each day. A correct balance between light and dark will be the key to perfect development. Light will be important for photosynthesis, but absolute darkness also plays a key role, because it is during this period that is realized.
This period will vary according to the variety of seed you plant, the variety and/or the crop you have chosen to use. This means that auto-flowering plants will grow more quickly than feminized varieties, and indoor crops will, in general, grow more rapidly than outdoor ones. Similarly, using a high-powered light source will help plants to grow faster than using less powerful lamps.
It is impossible to exactly quantify the length of the growth phase, but the same is true for the other phases, because of plant, environmental, and external factors (such as fertilizers and the dexterity of the cultivator) which can have a considerable impact. In general, indoors, you will count 3-4 weeks (21-25 days) for automatic varieties and around 6 to 8 weeks for feminized strains.
Although regular and feminized seasonal cultivated outdoors often take 8-9 weeks to complete their growth stage, indoors it is possible to falsify climatic and ambient conditions to shorten growth.
Once the right conditions are in place, when you see your plant reach an adequate size and start to open its initial inflorescences, it will be time to switch the photoperiod to commence the flowering cycle.
Flowering is the last period of development of the cannabis plant. Its start will not depend solely on the growth time you give the plant, but also whether or not it has the right characteristics to support the precious buds that it will develop during this phase.
Indeed, you may come across plants that will remain weak, small and without inflorescences even after a month since germination. In this case, you will still need to stay in the growth phase to allow for more solid training.
The automatic varieties will start flowering almost autonomously, which will require you to change the photoperiod when they decide to so close daily observation is necessary. Seasonal seeds, indoors, will depend on the grower’s goodwill. You will need to alter the photoperiod to 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness per day, to use the light stress to push the plant towards the flowering phase.
If the time of a growing plant is relative, this is all the more the case in flowering. Here, there are no other rules than those listed by the seed banks for their variety, that said, in the majority of cases, they will be only for information.
What matters when deciding when to finish flowering, and therefore when to clean the roots and cut the plant, is to be able to see the complete bud development. Even if the time indicated by the seed bank will give you a rough idea of the right time to cut, the main thing is to be able to see that the buds are growing until they cover most of the pistils.
Once your weed plants have fully ripened, harvest time will be revealed by the ripening and progressive oxidation of the trichomes and pistils, which acquire a characteristic amber/honey colour.
Indoors, auto-flowers generally complete their development in about 8 weeks. Feminized strains will take longer depending on the growth you have produced, with an average of 10-12 weeks.
Drying and curing
This phase cannot be considered in the strict sense as a phase of the cannabis plant, but as it is a process which takes time and which is determining to obtain a quality product in terms of flavour, odour, effect and power, it is normal to consider it as a separate phase, with its own characteristics.
It is necessary to make a distinction between drying and curing weed. Drying is the first treatment to be carried out once you have harvested.
Drying will consist of placing your recently cut and manicured buds, in a dry, dark, and cool place, on a drying mesh (remember to thoroughly clean the roots with abundant watering before cutting). Every day you will need to change the position of the buds on the mesh to avoid distorting them.
This process can take 2 to 4 weeks, depending on the location and the conditions of maintenance. The signal that will tell you a bud to dry ideally, will come when you try to bend the stem where the buds are. If you hear a crackle without the stem breaking, your flowers will be ready for curing.
This step aims to put every bud in an airtight container and let them sit with periodic ventilation. Curing can be carried out in various containers, in plastic, glass or drink. Wood is faster, and glass is more practical because it emits no toxic substances or odours.
The container in which you place your harvest should be stored in a dark, cool and dry place. The only thing you will need to do is open the container each day for several minutes so that the little remaining moisture gradually evaporates.
This process generally takes between 2 and 6 weeks. The key moment in ripening will come when the bud creaks by taking it lightly. The idea is to make the intense green go away and no longer emit this vegetable odour, which comes from the chlorophyll still contained in the plant.
According to these estimates, we see to what extent cannabis is slow to develop fully: around 3 months for autoflower varieties, and 4-6 months for feminized according to the type of culture used and the care provided. Besides, you must take into account the drying and refining which can last from 1 to 2 months approximately.
We specify that it depends on the care given to the plant, as well as the variety you choose, the times dedicated to each phase will be more or less long, which therefore influences the time of complete development. Feminized varieties will take longer than automatic ones, for example. In general, weed plants grow much faster in indoor crops, but keep in mind that it is mainly the patience of the cultivator that is fundamental to get the best results.
Growing weed plants is a time-consuming process, but one which can be a lot of fun and that we think you will find very rewarding!
Wondering how long it takes to grow a weed plant indoors or outdoors? Check this blog and find out!
How long does it take to grow marijuana?
From Day 1 of your marijuana plant’s life to a Smokable Harvest, you’re looking at 8.5 weeks – 7+ Months. Many factors will affect the total time, but the average grow takes 3-4 months.
These factors have the greatest impact on total time:
- Plant strain (strain has a big impact on growing time)
- Desired yields (do you want to grow a few grams, a few ounces, or a few pounds?)
- Growing method (differing grow methods/setups can add or subtract a few weeks)
How to grow marijuana as quick as possible:
In order to achieve the shorter 8.5 weeks, you need to choose a fast-finishing strain like Northern Lights and even still, at the low range, you’ll be growing tiny plants that produce just a few grams of smokable harvest.
The time from seed to smokable harvest averages 3-3.5 months for me with a strain like Northern Lights, where I grow the plants for 3-4 weeks in the vegetative stage, growing with cheap, regular CFL lights in coco coir, and with that setup I can get a few easy ounces per plant.
One of the fastest grow methods is growing marijuana with bubbleponics, which shaves a few weeks off the total time and will actually increase your yields, but it requires a bit more equipment to get started.
What if time is not an issue?
Strains from warm climates like Haze 1 tend to have long flowering periods before their buds are ready to harvest, adding weeks or months to the time needed. Long-flowering strains often produce higher yields than short-flowering strains because buds have more time to grow.
Additionally, many growers prefer to ‘cure’ their buds for longer than the 2-week minimum for added flavor and bag appeal, which accounts for why some grows could take several months from seed to smokable harvest.
Important Milestones in the Marijuana Plant’s Life
Depending on how you set up your grow, it can take anywhere from 2 months to 6 months or more to grow a marijuana plant from a seedling to the point where the plant is ready to harvest. Some methods, such as growing hydroponically indoors, give your flexibility to get a harvested plant in as little as 2-3 months. Growing outdoors generally takes longer than growing indoors and is more dependent on when you plant your seeds and how long your growing season is.
Once your plant is harvested, there is a drying and curing process which takes about a minimum of two weeks before your buds are “ready” for use.
For more information about how to grow your own marijuana at home, then check out my Basic Marijuana Growing Guide or one of my more detailed How-To Guides which will explain how to grow your marijuana plant from beginning to end.
Or Jump to the Section of the Tutorial You’re Interested in:
- Before You Start Growing Weed (0-4 weeks)
- Time Needed to Grow Weed, From Seedling to Harvest (8 weeks – 5+ months)
- Germinate Your Seeds (1-5 days)
- Vegetative Stage (2 weeks – 2+ months)
- Flowering Stage (6 weeks – 4 months)
- Post-Harvest (This is when the smell/taste/look you love shows up)
How long does it take to grow marijuana? Short Answer: From Day 1 of your marijuana plant’s life to a Smokable Harvest, you’re looking at 8.5 weeks – 7+ Months . Many factors will affect the