Cannabis growing can be generally broken down into several stages. In each stage, the plant will change its appearance and needs. Knowing what to expect and what your plant needs at each stage can ensure a successful harvest. Try to provide your cannabis plants with the ideal conditions they need at each life cycle stage as much as possible.
The different stages of cannabis growth are:
1. Seed Germination
Seed germination is the first stage of growth. It’s when your seed starts to sprout and produce a little taproot. You can germinate your seeds using several methods, but placing them in moist paper towels or coco coir is the most common.
Once your seeds have germinated, they must be transplanted into a soil medium or hydroponic system. Some things to pay attention to during this stage are the humidity and temperature of your grow room and the amount of light.
For example, ensure that the humidity is around 40-60% and the temperature is between 21-26°C. The seeds also need a dark environment to germinate, so make sure they’re in a dark closet or covered with a black cloth.
2. Seedling Stage
The seedling stage starts when your little taproot breaks through the seed’s shell. Ensure that you don’t let the soil dry out, as this can be detrimental to the young plant. The ideal temperature for this stage is also 21-26°C.
During the seedling stage, you should also start to introduce some light. This can be done with artificial lights or by placing your plants near a window. However, ensure the light isn’t too strong, which can also be detrimental to the young plant.
When selecting a light, it’s essential to choose one that will mimic the spectrum of sunlight. This will ensure that your plant gets the right amount of light, which is vital for growth. Another thing to note is the type of cannabis strain you’re growing.
Each strain has different light requirements; it is essential to note this when growing. For example, some strains, such as indicas, are shorter and don’t need as much light. On the other hand, sativas are taller and will need more light to reach their full potential.
3. Vegetative Stage
The vegetative stage is when your plant starts to grow leaves and branches. This is where your plant will begin to take off in growth. The vegetative stage can last anywhere from 2-8 weeks, depending on your growing strain.
During this stage, it’s essential to provide your plant with plenty of light, depending on the strain you’re growing. For example, indicas can get by with 12 hours of light, while sativas need around 18 hours. The ideal temperature for the vegetative stage is also 21-26°C. However, some strains can tolerate higher or lower temperatures. For example, some Indica strains can handle temperatures as low as 16°C.
Some things to look for during this stage are the size and shape of your plant. This will give you an indication of how your plant is growing and if it’s on track. You should also start to see new leaves and branches during this stage. Regarding nutrients, cannabis plants need more nitrogen during the vegetative stage.
However, you need to be aware of some problems that can occur during this stage, such as nutrient deficiencies and light burns. Nutrient deficiencies are when your plant doesn’t have enough of a specific nutrient, which can stunt growth or cause other problems. Light burn is when your plant is getting too much light, and it can cause the leaves to turn yellow or brown. If this happens, you need to reduce the amount of light your plant is getting.
4. Pre-flowering Stage
The pre-flowering stage is when your plant starts to produce flowers or buds. This stage indicates that your cannabis plants are ready to enter the flowering stage. The pre-flowering stage usually lasts around two weeks, but it can vary depending on your growing strain.
During this stage, you should see small flowers or buds forming on your plant. The leaves might also change color, and the plant might start to stretch. In terms of light, you should reduce the amount of light your plant is getting. For example, if you’re growing an indica strain, you should only give it around 10 hours of light.
5. Flowering Stage
The flowering stage is when your plant produces flowers (buds). This is the most crucial stage in the growth cycle when your plant has the THC you will consume. Depending on your growing strain, the flowering stage can last anywhere from 6-10 weeks.
Reducing the amount of light your plant is getting is essential during this stage. Exposing your plant to too much light can cause it to produce less THC. For most strains, 12 hours of light is sufficient. However, some strains, such as indicas, can flower with as little as 8 hours of light. As for the temperature, the ideal range is 18-22°C. Regarding nutrients, your plant will need more phosphorus and potassium during the flowering stage. This is because these nutrients are essential for bud development.
Some problems during this stage are nutrient deficiencies, pests, and mold. Nutrient deficiencies have already been mentioned, but it’s worth mentioning again as they can be a big problem during the flowering stage. Pests are another problem that can occur, as they can cause damage to your plants. Mould is also a problem, as it can ruin your buds and make them unusable.
6. Harvesting, Drying, and Curing
After the flowering stage, your plant will be ready for harvest. This is when you’ll cut down your plant and dry the buds. Drying is an essential process as it allows the THC to develop fully. Curing is also a necessary process, as it helps to improve the taste, smell, and potency of your buds. The curing process can take anywhere from 2-4 weeks.
Once your buds are dry and cured, they’re ready to be consumed. You can smoke them, vape them, or use them to make edibles.
The cannabis plant has a growth cycle of 6 stages – germination, seedling, vegetative, pre-flowering, flowering, and harvesting/drying/curing. Each stage is essential and affects the final product.