How Long Marijuana Plants Take to Grow
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Are you not sure how long marijuana plants take to grow? Well, the first thing we recommend is to have patience, something that applies to pretty much everything in life. Plants need enough time to grow and develop correctly, and time is what can tell a nice productive plant from a pile of branches lacking in both foliage and yield.
Today we’re going to talk about normal growth times and the different stages that your plants will go through. Maybe some of these questions sound familiar to you;
- How long does cannabis take to germinate/flower?
- What can I do to make my plants flower earlier?
- Can I speed up the growth?
- Which is the fastest, highest yielding plant?
These questions are probably best answered with the age old phrase, time is gold. Obviously a lot of the answers are quite subjective and we can’t give any absolutely concrete times, but we’ll do our best in this article to provide you with a general idea of how long a marijuana plant takes to grow.
Firstly, we’ll begin by dividing the plants’ life cycle into a series of phases:
Germination is defined as the period and process through which the seed changes from a seed to a sapling.
If you’re planting cuttings, then the germination period is known as the cloning and rooting period.
Germination techniques are varying in method, although the one we tend to use the most and is the most recommended involves damp kitchen paper as a base for the seed; many people use other methods, like damp cotton, straight into the earth or a jiffy, or in water.
Some growers even use germination stimulators that work with the seeds initial metabolism and reduce the germination time to about a day in most cases.
Of course, time is relative. It will depend not just on the strain, but the actual quality of the seed itself. Some determining factors are the age of the seed, how fertile it is and how it has been kept.
Saplings tend to take around 24-72 hours to sprout, although sometimes it can take 5 days and in extreme cases it can take up to 15 days. Make sure to pay attention to the water and humidity conditions, as well as the temperature which should be at around 21-24ºC.
This is also called the vegetative phase. It’s the main period of growth that your plant will go through, and probably the most important.
After managing to get your sapling to sprout and transplanting it (into soil or a jiffy), the growth period begins. Just like the name says, your plants will grow the most it’s ever going to grow and stretch upwards during this period, allowing it to get the correct shape and size to proceed to the next stage; flowering.
Like many of you probably already know, your plants will need more light during the growth phase than any other phase. Generally, 18 hours of light and 6 hours of darkness are recommended per day. A proper balance between light and dark is the key element to a successful growth period. The light is obviously very important in as far as photosynthesis, but those hours of darkness are incredibly important as well, as during that time there’s an exchange of essential elements in your plants’ metabolisms.
This period will take more or less time depending on the seed, strain and growing method. Autoflowering plants will be much faster than feminized plants and indoor crops are generally much faster than outdoor crops. Also, if you use a stronger light your crops will generally grow faster than those with less powerful bulbs.
It’s difficult to put a number on how long the growth period takes due to environmental and external factors (fertilizers and the grower’s expertise) that can interfere with crops. Generally, indoors autoflowering plants take about 3 or 4 weeks (21 to 25 days) and around 6 to 8 weeks, maybe more, for feminized strains.
Outdoors regular and feminized seeds tend to take around 8 to 9 weeks, but by growing indoors you can mess around with the timings to make them begin flowering earlier.
This is your cannabis plants’ last period. When it starts will depend obviously on the growth period, but the plant must also have the necessary characteristics developed to allow it to grow buds.
This means that sometimes, a month after germination your plant might still look weak or small, which means that you’ll have to let it continue its growth period for more time.
It’s also important to note that autoflowering strains will flower at their own whim; you’ll need to change the light period once they start showing signs. However, seasonal seeds will need to be helped into the flowering phase by a change in light period. To be exact, you’ll need to switch them to a 12/12h light period which induces your plants into the flowering phase.
I know we said that the growth phase’s timing was relative, but true relative is how long a flowering period can take. There really are no rules apart from certain ones preached by seed banks about their strains, although in most cases these rules are simply guidelines.
The important thing to keep in mind when trying to figure out when the flowering period is coming to an end and you need to wash out the roots is how the buds look. Although times stated by seed banks can give you a general idea, the best way to find out is to watch your bud grow until they’re buried in pistils.
Once they’ve developed that fair, the harvest time will be indicated by the maturity and oxidization of the pistils and trichomes, which become that nice amber/honey color.
Indoors, autoflowering strains will generally finish up at around 8 weeks of flowering, and feminized versions can take longer depending on the growth period, and it’s normal for them to take anywhere between 10 to 12 weeks, and in a lot of cases even more.
Drying and Curing:
This stage isn’t even classifiable like the plant’s life cycle, although we can tell you that it’s a process that will take a while and it’s just an important as the plant’s periods when it comes to gett ing top quality taste, aroma, effect and potency.
First, you’ll have to differentiate between drying and curing; the first thing you’ll need to do with your freshly-cut harvest is dry it.
Basically, you’ll have to place your harvest, cut and trimmed, in a dark, cool and dry place in a drying mesh or sock (don’t forget to clean your plants roots out thoroughly towards harvesting time). All you’ll have to do is move the buds around the mesh or sock every day so they don’t become inclined to one side or another.
This process can take a while depending on placement and terrain; from two to four weeks. The sign of a properly dried bud is being able to bend it without breaking it, but while also hearing that nice crispy sound.
After the drying process comes the curing process, like a good cheese.
It simply involves placing all of your buds in a container and leaving it to sit with a periodic opening to let the air flow. Curing can be done in different containers; plastic, glass or wood, although wood is faster than glass and glass is the most recommended as it doesn’t emit or contain any sort of toxic substances.
The container in which you deposit your harvest will need to be kept in a dark, cool and dry place. The only thing you’ll need to do will be to open the container for about five minutes a day so that the humidity can leave your bud, and you end up with a perfectly chlorophyll-free product.
This process can take anywhere from two to six weeks. The main indication of a proper curing is that the bud crunches when pressed in slightly, if you bend the stem it breaks water than bends, and the intense green color should fade, as well as the leafy green smell.
According to these estimates, marijuana takes about three months to grow completely for autoflowering versions, and four to five or more months for feminized strains depending on crop method and expertise. Don’t forget that drying and curing will take a month or two more.
We’re going to insist on the fact that depending on how you grow your plants as well as the strain you choose to grow, each phase will be longer or shorter, and therefore so will the entire life cycle. Feminized strains will take longer to be harvestable, and autoflowering strains will take less time. There’s also a new version called the “fast version” that the Sweet Seeds seed bank has developed. Also, indoor crops will take less time to be harvestable than outdoor crops.
And don’t forget that patience is a virtue for every grower out there!
Author: Kiko Nieto, Growbarato Collaborator
Translation: Ciara Murphy
Everyone's wondered how long marijuana plants take to grow at some time, and the answer is quite relative but we'll do our best to give you a general idea!
How tall will my plant grow? And how long will it take?
Question: How tall should I expect my marijuana plants to get? And how long does it take until harvest?
How long will it take?
How tall will it grow?
Get the answers below!
These are very common questions for new growers, so let me give you the straight answers…
How long will my marijuana plant take to grow? How long from seed to harvest?
It will be 8 weeks – 6+ Months before your plants are ready to harvest.
But that’s a huge range, right?
The truth is, the time to harvest depends on your growing method, whether you grow inside or outside, your strain, and your desired yields…
Growing Method – soil tends to be the slowest growing medium, and hydro tends to create the fastest growth
Inside or Outside – In general, outdoor plants need longer to harvest than indoor plants. Outdoors, you plant in the spring, and harvest in late fall, taking 5-6 months or more. Indoors you have more control over the plant and can choose how long you want your plants to grow before harvest, and can get to harvest in just a few months. Indoors you can also start growing at any time (you don’t have to wait until Spring to start growing).
Strain – Some strains tend to have shorter lives, and others need longer before they’re ready to harvest. For example, you can choose to grow an auto-flowering strain to get to harvest in as short as 8 weeks. But many strains which originated near the equator can take months and months before their buds are ready to harvest, even when growing indoors. So strain is important when it comes to time-to-harvest.
Desired Yields – If you want bigger yields, you need a bigger plant, and that takes more time to grow than a small one.
Discover Exactly How Long It Takes Before You Get to Harvest
How tall will my marijuana plants get?
Plants can be grown shorter than your knees, or taller than your house.
Basically you (the grower) are in complete control of how tall your cannabis plants grow.
This is especially true for indoor growers, where you are in charge of nearly everything. When growing outdoors, you still have a bit of control over plant height, but you are also at the mercy of the sun and the elements.
Some strains tend to grow tall and thin, while others tend to grow short and squat, but you can force your plant to grow differently when growing cannabis indoors. In fact, you have many options to control the exact shape and size of your plant.
To learn about all the tools and techniques you have available to control the height and shape of your plant, take a look at our Plant Training & Height Control guide!
Short plant in a small space – this plant is only about two feet tall thanks to training with a screen, yet still producing lots of bud! You don’t need a huge space to get a good harvest when you use plant training.
These cannabis plants were also trained to stay short, this time using LST – they were under two feet tall at harvest and produced more than 6 ounces of bud under a small grow light!
These plants were trained using manifolding. They were about 5 feet tall at harvest, and produced more than a pound of bud!
You can achieve almost any size or shape when growing indoors as long as you use plant training. But if a cannabis plant is left to grow outside with tons of sun and without any plant training, the sky is the limit for how big they can get!
Although it isn’t the be-all end-all when it comes to size, strain is still definitely something to keep in mind when it comes to height. Although you can control the exact height and shape of your plant no matter what the strain with plant training, different strains grow differently and you want a strain that makes it easier to get the results you want. When growing with bagseed (seeds that you find in your buds) you often don’t know what to expect until the plant actually starts growing.
For example, some strains (known as “indica” strains tend to stay short, while “sativa” strains tend to grow tall). Just to give you an idea of the difference, these plants were grown in the exact same setup.
To fight these natural tendencies and force these plants to be the same height, the grower would have needed to use different techniques and training strategies. If the grower had wanted to make the right plant shorter, the plant would have needed more Low Stress Training and Supercropping.
For the left plant to grow taller, the grower would have needed to give the plant more time, since indicas tend to stay short. So even though you can force plants to grow into any size and shape, it’s often easier to start with a strain that naturally grows the way you want. That way your plant is working with you instead of against you. Learn how to find the right strain for your needs.
Learn more about how to get your plants to grow the size and height you want!
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About Nebula Haze
In response to the need for more tutorials aimed at new growers, Nebula co-founded GrowWeedEasy.com in 2010 with fellow grower Sirius Fourside.
Since then, Nebula has published hundreds of growing articles in print and online, and continues to dedicate herself to serving the medical marijuana growing community.
“My mission is to show other medical marijuana patients how easy it can be to grow weed out of your closet.”
[Answer inside!] These are very common questions for new growers, so let me give you the straight answers…