Exploring Growth: 4 Weed Plant Stages

In this course, I’ll teach you what different marijuana plant stages are and what plant does in each of these stages. I will provide you with step-by-step guidelines on how to maintain your plants during all four stages. Knowing precisely what plant is doing allows you to react appropriately to certain situations. It’s also fun…

Exploring Growth: 4 Weed Plant Stages
Kodinov Ivan

Author: Kodinov Ivan

Publish Date: July 18, 2023
Last Update Date: September 13, 2023

Guide To Different Growth Stages Of Cannabis Plant

This guide is based on experience of our breeders, wich is based on their grow journals.

It’s also partly based on my own experiences and knowledge from other professional growers.

Cannabis plant starts their life as seed. After being planted, it will go through various stages untill it reaches its full potential.

During these various stages cannabis plant has different needs, so you have to ensure your plants get proper nutrients at the right time.

In this course, I’ll explain to you what each stage is and what marijuana plant needs during that stage.

How To Start Growing Marijuana For First Time

How To Start Growing Marijuana For First Time

Growing marijuana is fun and easy, but there are some things you should know before you start, especially if this is your first time growing weed.

First, there are two types of marijuana plants; Indica and Sativa.

Mix of these two gives us Hybrids.

Indicas grow shorter but broader, so they’re more sturdy plants. Sativas grow taller and are less sturdy than Indicas.

It’s good idea to start with Indica because it’s more accessible plant to begin with.

You also need to determine if you want to grow marijuana indoors or outdoor. Each location has its challenges and benefits.

If you grow indoors, you will need lamp that provides your plants with enough lights.

You can go with regular household lamps (60 watts) or use MH or HPS lamps (400-1000 watts).

More wattage, better lights your plant get, but more energy you consume.

Outdoor, it’s important that your plant get enough sunlight. If they don’t get enough sunlight, they won’t grow as much and produce as many buds.

You can use different types of lighting, but it has to be very close to sunlight.

Please consider that plants only absorb part of light they receive, and rest is converted into heat.

That’s why lamps generate so much heat because they convert lot of light into heat.

If you grow outdoor, you must ensure your plant is not exposed to wind or rain.

Water and wind can damage your plant and lower yield by damaging buds. You could place net over your plants or put them in little garden shed. Make sure they get enough water!

Steps On How To Plant Small Mary Jane

When it comes to planting marijuana and starting growing process these are steps you need to consider:

  1. Prepare your growing area
  2. Choose right seeds
  3. Germinate seeds
  4. Grow seedling until they’re 5 inches high
  5. Transplant into bigger pots

First, you have to prepare your growing area. I always start with germinated seeds and transplant young seedling into 12/12 light cycle.

It’s essential to provide suitable climate for your plant to prevent diseases and wrong growth.

Check if your grow rooms are insulated adequately against cold and heat. Also, ensure sufficient ventilation to remove all stale air from your growing area.

Set temperature of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit during day and about 60 degrees at night.

Place lamp as high as possible above plants, but make sure it’s not too close because this could lead to burns of leaves that hang down.

Baby Seedling Stage

Baby Seedling Stage

Seedlings are just that – young, small plants. They’re only few centimeters tall and consist of single pair of leaves.

Plant will grow another set of leaves later. It’s essential to provide marijuana seedlings with proper lighting and temperature so they can grow optimally.

Marijuana seedling need lot of light to be able to absorb sufficient amounts of CO2, which is vital for their development.

If you’re growing outdoor in spring or summer, your seeds will germinate during very sunny periods, which gives them great chance to get an excellent start.

If you’re starting indoors in winter, you have to provide your seedling with sufficient light from beginning in early stage.

During seedling stage, marijuana plants require much care and attention to ensure healthy development. Critical requirements for marijuana seedling are:

  • Light: Marijuana seedling require at least 16 hours of light per day.
  • Temperature: Optimal temperature range for marijuana seedling is between 20-25°C (68-77°F).
  • Humidity: Ideal humidity range for marijuana seedling is between 70-80%.
  • Watering: Seedling need to be watered frequently, but be careful not to overwater them.
  • Nutrients: Seedling require small amount of nutrients during this early stage of growth.
  • pH: pH of soil should be around 6.0 to 6.5.
  • Soil: Use high-quality seed-starting soil rich in organic matter and nutrients.

Vegetative Stage

Once your seedling has its first pair of true leaves, you can carefully transplant them into bigger pots.

After being potted,this is when vegetative state begins.

Plant will use some time to recover from transplant, but once it has, they will grow like crazy and use all available soil nutrients in vegetative growth.

Plant will also start to develop third and fourth pairs of leaves at this stage. These will eventually become top leaves that produce THC and other cannabinoids.

During vegetative stage, marijuana plants focus on leaf, nodes, and stem growth. Nodes are closely spaced together, and cannabis plants produce dense canopy leaves.

Marijuana plants during vegetative stage conditions are listed below:

  • Light: Veg cannabis requires 18-24 hours of light per day during vegetative stage.
  • Temperature: Optimal temperature range for marijuana plants during vegetative stage is between 20-30°C (68-86°F).
  • Humidity: Ideal humidity range for marijuana plants during vegetative stage is 40-70%.
  • Watering: Water plants when soil feels dry to touch.
  • Nutrients: Marijuana plants require higher levels of nitrogen during vegetative stage.
  • pH: pH of soil should be around 6.0 to 7.0 in vegetative growth.
  • Soil: Use high-quality soil rich in nutrients and has good drainage.

Pre-Flowering Stage

After couple of weeks, at 3 month old plant will enter pre flowering stage. This happens because of changes in light cycle.

Light period will be shortened to 12 hours, and plant will flower when it gets an adequate length.

Plants will now start growing bushier and put all their energy into production of buds.

It’s good to keep plants healthy during this stage by providing them with correct nutrients and by controlling humidity low.

Flowering Stage

Flowering Stage

Flowering stage is lengthiest stage in growing process. It start around 5 weeks of growth, and it can take between 6 weeks and 10 weeks, depending on type of marijuana plant you’re growing.

If you want to harvest more than single plant, this is time when you have to take care of that.

Ensure plant gets sufficient water and starts providing it with potassium-rich nutrients.

Ensure you provide your plants with fresh oxygen during flowering stage because buds need lots of clean oxygen to develop correctly.

In this stages, marijuana plants focus on producing buds. Requirements during flowering stage are:

  • Light: Marijuana plants require 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness per day during flowering stage.
  • Temperature: Optimal temperature range for marijuana plants during flowering stage is between 18-26°C (65-80°F).
  • Humidity: Ideal humidity range for marijuana plants during flowering stage is between 40-50%.
  • Watering: Water plants when soil feels dry to touch.
  • Nutrients: Marijuana plants require higher levels of phosphorus and potassium during flowering stage.
  • pH: pH should be around 6.0 to 7.0.
  • Soil: Use soil that is rich in nutrients and has good drainage.

When Does Budding Happens – First Appearance Of Buds

Now, we can already see first little white hairs appear. This is sign that plant will start to bud.

Budding happens at varying times for different strains, but it usually starts around weeks 10-12.

It’s time to increase your plants’ nutrients and add phosphor acid.

You should also start rotating your lights 180 degrees so plants are only exposed to dark hours.

From now on, your plants will no longer grow as much and will start to focus more on production of buds.

Make sure to keep your plants nice and moist because production of buds requires lot of energy.

And make sure you provide your plants with enough water if you ever see leaves start to discolor and hang limp.

This is sure sign of dehydration. Stems and leaves of plant are susceptible to dehydration.

Pictures of Bud Growth

Here are some pictures to show you what your marijuana buds should look like during harvest stages.

Cannabis plants don’t all grow precisely same, but general appearence of your plants can tell you lot about how they’re doing. If you see any issues, it’s best to act quickly and resolve them before they get out of hand and damage your entire crop.

Light Cycles For Different Marijuana Growing Stages

Below is an overview of light cycles needed for different weed plant’s growth stages.

Keep in mind that these are just recommendations and not strict rules.

Here are recommended light cycles for different marijuana plant growth stages:

  • Seedling stage: 16 hours of light per day
  • Vegetative stage: 18 – 24 hours of light per day
  • Flowering stage: 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness per day

To force your marijuana to flower, give them 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness.

By doing so, plant thinks winter is over, and it’s time to reproduce. Plant will start to grow side branches that will become buds.

Plant needs light during entire day for photosynthesis, but they can handle many periods of darkness.

Suppose you grow in rooms with light that automatically turns off. You could also hang lamps in different rooms or put your plants in dark rooms.

How To Grow Marijuana: Plant Life Cycle Week By Week

In this course, I’ll teach you everything you need to know about life cycle of marijuana plant week by week.

Weed plant grows very quickly, so from start of your grow to harvest, it will take about 3 month, 4 months, 5 months, or 6 months. It all depends on strain you are growing.

First Stage Of Life Cycle – Start Sprout Of Seeds – Germinating Process

First phase of life cycle is start sprout of seeds, also called as germination process. Germinating occurs in dark, at rooms temperature, and with sufficient humidity.

If you’re growing indoors, you can place little humidifier next to your grow room.

Once seeds emerge from soil, and seedling is one day old, it needs light and starts to grow towards light source.

Plant makes new roots at bottom and top of seedling will eventually arise. These are called ‘true leaves’ because they are real leaves that will help plant grow and photosynthesize from start.

Young Cannabis At 2 Week Old – Seedling Stage

Young Cannabis At 2 Week Old – Seedling Stage

After germinating, seedling will emerge from soil. They’ll grow 1 to 2 inches per week by week and need lots of light. Always place your lamp as close to weed as possible.

Also, ensure you’re giving them the right amount of water by checking their soil every day or every other day.

During first few weeks, feed your 2 week old seedling with plant starter to provide them with all necessary nutrients they need.

This mix is specially made for seedlings and contains all neccessary nutrients, such as nitrogen, potassium, and calcium.

You should now see first little root hairs appear. It will take another weeks or two before these are sufficiently long to search for water.

3 Week Old Seedlings Stage

As your 3 week old seedling develops, you will notice tiny leaves starting to turn green and becoming more compact.

They’ll grow more in size, but not as much later. Keep feeding them every other day with water that has half dose of nutrients dissolved in it.

Check bottom of pots for dripping water, which is an indication your weed is properly watered. 

Once plant reaches about 4 inches in height, it’s time to transplant them into bigger pots.

Make sure you give them plenty of water before you do this and make hole in middle of soil with your finger.

Now take small pot and place it underneath big pot with plant to lift it. Put some soil from big pot into small one and gently place plant in this new pot.

Weed Plant At 4 Weeks Vegetative Stage

Always keep in mind; more light, more growth.

Your weed will now grow very quickly, and it’ll start to develop multiple leaves.

In addition, they’ll start to get their first pair of branches, which will serve as basis for main buds later on.

Ensure you provide your weed with lot of lights during vegetative stage because this is when they develop. If you’re growing indoors, you can use 600 watt MH or HPS lamps.

5 Week Old Veg Plant Stages

Plant is now about 5 inches tall and has healthy amount of new growth.

Root system is also coming along nicely, which is important for plant to absorb nutrients from soil.

In next phase, we’ll give them different types of food to optimally prepare them for flowering phase.

We’ll switch to Flower Booster and increase EC value of water to 1.5 – 2.0. We’ll keep pH at 6.0 during vegetative growth, but will lower it to 5.8 during flowering stage.

2 Months Pre Bloom Cycle Stage

In 8 weeks all plant have healthy green color and are well rooted in soil by now. When they are 2 month old they’re getting some nice big leaves and will continue to grow toward end of month.

It would be best if you placed lamp little bit higher to prevent plant from getting burned.

If your climate is right, your weed will use all nutrients they need, so you don’t have to give them anything else.

You can now also start pruning your plant again if needed. This enables more lights to reach bottom leaves, and buds will become more extensive.

Plant is nicely filled out and starts to grow upwards more and more.

Leaves are also getting more comprehensive and will be rich green.

Week 9 Start of Bloom Phase

Weeds are getting bigger, leaves start to get wider, and they’re getting more green color.

More light means plants can make more food via photosynthesis and grow faster.

You should force your marijuana to flowering by giving them 12 hours of lights and 12 hours of darkness.

Fully Grown Marijuana – Harvesting Time

Fully Grown Marijuana – Harvesting Time

After 9 weeks of flowering phase, plant is now fully grown and ready for harvest.

You’ll notice that buds are starting to become full grown, and resin balls start to become sticky.

If you touch these balls, they should leave clear resin print on your finger.

THC levels have increased to their maximum, and buds are ripe for harvest.

It’s good idea to let your marijuana rest few days before you start to harvest them, so plant can accumulate last bit of resins but do this before expiry session of harvest (don’t let buds get too dry).

How Long Does Process Of Growing Weed Take – Growing Chart

Growing cannabis can take 3-7 months, depending on strain, growing conditions, and desired outcome.

To find out how long it takes to grow marijuana, I’ve made little chart with different growing stages.

This way you can see how long your plant needs to go from cannabis seed to seedling to harvest and how long each cannabis growing plant stages lasts.

Germination of seed 1 – 3 days
Seedling stage – early stage of growth 1 week to 3 weeks
Vegetative stage 4 weeks – 8 weeks
Pre flowering stage 1 week – 2 weeks
Flowering stage 6 weeks – 12 weeks
Harvesting and Drying 1 week – 3 weeks

 It’s important to note that time lapse for each cannabis growth stages can vary based on strain and growing conditions.

Additionally, some growers may choose to extend veg stages or use other techniques to manipulate cannabis plants grow and yield.

How Does Female And Male Weed Look Like In Different Plant Stages

From moment you see first two leaves, plant goes through number of stages.

It’s not challenging to recognize sex of plant because males will have pollen sacs sooner or later, and females will have pistils.

It’s time to determine if your marijuana is in early male or early stage female. It’s good idea to know difference between male and female 2 week old seedling plant.

To do this, you must first know what males and females look like. 

Females start to create white hairs (pistils) in their growing stage. In comparison, males will have pollen sacs in same place.

Once pollen sacs are ripe, they will burst open, and pollen will be released. This pollen can fertilize a female weed plant, and in its various stages, cause seeds to grow.

Starting from 5th week, you can determine gender of your plant. You can use magnifying glas if you have one lying around.

Knowing gender of your plant is very important to prevent pollination and unwanted seeding.

Female Flowers, White Hairs And Cola

Female marijuana produces flowers that are typically called buds or colas.

These buds contain highest concentration of THC and are part of plant that is harvested and used for recreational or medicinal purposes.

When plant enters flowering stage, females will develop tiny white hairs, called pistils, at end base of each potential bud site.

These white hairs are sign that plant is female and is preparing to bloom and produce buds that give you happy feeling when consumed.

As buds develop and mature, pistils will change color and darken, with some strains turning orange or red as they mature.

Cola is term used to describe main, large bud that forms at top of main stem of plant.

This bud end is typically larger and denser than buds that form on lower end of branches.

However, some growers may use training techniques to encourage more even bud growth throughout plant.

It’s important to note that only female plant produce buds with high levels of THC.

Males produce small flowering that is not typically used for consumption, which can reduce females’ yield and potency if they are not removed from growing areas.

What is Hermie and Early Signs In Pictures

Hermaphrodite is plant that has both male and female characteristics. When cannabis plants are stressed, they can sometimes change gender spontaneously.

This can occur with feminized cannabis seeds. Here are some early first signs that cannabis plants may be turning hermie:

  • Small, banana-shaped structures appear on cannabis buds.
  • Male flowering may start to develop alongside female cannabis flowers.
  • Changes in lighting schedules can trigger hermaphroditism
  • Stressful growing conditions can also trigger development of male flowering on female cannabis plants.

How Many Leaves Should Healthy Seedlings Plant Have?

How Many Leaves Should Healthy Seedlings Plant Have?

Once you see two leaves emerge from cannabis seeds, you have healthy seedling cannabis.

As days pass, it’s good to have at least 5 leaves: more leaves, healthier plant.

If you have five leaves and lot of roots, chances are good that plant will survive.

Leaf is most crucial organ of plant because that’s where photosynthesis takes place.

More lights your marijuana recieve, more leaves it can produce, and better weed plant will grow. Good luck!

Beginning Of Cultivating Indica Cannabis And Sativa Cannabis

I will explain difference between cultivating Indica or Sativa cannabis plants so you know exactly what to expect from each.

Sativa cannabis plants are an average of 2.5 meters tall, much taller than Indica, which only reaches 1.2 meters on average.

If you want to keep your production discreet, you’ll choose Indica.

But if you prefer to have big yield in short time, Sativa is right option for you. So let’s take closer look at chart for difference between Indica and Sativa cannabis plant and their characteristics.

Taller cannabis plantShorter cannabis plant
Lighter and thinner leavesDarker, more wider leaves
Bigger buds (smaller leaves)Bigger leaves (smaller buds)
Uplifting and happier high effectsCalmer and sleepier effect
Suitable for warmer climatesSuitable for cooler climates

How Big Can Indica and Sativa Cannabis Plant Get Indoor

Sativa can reach height of 3.5 meters and Indica 1.2 to 1.8 meters.

That’s difference of two to three times size. But that’s not only different because Indicas are broader than Sativas.

When growing Indica, you’ll quickly notice that hemp plants start to become wider and less tall.

This is because of stress resistence genes in strain. Indicas are much more resistant to light, cold, and drought.

Sativa has higher demands concerning light, temperature, and CO2. Indica therefor grows less tall, but it can get very wide at end of its life cycle. If you want to cultivate your cannabis indoors is best to go with Indica Cannabis.

How Tall Can Indica and Sativa Plants Get When Growing Marijuana Outdoor

Sativa will get higher and thinner than Indica. But climate, soil, and location also play significant roles in final height.

You can expect Sativa cannabis plants to reach around 6 feet (2 meters) in flowering stage outdoors. I’ve seen some exceptional outdoor Sativa that was 9 or 10 feet (3 meters) tall in warmer climates, but most outdoor Sativa will get to around 6.5 feet (2.5 meters).

Outdoor Indica will reach around 4-5 feet (1.25-1.75 meters) in Northern Europe and cooler climates.

Sativa is better option if you want to grow your cannabis outdoor and have space, but if you don’t want your cannabis to get noticed you better go with Indica Cannabis.


Here are most common questions with answers regarding growth of cannabis and its stages of growth.

What are flowering stages, and why are they important?

Flowering phase is crucial period in life cycle of cannabis plant, during which they begin to produce buds that are harvested for consumption. 

Flowering weeks are critical for cannabis growers because it directly affects quality and quantity of THC and final harvest. 

If marijuana does not receive proper care during this phase, buds may not develop fully, resulting in lower yields and reduced potency.

How do I know if I’m growing male or female plant?

Around 4 – 6 weeks after germination, cannabis plants will show first signs of their sex. Look for small, white pre-flowers on nodes where branches meet stem.

These pre-flowers will eventually start flowering into either male or female flowers.

If you are cultivating plants for consumption, you will want to remove any males from your garden to prevent them from fertilizing female cannabis plant and producing cannabis seeds. 

What are white hairs, and what do they mean?

White hairs, also known as pistils, are hair-like structures that emerge from calyxes of female cannabis flowers during flowering weeks. 

They are crucial indicators of plant’s stages of maturity and play significant role in determining optimal time lapse for harvest.

How long does flowering take?

Several factors, including genetics, lighting, and nutrient levels, influence length of flowering.

Duration of flowering stages of cannabis plants varies depending on strain and growing conditions. 

Generally, flowering can last anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks.

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