First Signs of Flowering: Pre-flowering Stage Meaning

Get ready for thrilling guide into world of cannabis cultivation, where understanding various growth stages is key to maximizing health, vitality, and yield of your marijuana plants. But one stage that’s often overlooked and its importance can’t be understated – preflowering stage. In this guide, we’ll delve into intricacies of pre-flowering stage, exploring its purpose,…

First Signs of Flowering: Pre-flowering Stage Meaning
Kodinov Ivan

Author: Kodinov Ivan

Publish Date: July 11, 2023
Last Update Date: September 18, 2023

What Is Meaning Of The Pre-Flowering Stage

The preflower stage, a pivotal stages in the life cycle of marijuana plants, marks transition from vegetative growth to the start flowering stage.

During this critical time, cannabis plants undergo a host of physiological and hormonal changes that prepare them for the production of buds.

What Is Meaning Of The Pre-Flowering Stage

As an expert cultivator, it’s imperative to comprehend the significance of pre-flowering, as it plays a vital role in shaping outcome of harvest.

This stage is characterized by subtle yet significant changes in plant’s appearance, including emergence of preflowers, which serve as first indication of plant’s sex.

By comprehending and properly managing pre-flowering, cultivators can boost yield and potency of their cannabis plants while mitigating potential risks related to plant health and gender balance.

What Is The Nickname For The Preflowering Stage?

In the world of cannabis strains cultivation, the pre-flowering stage has earned a unique nickname – “The Stretch” or “Transitional Stages.”

This informal moniker is inspired by distinctive growth pattern exhibited by marijuana plants during this period.

The stretching is crucial for the health and productivity of your cannabis plants.

It enables them to develop robust structures that can support the weight of buds during flowering.

How Long Does Preflowering Stage Lasts When Growing Autoflowers

Autoflowers cannabis plants, with their unique genetic makeup that triggers blooming process without the need for external stimuli like changing seasons or photoperiod, are known for their distinctive growth patterns.

The preflower stage in these strains is one facet that sets them apart from traditional photoperiod cannabis plants.

While the duration of preflower stage may vary slightly from one autoflowering strain to another, it is essential for experienced cannabis cultivators to comprehend nuances and intricacies of these strains in order to achieve optimal growth and harvest.

Autoflowering strains, with their unique combination of traits from Cannabis sativa strain, Cannabis indica strain, and hardy and fast-flowering Cannabis ruderalis strain, typically start flowering stage faster than photoperiod varieties.

Duration of early flowering weeks in autoflowers usually ranges between 2 to 4 weeks, depending on specific strain and growing conditions.

This abbreviated timeframe is the result of unique genetics that accelerate the bloom process within plants.

Understanding The PreFlowering Stage

The start of flowering is a pivotal stages in the life cycle of marijuana plants, serving as a transitional cycle between the vegetative growth and the flowering, when flowering plants show signs of sexual maturity.

Understanding The PreFlowering Stage

This stage is critical for growers, who must identify and separate male and females to ensure production of high-quality buds with high levels of cannabinoids.

During start of flowering stage, plant’s energy is focused on development on its sexual organs, which are essential for reproduction.

These organs – calyxes and pistils in female plant and pollen sacs in males – emerge from nodes, becoming more prominent as the stage progresses.

As plants transition into this stage, their growth rate may slow down, allowing plant to prioritize development of these reproductive structures.

It’s crucial for growers to closely monitor their plants during this stage, as it allows them to spot female or male first sign of plant’s sex and take appropriate action.

Noticing male first sign prevents accidental pollination, which can significantly reduce quality and potency of harvested buds.

By understanding preflower stage, growers can optimize their plant’s potential and achieve bountiful and potent harvest.

Timing Of The Preflowering Stage

The timing of this stage varies greatly depending on a number of factors, such as strain of marijuana, growing conditions, and whether the plants are photoperiod or auto flower.

In general, preflowering typically start between third and sixth week of vegetative growth, though certain strains cannabis may start to show flowering earlier or later.

For photoperiod plants, timing of preflower stage is mainly dictated by changes in light cycle.

When transitioning from vegetative to flowering, cultivators must adjust lighting to a 12 hours on, 12 hours off schedule.

This shift in light exposure simulates natural change in daylight hours that occurs during fall season and triggers plant to enter flowering.

Auto flowers strains, on the other hand, do not rely on changes in light cycle to enter flowering. Instead, these plants are genetically programmed to start the flowering at specific age, usually between 2 to 4 weeks after germination.

This makes timing of flowers more predictable in autoflowering strains compared to their photoperiod counterparts.

Physical Changes In The Plant During This Stage

As pre-flowering stage progresses, marijuana plants undergo significant transformations that prepare them for the flowering.

It is crucial for growers to understand these physical changes, as they help to identify plant’s developmental stage and ensure appropriate care.

During stretch, cannabis plants experience noticeable growth spurt, with the potential to double or even triple in size.

This focus on developing structure necessary to support future buds is evident through rapid expansion.

Branches and nodes become more defined, with internodal spacing decreasing.

This increased density is sign of healthy plant preparing to support weight of its buds.

In addition, fan leaves grow more robust and larger, playing critical role in photosynthesis and energy production.

Pre-flowers or early flowers are another indicator of flowering.

These tiny hair-like structures called pistils appear at base of nodes.

Females have white, wispy pistils, while males exhibit small pollen sac-like structures.

Importance Of Sexing The Plant

Uncovering the sex of your marijuana plants at an early stage of their pre-flowering is a crucial element of successful cultivation.

The ability to differentiate between male and females, and to separate them, sets you on a path to bountiful harvest.

The imperative reason for sexing your cannabis crops is that female plant is responsible for producing coveted resin-rich buds that contain psychoactive and medicinal compounds.

Male plant, on the other hand, produce pollen sacs that, when allowed to fertilize female plant, result in formation of seeds within buds.

By removing males from your garden during the flowering, you can focus your efforts and resources on nurturing your female plant.

This ensures they receive the necessary attention, nutrients, and light to produce an abundant harvest of high-quality buds.

Early sexing also prevents accidental pollination that can negatively impact quality and potency of your harvest.

Unwanted pollination redirects energy from bud production to seed development, resulting in lower yields and reduced potency.

By identifying and removing males in a timely manner, you can protect your female plant from dry pollination and maintain integrity of your crop.

Hormonal Changes That Trigger The Preflowering Phase

Elevate your grow game with deep understanding of hormonal changes that spark flowering in marijuana plants.

Key hormones involved in this process are auxins, gibberellins, ethylene, and florigen.

Auxins and gibberellins work synergistically to regulate growth, development, and the blooming stage.

Auxins stimulate formation of flowers primordia, while gibberellins promote stem elongation to provide sufficient space for new blooms.

Ethylene, a gaseous hormone, plays a critical role in the differentiation of male and female flowers, directing plant’s energy toward flower production.

Florigen, the flowering hormone, is synthesized in leaves and transported to shoot apical meristem where it encourages growth of flower primordia.

The synthesis of florigen is influenced by photoperiod, meaning light exposure significantly influences timing of flowering.

Preparing Marijuana Plant For The PreFlowering Stage

As cannabis cultivator, it’s imperative to ensure your plants are adequately prepared for the flowering, which marks critical transition from their vegetative state.

This involves delicate balance of factors such as lighting, nutrient requirements, watering and drainage, temperature and humidity conditions.

Failure to heed these crucial tips and considerations can result in underdeveloped plants that struggle to yield optimal production.


It’s time to shine light on the vital role light plays in the growth and development of marijuana plants.

During start of flowering, your cannabis plants need just right conditions to thrive.


For indoor growers, it’s time to embrace change and gradually adjust lighting schedule to mimic natural changes that occur outdoors.

For photoperiod strains, a switch from an 18/6 (18 hours of light, 6 hours of darkness) to a 12/12 light cycles will encourage cannabis plants to start the flowering.

Importance Of Light Cycles During Preflowering

Failing to adhere to appropriate light cycles during preflowering can have disastrous consequences for your growing marijuana plants.

This acts as a signal to plant, marking the changing of seasons and triggering hormonal changes necessary for flowering.

In absence of proper light cycles, weed plant may struggle to transition smoothly into flowering, leading to reduced yields or even potential complications.

Nutrient Requirements

The preflowering is a time of change and transition in nutrient growing requirements of your growing cannabis.

As they prepare to enter the flowering, their demand for nitrogen decreases, while their need for phosphorus and potassium increases.

By providing a balanced blend of blooming nutrients for preflowering, you can promote strong bud formation and overall weed plant health.

Nutrient Deficiencies And How To Address Them

Don’t let your weed seeds potential go to waste! Keep a close eye on your cannabis during preflowering for sign of nutrient deficiencies.

Yellowing leaves, stunted growth, or discoloration are just a few of the telltale guide sign that something’s not quite right.

Adjust your nutrient blend as needed, and stay vigilant in your monitoring to correct any issues and help them reach their full potential.

Importance Of Proper Watering And Drainage

Success of your cannabis strain hinges on one key factor: proper watering and drainage.

To ensure maximum growth and longevity, it’s essential to maintain proper moisture levels and avoid over-watering or under-watering.

Keep a close eye on soil moisture and use a well-draining substrate to keep them thriving.

Temperature And Humidity Requirements

During vital preflowering, maintaining optimal temperature and humidity conditions is imperative.

Optimal temperatures range between 70-85°F (21-29°C), while relative humidity should be around 40-50%.

Consistent environmental conditions not only facilitate healthy grow, but also reduce risk of mold or pest infestations.

Importance Of Air Circulation And Ventilation

By promoting air movement, you’re not only supporting respiration and strengthening its stem, but reducing the risk of mold and mildew grow as well.

Incorporating fans or ventilation systems will ensure that cannabis growing strain receive the fresh air they need to thrive during this crucial timing.

Importance Of Early Sexing Plants During Preflowering

To get the most out of your cannabis cultivation, it’s essential to understand significance of identifying sex of weed during crucial preflowering.

This process, commonly referred to as “sexing,” enables you to make informed decisions regarding care and management, which in turn impacts quality and quantity of final harvest.

Importance Of Early Sexing Plants During Preflowering

By distinguishing male from females during preflowering grow, you can effectively remove male plants from your grow space, preventing them from pollinating female plants.

Pollinated females shift their energy from producing potent buds to generating seeds, resulting in diminished yield and lower quality product.

Early sexing allows you to focus your time and resources on nurturing females, which produce desired THC-rich flowers.

Furthermore, early sexing optimizes use of your grow space by removing males, thereby allocating more space to females, allowing them to grow larger and fuller.

Increased space also promotes better air circulation, reducing risk of mold and mildew infestations.

Finally, recognizing male guide sign or hermaphrodite during preflowering grow is crucial.

Hermaphrodite exhibit both male and female characteristics, leading to accidental pollination and compromising your harvest.

By identifying and removing hermaphrodite early, you can protect valuable females and ensure bountiful, high-quality yield.

Male And Female First Signs

The preflower stage is the ideal for revealing gender, as it enables you to separate males from females, preventing undesirable pollination and preserving potency of females.

First signs of males commonly emerge between fourth and sixth week of grow, depending on strain and growing conditions. Males tend to develop pollen sacs, which are small, round, and often clustered.

These sacs appear like tiny greenish spheres at the intersection of plant’s branches and main stem. As plant matures, pollen sacs enlarge and burst, releasing pollen into air.

Conversely, females manifest their identity by developing delicate hair-like structures known as pistils. Pistils, also known as stigmas, emerge from teardrop-shaped structure called calyxes at the same branch and stem intersections as male pollen sacs. Pistils often exhibit white or light orange color and serve as receptors for male pollen, leading to development of buds.

Strategies For Removing Male Plants

Have you ever wondered why some of your cannabis just never seem to reach their full potential?

It may be because you unknowingly planted a male plant in your garden, leading to cross-contamination and stunted growth.

Strategies For Removing Male Plants

But fear not! With the right techniques, you can identify and remove males with minimal risk of cross-contamination and maintain thriving and successful cannabis garden.

Here’s guide how:

Early Identification: Keep a close eye on your weed during preflowering, as this is optimal time to identify and separate male plants from females. Examine nodes where branches meet main stem, looking for signs of male reproductive organs (small pollen sacs) or female reproductive organs (pistils).

Quarantine: Once male plant has been identified, it’s crucial to quarantine it from rest of your cannabis plants. Isolation will prevent accidental pollination and ensure that remaining females can fully develop their buds without interference. Quarantined area should have proper airflow and be away from your primary grow space.

Safe Removal: When removing males, wear disposable gloves to minimize risk of spreading pollen. If possible, remove weed during time of low wind or humidity to reduce the likelihood of pollen becoming airborne.  Dispose of males by placing them in sealed plastic bags and then in secondary container such as trash bin. Wash hands, gloves, and tools used during removal process to avoid any accidental contamination.

Continued Monitoring: Regular monitoring throughout grow cycles will help you identify any late bloomers or hermaphroditic weed that may appear and need to be removed to maintain exclusively female garden.

Consider Feminized Seeds: To minimize risk of males appearing in your garden, consider using feminized seeds. These seeds have been genetically modified to produce only females, which can save you time and effort in identifying and removing males during stage growing process.

What Are First Signs Of Flowering Stage Indoor And Outdoor

It’s a crucial milestone for both indoor and outdoor growers, as growing weed shift from vegetative phase to flowering.

With their focus shifting, they redirect energy and resources towards producing buds.

Identifying these early signs is crucial to providing proper care and making necessary adjustments that can optimize plant’s grow and yield.

While guide may be similar for indoor and outdoor plants, environmental factors and growing conditions may result in slight variations in their appearance.

For indoor growers, the first sign of flowering in your cannabis may creep up on you when you least expect it.

Changes in light cycles to a 12-hour light and 12-hour dark schedule can trigger subtle changes in your weed, including development of hair-like structures called pistils at nodes.

These pistils are usually white or light brown, serving as initial indicators of female plant flower development.

In addition, you may observe the formation of small, teardrop-shaped calyxes at base of pistils.

These calyxes will eventually form foundation of buds, completing the picture of a fully blossomed cannabis.

Outdoors, the changing of seasons brings about a natural shift in daylight hours, triggering cannabis to start flowering.

As days become shorter and nights longer, late summer or early autumn often marks the transition from vegetative grow to reproductive stages.

Despite similar appearance of pistils and calyxes, variations in sunlight, temperature, and humidity can alter the timing and intensity of their emergence.

Changes In Growth Patterns

As marijuana plants transition from pre/flowering stage to flowering stage, they undergo significant changes in their grow patterns.

These alterations play a vital role in plant’s overall development and are critical for successful harvest.

During start of flowering stage, cannabis plants primarily focus on vegetative growth, rapidly increasing in height and producing large, bushy foliage.

This stage is characterized by vigorous stem and leaf production, enabling plant to amass energy and nutrients required for impending flowering grow.

As plant approaches flowering stage, its grow rate starts to slow down, allowing for redistribution of energy and resources toward development of flowers.

Changes In Physical Appearance And Fan Leaves

In the start of flowering stage, cannabis undergo notable physical transformations, particularly in their appearance and fan leaves.

These changes provide valuable insights into plant’s health, grow rate, and readiness for flowering weeks.

One of the most notable alterations during preflowering is the robust grow in size and height of plant, spurred by its effort to maximize light exposure for optimal bud development later on.

Fan leaves, the large iconic cannabis leaves, expand to enhance photosynthesis, which is vital for energy production.

Monitoring fan leaves’ health and color can identify potential nutrient deficiencies or imbalances, such as yellowing, curling, or discoloration.

The pre-flowering stage also brings emergence of smaller sugar leaves near buds that play crucial role in producing trichomes – resin glands responsible for cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds that determine plant’s potency and aroma.

Caring For Cannabis During The Flowering

It is paramount to comprehend significance of providing thorough care and attention to your cannabis during the flowering weeks.

This pivotal time in life cycles is when it cultivates those highly sought after buds, and focusing on correct factors can significantly impact final yield, potency, and overall quality of your harvest.

Caring For Cannabis During The Flowering

Essential aspects of caring for your cannabis plants during flowering stage include nutrient requirements, watering and drainage, pest and disease prevention, pruning and training techniques, and wet and dry trimming methods.

Nutrient Requirements During The Flowering Period

During flowering stage, nutrient requirements of your weed shift, with a focus on nitrogen shifting to higher demand for phosphorus and potassium.

These elements play vital role in development of buds, promoting robust flowers and increasing plant’s resistance to diseases.

Implementing a bloom-specific nutrient formula will provide your weed with essential nutrients they need in this stage.

Gradually transition from a vegetative stage nutrient mix to flowering grow mix, ensuring that you follow recommended stage feeding schedule and dilution stage ratios to prevent nutrient burn.

Watering And Drainage During Flowering Stage

Successful cultivation of cannabis plant during flowering stage hinges on delicate balance between hydration and drainage.

Over-watering in this stage can result in root rot, while under-watering can spark stress that stunts growth.

Keep tabs on moisture levels in your growing medium, allowing them to naturally dry out between waterings.

And remember, the key to success is an optimal balance of moisture and oxygen in root zone of your growing containers.

Pest And Disease Prevention During Flowering Stage

The flowering weeks are a crucial time in the growth of your cannabis, and it’s imperative to keep them healthy and free from pests.

Keep an eye out for start of infestation, such as mites, aphids, or powdery mildew, and nip problems in the buds by implementing preventive measures like proper air circulation, clean grow space, and organic pest control when necessary.

Steer clear of harsh chemical pesticides during flowering weeks, as they can negatively impact the taste and quality of your buds.

Pruning And Training Flowering Cannabis

Embrace art of pruning and training to unleash the full potential of your cannabis during flowering weeks.

Low-stress training (LST), topping, and defoliation are a few techniques that can help you manage plant growth and direct light to lower buds sites, leading to increased yield and healthier weed.

Don’t wait – start early and make sure not to delay too long, as late-stage pruning can stress plant and reduce its potential.

Wet Trimming Cannabis Plants

Wet trimming is trimming technique that unlocks the power of freshness in the world of cannabis cultivation.

By trimming away unwanted plant material while buds are still fresh and pliable, trimming enables faster dry process and grants growers control over final product’s appearance.

It’s a delicate dance, but with proper guidance, you can master the art of wet trimming and take your cannabis crops to new heights.

Dry Trimming Cannabis Plants

The art of perfect dry trimming is delicate craft that separates true connoisseurs from mere dabblers.

By trimming only the excess cannabis material after buds have been properly cured and are dry, dry trimming preserves terpene profile of your precious plants, ensuring that they retain maximum moisture during the crucial drying time.

However, dry trimming is not for the faint of heart – dry buds can be brittle and challenging to handle, resulting in a smoother smoking experience and richer flavor profile in the end product.

Different Weed Plant Stages Week by Week

As a seasoned cannabis cultivator, it is critical to guide the various stages of weed plant and the alterations that occur each week.

By comprehending this grow guide tips in week-by-week list overview, you will be able to effectively monitor and care for your cannabis during their growing, leading to optimal grow and harvesting.

Week 1: Germination Guide

The first week is a critical time in the life cycles of your cannabis.

Germination is a delicate process, and it’s essential to provide the right conditions – temperature, humidity, and moisture levels – to ensure successful growth.

Week 2: Seedling Stage Guide

In the second week, your little seedlings will burst into life, showcasing their first set of cotyledon leaves.

These delicate leaves are mere precursor to the iconic serrated leaves that are hallmark of mature cannabis plant.

These seedlings require careful balance of light, temperature, and humidity to thrive and grow healthy.

Week 3: Guide to Early Stage of Vegetative Growth

The third week is a pivotal moment in the life of your cannabis.

The vegetative growth phase commences, and the plant’s stem strengthens, its leaves multiply, and the journey towards bountiful harvest start.

This stage is characterized by a demand for ample light, precise nutrient supply, and steadfast focus on maintaining optimal growth conditions.

Week 4 and 5: Guide to Mid Stage of Vegetative Growth

When the plants are 4 weeks old, they will enter the mid stage of their vegetative growth, where they’ll develop lush foliage and establish strong root system.

It’s crucial to keep an eye on plant health, ensuring proper nutrient balance and preventing any pest or disease issues from arising.

Week 6: Guide to Pre-Flowering Stage

The sixth week are a milestone in the growing of your cannabis, marking the onset of preflourishing stage.

At this point, your plants will start to reveal their sex and you’ll need to take action to remove males to prevent pollination.

This stage requires careful adjustments to light cycles and nutrient ratios to support growing.

Week 7 and 8: Early Flowering Stage

The stage of flowering unfolds, and your plants enter the early flowering phase.

The buds start to form, bringing with them a surge in trichomes, crucial for producing essential cannabinoids and terpenes.

Keep nutrient levels in check and maintain consistent LED light schedule to encourage robust flowers development.

Week 9 and 10: Guide to Flowering Stage

During weeks nine and ten, your cannabis will continue to grow in size and density, ready to burst with power.

But don’t let size fool you – it’s crucial to keep an eye on temperature, humidity, and air flow to prevent mold or mildew from ruining your masterpiece.

Don’t forget – it’s not just about size. It’s about quality, too. Keep your plant hydrated and nourished with the right nutrients to promote growing.

Week 11-12: Harvest Guide

The final weeks are a time of culmination, when buds reach their peak size and potency.

Trichomes of your plants will mature, changing in color from clear to cloudy or amber, signifying that it’s time to harvest.

Start flushing your plants with fresh water to remove any lingering nutrients and prepare them for the drying and curing process.

When Does Marijuana Plants Start Producing Bud

The transition from vegetative growth to budding is a complex growing process, influenced by numerous growing factors, including type of growing cannabis strain, lighting growing conditions, and level of plant care.

For photoperiod-dependent strains, initiation of top buds production is contingent on the plant perceiving a change in light cycle.

Specifically, the shift from long days to shorter days, mimicking natural progression from summer to autumn, signals the plant to commence flowering.

In indoor cultivation, this transition is achieved by altering grow lights schedule from 18 hours of lights and 6 hours of darkness (18/6) to 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness (12/12).

In just 1-2 weeks following guide implementation of this change, first start of budding in plant begins to appear.

In the case of auto flowers strains guide,  they are genetically programmed to enter the flowering weeks after a set number of days, irrespective of lighting cycles.

They’re true champions of efficiency, rapidly converting seed to top buds in just 3 weeks to 5 weeks from germination.

The precise buds timing varies from strain to strain, meaning some auto flowers varieties may start their bloom party sooner than others.


Here are some frequently asked questions and answers.

How can I identify the pre-flowering stage in my marijuana plants?

In pre-flowering, white hair-like structures (pistils) in females or pollen sacs in males appear at the nodes.

Can I train plants during the pre-flowering stage?

Yes, pre-flowering is an ideal stage to prune or shape plants for even growth and higher yield.

Do plants need different nutrients during the pre-flowering stage?

Yes, during pre-flowering, plants need high nitrogen and lower phosphorus and potassium levels.

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