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The Different Cannabis Growth Stages

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It’s a new age for the Cannabis plant.  As many countries begin legalizing the use of cannabis products, a whole new demographic is being introduced to this incredible plant.  The negative stigma which has been tightly tied to marijuana over the decades, is slowly being lifted.  The laws surrounding cannabis has kept the necessary research into its many benefits at bay, leaving a wide-open field for pharmaceuticals produced in laboratories to become the go-to choice for symptom management for many consumers.  With the new legalization of cannabis in Canada, you can now not only purchase cannabis products from reputable companies, but you can actually grow your own cannabis plants at home and discover just how natural and incredible cannabis truly is.  From seed and soil to harvest, each growth stage of cannabis is a joy to witness, and the pay-off of nurturing your own plants to provide you with beautiful buds is something quite special.  If you’re excited to get your hands dirty and grow your own cannabis plants, read on to learn about the different cannabis growth stages.


How Many Cannabis Growth Stages Are There?

There are 4 main stages to cannabis growth.  The growth stages are as follows:

  1. Germination stage
  2. Seedling stage
  3. Vegetative stage
  4. Flowering stage


Cannabis Germination Stage

The first stage of cannabis growth begins with germinating the seeds.  Although there are many ways to germinate a seed, a popular method is to soak a few pieces of paper towel with distilled water and put them on a plate, place the seeds to one side of the paper towel, separated by approximately one inch and fold the wet paper towel over them.  Cover with a bowl or lid and keep at a warm temperature.  A seed is germinated when it splits open and a sprout comes out of it.  The time from placing the seeds in the wet paper towel until germination can vary, but usually occurs within one to two weeks.  Make sure to keep an eye on your paper towel.  If it dries out, add some more water to ensure the seeds keep in contact with the moist towel.


Seedling Stage

Once your seed has germinated it’s time to plant it.  You’ll want a high-quality potting soil for your seed to give it the best environment to thrive.  Fill a small 2-3 inch pot with soil and make a hole in the soil with your baby finger about a quarter inch deep. Gently place the seed into the hole with the sprouted tap root facing down and cover it up with soil.  Using a spray bottle filled with water, spray the soil until it is nice and moist but not too wet.  You want to give your new seed some water but you don’t want to drown it either.  Keep an eye on your seed making sure the soil doesn’t dry out too much and in a week or so, you should start to see a sprout push through the soil.  You will then see some small leaves form.  These leaves are crucial to the plants development as they absorb the sunlight which is required for strong growth.  Once you see the leaves develop your cannabis plant has reached its seedling growth stage.  As your seedling continues to grow, more leaves will develop and will produce more blades.  Make sure you transplant your seedling into a larger pot once it has outgrown its current container.


Vegetative Cannabis Growth Stage

Once your plant has developed leaves with 5-7 blades (after approximately 3 weeks), it has exited the seedling stage and entered into the third cannabis growth stage called the vegetative stage.  At this point your cannabis plant will have many leaves and really take on the mature plant look.  If your plant is Cannabis Sativa, it will be tall and lanky.  If it is Cannabis Indica, it will be short and stocky.  Make sure to supply your growing plants with the proper amount of water and ensure they have a good, nutrient rich soil to grow in.  You can learn more about the best soil to use here.  Your plants should be getting 18hrs of light per day at this growth stage, and can continue in a vegetative state between 3 and 16 weeks.


Flowering Cannabis Growth Stage

Once your plant begins to receive less than 12 hours of light a day, it will begin to enter its flowering stage.  This is of course where you get those beautiful buds you’ve been looking forward to harvest.  The first thing you’ll want to do is determine the sex of your plant.  If you find you have any male plants, immediately separate them from the female plants so as they don’t pollinate them.  To learn more about determining the difference between male and female plants click here.  The flowering cannabis growth stage typically lasts between 8 to 11 weeks.  During the flowering stage you’ll want to cease pruning and ensure your plant has the proper support for the weight of the buds.  Once your buds have reached the end of their growth cycle, it’s time to harvest them.


Drying Your Buds After Harvest

Now that you have your buds fully harvested you’ll need to dry them out and cure them.  The best way to dry your buds is to hang them up by their branch so that the air can fully circulate around them.  Depending on the size of your buds, the drying process can take anywhere between 1 and 2 weeks.  To ensure you’ve dried your buds properly you can test them by bending one of the branches.  If it snaps, they are dried.  If the branch bends, you’ll need to let them dry longer.  Once they are dried sufficiently and trimmed, you’ll want to store them in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.  Click here to read about the best methods to store your cannabis.


There’s no greater reward than harvesting your own cannabis buds from a plant you grew from seed.  Each and every stage of growth is a joy to watch unfold.  With the proper care and nurturing attention, you’ll be able to grow your own healthy and happy cannabis plants at home.