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The Stages Of Cannabis Growth

Published July 5, 2022

Cannabis cultivation requires varying demands before its flowering, which is why many choose to buy it instead of growing it. And in many states, you need a specific license to grow hemp. 

There are a series of stages that a plant must go through to grow and mature. And during each phase, there are different needs for lights, nutrients, and labor.

But if you aren’t aware of the process of cannabis growth, we’ve got your answers. In this article, we’ll be discussing the lifecycle of these plants and much more.  

We’ll be covering:

  • How long does it take to grow a cannabis plant?
  • What is the lifespan of a cannabis plant?
  • Four stages of cannabis plant growth
    • Germination
    • Seedling
    • Vegetative
    • Flowering
  • What’s the difference between an outdoor flower and an indoor flower?
  • Conclusion

Let’s dive in!

How Long Does It Take To Grow Cannabis?

It can take three to eight months to grow a cannabis plant, but the time depends on the environment it’s grown in and whether or not it started as a seed or clone.

If a cultivator grows indoors, it can determine how long cannabis stays in the vegetative stage, directly affecting the yield during the flowering stage.

When growing outdoors, growers cannot manipulate the sun, which can extend or shorten the harvest duration. However, one technique that outdoor growers will do is light deprivation.

Light deprivation is when they drape light-blocking tarps over the plants to trigger the flowering phase early. This method allows farmers to harvest the flower for several months before waiting for the seasonal changes. 

What Is The Lifespan Of A Cannabis Plant?

The life cycle of cannabis will depend on the climate and environment. Since this plant is annual, it will flower once a year, then die.

If it’s grown outdoors, it will begin germination in spring and reach the end of its life cycle in fall.

When cannabis is grown indoors, it can be cultivated any time of year but will have a similar growth timeline.

After the flowering stage has peaked, it’s time for cultivators to collect their flower and take the seeds/clippings to start a new plant.  

Five Stages Of Cannabis Plant Growth

cannabis growth stages

Cannabis growth is divided into four phases: seed germination, seedling, vegetative, and flowering stages. Each period has different environmental and nutritional needs, so it’s essential to do your research on various nutrients and water recommendations that fall into each period.


During germination, cannabis seeds need to be in a warm, humid environment. The process starts by placing the seeds on a damp napkin in a dark location. 

It should take three to ten days before the seeds open and a small white tap root appears. When this root develops into two oval leaves, it is officially a seedling.


The seedlings will be transplanted into a small pot under direct sunlight for 18 hours a day. 

This stage requires a lot of light, it’s ideal to use artificial light until it reaches the next phase. 

After two to three weeks of proper lighting and watering, it will develop digitated leaves, which signifies that it is ready for the next stage.


At this stage, the root should be relocated to a larger pot. Over the next few weeks, the added nutrients will establish the root system. The stem will become thicker and taller and produce various branches and leaves. 

As it grows leaves, it should be regularly pruned every few days. Keep in mind that over pruning can stunt the plants growth and affect the yield during the flowering stage. So only take leaves that are dying or are overcrowding the branches.  


The flowering stage is the most exciting because your hard work comes to fruition.

The plants will need darkness for 12 hours a day to trigger the flowering cycle. After two to four weeks, you will start to notice tiny white hairs. From here, it takes about six weeks until the flowers fully develop into dense, sticky buds with sparkly trichomes glistened over the top.

But the job isn’t over, yet. When the flowers have fully matured, prepare to buy some scissors and a drying rack, so it can be taken off the branch, trimmed, and dried.

What’s The Difference Between Outdoor Flower And Indoor Flower?

Cannabis flower can be successfully grown regardless of whether it is cultivated indoors or outdoors. Though, there may be some differences in flower size and trichome density

A general understanding is that a flower grown outdoors is typically bigger and has thicker stems than an indoor-cultivated flower. Because the indoor flower is smaller and in a controlled environment, they commonly rank higher on the trichome scale.

What are trichomes?

Trichomes are glimmering crystals located along with the flower. These tiny bulbs are responsible for the biosynthesis of cannabinoids.

In other words, the more trichomes, the more cannabinoids, and terpenes are produced.

An outdoor flower is larger, so its trichome density is more sparse because it has more surface to cover. Compared to indoor flower, the trichomes can cover the entire surface of a bud.

Learn more >> What Are Hemp Trichomes?

What’s The Difference Between Cannabis Male Plants And Cannabis Female Plants?

Many physical and biological differences separate male and female cannabis plants.

However, the primary distinction between the two is that male plants do not develop flower, whereas female plants do. This means that cannabis cultivators primarily use female plants.

Male plants can make concentrates, but female plants are preferred because they naturally produce higher levels of cannabinoid content.

Generally, male cannabis plants will be separated from female plants because they can halt their flower development.

The main purpose of having male and female plants is for breeding. Aside from that, there are not many uses for male cannabis plants.   


From a seed to flower, the process of growing cannabis is for those with patience and willingness to learn. But if you’re like most, this venture is not worth the time and funds it takes to cultivate cannabis successfully. Plus there are various legal requirements for growing hemp. So if you’d rather not jump through the hoops of being a cultivator, we’ve got you covered with high-quality hemp flower.

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