Stages of Marijuana Plant Growth

Marijuana legalization is happening, and that’s a fact. Researchers are still unraveling the many benefits that this plant has. So far, you can use marijuana for either medicinal or recreational purposes. However, despite its enormous benefits, it is no secret that cannabis is expensive.

Therefore, growing marijuana can be an ideal solution since it saves you money. Well, if you are capable of growing marijuana in your home, you might be having a lot of questions about this magical plant.

Key among those questions is the different stages of marijuana plant growth. Just like other living organisms, marijuana goes through different phases of life. You might be among a  clique of people who lack any idea about growing the cannabis plant.

You sit and relax, thinking you are just doing fine. Unfortunately, when the time of harvesting comes, that’s when reality strikes. You discover you have missed it all. Lucky for you, we are going to outline all the critical stages in the development of the marijuana plant.

How Long Does It Take For the Marijuana Plant to Grow?

As a first-timer, this is something you should consider. Well, it will take you anywhere around 4-8 months or 14 to 32 weeks to grow the marijuana plant. This explains why most marijuana farmers will never give you the exact growth duration.

 There are many factors that determine the time it takes to grow a marijuana plant. This includes the strain you use, the setup, and how big you want to grow your plants. If you choose an indoor setup, it can take you an average of 3-5months to grow a marijuana plant.

In here, you can force the plant to flower after several weeks when the plant is small. Also, you can choose to have your plant flower after several weeks when the plant is big.

If you are growing outdoors, then you are at the whim of the seasons, and hence you have to wait until harvest. The plant develops bud in the last 8-11 weeks.

In a nutshell, the lifecycle of the marijuana plant from seed to harvest can be outlined as follows;

  • Marijuana seed
  • Germination
  • Seedling
  • Vegetative
  • Pre-flowering
  • Flowering
  • Harvesting

Cannabis seeds

This is where the whole process begins. Cannabis uses sexual reproduction to create and spread seeds. Two parents form a single seed. For that reason, the seed has genes from both the male and female plants. However, there is an exemption.

This is because you may find seeds produced by a hermaphrodite. Do not worry about this term. This is a complex process that you should not pay attention to as a home grower. 

Once you pick up any seed, feel, and sift through it. Notice the color and weight. This helps you to unravel the quality of the seed. Good seeds should be hard and dry. Also, the seed should be light to dark brown in terms of color. An undeveloped seed is squishy and green or white. There is a high probability that the seed won’t germinate. Thus, throwing it away would be an ideal solution.

 Can you determine whether it is male or female marijuana? We know you can’t, and you shouldn’t feel bad about it. No one can.

At this stage, your cannabis is dormant and waits to be exposed to moisture. Once it is exposed to moisture, the process of bringing the plant into life begins in earnest. Beneath the waxy coat lies a dehydrated plant that comprises a stem, root, and two leaves.

This plant only waits to be exposed to moisture and warmth. These are critical ingredients for the germination process to occur. So once you expose your marijuana seeds to water and heat, the germination process begins.


This stage takes around 5-10 days. After you have decided to grow your marijuana plant, you should expose the seeds to light and moisture. This activates the growth hormones, thereby kick-starting the growth process. There are numerous ways to germinate your seeds, and the paper towel is one of them. The procedure is simple and straight forward. Further, it takes you less time.

  • Soak four paper towel in water
  • Place two on the plate and spread your cannabis seeds over the wet towels
  • Place the other two towels on another plate and use it to cover your seeds
  • Ensure the room temperature remains at 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Keep checking to ensure the towels are still wet

After your seeds have germinated, you are going to see a sprout.  Cannabis contains two meristems; shoot and root meristem. The shoot meristem is the one that becomes the stem and foliage while the root meristem becomes the taproot. As the plant unfolds, you are going to see to cotyledon leaves. The root continues to dive downward. It is now time you should transfer the seed to a growing medium.

Seedling Stage

Once the seeds have germinated and planted, they immediately begin growing. Here, you should exercise a lot of care and diligence. The young plant is highly susceptible to diseases. Also, be careful about the amount of water and fertilizer you use. This is because too much water or fertilizer will derail or hamper with the plant.

What your plant needs at this stage is light. The availability of light and water ensures your plant develops strong roots. One thing you are going to realize in this stage is that the leaves adopt a different shape depending on the kind of marijuana plant you are growing.

The general rule here remains. Hence room temperature should stay at 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Once your plant becomes a seedling, it develops more of traditional cannabis leaves. Initially, the seed only produces leaves with only one rigid blade.

Nonetheless, as the growing process progresses, the leaves develop more blades (1,2,3, etc.).  A mature cannabis plant should have between 5-7 blades per leaf. A healthy cannabis plant has a vibrant green color.


This is where the plant growth process truly takes off.  You can now transplant the marijuana plant into a bigger pot. The plant is now producing jagged leaves that you have been looking forward to having. During this stage, the roots and foliage are developing at a high rate. This is because the plant can absorb nutrients and carbon dioxide.

Your plant appreciates soil rich with nutrients. For that reason, increase the level of nitrogen in the soil.  The plant continues to grow taller, recording a growth rate of two inches per day. At this stage, the plant develops more leaves and stalks. Also, the plant has a more solid structure that supports heavy buds. Under this stage, it is easy to know the type of marijuana plant you are growing.

This stage takes place for 3-16 weeks.


It takes five months for the plant to enter this stage. During this stage, you are going to unravel whether your plant is male or female. You must be wondering how possible this is. Well, relax; we are going to help you solve that puzzle. If the plant is a male, you are going to see a banana-like structure growing out in the node regions where the leaves meet the stem. This banana-like structure holds pollen grains.

You must remove the male plants before the sacs burst open, releasing pollen grains, which in turn fertilize the nearby female plants. This ensures you produce what is called Sinsemilla, which is a Spanish name that means without seeds. You are going to have a female marijuana plant that has no seeds. We can guarantee you that if you heed to this, you are going to get a plant that has a high THC content.


This is the final stage for the growth of the cannabis plant. The flowering process occurs by limiting the amount of light your plants get. Ideally, your plant should only receive less than 12 hours of right per day.

A resinous bud is going to develop, and you are going to realize your hard work.  Buds will typically grow at a higher rate towards the end of the flowering stage.


Well, to clear any doubts, this not part of the plant’s life cycle but is vital. This is because when you harvest is going to determine the smell, taste, effects, and strength of your marijuana.

The best way to know when to harvest your marijuana plant is by looking at the pistils. There are the little white hairs on the bud. Once your weed ripens, they turn to brown/red.

Final Thoughts

The time it takes for your weed to grow from a seed to when you harvest depends on several factors. One is the kind of strain you choose and secondly how you control the environment. We understand that growing weed on your own can be tough.

However, as a cannabis enthusiast, this is an excellent way to upscale your skills in producing cannabis right from the farm.