New breeders often ask how long it takes a cannabis seed to grow into a plant and produce its high inducing bud. It is as common a question for people who want to create their own stash from scratch and are looking to see how much time they need to commit in taking care of a cannabis plant.
You are likely asking how much time and effort to spend on a marijuana plant to generate a decent bud. We will answer that by showing you how to grow pot seeds and other factors you need to consider.
Average growth time
To quickly answer your question, the average time it takes for a pot seed to grow into a plant and produce its buds is around three to five months. Take note that this is the average growth period for most marijuana strains. Certain strains will actually take seven months or more to be ready for harvest. Autoflowering variants, on the other hand, can produce a high inducing bud within two months.
Regardless of their growth time, nearly every cannabis plant go through three different stages in their life. Each of these stages requires different care for your plants. Let us break down these stages to help you understand how to grow pot seeds into harvest-ready plants.
Seedling phase (one to three weeks)
The starting point for every cannabis plant is the seedling phase when the taproot breaks out of the seed shell. In order to germinate or help the seeds to sprout, you will need to place them in a moist and dark environment.
A good way to germinate your seeds is to use several paper towels or bathroom tissues and deep-dish plates. Dip two tissues in water and put it on top of the first plate. Line up your seeds on the wet surface. Place another layer of wet tissue on top of the seeds. Cover everything with another plate and place them in a warm dry area that has no contact with natural light.
It takes around three to five days for regular seedlings to grow its taproot. During this time, make sure the towels are moist and not dry. Spray the paper towel until they are moist at least once a day, but not too much that they are dripping wet.
In addition, the temperature around the seeds should be set at room temperature or slightly warm. This will increases the germination success rate of the seeds.
When the seeds have a healthy taproot, it is time to transplant them to a growing medium or soil. Make a one-inch hole in the middle of the pot where the seedling will grow. When transporting the seedlings, use a tweezer to hold it by the seed casing. Avoid stressing out the seed by making contact with the taproot. When placing the seedling in the pot, have the taproot touch the bottom part of the hole. Gently cover the hole with soil and lightly pat it. Add about one to two cups of water to the medium to provide moisture to your seedling.
The seedling phase should take two to three weeks. Provide at least two to three cups of water to the medium once every two to three days. Make sure to check on the pots that they are moist and not dry. If the pot is dry after giving it water within a day, increase the amount of water feeding to the pot. In addition, make sure the pot is in an area where the temperature is within 75°F -80°F. This is the optimal temperature for the seeds to thrive.
Vegetative phase (One to three month)
At this point, your plants will have several leaves and a thick central stem. At the start of this phase, most cannabis plants are around eight-inch high. By the end of the vegetative phase, nearly every cannabis plants will be at least two feet tall. If you are cultivating a sativa strain or certain hybrids, your plants might grow up to 7 feet tall or higher when they enter the flowering phase.
Lighting will be critical to your cannabis plants during this stage. Plants draw energy from light and use it for growth development. Your cannabis plants require 12 to 18 hours of light throughout the vegetative phase.
The recommended nutrient supplement for plants in the vegetative phase must have more nitrogen and potassium with a small amount of phosphorus. Nitrogen is essential in the growth development of the plant while potassium is important for several functions such as the water intake. On the other hand, phosphorus allows the plant to transfer and store energy. Because the plant focuses on its growth in the development stage, the first two nutrients are important to the plant.
The temperature of the cannabis plant’s environment should be around 78°F -85°F. This is the optimum temperature that allows your plants to thrive, in addition, the humidity around the plant must be within 40 to 60 percent. The moisture level allows the plants to take in an optimum amount of water while preventing common diseases from infecting them.
It is a good idea to top your cannabis plants during the vegetative phase. The topping is a stress training process of removing half of the new plant growth from the main stem. When successful, the plant will be more stable. This allows it to distribute energy throughout its leaves efficiently and not focus all energy on its main cola. Doing so lets the plant create more than one colas, which leads to a higher number of buds by the end of the flowering period.
If you are growing your plants indoors and you want to stop it from growing, you can force the plant to exit the vegetative phase by switching its light schedule to only 12 hours with 12 hours of darkness. While this method lets you harvest the plant earlier than normal, you may receive a small yield than normal because of the size of the plant when it enters the flowering phase.
Flowering phase (Seven weeks to four months)
The last phase is when the plants will stop growing to focus all of its energy into growing its buds. You will need to adjust the treatment of your plants to accommodate their bud production.
The gender of your plants will become clear during the first three weeks of the flowering phase. It is important to identify a male plant and discard it as soon as possible. Male plants have pollen sacs that look like a small green bulb while females have calyxes with white hair pistils at the top. You want to avoid any pollens from reaching any of your female plants. Pollinated plants will stop its bud production and focus more on making seeds.
If you are cultivating your cannabis plants indoors, provide them with 12/12 hours of light and dark schedule. This light regime aims at making the plant think that it is autumn when the day lasts as long as the evening.
Humidity will be a key factor during this phase because buds are susceptible to mold. You can utilize a dehumidifier to control the air vapor in your indoor grow room. Bring down the humidity to around 40 to 55 percent during the first three weeks of the flowering phase. Reduce the humidity level to 30 to 40 percent when the plants are nearing the time of harvest.
You will need to change the nutrient feeding of the plant during the flowering phase. Because your plant is focusing on making buds, it does not need as much nitrogen as before. A good supplement will have a small amount of nitrogen with large amounts of phosphorus and potassium. The two latter nutrients can help in the production of the bud.
When your cannabis plants enter the last two weeks of its flowering phase, tiny white trichomes will emerge around the flowering area. The ovaries will also have a bloated appearance while many of the plant’s large leaves will become yellow.
The color of the trichomes and pistils will tell you when the buds are ready for harvest. Taking the buds early will result in a strain that lacks any amount of THC or other cannabinoids. You will know your plants are ready for harvest when around 70 percent of the trichomes have a cloudy white color. Another indicator is brown curled pistils surrounding the plant. The bud is ripe for harvest if around 70 percent of it is curled.
You now know how long it takes for a seed to turn into a flowering plant and what it takes to care for it. Take note that these tips are for regular common strains. Always ask your budtender or other cannabis gardeners on the best practice in cultivating a specific strain.