Novice cannabis growers usually want to know how long it takes to grow cannabis. We came up with a guide to help you understand the cannabis life cycle and things you can expect from the plant.
The length of time needed to cultivate a cannabis crop is one of the things that are the most important to the novice cannabis growers. 3-4 months would be the shortest straight answer, but of course, it depends on numerous variables, including genetics, where you plan on growing it, and cultivation methods.
To grow marijuana that flowers in a 12/12 light/dark cycle, it takes longer than 6 months in ideal climatic conditions.
Let’s learn more about those variables that have an effect on the length of growth of cannabis. You should use as much as reliable sources as possible, to prepare yourself for things you need to know about the cannabis life cycle. Make sure you use the best tools available and don’t be afraid to experiment. So let’s begin with our simple stage by stage guide.
Prepare Yourself To Fail In Case You Fail To Prepare
Before you start anything, you need to come up with a plan. Make sure you made the right decision on your cultivation method, then select a strain to grow, and buy the key ingredients of cannabis cultivation. In case you are buying your kit online, remember to factor in delivery time. Many people find online purchases more convenient because of discretion and value.
When purchasing the seeds, pick those high-quality genetics from reputable breeders and distributors exclusively. After all, you wouldn’t want to end up with lousy weed.
For outdoor cultivation, you can use a minimalist kit and basic nutrients, but if you plan on indoor cultivation it can get complicated. Considering the fact that you will need to purchase grow tents, lighting systems, hydroponic systems and nutrient packs, and it all can be costly, hunt for bundle deals from trustworthy online grow shops to save some money.
These days LED systems are dominant on the market, which makes them also more expensive compared to HPS and MH lamp setups. They also have a longer lifespan, and convert more energy into light rather than heat.
Germination And Seedlings
Germination is a relatively simple process. The paper towel method is the most used one, and if used properly it gives results in 24-48 hours. Taproots will burst out after this, which will mean that your beans have transitioned to cannabis seedlings. In the next 7-14 days, you should keep those infant plants inside a grow to tend with 18-24 hours of light (preferably white light, CFL bulbs work fantastic), temperatures between 20-25°C and high humidity in the 50-70% range.
All cannabis can be cultivated with a 12-12 light-dark cycle. Here is what we recommend.
Sativa strains may only require a further week or two under 18+ hours of light before inducing flowering or plant height could become unmanageable later in the bloom cycle. On the other hand, indica strains usually require 4-6 weeks. Novices might want to opt for hybrids since those can become vigorous branchy beasts in just 2-3 weeks with 18+ hours of light.
If you plan on using techniques like the topping of FIMing, you will need to provide your plant a prolonged vegetative stage, because it will have to recover in order to respond to those practices. If your main goal is high yield: SOG for indica and pruning of LST followed by ScrOG for Sativa’s.
Different strains have a different response. Hybrids are shown to respond well in a variety of systems.
The light reduction will help photoperiod cannabis strains to enter the bloom phase. When it comes to outdoor cropping, crops ripen in the autumn, since in nature this is more gradual. For indoors, to induce flowering, you need to adjust your timers to 12/12. To learn more about the expected flowering time, growing characteristics and genetic background, make sure you read the breeder’s description of the cannabis strain you are growing. Indica-dominant strains typically bloom in 7-9 weeks, hybrids 8-10 weeks and mostly Sativa strains like Neville’s Haze and Amnesia Haze’s flowering takes 12+weeks. If you are impatient and want to shave some time off the bloom cycle, you can do that by reducing light to 10 hours. This has its bad side, which is reducing harvest weight.
Harvesting, Drying And Curing
You don’t want to harvest cannabis too early, nor too late. Harvesting too early will reduce yields and potency while harvesting too late can ruin the high. When removing leaf material, pay close attention, because you don’t want to spoil the buds. Toss away the fan leaves and save that quality trim in a paper bag for making hash from it later.
Marijuana needs to be dried in a dark and dry place. It will take 3-5 days for popcorn buds and trim leaves to be dried. You can use basic brown paper bags stored in the wardrobe for it. Dry slowly and carefully the bulk of your harvest for 10-15 days. For more effect, you can use drying nets. Don’t forget about humidity, it needs to be low, which would be 40% or less.
Sampling can be done after two weeks of drying. The final process, which is curing, can take anywhere from a few weeks to few months.
The fastest flowering type of cannabis is auto-flowering strains. Within 4-6 weeks of growth from seed, the auto-flowering strains will enter the bloom cycle regardless of the light cycle, because they aren’t photoperiod-sensitive when it comes to flowering. They can progress in 18+ hours of light. Some can be harvested in just 8 weeks from seed and produce decent yields of potent 15%+ THC level marijuana.
No matter what you decide to grow, make sure to learn and prepare, set up a plan, give your best effort, and remember that practice is very important.