Weed Plant 6 Weeks From Seed

Ever wondered what each stage of growth is like when cultivating DIY weed? In this article, we explain the 7 key cannabis growth cycle stages. With each stage of growing weed, there are tips and tricks you need to know to optimize success and maximize yields. ✓ Find out more here. Learn what your cannabis should look like (with pictures) so you can maximize marijuana yields by focusing on the right factors each week of the flowering stage. Know what to expect!

The 7 Stages of the Cannabis Plant Growth Cycle

Marijuana legalization is spreading. Medicinal marijuana use is now legal in over half of states, allowing patients access to the herb once they have a recommendation from a licensed physician. However, it’s no secret that weed is expensive.

Some of these states allow users to grow their own pot at home rather than buying from a state-run dispensary. This can save them money if they are a talented cultivator.

And then there are other states, in which recreational marijuana is legal. In fact, Colorado, Alaska, Massachusetts, and Maine make no distinction between medicinal grows and legal grows. In other words, any adult of legal age can cultivate marijuana in their home, but there are limits as to how many plants you can have.

If you want to try your hand at cannabis growing, check the laws in your state beforehand. Then, it’s vital to read up on all this related to cultivating cannabis so you can have a successful grow. In this article, we look at the seven steps of cannabis growing and harvesting to help you get the most out of your grow op.

EDITOR’S CHOICE – Homegrown CannabisCo

Homegrown CannabisCo are the masters when it comes to seeds. Offering a massive variety of cannabis seeds that are well categorized, not only does this company create a resource for superb quality options including feminized seeds, it also provides extensive growing information for those looking for some support along their journey.

1. Germination: Between 24-Hours and 2 Weeks

Plants use sexual reproduction in order to carry on the species into the next generation. There are male and female cannabis plants which must reproduce. Sometimes, hermaphrodite plants exist, but these are not something you should concern yourself about right now.

Growers want to use female plants because these are the only ones that produce a massive quantity of trichomes. In case you didn’t know, trichomes are the white crystals packed full of cannabinoids like CBD and THC. Male plants are virtually useless, but they could end up contaminating your crop if you keep them around.

As a result, you should look out for feminized seeds. Seed banks often sell this type, so they shouldn’t be too hard to find. If you use regular seeds, there is a 50/50 chance you will get male or female plants; with feminized seeds, all your plants will be females.

Once you have your feminized seeds, it’s time to germinate them. Each and every seed contains a cannabis plant just waiting to emerge, but it will need some tender love and care in order to do so. Seeds need heat and water in order to sprout; otherwise, they will remain dormant.

There are a few ways to germinate a cannabis seed, but most people use the paper towel method. It’s super easy and won’t take long at all. Here’s what to do:

  1. Soak four paper towels in water and place two of them on a plate. Space out the cannabis seeds on top of the paper towel.
  2. Place the other two paper towels on another plate. Use this plate to cover the other one, so the cannabis seeds are inside.
  3. Keep the room temperature somewhere between 70 and 90˚F, and keep checking to make sure the paper towels are still wet.

Check on your seeds every so often. Eventually, a white taproot will sprout from the seeds. Germination can take anywhere between 24 hours and seven days, so be patient!

When the taproot has emerged, you can transfer the seeds to a growing medium. Depending on the strain, your growing experience, and your budget, you might want to use a different growing medium. Some people prefer a hydroponics setup, but first-time cultivators are likely to prefer soil.

When handling the seed, be extremely careful. Avoid touching the taproot as it is fragile and may break. At first, you can transplant the seed into 2-inch pots of soil.

Congratulations! The seed is ready to start growing.

2. Seedling Stage: 2-3 Weeks

Once the germinated seeds are planted, they will begin growing. A little cannabis plant will sprout from the soil and begin to develop familiar characteristics. During the seedling stage, it will produce two leaves that open outward from the stem to start receiving sunlight. Next, its trademark cannabis leaves will begin to sprout at the top of the plant as it enters its first growth cycle.

During this time, the plant will also start developing its root system. While this is happening, it is officially a seedling. Pot plants can stay in the seedling stage for 2-3 weeks, but this stage may last for up to 6 weeks in rarer cases. The length of time can vary depending on the strain you’re growing and a few environmental factors.

As a general rule, the seedling should be kept at 77˚F with a humidity of around 60%. Often, marijuana prefers a light cycle of 118-hours of white light per day once the leaves have emerged. You should be using a nitrogen-rich fertilizer at this point. Remember that all this is a rule of thumb. To get the best results, read up on the requirements of your particular strain.

3. Vegetative Stage: 3-8 Weeks

By the time the vegetative stage comes round, you should have transferred the plants to larger pots. At this point, they will be growing rapidly as they take on more nutrients and carbon dioxide. This allows them to develop leaves and take shape very quickly.

Vertical growth will take place now, with plants growing taller. We have heard of people’s plants gaining 2 inches in height in just 24 hours!

You will now be able to tell what kind of plants you’re growing as they show their defining characteristics. Sativas will become taller and narrower, whereas indicas will appear short and bushy with dense foliage.

Furthermore, the end of the vegetative stage provides a vital opportunity to look for males in your crop. As plants leave this stage, the females will start developing two white pistils, where males will grow pollen sacs. If you see these sacs, remove the plant from the vicinity before it pollinates the females and ruins your harvest.

During the vegetative stage, the general rule is to keep the temperature between 68 and 77˚f, and the humidity between 50% and 70%. Once again, nitrogen is the essential nutrient, but you can also increase levels of other key nutrients in the feed. The plants will need 16-24 hours of sunlight.

4. Flowering Stage: 6-8 Weeks (Most Important Stage!)

The flowering stage is the last stage of growth, and it is the most crucial for you as a cultivator. You can transition plants into the flowering stage by reducing their light exposure. A 12-12 cycle (12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness) is ideal.

When the plants flower, they begin to produce a sticky resin on the leaves. Trichomes will develop, too. This means that the cannabinoids in the plant are developing nicely. The final potency of the cannabis will depend on how long it spends in the flowering stage.

At this point, you should keep the temperature somewhere between 68 and 77˚F, with the humidity at around 50%. You can stop giving the plant nitrogen now, but up the intake of potassium and phosphorus.

EDITOR’S CHOICE – Homegrown CannabisCo

Homegrown CannabisCo are the masters when it comes to seeds. Offering a massive variety of cannabis seeds that are well categorized, not only does this company create a resource for superb quality options including feminized seeds, it also provides extensive growing information for those looking for some support along their journey.

5. When to Harvest Marijuana

Now comes the tricky part: Figuring out when is the right time to harvest! You will have to keep a close eye on your plants to determine when it’s the right time to reap them. Your timing can affect the smell, taste, weight, and potency of the final product.

A good trick is to look closely at the pistils. When they begin to turn brown, and the leaves start to yellow, now is the time to harvest. Generally, experts say you should harvest the plants when 70-90% of the pistils have browned. If the pistils are entirely brown, the marijuana may be ‘overripe’ – it won’t taste good, and its effects will be less pleasant.

If the plant’s stem swells, it stops producing calyxes, and the yellow leaves fall off, then it’s too late. The cannabis is basically useless at this point.

Harvesting early is better than harvesting too late. The weed won’t be as potent, but you will still get something out of it.

6. Pruning Your Marijuana

After cutting down the plants, it’s time to prune them. This process ensures you will have rounded and smokable bud. You can perform wet or dry pruning. The general consensus is that the former method is easier. When the plants are dry, the leaves curl in on themselves, and it’s harder to perform the task at hand.

Invest in some delicate scissors – not the same ones you used to cut the plants down. It’s also a good idea to grab a chair because you could be here a while! Wet pruning will also require gardening gloves because the plants will be sticky.

Pick the fan leaves off the buds, and then trim off the sugar leaves. You can use these leaves for edibles, or you can throw them away. It’s also a good idea to collect the resin which accumulates on your gloves to use for dabs – it’s pretty potent stuff!

Once pruned, your buds are ready to be dried and cured. And then your work is complete!

7. Preparing for Next Season’s Cycle

Once you have completed your first growing cycle, you will be rewarded with a potent, delicious bud. So what happens now?

If you’re planning on cultivating your own weed continuously, you’re going to need some more seeds. We mentioned removing the males from your cannabis crop, and this means that your females won’t be pollinated and won’t be producing seeds. As a result, it’s unlikely that you will have your own seeds to work with.

One option is to buy more seeds from a seed bank. This way, you can keep buying and trying different strains.

However, some growers prefer to use cloning. All you need to do is cut a branch of at least four inches from the most productive plant in your crop and plant it into a rooting solution. The plant that grows will be genetically identical, making the growing process predictable and easy. It does mean that you get the same every time, though, which can get a bit repetitive.

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Final Thoughts: Growing Your Cannabis Through 7 Stages

Using your own home-grown Mary Jane can be very rewarding. If you’re a cannabis user with a green thumb, then we recommend giving it a go at least once. You never know, you might find your new favorite hobby! Once you get the hang of things, you can start growing more challenging and exciting strains.

Before you start, though, it’s crucial to find out the laws in your locality. Growing weed in a state where it’s illegal can carry hefty penalties, so it’s just not worth it! Make sure you stick to the laws in your state, and you will find the experience much more pleasant.

EDITOR’S CHOICE – Homegrown CannabisCo

Homegrown CannabisCo are the masters when it comes to seeds. Offering a massive variety of cannabis seeds that are well categorized, not only does this company create a resource for superb quality options including feminized seeds, it also provides extensive growing information for those looking for some support along their journey.

Stages of Growing Weed 101 – The Top Things You Need to Know

Weed is a highly complex plant in comparison to most considering it has distinct stages of cannabis growth stages. Unlike other plants that typically grow with just sun, soil, and water – each weed plant stage requires its own specific protocol of nutrients, light, and environmental conditions to survive and thrive. Which makes knowing these stages of cannabis growth from the start that much more crucial for the overall health of your plants. That’s why we’ve put together the ultimate guide to the stages of growing weed with all the information you need to know for success.

The Germination Stage

As the saying goes, ‘it all starts with a seed’ which holds true for cannabis growth stages.

Unless of course, you’re beginning crops with clones, which is a cutting from a plant in its vegetative state. In that case – you can skip to that portion of the guide but for the most part, seeds still reign supreme especially for home grows.

First thing’s first, you’ll want to ensure the seed you’ll be germinating is viable. If you’re unsure of the quality or viability of seeds there are a few telltale signs to check for. Healthy seeds should be brown in color with visible stripes, and shouldn’t feel weak or be white or green. If you’re waiting to germinate your seeds, or storing them for future crops, be sure to keep them in a cool, dark space like a refrigerator or cooler area of your home.

The act of germinating seeds promotes the ‘popping’ of the initial seedling. This initial sign of life is the plant’s taproot that will take hold in your chosen medium. While some growers do just toss a seed in soil and hope that it takes, germinating the seed before the seedling stage is the best way to guarantee your seed takes life. In the germination stage seeds need –

  • A warm temperature
  • Humidity
  • Air
  • Water

One common way to nurture germination with these factors in mind is a method that requires a couple of plates or a ziploc bag and a paper towel. Slightly dampen the paper towel and fold it in half once or twice. Place the seeds inside the paper towel, and fold the other half over them. You can then place the paper towel in a plastic bag, and store it somewhere dark. Or, between two plates works as well.

In general, you can expect to see your seeds pop in 3-10 days making that duration the entire length of time for the germination stage. Every day or so, check back on the seeds to see if the taproot has emerged and once it has – you’re ready to move onto the cannabis seedling growth stage. So, let’s cover that more in-depth, next.

The Seedling Stage

For the start of cannabis seedling growth, you’ll place the germinated seed and taproot into your medium of choice. It’s ideal to use a small pot size for seedlings with adequate drainage for optimal results. To keep it simple, many growers use solo cups with holes in the bottom during this stage of growing weed.

Once the seed is in its growing medium, soon the growth of cotyledons AKA the first oval-shaped leaves will emerge. From there, upon providing the optimal conditions for seedling growth you’ll notice serrated leaf growth. Over the next three weeks, the seedling will continue growing new leaflets until digitate leaves sprout which are the more recognizable ‘fan leaves’ you’d expect from cannabis plants.

When plants are in the early seedling stage it’s imperative to provide an environment that’ll nurture optimal health. Because cannabis seedlings are more sensitive in this stage, they won’t require as many nutrients to start but will benefit from the following –

  • Water with pH levels ranging between 6 – 7
    • Pro tip: Use a spray bottle to water young seedlings to avoid overwatering.

    In regards to lighting, cannabis seedlings benefit from lower intensities of light with a blue spectrum if possible. As for light cycles, seedlings thrive with 18 hours of light and 6 hours of darkness to optimize photosynthesis for healthy, overall growth. It’s best to keep lights around 24-36 inches away from the top of the seedling, to avoid burning, but also close enough to provide optimal levels of energy.

    Due to the delicate growth of cannabis seedlings they can be highly susceptible to mold. To avoid any mold issues, it’s recommended to keep the area free of excess moisture and as clean as possible. Last but not least, as cannabis seedling growth progresses the level of nutrients should be slowly increased. This increase in nutrients is vital to the transition of seedlings to vegetative plants, which we’ll cover next.

    The Vegetative Stage

    The vegetative stage of marijuana may be less thrilling than flowering but is just as important for maximized yields. That’s because the veg period is spent bolstering the plant for strong, healthy growth to support the buds you’ll soon be harvesting. To continue favorable environmental conditions, here are a few controls to keep –

    • Warm temperatures ranging between 71 – 79℉
    • Relative humidity kept between 40-60%
    • Watering with pH levels between 6 and 7
    • Increased airflow, and CO2

    A part of the process in strengthening the plant is providing adequate levels of nutrients, with an increase of nitrogen, and establishing a regular feeding schedule. In addition, you’ll want to allow your roots the room to grow which requires the transplanting of your plant into a bigger pot. Without transplanting, your roots can become rootbound. Rootbound is a condition where roots hit the side of the container, and begin circling. If the circling continues, the roots can choke themselves which significantly deters plant health or kills it altogether.

    Some growers will transplant their veg plants into a medium-size pot and then transplant once more before flowering. While others will wait until their veg plants are big enough, and transplant into the final flowering container size just once and avoid the extra step. Each method is appropriate and the decision ultimately depends on the grower’s preference, budget, or size of the room.

    For light cycles, the veg stage of cannabis growth continues to require 18 hours of light with 6 hours of darkness for photosynthesis purposes. Plants will also continue to benefit from higher spectrums of blue light during vegetative growth, which can promote even node spacing, and canopy uniformity. Because each stage of marijuana growth benefits from different spectrums of light, LEDs are quickly becoming the preferred grow light setup for their full-spectrum capabilities.

    While it’s important to monitor the plants closely in every cannabis growth stage, a close eye is even more crucial during the vegetative period if growing with a regular or non-feminized seed. As you may know, cannabis plants are dioecious meaning they can be male or female in sex. However, female cannabis plants are the ones that produce high levels of cannabinoids, like THC that are associated with high-quality crops. So, the veg stage is when growers determine if plants are female or male, discarding any males that pop up immediately to avoid pollination. Typically, plants will show their sex around the 6-week mark for reference.

    All in all, the veg cannabis growth stage typically lasts anywhere from 4-8 weeks. But just because a plant can go into flowering at 4 weeks – doesn’t necessarily mean it should. By doing so you can risk growing a smaller plant than originally intended. The transition from veg to flower will depend on the strain, and upon the specific plant’s health or stature hence the variation in the estimated time range. Ultimately, growers will decide when individual plants or crops are big and strong enough to support the flowering stage of growing heavy buds, themselves, or go based on strain history.

    In fact, – the vegetative stage of marijuana growth can go beyond 8 weeks, and even perpetually. Many commercial growers will keep ‘mother plants’, or varieties forever in veg that have stable, consistent, and trusted end-results. This is where the art of ‘cloning’ also comes into play, as they can ‘clone’ the variety over and over with successful results and without the risk of unknown genetics or phenotypes.

    But how? Plants can be kept in their vegetative stage because cannabis is photoperiod in nature. Meaning, the species requires specific periods of light and dark to begin blooming or flowering. So, without further adieu – let’s move on to the flowering portion of our weed plant stages guide to learn more.

    The Flowering Stage

    Finally, we get to the stage of growing weed when the magic happens – the infamous flowering period. The flowering weed plant stage begins when light cycles of 12 hours of light, and 12 hours of dark get initiated. This occurs outdoors when the days become shorter towards Fall, and indoors when growers set specific schedules of light. During the flowering stage of marijuana growth, here are a few key factors to maintain –

    • Warm temperatures ranging between 65-79℉
    • Relative humidity ranging between 40-50%
    • pH levels ranging between 6 and 7
    • Maintain airflow, and increase CO2

    Lighting is more intense during the flowering stage and a red spectrum is beneficial for the growth of plants. Flowering plants will also benefit from another increase in nutrients, and during the final weeks, growth can be supplemented with the addition of ‘bloom’ solutions that have ample amounts of phosphorous.

    Flowering cycles will differ upon the strain but ranges from 8-12 weeks. During this time, there are a few distinct periods of growth, including –

    1. Flowering initiation (week 1-3) –With new light cycles and amplified light intensity, plants spend the flowering initiation period growing and stretching in size. In this stage, plants often double in size and begin showing signs of flowering like the emergence of pistils, or white hairs. Reaching week 4, bud sites will begin to appear in the nodes of the plant, where the main stem and branches meet.
    2. Mid-flowering (weeks 4-5) –In weeks 4 and 5, plants stop stretching and growing in size and stature and begin packing on weight instead. It’s important to maintain regular and adequate levels of nutrients during the mid-flowering stage of growing weed as this is when the development and production of cannabinoids and terpenes are strongest. The extra strength is also helpful for the fattening of buds, which can be supported by trellis’ or staking and tying. Near the end of mid-flowering, pistils will also begin to darken as the cannabis life cycle matures.
    3. Late-flowering or ripening (weeks 6+)-The final weeks of ‘ripening’ in late flowering is when the flower buds gain the most weight, making the additional support measures that much more important. Especially considering plants can bend and break from bud weight. This is also the weed plant stage when that sticky-icky crystal coating of resinous trichomes becomes more established. These trichomes also play a pivotal role in deciding when to harvest, as their transparency and coloring change as the stages of marijuana growth progress. The flower’s pistils will also transform in color, and curl inward near the end of growth, too.

    When the plant is nearing the end of its cannabis life cycle – flushing is recommended as one of the final steps during the flowering stage. Flushing refers to only watering your plant for the last week or two. Essentially, this ‘flushes’ out nutrients by triggering the plant to use the nutrients leftover in the plant – a crucial step in finishing the flowering stage and increasing plant senescence. Without this step, plants can be less aromatic or harsh upon puff, puff, passing.

    After flowering and flushing, come the final stages of growing weed which is the harvesting of plants, along with the drying, and curing of buds. For more detailed information on the post-growth cannabis life cycle, including when to harvest, and how – we’d recommend checking out our complete guide to growing indoors.

    Nourish to Flourish – The stages of growing weed

    While the stages of growing weed differ greatly there’s one important thing to remember for each – you’ve got to nourish to flourish. Meaning, with each cannabis growth stage, the plant requires a specific routine of nutrients, lights, and environments for optimal growth and health.

    Even though the cannabis life cycle may be somewhat tricky to master for beginners, with the information you gained today you’ll be on autopilot for managing weed plant stages before you know it.

    So, keep staying in tune with all the latest knowledge on navigating the stages of cannabis growth, and providing your plants with the TLC they need. Stay connected to Scynce for more grower tips and tricks by following us socially or signing up for our email newsletter today!

    Week-by-Week Timeline of the Cannabis Flowering Stage: 12/12 to Harvest (with Pictures)

    Do you want to know what to expect when growing marijuana in the flowering stage? First, let’s talk a little bit about the beginning of your plant’s life so you can understand exactly how the flowering stage comes in. During the phase known as the vegetative stage (the first stage of life for marijuana), a cannabis plant grows about how you’d expect… like a weed! In the vegetative stage, a cannabis plant only grows new stems and leaves, and can grow several inches a day with the added ability to recover from just about anything.

    Even if you run into major problems in the vegetative stage, you can bring your plant back from the brink of death simply by addressing the problem and giving your plant some TLC.

    In the vegetative stage, your cannabis plant only grows stems and leaves and is resistant to problems. It grows like a weed!

    However, things aren’t so rosy in the cannabis flowering stage. In the flowering stage, your cannabis plant grows very differently and is much more sensitive to problems. The tricky thing about the flowering stage is that you don’t have much room for error and big mistakes can lower your yields.

    In order to maximize your yields, it’s important to know what to focus on during each part of the flowering stage. It’s also really helpful to know what to expect so you know when something is going wrong!

    Week-by-Week Timeline of the Flowering Cycle (with pictures)

    This marijuana flowering stage “walk through” will explain exactly what to expect week-by-week while your plant is making buds, and it’ll tell you what you need to do to ensure you get to harvest with the best bud quality and yields possible!

    Week 1-3: Transition to Flowering

    When growing cannabis indoors, the flowering stage begins when you change your grow lights to a 12/12 light cycle (12 hours light, 12 hours darkness each day). Getting those 12 hours of uninterrupted darkness each day gives your plant the signal that it’s time to start flowering. In a way the plant “thinks” winter is coming because the days are getting short.

    Note: It’s common to think that a cannabis plant getting 12 or less hours of light is what initiates flowering, but it’s actually uninterrupted darkness that does the trick! If the plant gets any light during the dark period, even for just a minute, it won’t make buds! In fact, a flowering plant may even revert back or express hermaphroditism if it gets any light at night!

    Outdoors, it’s also the days getting shorter that cause a cannabis plant to start making buds in late summer, but outdoor buds develop on different schedules depending on the local climate. This tutorial is meant to explain how a cannabis plant usually develops when grown indoors, since that is done under controlled conditions, and plants tend to grow the same way.

    For the purposes of this tutorial, the flowering stage starts the day you switch to 12/12

    Autoflowering strains of cannabis don’t need special light periods to start flowering, however the cannabis flowering timeline in this tutorial is a good general guideline for indoor auto-flowering strains, too. Their “vegetative stage” lasts about 3-4 weeks, so as long as you start counting at week 3-4 from seed (when they start getting their first pistils) this flowering timeline will generally apply to autos too, though sometimes they finish up faster.

    During the first few weeks after being switched to a 12/12 schedule, your plant will be growing like crazy and rapidly gaining height. In fact, a cannabis plant can (and frequently will) almost double in height after the switch to 12/12. This period of super-fast and often stretchy growth is sometimes referred to as the “flowering stretch.”

    Example of flowering stretch – what to expect

    Pre-Stretch – just before 12/12

    Post-Stretch – 4 weeks after 12/12

    Although your female plants will start sprouting lots of white pistils, they usually won’t start growing “real” buds with substance quite yet. If you’re new to growing cannabis, it’s very important to note that only female cannabis plants make buds.

    Did you know you can figure out if a plant is male or female while it’s still in the vegetative stage?

    If your plant is male, it will start growing distinct pollen sacs and should be removed from the grow room immediately to prevent it from pollinating your female plants and causing ‘seedy’ buds. Learn where to get feminized (all-female) seeds online so you don’t have to worry about male plants.

    Remove any plants growing pollen sacs instead of pistils, because they are male and won’t make buds. Plus they can pollinate your female plants and cause them to grow seeds! What if my plant is growing both pistils and pollen sacs?

    Female plants should be growing pistils wherever a fan leaf meets a main stem. They look like white wispy hairs emerging from the joints

    During the first few weeks of the flowering stage, you will see bunches of single leaves forming at the tops of your main colas (like in this pic). Soon white pistils will start coming out of the middle of the bunches, and they will become your main buds!

    During week 1-3 of the flowering stage, your plant will mostly be producing new stems and leaves as it grows taller. Right now your plant is still very resilient and can handle problems just like in the vegetative stage. However, it’s still very important to avoid problems and take great care of your plant!

    As part of the stretch, your plant will be growing out its bud sites. Stunting growth at this point could cause the plant to make smaller and fewer bud sites than it would if it were healthy and growing fast.

    If you have more room in your grow space under the light to spread your plants out, or if you are running out of headroom, it is important to gently bend stretching stems down and away from the center of the plant to help maintain a flat canopy (a technique known as low stress training).

    During the stretch, gently bend new stems down to try to maintain a flat, even canopy

    If you keep up with it during the stretch, you can prevent any one stem from getting much taller than the others

    When stems are new, they are flexible and easy to bend, but they quickly harden up and turn woody. By keeping a close eye on your plant and bending any too-tall branches down and away from the center of the plant as soon as you can, you will maximize your yields since that flat shape will most efficiently use your grow lights. If all your main bud sites are spread out and about the same height, you can increase your yields by up to 40% or more!

    Spreading out your bud sites and maintaining a flat canopy can increase cannabis yields by as much as 40%…or even more!

    At this point, you only have a few weeks left until you lose the ability to do any further training, so don’t miss this last opportunity to control the shape of your plant, especially if you’re running out of room!

    Week 3-4: Budlets Form

    The mad stretching of the first few weeks will start to slow down in week 3-4, but your cannabis plant will still be growing upward. At this point you’ll actually start to see real buds instead of just hairs (I like to call them “budlets” during this stage) and all the pistils will be white and sticking almost straight out.

    “Budlets” start forming where buds will be, with white pistils sticking straight out

    Your plant is going to start getting a little picky about the environment and nutrients in week 3-4 so it’s important to keep a close eye on your garden. You need to make sure your plant stays healthy all the way to the end of the flowering stage, and you’ve still got more than a month to go so you don’t want your plant to run into any major health problems now!

    Be especially aware of leaf symptoms, for example: discolored/yellow leaves, or if your plant starts rapidly losing leaves. It’s completely normal to lose a few leaves at this stage, especially leaves that aren’t getting light (which often look like they may have a nutrient deficiency and then fall off, but it’s just your plant cannibalizing the leaf since it isn’t getting any more light). That being said, overall your entire plant should still be lush and green in week 3-4 while your budlets are forming.

    As your plant continues through the flowering stage, it’s normal to see a few yellow or discolored leaves near the bottom of the plant, especially in the places where the leaves are no longer getting light. This isn’t anything to worry about if it’s just a few leaves as the plant is putting its energy to the top of the plant and the buds.

    But it’s not normal for your plant to be yellowing or losing leaves rapidly like this

    Another thing to be aware of is nutrient burn. This is what happens when you give your plants too-high levels of nutrients – the tips of all the leaves actually get “burned.” While a little bit of nutrient burn won’t hurt your plant, it’s important to try to avoid it if you can. Your plant can never recover the parts of the leaves lost to nutrient burn, so if you accidentally give too much nutrients in the future, the burning will start “climbing” up the “fingers” of the leaves. Cannabis leaves tend to look much less appealing/pretty as more of each leaf gets burned. However, even cannabis plants with severe nutrient burn can produce good bud, so don’t give up if you run into thi problem!

    Try your best to avoid nutrient burn (burnt leaf tips caused by too-high levels of nutrients), as it can only get worse as the flowering stage continues

    When nutrient burn starts getting bad, it can actually start discoloring your sugar leaves (the small single-finger leaves emerging from your buds). If nutrient burn reaches the base of the sugar leaves, you won’t be able to trim it off at harvest so your buds will end up with yellow/brown spots where all the leaves were burned.

    Nutrient deficiencies can also cause the same problem if left unchecked. This doesn’t necessarily affect the potency but buds don’t look as good as they could have.

    So to grow bud you’re proud of, you’ll want to be aware of avoiding nutrient burn from the beginning. Since your plant isn’t really growing many more leaves, you need to really care for the ones it has left.

    If they haven’t already, your plants may start to smell!

    Some strains like Blue Mystic and Northern Light are known for having relatively low smells, but many strains can start getting pungent quickly!

    Week 4-6: Buds Start Fattening

    Your budlets are fattening and soon you will have buds with substance! They will still have nearly all white pistils sticking straight up in every direction, but the buds themselves will be getting fatter every day.

    By weeks 4-6, the stretch is almost over and you no longer need to pay attention to training your plant. Instead of trying to keep the colas down, from now on you’re doing the opposite – trying to hold any buds up if they start getting too heavy for your plant!

    If you’re having trouble fitting your plant in your space within a safe distance from your light, your training options can start looking very grim.

    If your plant has grown into the light, you may have to consider last-resort solutions like supercropping (a high-stress training technique of forcing stems to bend at a 90° angle) which you normally should never do this late in the flowering stage.

    Since you don’t get many more new leaves, you need to think of your remaining leaves as armor – insurance against any nutrient or leaf problems.

    Although you don’t want an excessively leafy plant, and strategic defoliation (for advanced growers) can be helpful to expose bud sites, it’s important to make sure that you let your plant keep enough leaf coverage to power the growth of buds. It may need a little extra help if something happens!

    Although defoliation may be used to expose buds sites, make sure your plant still has enough leaves (“armor”) to last until the end of the flowering stage to power the growth of buds, and as insurance against any possible nutrient or leaf problems.

    Although most of the pistils will probably still be mostly white by the end of week 6, the buds are getting bigger and denser every day!

    Week 6-8: Buds Ripen, Pistils Darken

    From now on your plant won’t be making any new leaves or stems. It has completely switched gears away from vegetative growth and all its energy will be focused on growing buds from now until harvest.

    It’s normal for some of the bottom leaves to begin to turn yellow as the plant continues to put its energy in the leaves and buds getting the most direct light, though the plant should still be mostly green from top to bottom even in week 6-8.

    At this point, your plant may start getting much more picky and sensitive to nutrient problems, including those caused by incorrect pH at the roots. Now is not the time to slack off on caring for your plants!

    If your leaves are already turning yellow in week 6-8 it’s too early! Early leaf yellowing is likely caused by either a nutrient problem or light burn (which are both much more common in marijuanas flowering stage). React quickly to problems so you don’t hurt your yields!

    Another common problem to watch out for at this stage: if you see a whole new bud or “spire” emerging out of the side of an old bud that’s already developed, it’s usually a sign of heat or light damage.

    “Foxtailing” like this is caused by too much heat or light – it’s not normal bud growth! If you see this it means you need to control your temperature and light levels to prevent further damage!

    From now until harvest it’s extra important to avoid too-high levels of light or heat because (in addition to foxtailing) this can discolor/bleach/burn your buds and may even “evaporate” away some of the THC / potency.

    If things are going well, your buds should be really hitting their stride at this point. They will grow in size significantly over the next few weeks!

    Week 8+: Flowering Ends, Final Flush, Harvest

    Home stretch! You’re so close! To make sure things go smoothly until harvest, treat your plant like a movie star and attend to its every need! Very few strains of cannabis are ready to be harvested before week 8, but now we’re at to the point where some short strains are getting close to being harvest-ready!

    Many growers do a final flush, which involves giving only plain water to your plants (for a few days up to a few weeks) before harvest.

    Once you’ve reached week 8, buds are fattening quickly. Trichomes and pistils are maturing, though new pistils may continue to develop on the buds as they grow.

    You are basically just maintaining your plant until harvest. Different strains are ready at different times, but from now on you’re going to pretty much treat them all the same. Keep a close eye on the buds, pistils and trichomes as a whole to help you figure out the best time to harvest to get the effects you are looking for.

    Now is Probably the Best Time to Take Bud Pics!

    Quick Tip: Want to take better bud pics? Try taking a picture of the bud in the dark with your camera flash on. Learn more tips for taking great bud pictures!

    Just around 8-10 weeks is when you get to see the buds in their full glory. It’s also when the smell of cannabis often starts to get overpowering!

    Your plants are probably STINKING up everything around them!

    At this point it’s completely normal for your plant leaves to start yellowing, sometimes rapidly. As long as the yellowing isn’t affecting your buds and you’re very close to harvest then it’s completely normal. You probably can’t prevent this type of yellowing no matter what you do with nutrients because this is just what a cannabis plant naturally does as it’s wrapping up the flowering stage.

    After Week 8 it’s normal to see leaves turning yellow, in fact there’s not much you can do to prevent it. As long as it’s close to harvest and the yellowing is not affecting your actual buds it’s ok!

    Raising nutrient levels at this stage is not recommended as it won’t stop the yellowing and can possibly prevent your buds from fattening up as much as they could have (cannabis wants relatively low levels of nitrogen in the flowering stage for proper bud growth).

    If buds start getting too heavy and fall over, special tools known as plant yo-yos (pictured to the right) can be hung from the ceiling and will hook around your buds to gently hold them up without damaging them.

    Many growers choose to give their plants a 2-week flush before harvest to help make sure the plant has used up any additional nutrients that may affect the taste or smell of the buds.

    These buds are ready to start flushing – white pistils have nearly all darkened and curled in
    (learn exactly when to harvest so your buds produce the right effects)

    Sometimes you’ll need to harvest your plant early due to life situations, or because the plant is unhealthy and buds are starting to look burnt or discolored. If your buds look completely done, and you’re seeing leaf symptoms getting worse, it’s often better to harvest a little early to ensure the best possible quality given the situation.

    You may want to harvest your marijuana buds early if they’re starting to get damaged by nutrient or other problems. Sometimes it’s better to cut your losses than let your buds continue to get beat up! If you harvest your plants too early you can improve many unwanted effects by curing them. For example, these buds probably should be harvested before the buds get any further damage.

    Harvest buds early if they’re getting damaged!

    Harvest day is the best day!
    (well, until the day you try your buds for the first time!

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