Because light, water and nutrient needs are different throughout the grow cycle, understanding what your plant is going through in these stages is essential to properly care for your it.
Stage 1: Seed to Sprout (1-2 weeks)
There are many proven methods to use to get your seed to germinate and give it the best shot to grow healthily into an adult plant. Click Here to explore some of those methods.
No matter how you choose to germinate your seed, the basics still apply. You’ll want to keep your seed moist for 5-10 days until it’s popped and ready to be planted in your growing medium (if it hasn’t been already). Once in the growing medium, your sprout will form an embryonic root, embryonic shoot, and cotyledons (seed leaves). After shooting it will begin to develop a root system and will get it’s food through photosynthesis. It’s critical to keep your sprout moist (but not too wet) and give it 18 hours of light a day so it can grow leaves and flourish.
Stage 2: Seedling (2-3 weeks)
Once your plant begins to grow leaves beyond its cotyledons, it’s considered a seedling. Since your seedling is getting its food from photosynthesis, you should maintain 18 hours of light a day, or an 18/6 light cycle. Your plant is very vulnerable in the stage and requires a fair amount of care. Be careful not to overwater or feed your plant as it can easily burn. Seedlings are also especially susceptible to disease.
During the seedling stage, your plant’s leaves will have just one leaflet. Depending on the strain and type of cannabis plant you are growing, the number and shape of the leaves will vary, however when the number reaches 5-7, your plant has graduated from the seedling stage. Onto Vegetation!
Stage 3: Vegetation (2-3 weeks)
Once your plant matures out of the seedling stage it will grow and grow fast. In fact, your plant can grow as much as 5 inches in just a day. Because of such rapid growth, water intake will increase and light is still super important. Keep your plant on the same 18/6 light cycle and supplement with nitrogen-rich nutrients to provide adequate chlorophyll and protein.
During Vegetation, you’ll want to begin to trim and top your plant, to promote healthy even growth. More on that Here.
Stage 4: Flowering (4-12 weeks)
The last and longest stage of the growth cycle is flowering. In order to force your plant to flower, you’ll switch to a 12 on, 12 off light cycle. This change mimics the sun during the natural changing of seasons.
Flowering is the point at which you need determine the sex of your plants and separate the males so they don’t pollinate the females and ruin your crop.
Once you have isolated your females, consider trellising them as the growing buds will be heavy and don’t prune them, as this can disrupt the delicate hormone balance.
Patience is key throughout the grow cycle but especially in the flowering stage. Flowering time varies based on a variety of conditions but the length is generally anywhere from 4-12 weeks. You’ll judge full plant maturity from pistil color. When the plants pistils turn amber, THC production is complete and it’s time to harvest. Determining proper time to harvest can be tricky. We dive much deeper into it here.