Understanding the Life Cycle of a Marijuana Plant
Understanding the Life Cycle of a Marijuana Plant:
Growing marijuana requires a good understanding of its life cycle. By doing so, we become aware of its overall health by looking at the changes in its behavior. Along with this are changes in its requirements. As such, they will need varying amounts of light, nutrients, and water as they grow.
The life cycle of the cannabis also helps us decide when to start pruning and training the plants. Even identifying the plant’s sex rely on stages of growth as well. Thus, the role of the grower is to be ready for these changes. This includes adjusting the variables to the best levels and giving the plant the nourishment it needs.
When we optimize the environment, we avoid any problems that occur at a specific stage. As a result, the plant will thrive and produce a good harvest. Hence, having a good grasp of its life cycle is a huge advantage.
So, this article will cover all there is to know about the plant’s life cycle and what to do at each stage. This knowledge is essential when growing marijuana. As such, it serves as a guideline on how to deal with certain issues and take better care of the plants.
Ultimately, preparing to meet any mishaps is a vital practice in growing marijuana. It reduces the chances of a disappointing harvest and increases our confidence. So, start learning about the life cycle of the cannabis and become a successful grower.
How to Take Care of a Marijuana Plant in Different Life Stages
While it’s true that the marijuana is a hardy plant, it doesn’t hurt if we lend it a hand every now and then. In general, plants which grow with some help from the grower are healthier and produce more harvest. So, to get started, let’s look at the different stages of the life cycle. We will also learn how these milestones differ when grown indoors and outdoors.
- Grow Phases of the Cannabis
The life of marijuana plants consists of 5 phases with varying characteristics. To maintain a vigorous growth, we must look for these behaviors and give what it needs to level up to the next stage.
- Germinating Stage
Before planting the marijuana seed, it’s best to check its quality first. It should be dark brown, hard, and completely dry. Avoid green and squishy ones since these are underdeveloped and will not germinate.
Once we have selected the best seeds, begin growing them to start the germination stage. Expect the plant to accomplish this phase anywhere between 24 hours to 7 days. The key to this phase is to provide adequate moisture on the grow medium. This will encourage rooting as well as sprouting of the first leaves known as the cotyledons.
When these small, oval leaves stretch out, it will soak up the sun and trigger photosynthesis. Now that the seed has the means to make its own food, get ready for the next stage.
- Seedling Stage
The next phase begins when the first iconic leaves fan out. A cannabis plant that is still developing the full number of leaves is called a seedling. Finger leaves increase from 1, 3, 5 and 7 as the seedling matures although some plants may have more.
The ideal seedling forms a dense vegetation and does not appear to stretch out its stem. Also, the leaves should be vibrant green in color. To get a healthy seedling, make sure that it continues to grow and expand its roots.
Thus, it’s vital to provide adequate water but make sure not to overdo it. At this stage, mold and diseases often occur due to too much moisture. Many growers lose their seedlings due to this problem. So, watch the plant closely to monitor any water excess problems while also keeping the environment clean.
In addition, make sure that it gets 18 to 24 hours of light, so it can produce enough sugar while also avoiding mold growth. In general, the plant will remain in this phase for 2 to 3 weeks. If all goes well, the seedling will now move on to the vegetative stage.
- Vegetative Stage
This stage is when the plant starts to demonstrate rapid growth in both roots and leaves. As such, we can move the plant to a larger container where we encourage the roots to expand and settle deeper into the soil. Because of the stronger root system, the foliage will get bushier. Hence, this is the best time to start pruning or topping the plant.
Indica plants will exhibit shorter and denser nodes while Sativas are lanky and less dense. For both strains, start giving more water directed away from the stalks where the root tips are. Also, make sure that the plants receive at least 13 hours of sunlight for optimal growth.
To further support the cannabis during this stage, feed the soil more nutrients especially nitrogen. Also, maintain the correct levels of TDS and pH of the soil. Growers who do this are usually rewarded with fast and healthy growth. As a result, they get more bud sites which leads to a bountiful harvest.
In general, the marijuana plant takes around 2 to 8 weeks to complete this stage. But before it enters the flowering phase, it will first demonstrate the pre-flowering state. This is vital to growers since this is when we can start to identify the sex of the plants. Once we determine the male from the females, we separate them so that we only get the flowering females.
- Flowering Stage
When we notice that the plants touch leaves, it is now high time to initiate the flowering stage. We trigger this by reducing the light to 12 hours or less per day. This means that the plants will also get 12 hours or more of darkness.
During the dark hours, it is essential to provide total darkness, or the plants will revert to the vegetative phase. When growing outdoors, we cover the crop with a dark cloth. As they bud, the plants require less nitrogen and more phosphorous. So, adjust the nutrients accordingly.
Also, provide a trellis for the plant so that it can support all those developing buds. In general, this stage takes 6 to 8 weeks. As the flowers grow, avoid pruning after the first 2 weeks to allow the plant to focus on the buds. This will also prevent creating more stress which usually forces the plant to go back to the previous stage.
Another thing that we want to avoid is allowing the plant to flower too long. Doing so will lessen the THC in the buds, leaving us with weaker effects. To avoid this problem, watch for signs of yellowing in the leaves. This usually means that we are a bit late in harvesting.
- Harvesting Stage
In this stage, we begin to harvest the buds. But how do we know that it’s harvest time? For an accurate assessment, simply look at the color of the trichomes and pistils. They usually change from light to darker color as the buds ripen.
As a rule, we wait until 70% to 90 % of the buds turn dark or amber since this usually means higher THC levels. Or we can first sample the buds by cutting a few of the ripest, then dry and smoke them. This avoids making the mistake of harvesting too early which is common among newbie growers.
Once we harvest the buds, don’t forget to dry and cure before using them. This eliminates the possibility of smoking molds which can be harmful to health. Also, curing is said to help enhance the richness of the cannabinoids. So, if we want high-quality weed, make sure to apply these processes.
- Life Cycles in Different Environments
There are differences in the life cycle of marijuana depending on the environment where we choose to grow them. The biggest difference lies in the length of time that it takes from seedling to the harvest stage.
- Indoor Cycle
We get a short life cycle when we grow indoors which usually takes around 3 months. For clones, it’s even shorter at 2 to 2.5 months. However, some strains take up to 7 to 15 weeks to flower.
One big advantage in indoor gardening is that we can control most of the stages. For example, we can hasten the vegetation phase by planting more plants per square foot. Also, we can choose the time to trigger the flowering stage once the plants reach our desired size.
When it’s time for the cannabis to flower, we can put them in the 12- hour light cycle. Sometimes, other factors in the grow room will trigger the flowering but not by more than 5 days.
- Outdoor Cycle
Outdoor marijuana takes a lot longer to grow which is around 6 to 9 months. This is because we can’t control many of the variables such as the light cycle that triggers the budding.
In cold regions, germinate the seeds indoors to avoid the frost outside. This is best done 2 months before the snow melts. Once the temperatures get warm, we can move the plants outside. But keep them in their containers so that it’s easy to move them back in when it’s windy.
Grow Marijuana Successfully by Learning the Life Cycle
A vital element in growing marijuana is understanding its different life stages. By doing so, we increase the chances of success of getting a bountiful and rich harvest. This is because this knowledge enables us to better deal with the problems that often occur. Also, it gives us a clear idea on how to take care of the plant during a certain stage.
So, expect to provide varying amounts of light, water, air, and nutrition throughout the life cycle. Moreover, we must adjust the temperature, humidity, and other factors depending on the phase. When we anticipate what the plants need, they will often thrive and reward us with great buds.