Marijuana From Seed To Bud

How Long Does It Take to Grow Weed Indoors? [3 to 5 months] This is one of the most common questions we receive from curious soon-to-be indoor cannabis growers: How long does it really take to Everything you need to know about the 6 stages of cannabis growth. From selecting seeds to determining plant sex. Every smoker has had the thought cross their mind: Could I grow my own weed? Before undertaking this endeavor, here's what to look for, and how to do it.

How Long Does It Take to Grow Weed Indoors? [3 to 5 months]

This is one of the most common questions we receive from curious soon-to-be indoor cannabis growers: How long does it really take to grow weed? What’s the growing timeline?

It’s actually a really good question! Every new marijuana grower should know how much work they’re signing up for! The short answer is…

The Average Indoor Cannabis Grow Takes 3-5 Months

The long answer is: from Day 1 of your weed plant’s life to actually smoking your harvest, it can take… 8 weeks – 7+ Months! That’s a huge range, right?

That’s why most cannabis growers won’t give you a straight answer. The truth is, there are many factors will affect the total time until you have ‘ready’ buds, by days, weeks or even months. This includes your strain, your setup, and how big you plan to grow your plants (bigger plants need more time!). So instead of giving you a huge range, an easier-to-swallow answer might be to say that the average grow takes 3-5 months for indoor growers.

This includes the time needed to grow your cannabis plant from seedling to harvest plus an additional 2 weeks (or more) which is used to cure your cannabis buds after harvest (making them more potent and better smelling).

Additionally, for at least the first time you grow, you also need to consider the time needed to get your equipment and seeds/clones.

This article will give you the total time breakdown, so you can plan out the details of your grow in order to achieve the harvest times you desire:

Ultimately, How Long to Harvest Marijuana Depends on the Desired Yields, Strain and Grow Style

Today I will show you how to plan your grow so it takes the amount of time you want!

Note: When growing cannabis indoors, it takes 3-5 months on average to go through the life cycle of a plant. When growing outdoors, the total time depends on your local climate as most strains are ready to harvest in mid-to-late Autumn.

Jump to the Section of the Tutorial You’re Interested in:

  1. Before You Start Growing Weed– Get seeds and supplies so you’re set to start growing!
  2. Time Needed to Grow Weed, From Seedling to Harvest
  • Germinate Your Seeds (1-7 days) – Learn about fail-proof methods to germinate perfectly in soil/coco or hydro.
  • Vegetative Stage (average 4-8 weeks, length based on desired plant size) – In the vegetative stage, the cannabis plants are growing just stems and leaves. On average, most indoor growers vegetate their plants for 4-8 weeks. Seedlings are able to start flowering as early as 3 weeks from germination, but the resulting plants will be tiny. Most growers choose to let plants vegetate for longer because giving them more time to grow results in bigger plants, which tend to produce bigger yields as long as you have enough light to cover all the bud sites. That being said, you can still produce quite a bit of bud with a lot of small plants growing at once as long as you fill up your grow space.
  • Flowering Stage (average 8-10 weeks, depends on strain) – This is when plants start making buds. The length of the flowering stage depends heavily on the strain/genetics, with an average of about 8-10 weeks for most strains. Some strains are bred to have very short flowering stages (for example, most auto-flowering strains will naturally start flowering at around 3 weeks old and some are ready to harvest just 5 weeks later, for a total of only 8 weeks from seed!). Other strains take months in the flowering stage before they’re ready to harvest. Typically, longer-flowering strains produce higher yields and short-flowering ones tend to produce lower yields. Buds that are exposed to more light-hours have more time to fatten up, though that’s not always the case.
  1. Post-Harvest (This is when the smell/taste/look you love shows up) (1-2+ weeks) – After buds are harvested, they are dried for about a week then placed in glass jars to “cure” for 2+ weeks in order to achieve the best quality. This post-harvest processing dramatically improves the taste, smell and the perceived potency of the buds. It also reduces the chance of buds causing headaches or unpleasant “speedy” effects. Don’t skip this step! It will account for nearly 50% of your final bud quality! Learn how to dry & cure your buds to perfection.

If you choose the right strain, you could be smoking your own buds as soon as 3 months from germination!

Before You Start Growing Weed

Total preparation time needed: Up to a few weeks

Here’s the breakdown…

Get equipment: 0 days – 2 weeks
This includes purchasing your equipment and/or waiting for it to show up in the mail. This goes much quicker if you buy everything locally, for example at a hydroponics shop. Once you have your marijuana growing supplies, you’ll need to setup your growing area and equipment. A standard setup should take an afternoon at most. Depending on how you purchase your equipment and how quickly you setup, you could be ready the same day or in two weeks (after factoring in shipping time).

Check out examples of new grower shopping lists to learn exactly which supplies you’ll need.

Get seeds or clones: 0-4 weeks:
If you’ve found seeds in your bud or have instant access to genetics (like knowing a grower or buying seeds/clones locally), you’re already good to go. If you order from a seed bank overseas (especially US residents), expect to wait 1-4+ weeks to get seeds. Shipping time depends on the shipper and how fast the mail gets delivered. Sometimes seeds get caught up in customs for weeks. Make sure to always order from a trustworthy vendor.

Time Needed to Grow Weed, From Seedling to Harvest

Total growing time needed: 3-5 months on average

Here’s the breakdown…

Seedling Stage
Germinate your seeds: 1 – 7 days
Seedlings can sprout in as little as a day, but by 3-5 days, they should be good to go. If you have access to clones, you get to skip this wait.

Learn my fail-proof method to germinate your seeds in soil/coco or hydro.

Vegetative Stage
Vegetative Stage: 4-8 week average (but if you want big plants it may take longer)
The length of this stage is a matter of personal preference. Most cannabis plants won’t start flowering until they’re at least 3 or 4 weeks from germination, but after that you get to choose how long your plant spends in this stage (except auto-flowering strains, which automatically start flowering in 3-4 weeks from seed). Except for auto-flowering strains, you have total control over the vegetative stage because you’re the one to ‘flip the switch’ and get your plant to enter the next life stage: flowering.

When you start with a seed, even with an auto-flowering plant, you will always have at least 3-4 weeks of vegetative growth before any buds start forming no matter what you do. Growers generally allow their plants to stay in the vegetative stage from a few weeks to a few months.

The size your plant achieves in the vegetative stage has a very large effect on your final yields since bigger plants produce more bud sites than smaller plants. However, you need enough light to cover all the bud sites or they will never develop properly. Light is like food for bud growth!

See also  Marijuana Seeds Montana

These vegetating plants are about 4 weeks old from germination

To give you an idea as to what your FINAL marijuana plant may look like depending on how long it spends in the vegetative stage…

This plant didn’t spend any time in the Vegetative Stage. It was given 12-12 lighting almost immediately after sprouting. It’s so small that it spent its whole life in a solo cup, and its only light came from CFLs. I weighed down the bottom of the cup so it didn’t fall over. It ended up yielding about 0.75 oz.

These auto-flowering plants spent about 3 weeks in the vegetative stage before they automatically started flowering, and were ready to harvest just 5 weeks later. They were about a foot tall at harvest and yielded approximately 2 ounces each. Read the step-by-step tutorial to grow plants exactly like this.

This marijuana plant spent about 6 weeks in the vegetative stage before being changed over to flowering and yielded just over 6 ounces at harvest. View the complete grow journal with instructions on how to grow your plant so it looks just like this at harvest!

These cannabis plants were vegetated for about 8 weeks before being flipped to the flowering stage. Although they were grown in the exact same conditions from seed to harvest, their final heights are remarkably different because their strains had vastly different genetics. The smaller plant produced 6.6 ounces, while the big plant produced 9.3 ounces. Strain can make a big difference! Learn about growing different strains together.

These cannabis plants were vegetated for about 9 weeks before being flipped, in the exact same setup as above, and produced over 10 ounces each. Besides an extra week of veg, the biggest difference between this grow and the one above was simply the strains.

This human-sized plant (one of my very first plants) spent a little more than 3 months in the vegetative stage before I realized I needed to turn it over to the flowering stage. It then spent another 12 weeks in the flowering stage before it was ready to harvest because it was a long-flowering strain. It got way too tall for its space (taller than me!) and started falling over. However, despite the huge size and more than 5 months of growth, it only ended up yielding about 6 ounces. This is because it was under weak CFL grow lights. Though there were a lot of buds, the lack of strong light made them airy, without a lot of weight. Click the picture for a close-up.

Some people put their seedlings or clones right into the flowering stage if they want to harvest quickly though this makes for extremely small plants. For example, super-stealth growers who are growing in small hidden spaces – like out of a computer case – would want to put their seedlings into flowering nearly right away to keep their plants as small as possible. It’s also important to remember that container size and grow lights make a big difference. Small containers constrain the roots and keep plants from getting as big as they could, and small lights prevent buds from fattening up as much as they could.

I personally recommend at least 4 weeks in the vegetative stage with 18+ hours of light each day for the best results. Plants that are forced to start flowering sooner than 4 weeks don’t yield much compared to how much work you put in. That being said, keeping plants relatively small does have some benefits!

A good rule of thumb…

Your plant will likely double in size (maybe a bit less, maybe more) from when you first put it into the flowering stage; this is known as the Flowering Stretch. So make sure you end the vegetative stage before your plant reaches half the final height you want, or your cannabis plants may outgrow your grow space during the flowering stage!

Flowering Stage
Flowering Stage: (average 8-10 weeks, length depends on the strain/genetics)

Here’s the breakdown…

  • Week 1-3 – Transition to Flowering
  • Week 3-4 – “Budlets” Form
  • Week 4-6 – Buds Start Fattening Up
  • Week 6-8 – Buds Ripen, Pistils Darken – some strains spend longer in this stage
  • Week 8-12+ – Flowering Ends, Harvest time!

The length of time needed to stay in the flowering stage depends heavily on the strain. Once you have switched your plant into the flowering stage they will stretch (the ‘flowering stretch’), form buds and then fatten.

Here’s a list of some of my favorite and best cannabis strains by the length of the flowering period:

Short (6-8 weeks)

    – Known for being especially easy to grow – High-yielding, medical, high-CBD, medium-THC strain – Based on the famous White Widow strain but with a much faster finish – This version of Blue Cheese is fast flowering and easy to grow, yet buds are extra potent and produce great effects – One of the best strains for outdoor growing (and buds may turn pink or bright purple!) – A gem by Barney’s Farm, this strain “lifts you up” and causes a strong “head high” that can be a great way to relax after a tough day, or for when you want to get in a creative mood. – One of the most potent auto-flowering strains I’ve grown so far, ready in about 10 weeks from germination (7-week flowering stage) and just overall a healthy, easy, and high-yielding plant.
  • In fact, if you’re interested in a very short flowering time, most auto-flowering strains are ready to harvest less than 3 months from seed.

Frisian Dew plant growing outdoors with deep purple buds

Medium (8-12 weeks)

    – I just finished a grow with this strain and it impressed me. The buds did not turn purple but the smell, yields, and potency of buds were outstanding. – Medical strain, has a THC:CBD ratio of 1:1 – An award-winning strain that’s fruity, vigorous, and potent. The yields are not necessarily the highest, but it’s worth it for the quality of buds. I’ve grown this strain in many different setups and buds always come out great. – An award-winning strain that’s curiously strong. It’s one of the few “haze” cannabis strains that doesn’t take forever to finish flowering. – A cross between Gelato and OG Kush; two extremely popular strains in the US on the west coast. Finishes on the faster side, yet still produces great yields, potency, and smell. – Another beautiful Gelato cross, this time with the famous Gelato 33 clone (a very specific cut of Gelato), with Wedding Cake. – Another west coast favorite, this produces beautiful buds that are covered in crystals/trichomes, also high yielding. – Yields were so-so yet buds produce powerful effects. It turned a bit purple when I grew this strain (pictured below in the middle), which was a delightful surprise, but the potency is what I remember. – Easy to grow. Wants higher levels of nutrients in the flowering stage but rewards you with big yields, a strong spicy smell, and great potency.

Long: (12-14+ weeks)

  • Many Haze strains, as well as some Sativa strains, and generally any strains that originated near the equator. – A cross between some of the best Haze strains in Southeast Asia. If you want to try something different that is almost impossible to find in the US or Europe, this is it. It produces psychedelic effects that defy its cannabinoid content. May be too intense for some people.

In general, most strains (besides auto-flowering strains) are in the medium range as far as how long they take to flower.

See also  Free Marijuana Seeds

It’s not exact – There’s a 2-3 week harvest window for most plants, and keeping your plants in the flowering stage for a bit longer tends to increase your yields. This is because the plants tend to really bulk up their flowers once they’ve become ‘ripe’.

So often times, even though you could harvest at the shortest recommended time, waiting an extra week or two will give you 10-30% more yield compared to harvesting as early as possible.

Utopia Haze is a mix of Brazilian landrace strains

Post-Harvest (before you smoke you should do this stuff too)

Total post-harvest time needed: 2.5 weeks – 1.5+ months

Drying: 4 – 10 days
Good marijuana buds can be dried in as little as 4 days, but ideally, drying should be a slow process taking up to a week or more. Making sure your plants have been thoroughly dried (but not over-dried) will lower chances of mold during the curing process.

Curing: 2 weeks – 1+ months
Curing really seems to make the effects of buds feel less ‘speedy’ and be better suited to medical applications like treating anxiety, reducing pain, and improving feelings of depression.

Additionally, curing gets rid of any ‘cut grass’ smell, harsh taste and other undesirable traits of some freshly dried buds. Over time with proper curing, those traits will be replaced by the ‘real’ smell and potency profile of your buds.

Two weeks is considered the minimum time to cure your buds, but I personally cure all my buds for a month or even a bit longer because the buds continue to improve for several more weeks.

So, after you’ve bought seeds and equipment, grown a plant from seed to harvest, trimmed, dried and cured your buds, that brings us back to the original answer…

Total Time to Grow (and Be Ready to Use) Your Own Weed:
8 weeks – 5+ Months

Average Time to Grow (and Be Ready to Use) Your Own Weed:
3 – 5 months

If you haven’t started growing your own weed yet, today is the day!

New Grower Shopping Lists – What You Need to Get Started

How to Grow a Pound of Cannabis – Step-by-Step Instructions from Seed to Harvest

7 Tips for Growing Top-Shelf Buds – How to Grow Better Cannabis than the Dispensary!

The Stages of Cannabis Growth

Cannabis growth is made up of a series of stages that plants undergo during their lifecycle. Each stage during the cannabis cultivation process requires its own unique demands, including different levels of light, water, and nutrients.

It can take anywhere from 4 to 8 months to grow a cannabis plant, this varies based on where you’re growing. If you have an indoor grow room, your plant has the ability to flower after only a few weeks!

The quality of your plant depends on your knowledge of the cannabis growth stages and the lifecycle of your plants.

Cannabis Growth Timeline

1. Germinating: 1-7 days
2. Seedling: 2-3 weeks
3. Vegetative: 2-8 weeks
4. Pre-Flowering: 1-2 weeks
5. Flowering: 6-8 weeks
6. Harvesting

1. Germinating Seeds

2. Seedling Stage

3. Vegetative Growth

4. Pre-flowering

How to tell if your plant is a male or female

Female: Two pistils (the pistil contains the reproductive parts of a flower) will be growing on the buds (flowers grow above these leaves, one cluster on each side).

Male: Small green sacs full of pollen will be seen on the node areas.

5. Flowering

  • If there is a high color ratio of white to red pistils your cannabis will provide a euphoric THC high.
  • If the color ratio is more red to white, your cannabis will provide a calmer, CBD-stoned feeling.
  • If you harvest once half the trichomes are opaque and the pistils haven’t turned brown, your cannabis will provide a balanced THC/CBD high.

6. Harvesting

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Can You Plant the Seeds from Your Cannabis Buds?

You’re preparing your bud, getting ready to grind it down, and you lift it up a bit to admire its color and… what’s that? A little speck, either green or brown, sitting right in your bud! Are my buds bad?

Well, worry not, those are just marijuana seeds. It seems pretty obvious if you think about it – marijuana is a plant, and plants have seeds. Simple, right?

However, every smoker has had the thought cross their mind on this seed discovery: Could I grow my own weed?

Well, before you can consider whether or not you can plant those assorted seeds, you need to know what to look for, and how to do it.

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.

Why Are There Seeds in My Marijuana Buds?

First of all, you need to understand why there are seeds in your bud to begin with.

Contrary to what most people think, what you’re smoking isn’t actually the rolled up or dried leaves of the Cannabis Sativa plant. You’re actually smoking small flower buds.

It does seem rather odd, considering the prolific nature of the marijuana leaf in stoner culture – we even have images stretching back thousands of years, documented in ancient texts, of the marijuana leaf.

However, the leaf isn’t actually very interesting. It just absorbs sunlight and feeds the plant. According to the United Nations report* on cannabinoid levels between both male and female plants, the large leaves of some specimens only contain about 0.3% THC and 0.7% CBD, meaning you’d be hard-pressed to get any kind of high from the leaves.

No, it’s actually the flowering buds of the marijuana plant that get you high. When the plant is preparing to flower, thus allowing itself to germinate and spread its seeds so as to propagate itself, it creates these small bunches of buds – known as a cola – that are the beginnings of the flower buds.

These little buds are where all the THC and CBD are concentrated, divided between a variety of different parts of the bud. When the plant is harvested, that cola is all mixed together and dried, giving you your whole piece of bud.

However, sometimes a marijuana plant is harvested just a bit too late. Perhaps it got the chance to develop a bit longer than it would normally, or maybe the grower was just trying something new.

See also  Marijuana Seeds For Beginners

Regardless, the small seed of the marijuana plant is born, and it managed to make its way into your bud.

Now that we know what they are, how do we choose and use them?

What Do the Seeds Look Like?

You might be tempted to jump right in and start growing your new seeds. Not so fast though, you’ve got to pick the right seeds.

Take a look at your seed and make sure it’s the right color. It should be brown and entirely whole, not split apart or otherwise damaged.

If it’s green or yellowish, that means the seed had only just begun to grow before it was harvested, making it little more useful than the rest of the bud for growing plants.

If it’s brown and whole however, you’ve got yourself a healthy marijuana seed.
Now what? Do you just plant it and watch it grow?

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.

Next Steps: Germinating Your Marijuana Seeds

Before you can do any kind of planting of your seed, you first need to germinate it.

Germination is the initial process in a seed’s life, when it starts to transform for a hard, brown little shell into a living plant.

To germinate a marijuana seed, it takes a little more love and care than with some other plant seeds.
Firstly, take a plate or some other surface with a divot in it and lay a wet paper towel across the plate’s surface.

Lay your lovely brown seeds on the paper towel, making sure to give them as much room as possible.
Cover it with another piece of wet paper towel and cover the whole thing with another plate of equal size. This should make a handy little clam-shaped house for your germinating seeds.

What happens to the seeds is that they are tricked into thinking they have been successfully buried into soil.

Water activates the growing enzymes within the seeds, encouraging it to strip off its protective outer layer and start creating roots to lay into the ground.

The reason we don’t just put the seed into the soil is that marijuana seeds can be a bit particular – they require conditions to be just right, otherwise, they’ll fail to germinate and simply sit there. By putting them in a little protective case made of paper towels and plates, the seeds get the perfect environment to germinate.

Even using the towel and plate method, it’s possible that around a quarter of your seeds still won’t germinate.

The germination process can take up to around 10 days, but most will begin the process after 2-3 days. Any that don’t show signs of opening up and spreading roots can be safely thrown away.

Now that you’ve got yourself some germinated seeds, what’s next? How do you turn a plate full of damp seeds into a full-blown marijuana plant?

Planting the Seeds

Once your seeds are germinated, you can plant your miniature weed plants into a small soil pot, being careful not to overcrowd them. A small quantity of high quality of soil – marijuana needs a crazy amount of nitrogen, potassium and other nutrients to flourish – in a small pot is sufficient.

Keep the soil moist and allow the seeds to begin to sprout.

After a few days to roughly a week, the seed will begin to spread out its roots and start to shoot up towards the sun. You’ll likely even see the very beginnings of tiny marijuana leaves!

Once you’ve got those handy leaves, it’s time to transfer them into a bigger growing vessel.
Get a common plant pot – something in the 5-gallon range is pretty standard – and fill the very bottom of it with gravel.

This gravel helps provide a good base for the soil, as well as providing drainage.

The rest can be filled with high-quality soil and, once given adequate fertilizers, the marijuana seeds will start to grow!

Now, just treat your marijuana plant as you would any other plant. Keep it watered, keep it fed with a high nutrient liquid fertilizer and make sure it gets enough sunlight.

If you’re planning to grow cannabis indoors, away from prying eyes, and then make sure you have an adequate UV light setup to make sure it gets enough sunlight. Don’t forget to make sure the room where it’s kept is hot and humid enough!

There’s a reason that marijuana is usually grown outdoors in humid, jungle-like climates!

Some Notes of Warning

Only a few things can go wrong when you’re growing your own marijuana plants from the seeds in your bud. They’re not the worst things to ever happen, but they should definitely be considered.

#1 Knowing What You’re Getting

It’s not a frequent problem if you’re buying from a trusted marijuana supplier, but it’s possible that the seed in your bud isn’t exactly the same weed strain you think it might be.

Some unscrupulous sellers sometimes mix in small amounts of other buds to help bring up the bulk of their strains, whether through lack of availability or because they think it might improve the quality.

Though it is rare, it’s possible you might go to all this effort of growing a marijuana plant from your bud, only to find out that it’s not the right strain at all.

This is part of the reason why people generally prefer to buy their seeds from a reputable seed seller, due to the fact that you are more likely to know what you’re getting.

The other reason is…

#2 Seed Survivability – It Might Be Too Dry!

As part of the process of preparing marijuana buds for consumption, the bud is sun-dried over a period of days – or using a dehydrator – so as to concentrate the flavors and cannabinoids, as well as make it a lot easier to smoke.

During this process, it’s possible that the seeds might suffer damage and not be entirely usable. It’s possible that, after putting that time and use of your valuable plates into trying to germinate your seeds, none of them will bloom.

That’s okay though, you can just try again!

So Can You Plant the Seeds from Your Marijuana Buds?

If you’ve followed all these steps, you’ll have managed to turn a lone seed – depressingly isolated, hiding in your bud – into a fully grown marijuana plant!

Enjoy harvesting your new marijuana and keep an eye out for new seeds in your freshly harvested buds.
Given some time, you might find yourselves planting the great-granddaughter of your first seed!

A final note: Make sure you check the laws of your local area – certain municipal governments have different laws about growing marijuana when compared to just imbibing it. Make sure you’re not breaking any laws with your hand-grown marijuana – you wouldn’t want it taken away from you after all your hard work!

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.