Once a seed is germinated, whatever type of biomatter DNA is contained within it begins the process of growing into a mature plant. For a common type of weed like a dandelion, for instance, it’s a fairly short and unremarkable journey from seed to fully matured plant. When it comes to the ‘weed’ for which most of us here are aficionados, however, there’s a whole lot in the growth and maturation of the cannabis plant. Having each of the different marijuana plant stages ideally accommodated is best for growing good pot, so let’s have a look at marijuana plant growing stages here today.
You’ll be more in the know about where your plants are at in their marijuana life cycle, and with that knowledge you’ll be better informed about what you can do to nurture them more effectively at that stage. Plus, you’ll have an idea of what’s to come next, and when you can approximately expect to harvest your crop following the completion of each of the marijuana plant stages.
1. Cannabis Seeds / Germination Stage
First of the marijuana plant stages is the same as it is for any plant matter – the seed. The cannabis plant actually uses sexual reproduction to generate seeds and disperse them. Each cannabis plant is either a male or female plant, and of course it’s the unseeded female plant that produces the quality marijuana bud that is so treasured among cannabis enthusiasts.
The meeting of male and females plants leads to the production of seeds, and that’s why female cannabis plants that are earmarked for marijuana production are kept isolated from even the slightest moment of interaction with a male plant.
Cannabis seeds remain dormant until exposed to water and light, and once they are exposed to both elements the germination stage begins. Hormones in the seed are activated and growth begins. A root will grow down and split open the shell of the seed, and shortly thereafter the plant’s stalk shoots out the top of the seed before sprouting two initial cotyledon leaves.
These leaves are meristems, and once they’ve emerged from the seed then extensive cell division begins to occur within them. The reproduction of leaves or stems during this cell division part of the marijuana plant stages is when you have the ability to take clones, but once a meristem cell begins producing roots the clone window closes as the fledgling plant will no longer reproduce leaves or stems
2. Sprout Stage
As moisture enters the seed through micropyles – tiny porous openings in the seed – the seed begins to sprout. Once it is ready to exist on its own without the shell, it will burst completely free of it and no longer able to survive in a dry environment. From this point forward in the marijuana life cycle it will need a regular and consistent supply of heat, water, and air in the same way any plant will. The sprout stage is the shortest of all the marijuana plant stages.
3. Seedling Stage
Next up in the marijuana plant stages is the seedling stage, and this is when the plant is at its most vulnerable. At this stage the root systems at the base of the plant really start developing extensively, and leaves begin to spread out and grow at the top of the plant. With a healthy plant this stage should last 3 to 7 days, after which a full seedling will have established itself. This stage being complete is marked by the plant having ‘true leaves’.
True leaves are ones that have the same classic 7-point ‘fan’ leaf structure as mature leaves, and once they’re seen on the plant then this one of the marijuana plant stages is complete. However, your plant can remain in the seedling stage for anywhere between 3 to 6 weeks, and often this is dependent on the strain.
Regarding the vulnerability mentioned above, it is essential that heat and humidity levels are maintained within a certain spectrum during the seedling stage. You can learn more about this when consulting a reputable source on growing marijuana.
4. Vegetative Stage
Of all the marijuana plant growing stages, it’s fair to say that the vegetative state is most encouraging and promising for the people growing the plant(s). This is where the plant really develops and starts to ‘bush out’ with foliage as it becomes more capable of absorbing and processing greater quantities of carbon dioxide and other nutrients.
During this stage of the marijuana life cycle the plant’s roots continue to expand and the plant begins to grow taller as a result. Healthy cannabis plants can grow up to 2 inches in a single day during the vegetative stage. Light exposure is of paramount importance during this one of the marijuana plant stages.
5. Flowering Stage
This is the end stage of the marijuana life cycle, as after this stage the plant becomes ready for harvesting. The female cannabis plants that have been grown from seed and then kept separate from male plants will reach maturity and begin to produce their precious buds. Indeed, of all the marijuana plant stages the flowering stage is the one that marijuana enthusiasts will regard as the most promising!
The flowering stage is dependent on the plant receiving a reduced amount of light, which will occur naturally if growing outdoors as the fall season approaches. But, if you’re growing indoors with artificial lighting, you should dial back the hours of the day the plant receives light. When a cannabis plant reaches its flowering stage it produces plenty of sticky resin on the outside of the leaves, and the concentrations of these THC-containing resins are found in large quantities in the buds just below the leaves.
The flowering stages for most strains last between 6 to 10 weeks, and in order to harvest the best buds it’s important to let this stage be completed in its entirety. You can tell when a flowering stage is complete when 70 to 90% of the pistils (aka ‘hairs’ on the buds) turn brown and large leaves shift from deep green to more of a green / yellow colour. This will indicate the last of the marijuana plant stages has passed, and you’re now ready to harvest.
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