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The 6 Growth Stages of a Cannabis Plant

Updated: Mar 12

Girl in marijuana drying facility

Growing cannabis requires a series of stages that the plant must experience throughout its lifecycle. It is important to note that each step of the growing process requires unique needs, such as a certain amount of light, water, and nutrients. While growing cannabis sounds really complex, it is not as difficult as one would assume. However, it’s still essential to understand the process and what to expect if you choose to try it on your own. 

In this article, we will discuss the basics of growing cannabis, which include six stages that will give you an in-depth idea of the process. Generally, it can take 4 to 8 months to grow a marijuana plant; however, the duration of the process typically depends on where you are growing the plant. One interesting fact is that if you have an indoor growing facility, your marijuana plant can flower in just a few weeks! Ultimately, the quality of your marijuana plant will depend on your knowledge and the lifecycle of your plants. 

What Does a Marijuana Plant Need in Order to Grow?

Now, before we get into the specific growth stages of the marijuana plant, let’s discuss what your plant will need in order to grow. In addition, we will discuss how the plant will utilize these specific elements. The main elements that growers need to achieve a marijuana plant are water, light, CO2, and nutrients.


An important thing to remember is that you don’t want to give your plant too little or too much water. If your plant does not have an adequate amount of water, you can deprive it of the fuel needed to survive. On the other hand, if you overwater or drown your plant, it can result in mold. The amount of water needed for your plant ultimately depends on the type of environment that it grows in. When it comes to watering your marijuana plant, here is what you’ll need:

  • Watering schedule

  • Plant saucer

  • Aeration topsoil mix

  • Watering can


Light is another essential element for all plants, but it is especially important for cannabis plants due to the fact that they are photosensitive. Because cannabis plants are photosensitive, this means that standard strains require a certain light schedule in order to achieve the flowering stage. The light schedule needs to be undisturbed and consistent to reach the desired outcome.


The next essential element needed for growing a marijuana plant is CO2, which helps the plant produce sugar to get the energy it needs. Generally, most plants are fine on their own as CO2 is a natural chemical compound that is in the earth’s atmosphere.


Last but certainly not least, marijuana plants require certain nutrients throughout each stage of growth. It is important to know that it is possible to underfeed, overfeed, or feed your plants the wrong combination of nutrients. Therefore, you want to be aware that this can possibly hurt your plants if you do it incorrectly. 

Marijuana plants growing indoor facility

What Are the Growth Stages For Marijuana Plants?

There are six stages of growing a marijuana plant, which includes:

  • Germinating (1-7 days)

  • Seedling (2-3 weeks)

  • Vegetative (2-8 weeks)

  • Pre-flowering (1-2 weeks)

  • Flowering (6-8 weeks)

  • Harvesting


In order to germinate the seeds effectively, you will need to make sure that the seeds are mature enough for the process to take place. If your seeds are not mature enough, they will likely not germinate. Mature seeds are light-to-dark brown, shiny, dry, and hard. Immature seeds will appear white or green and are soft. 

Now that we have discussed that mature seeds are required for germination, let’s talk about the process. You’ll want to keep your seeds in a dark and wet place. You can wrap your seeds in a wet paper towel or put them in a cup of water and place them in a dark, closed cabinet until they sprout. 

This stage occurs much quicker and typically takes 1-7 days. Once the seeds have sprouted, you can then put the germinated and sprouted plant in a pot of soil.


At the seedling stage, the marijuana plant is the most vulnerable; however, you shouldn’t worry too much as the process won’t last too long, as this process generally takes 2-3 weeks. To achieve optimal growth, the plant will require sunlight from 18-24 hours, along with moist soil and a low level of humidity. Establishing a water schedule during this stage is essential in order to ensure that the plant receives an adequate amount of hydration. Keep in mind that because the root is so small during this stage, it can be easy to over water or drown the plant.

During this time, the plant will begin to develop cannabis leaves. It’s important to know that the leaves should be kept clean and avoid excess moisture to ensure that the plant does not become moldy or unhealthy. 


This stage is when the plant grows the most throughout its lifecycle. Therefore, the plant will need to be transferred to a larger pot to ensure that it has a sufficient amount of growing space. 

At this point, the plant will begin to grow quickly within 2-8 weeks. It’s important to ensure that you are sticking with the watering schedule and that you are watering the outer edges of the plant’s pot so that the root system receives the water it needs to effectively absorb it.


The next stage is pre-flowering, which is the transition between the vegetative and flowering phases. This process takes about 1-2 weeks and is dependent on the genetics and growing conditions of each plant. During this phase, you will be able to determine the sex of the plant based on the shape of the pre-flower.

Female plants have two pistils, which contain the flower’s reproductive system that develops on the buds. Male plants have small green pouches that contain pollen. 


At the flowering stage, the plants will begin to develop buds filled with THC. This process takes anywhere from 6-8 weeks. During the flowering stage, marijuana plants thrive off of warm environments and medium humidity. 


Now it’s the time that the flowering process will begin to slow down and you can begin to prepare for harvesting. When half to most of the plant’s pistils are brown, this means that your plant is ready to harvest!

Once harvested, you can begin the drying process to remove any moisture and prevent the risk of bacteria or fungus growth. Drying is important, as this helps preserve the life of cannabis. Drying should be done low and slow so it doesn’t result in damaging or altering the cannabis, resulting in unpleasant cannabis.

About Waferz

Our team at Waferz strives to be a reliable resource for education, providing valuable insight about the cannabis industry. We are committed to keeping you up-to-date with the latest news and developments surrounding cannabis, ensuring that the information received helps you stay informed and connected. We strive to be a reputable resource in the cannabis industry, utilizing years of experience, skills, and research to help you stay informed and connected. Learn more about cannabis with Waferz at

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