The biggest variability in how long a marijuana plant takes to grow will happen in the vegetative stage—after the seedling phase and before flowering.
The growth stages of marijuana can be broken down into four primary stages from seed to harvest:
How long does it take to grow a marijuana plant?
Seedling stage length: 2-3 weeks
The flowering stage is the final stage of growth for a cannabis plant. This is when plants start to develop resinous buds and your hard work will be realized. Most strains flower in 8-9 weeks, but some can take even longer, especially some sativas.
Two rounded cotyledon leaves will grow out from the stem as the plant unfolds from the protective casing of the seed. These initial leaves are responsible for taking in sunlight needed for the plant to become healthy and stable.
If you’re wondering how much time it takes to finish growing a cannabis plant, the first thing to understand is that the art of growing cannot be rushed, quite the opposite. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day either. The same applies to growing marijuana plants.
The time it takes for a seedling to germinate usually varies from one to five days, although it is not unusual for it to take 5 to 15 days for a seed to germinate. This depends on the water, humidity, oxygen supply and most importantly the ideal temperature, which should be between 21 and 24 °C at this stage.
What factors determine how long it takes to grow a marijuana plant?
The growth phase of a photoperiod variety when grown indoors can be limited by making the plant think that it must flower. How to do that, you will read below.
This process generally takes between 2 and 6 weeks. Ripening is complete when the bud cracks when you gently pull it.
Exactly how long this period lasts depends on the type of plant you are growing. Autoflower strains have a short growth phase of about 2 to 4 weeks. Photoperiod cannabis varieties, when grown outdoors, can have a growth phase of up to 2 to 4 months while, when grown indoors, they can go into flowering after just 6 – 10 weeks.
A genetic mix of both indica and sativa strains, the growing time for hybrid marijuana strains may vary depending on which way the genetics lean. But, on average, hybrids tend to grow faster in the vegetative stage like a sativa, but may have a shorter flowering period like indica, about six-to-ten weeks. Since hybrids are a true blend of both sativa and indica, cultivators often prefer to grow them because of their higher output, generally faster growing time, and consumer appeal.
This cerebral and uplifting cannabis variety poses more challenges than growing indica. In addition to their longer ten-to-twelve week flowering period, sativas tend to produce a smaller yield (although this is certainly not true of all sativa strains).
Grow times for cannabis plants vary widely, but on average, are about three-to-five months for indoor grows. However, there are many factors that could add or subtract from that range, including whether you choose to grow from a clone or a seedling, the target yield (how much consumable product) and the growing method, whether indoor, outdoor, greenhouse, hydroponic, coco, etc. A very loose breakdown of a growing timeline could look like this:
Cultivation Time for Indica Cannabis Plants
For those looking to grow cannabis more quickly or achieve higher yielding strains, indica is the way to go. With a shorter flowering period – about eight-to-twelve weeks – plus a generally higher end yield, growers often prefer them because they can be cultivated in more frequent cycles indoors, while outdoor growers can time several growing cycles before the weather turns cold. Another benefit of growing indica is that they tend to be more short and bushy than sativas, making them a better fit for indoor setups or growing in a backyard garden.
However, growing cannabis is not exactly like taking care of a potted plant. And one thing a houseplant certainly does not need is a deft hand to guide it through its grow cycles. After all, daisies will bloom if you can at least remember to give them some water and sun. Cannabis? Not so much. To grow cannabis that can be consumed for its intended purpose, what it really needs is time and attention.
Do you have any experience growing cannabis at home? How long did it take you from seed to harvest? Share your stories in the comments below.
Sativas can also grow to be very tall, up to 20 feet in an outdoor setting, which makes them difficult to conceal from neighbors in an outdoor grow setting. Even when confined inside, they may still grow long and lanky, a challenge for anyone trying to manage a small grow space.