Posted on

After germination of cannabis seeds

Stages of Growing Cannabis

Cannabis, weed, marijuana, kush, ganja – whatever you want to call it, it’s now legal to own and grow in the state of Virginia. So what does this mean for those interested in growing it?

Growing Cannabis for the first time can be quite overwhelming. A quick Google search will lead you to hundreds of results with more information than you can ever sift through. There’s so much to learn – lighting, pH, soils, training methods, curing, and so much more. Where does one start?

It’s really easy to fall down the rabbit hole of information online. The sheer amount of information can almost hinder you when you’re first getting started. I think it’s easiest to just get started and learn as you go.

Starting with gaining a general understanding of the stages of growing Cannabis is a great place to begin before you try growing for the first time. It will help you have a decent idea of what to expect along the way.

How long does Cannabis take to grow?

How long Cannabis takes to grow can vary based on the variety of the plant and conditions it is grown in. On average, from seed to harvest, it takes anywhere from 10-32 weeks (about 3-8 months). It’s a quicker process if you start with a clone (rooted cutting) or an autoflower seed. 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.

Stages of Growing Cannabis

Every plant begins with a seed. Cannabis seeds should be germinated just like any other seed. They can take anywhere between 3-10 days to germinate, although it can happen in as few as 24 hours or as long as 2 weeks. To germinate, you can place the seeds in a damp paper towel, which you should then place in a dark place, such as inside a drawer. Check on them after a few days to see if the primary root, called the radicle, has emerged. This will look like a little white “tail” coming out of the seed. Once germinated, move them to damp soil.

Alternatively, you can place the seeds directly in damp soil to germinate and grow, without having the trouble of moving them. For this method, I would recommend a seed starting mix. These are usually lighter and fluffier than traditional potting soil, which gives your fragile germinating seeds a start on the right foot. We carry Coast of Maine Sprout Island Blend Organic Seed Starter Mix. It has additional perlite that aerates the soil and helps prevent damping off. It also has mycorrhizae, worm castings, lobster meal, hen manure, and kelp to get your plants off to a healthy start.

2. Seedling Stage

Once your seed has germinated, it’s now time to move the germinated seed from its paper towel to a growing medium. If you started them in a seed starting mix, you will want to move them from the seed tray to a larger pot with a high-quality potting mix, such as the Coast of Maine Stonington Blend Grower’s Mix. This is a super soil, that works especially well for growing Cannabis. It contains mycorrhizae, kelp, alfalfa meal, fish bone meal, worm castings, perlite, manure, peat, coir, and lobster compost that feed your plant throughout the growing cycle, with no need to use additional nutrients.

See also  Head trip seeds

Plants are considered seedlings for about 2-3 weeks after germination. During this time, the plant should be moved to a spot with direct sun, if growing outdoors. If growing indoors, set your grow lights to run for 16 hours a day.

3. Vegetative Stage

After the seedling stage, Cannabis plants move to a vegetative stage. This is the time when the plant focuses on leaf production. It will not produce flowers at all during this stage, as the plant needs to grow plenty of leaves to take up enough photons (sunlight) to create the necessary energy to produce large flowers. The vegetative stage can last anywhere from 3 to 16 weeks, depending on the variety.

During this stage, indoor plants need 16-18 hours of light per day, and outdoor plants need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight (“full sun”), plus several hours of indirect sunlight. They will also need plenty of Nitrogen during this point, as Nitrogen is the nutrient that promotes healthy leaf growth.

4. Flowering

The flowering stage is the last stage of the Cannabis plant life cycle. This is the time when your plant will stop putting as much energy into leaf growth and will instead focus that energy on creating the flowers (buds), which are used for medicinal and recreational purposes.

Stages of Flowering – Source: Katie Plummer

Cannabis is triggered to flower when the hours of light it receives are reduced. If you’re growing outdoors, you’re at the whim of the seasons and will have to wait until the sun starts to go down in fall for it to flower and then harvest. If you’re growing indoors, you get to play mother nature and can force your plant to flower at any point. When you’re ready for plants to start the flowering stage, change your lights to a 12/12 cycle ( 12 hours with the light on and 12 hours with it off ). You will see signs of flowering in 1-3 weeks . On average plants will be ready to harvest after 8-11 weeks of flowering.

5. Harvest

Your plant will be ready to be harvested once flowers are compact and the pistils turn orange/brown. These pistils look like “hairs” coming out of the flowers.

6. Drying

To dry your Cannabis, hang sections of the plant upside down in a dark, cool space, such as a closet. You want to aim for 55-65% humidity and 60-70°F in the spot that you’re drying your plants in. Prolonged periods of light, friction from handling, and humidity/dampness can degrade resin glands, so you will want to avoid all of these.

See also  Seed cannabis company address

During the drying process, plants lose roughly 75% of water weight, which increases the cannabinoid to weight ratio. It also helps equalize moisture content, preserve cannabinoids, and shed chlorophyll.

Cannabis is ready to trim once the stem snaps when bent, typically after 3-7 days of drying.

7. Trimming

After your plant has dried, it’s time to trim! Trimming makes your fingers very sticky, so wear gloves if this is something you want to avoid. Simply trim off the larger leaves and stems. You can leave smaller sugar leaves if you’d like, as these still contain a good amount of cannabinoids and terpenes that provide the medicinal properties of Cannabis. It’s all personal preference of exactly how much you trim off. And you can save all the trimmings to make edibles, tinctures, salves, and more.

8. Curing

Curing is an essential part and the last stage in growing Cannabis. It helps the buds achieve full aroma. Curing is as simple as placing your freshly trimmed buds in a glass jar with a lid, like a mason jar. You’ll then want to place the jar in a cool, dark place, such as inside a drawer or in a cabinet.

During the first week of curing, you will want to “burp” your jars. This means you should open the containers once or twice a day for a couple minutes to allows moisture to escape and replenish the oxygen inside the container. After the first week, you only need to burp containers once every few days.

You should allow buds to cure for at least 2 weeks, but some people choose to cure for as long as 6 months. This helps stop the loss of moisture and to preserve flavors and aromas.

Grow Guide 2: Seedlings After Germination

In the first episode of Sista Mary’s Grow Guide, we’ve seen the germination of her Amsterdam Genetics Skyrocket seeds. Now, as their roots dig into the soil, we witness these seedlings take their first baby steps towards full cannabis maturity.

Grow Guide 2: On With The Seedlings!

We pick up the Growing Blog from were we left off: germination. As you will recall, Sista Mary decided to use kitchen towel for her seeds to germinate. Once light and water had worked their magic, she planted the seedlings into flowerpots with regular garden soil. This was done with great care so as not to damage the emerging taproots. Two weeks later, these fragile little seedlings have changed almost beyond recognition.

Window Seats

To protect the vulnerable baby plant from cold spring nights, pests, and an overdose of May sunshine, the seedlings were kept indoors for a bit. They got a snug spot on the window sill, allowing them to get used to actual sunlight rather than artificial lighting. After all, these Skyrocket plants are meant to be outdoor crops, so a go-between in the form of window seats is a sensible choice. If you don’t have a safe and sunny spot in your home, artificial lighting by fluorescent tubes will do. Just make sure to alternate about 18 hours of light with 6 hours of darkness or your plants may hit the ceiling before you know it. Still, the window sill gives your seedlings a chance to get used to real sunrays, which is a more natural start.

See also  Popping cannabis seeds in water

The seed case clings… … and is shed.

Theresa, Hilda, and Caroline: Meet The THC Sistaz!

Of course, after their germination‘s ‘moment of birth’, these three little ladies had to be given proper names. Sista Mary decided on Theresa, Hilda, and Caroline – say hello to the THC Sistaz! Out on the window sill, the little darlings made good progress. The images show how the seed cases were shed, making room for the first tiny leaves to emerge. A few days later, they were followed by the first leaves featuring the tell-tale serrated shape of cannabis foliage.

First leaves reaching for the sun.

Seedlings Child Support Grow Guide

Weed seedlings have an inbuilt drive to grow towards the light. It allows them to catch all the (sun-)light they can to grow taller. At this stage, watch your little ones closely. If the stem grows too fast, it may become unable to support its own weight as the leaves develop. You don’t want your fragile plants to snap at this point, so if you have any doubts, make sure you give the stems some child support. You can do this by carefully using your fingers to prop them up with a small mound of soil. Another option is using a length of wire or a small stick, but these may be tricky to remove later on. Whatever you do, give your girls some guidance if they need it as they take their first baby steps towards maturity.

A mound of soil supports the base of the stem.

Out In The Sunshine

After two weeks of seedling growth, Theresa, Hilda, Caroline were ready for the next big step: time to take the plants outside. Remember that these baby weed plants still have very fragile leaves. For some extra protection, Sista Mary decided to put them in a greenhouse for a smooth transition to outdoor conditions. The spring sunshine is just too bright and intense due to its high amount of UV radiation, which can damage any organism. The greenhouse also shields the plants from rapid temperature drops that can easily occur well into May. Temperatures depend on your location, of course, but in the Netherlands, they can drop below zero in especially cold May nights – killing for these tiny sisters. Better safe than sorry, right?

Starting to look like a proper lady now!

Stick around for the next episode of Sista Mary’s Growing Guide. You’ll find more useful tips and grower’s insights as Theresa, Hilda and Caroline soak up some sunshine outside!