how long does a marijuana plant take to grow

Recommended Autoflowering Breeders.

Many other breeders also produce great auto-flowering strains (Dutch Passion, FastBuds, Barney’s Farm, etc.), but the following breeders stand out for consistency.

Zkittlez Auto is ready to harvest 8-10 weeks from germination. Every time I grow this strain the smell and bud effects are excellent.

Fr om day 1 of your marijuana plant’s life to a smokable harvest, you’re looking at 2-6 months. Many factors affect the total time (especially the strain and size of the plant) but the average grow takes 3-4 months .

What if time is not an issue?

Long Anwer:

2-3 months from seed to harvest.

3-5+ months from seed to harvest.

The average indoor cannabis grow takes 3-4 months from seed to harvest. The full range is 2-6 months and depends on the strain and desired size of plants.

Here are some of great auto-flowering strains I’ve personally grown and recommend. These are all ready to harvest 8-10 weeks from germination:

You want to get an auto-flowering strain. These cannabis plants automatically start making buds after about a month from germination, and are ready to harvest by the time they’re 2 or 3 months old.

These factors have the greatest impact on total time from seed to harvest:

However, if you take really good care of auto-flowering plants for the first 4 weeks and give a lot of light, they can grow much bigger. These auto-flowering plants reached half this height in the first 4 weeks and produced about 11 oz under the same grow light as above.

Depending on how you set up your grow, it can take anywhere from 2 months to 6 months or more to grow a marijuana plant from a seedling to the point where the plant is ready to harvest. Some methods, such as growing hydroponically indoors, give your flexibility to get a harvested plant in as little as 2-3 months. Growing outdoors generally takes longer than growing indoors and is more dependent on when you plant your seeds and how long your growing season is.

Important Milestones in the Marijuana Plant’s Life.

You can control the timing if you plan ahead.

How to grow marijuana as quickly as possible:

Once your plant is harvested, there is a drying and curing process that takes about a minimum of two weeks before your buds are “ready” for smoking. If you aren’t a smoker and plan on turning plants into edibles or concentrates, you should still dry your buds but typically you don’t need to cure your buds.

Auto-flowering plants tend to stay small since they go from seed to harvest in under 3 months. These auto-flowering plants produced about 7 ounces.

Counter-clockwise from top left: Alaskan Purple Auto, White Widow Max Auto, Candy Kush Auto, Pink Kush CBD 30:1 (short purple plant), Zkittlez Auto, Gelato Auto.

This gives you the freedom to choose the exact strain you want without any worry about how long it will take. This gives you the freedom to grow some strains that otherwise are inaccessible to growers who are worried about timeframes.

Strains from warm climates tend to have long flowering periods before their buds are ready to harvest, adding weeks or months to the time needed. Long-flowering strains often produce higher yields than short-flowering strains because buds have more time to grow. For example, Acapulco Gold takes almost 3 months after initiating 12/12 before buds are ready to harvest. However, it produces amazing yields and unique psychedelic effects.

For more information about how to grow your own marijuana at home, then check out my Basic Marijuana Growing Guide or one of my more detailed How-To Guides which will explain how to grow your marijuana plant from beginning to end.

Within the flowering stage, there are three subphases:

Be sure to keep a grow journal to track the progress of your plants. Looking back on your notes will help you learn from mistakes and maximize the quality and quantity of your buds.

Flowering stage length: 8-11 weeks.

The first marijuana plant stage begins with the seed. A cannabis seed should feel hard and dry, and be light- to dark-brown in color. An undeveloped seed is generally squishy and green or white in color and likely won’t germinate.

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.

Flowering stage.

If you’re growing indoors, you can force a weed plant to flower after only a few weeks when it’s small, or after several weeks when it’s big. 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 to harvest.

The growth stages of marijuana can be broken down into four primary stages from seed to harvest:

It’s important to know these stages and how long each lasts to know what the plant needs and when. Knowing where your cannabis plants are in their life cycle will dictate when to prune, train, and trellis your plants, and when to harvest.

When your marijuana plant becomes a seedling, you’ll notice it developing more of the traditional cannabis fan leaves. As a sprout, the seed will initially produce leaves with only one ridged blade. Once new growth develops, the leaves will develop more blades (3, 5, 7, etc.). A mature cannabis plant will have between 5 or 7 blades per leaf, but some plants may have more.

As the sun reaches up high in the sky, your cannabis will want to as well. Make sure all of your plants are outside by the Summer Solstice.

There are a number of changes to consider once plants go from the vegetative stage to the flowering stage:

Vegetative plants appreciate healthy soil with nutrients. Feed them with a higher level of nitrogen at this stage.

Marijuana light cycle: indoor—16 hours a day; outdoor—at least 6 hours of direct sunlight (“full sun”), plus several hours indirect sunlight.

If you’re growing outdoors in the Northern Hemisphere, growers usually get their seeds between February and April, and you should start your seeds by the end of April. Some growers will start their seedlings inside in a more controlled environment because seedlings are more delicate, and then put their seeds in the ground outside once they’re a little bigger. If you’re growing clones or autoflowers, you have a grace period of another month or so. Plants usually need to be outside, in the ground, by the end of June.

The weather will start to turn and the sun will begin descending in the sky as your plants fatten up with sweet, sticky buds. It might be tempting, but wait until around the Fall Equinox to start harvesting.

Important dates for growing marijuana outdoors.

Cannabis plants go through a series of stages as they grow and mature, and those different growth stages call for different amounts of light, nutrients, and water.

If you buy a clone from a grower or breeder it will be a seedling, so you can skip the seed germination phase.

Outdoors, flowering occurs naturally when the plant receives less light each day as summer turns into fall. Indoor growers can trigger the flowering cycle by reducing the amount of light marijuana plants receive from 16 to 12 hours a day.

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.

Be very careful to not overwater the plant in its seedling stage—its roots are so small, it doesn’t need much water to thrive.

Even if growing outdoors, a lot of growers will start their seeds inside under an artificial light to help them through this delicate stage of marijuana growth.

Marijuana light cycle: 12 hours a day.

Seedling stage.

Seedling stage length: 2-3 weeks.

At this stage, the plant is vulnerable to disease and mold. Keep its environment clean and monitor excess moisture. Be sure to give it plenty of light.

If you need to determine the sex of your plants (to discard the males), they will start showing sex organs a few weeks into the veg stage. It’s imperative to separate males so they don’t pollinate the females.

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.

Marijuana light cycle: 16 hours a day.

Take meticulous notes on when and how you perform each step, as well as what the weather is like. Other notes can include how much water you give plants, at what intervals, and how much nutrients you give them. Pictures will also give you a better sense of how your plants look along the way.

Be mindful to increase your watering as the plant develops. When it’s young, your plant will need water close to the stalk, but as it grows the roots will also grow outward, so start watering further away from the stalk in the soil so roots can stretch out and absorb water more efficiently.

Cannabis plants are considered seedlings until they begin to develop leaves with the full number of blades on new fan leaves. A healthy seedling should be a vibrant green color.

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:

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!

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.

Before You Start Growing Weed.

The Average Indoor Cannabis Grow Takes 3-5 Months.

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.

Total preparation time needed: Up to a few weeks.

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

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!

These vegetating plants are about 4 weeks old from germination.

Time Needed to Grow Weed, From Seedling to Harvest.

Short (6-8 weeks)

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.

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?

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

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

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.

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

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…

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

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.